September 19, 2017

The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask

Last Fall I talked about The Body Shop's (then new) line of Expert Facial Masks. This year, they've added a few new ones to the mix, including a recent skincare obsession: the Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask.

The Body Shop's Tea Tree Oil line has always been one of my favourites; their blemish stick was a go-to of mine back in middle school and high school. Plus, I love the scent -- it's one I never get sick of.

The texture of the Tea Tree Mask is hard to describe...  I would liken it to Jello because when you poke your finger into the product it kind of bounces back. The scent isn't overwhelming and once applied on your face, it feel cooling and refreshing (for an extra cooling sensation, you can put the mask in the fridge).

This new mask is meant to be used last in your skincare routine and worn overnight while you sleep. It works its magic by reducing imperfections and controlling excess oil. With continued nightly use, it also reduces the look of associated concerns such as pores, blackheads and blemish marks.  You know when you're having a bad breakout? This is the product you'll want to turn to. Not only that, it's 100% vegan, formulated without alcohol, non-comedogenic and won't stain your pillows!

Check it out for $21 CAD online or in-stores.

September 16, 2017

Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer

Last month, I had the great fortune of attending a fun yacht party (#dropitlikeitsyacht) hosted by Smashbox in celebration of its new Photo Finish Primerizer and was gifted one to take home and try for myself.

Harkening back to to the true early days of this blog with these posts from 2010, 2012, and 2013, you'll see that I've been a longtime user of the iconic Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I love the way it smoothes pores and creates an overall flawless base for any foundation.

The new Primerizer adds something different to the Photo Finish line. While I personally love a matte look, many people really love having dewy/glowy skin since it tends to look more youthful and fresh. This product is made with Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide and injects your skin with intense hydration to prep your skin for foundation. And, of course, you can skip moisturizer since this is a primer + moisturizer in one!

At $42 CAD for 30 mL bottle, Primerizer does seem a bit pricey but you only need 1-2 pumps for full coverage and a little does go a long way. The product has a milky, slightly tacky texture but once you rub it into the skin, it's dries fairly quickly and isn't sticky to touch. My skin feels very plump and hydrated afterwards, and is perfectly prepped for locking in my makeup.

With colder weather coming up, I would definitely recommend this for your seasonal product switch-up, especially if your skin is on the dry side.

August 15, 2017

Flower Power (& I'm engaged!)

Oh hey guys... remember me? Summer is always busy but I feel like this one has been particularly so. In between numerous weddings and wedding-related activities, concerts (The Offspring/Sublime, I Love The 90s featuring TLC, Lady Gaga, and Metallica), and many weekends away either at the cabin or on mini trips, I just haven't had any free time at all.

Plus, something kind of major happened. I got engaged!! Just as things were finally slowing down, looks like I'll have to start wedding planning soon... good thing I'm looking forward to it :)

Dress: The Latest Scoop / Sandals: Stuart Weitzman (here)
Bag: Monserat De Lucca / Sunglasses: Polette (c/o)

July 13, 2017

Sunglasses Season

Let's talk sunglasses for a quick second. As I've mentioned before, since my PRK laser eye surgery, my sunglasses collection has grown exponentially. I just can't get enough of them! So what's a girl to do when she's got a new accessory "habit" but wants to save some cash? Turn to looking for glasses online, of course.

Optically Canada features a wide range of affordable men's and women's glasses, designer glasses, sunglasses, a reglazing service... basically everything you could want in an e-optical. The company graciously offered to send me a pair to try out so I selected some OPIUM Eyewear tortoiseshell sunnies. All of Optically's frames are offered as prescription sunglasses (included in the price) although I opted for non-prescription for obvious reasons.

Tanktop: Babaton (Aritzia) / Jacket: Talula (Aritzia) / Pants: Talula (Aritzia)
Shoes: Camper / Sunglasses: OPIUM Eyewear (c/o Optically)
Necklace: Charles & Grace (c/o)

My sunglasses arrived in a hard case with two microfibre cleaning cloths, which I appreciated since I hate smudges. I was also pretty impressed with the quality -- especially for the price (and even more so when you consider the cost of prescription lenses at brick & mortar stores). With their sunglasses, you have the option of customizing the tint as well. I've been wearing a lot of mirrored sunglasses these days so the fact that you can see my eyes through the smoked lenses is kind of a fun feature.

The only issues I encountered with my order had to do with shipping. The sunglasses somehow got returned to the warehouse without any attempts at delivery. This resulted in some run-around with the sunglasses needing to be shipped back to me again. Their customer service thankfully took care of the issues but if you're in a hurry for your glasses then that's something to keep in mind. However, hopefully what happened to me is not the norm.

If you don't mind a potential wait for shipping and don't require super high index lenses (1.56 comes standard on the site along with free coatings), you can really get some great deals on eyewear with Optically. Plus, their selection is constantly changing... it seems they get limited stock of certain frames so there's always something new to pick out. Definitely fun for an eyewear fanatic ;)

July 6, 2017

Cartier Tank Solo Women's Watch

Other than a few fashion watches, which I have typically treated more as accessories than time keepers, I have not worn a watch in years (we're talking early high school). However, relying on an iPhone to tell the time, which is what I've been doing, can sometimes be annoying and even inappropriate depending on the situation (meetings, court hearings, and other events where you shouldn't be seen "playing" on your phone).

As I've gotten older, I have become increasingly interested in luxury watches. This is a world that's pretty foreign to me, unlike designer bags and shoes, and it turns out watch collectors can be serious fanatics. I still don't really understand all the intricacies of luxury watches but I knew I was looking for something that had the quality while remaining fashionable yet versatile. For me, this ended up being the Cartier Tank Solo Watch.

The Tank Solo Watch comes in two sizes; I opted for the smaller size since I have small wrists and I think it's perfect for me and my lifestyle.  It's a simple, classic design which won't go out of style.

I also like how the rectangular face makes it look a bit like a cuff... this also makes it great for stacking with other bracelets since it's not too large. Below, I'm wearing it with my Pandora bracelet and my Louis Vuitton LV & Me "A" bracelet.

To be honest, I was initially concerned that I wouldn't like wearing a watch but putting it on has quickly become part of my morning routine. I like that it's super light and feels comfortable, plus checking the time on my watch has now become second nature. It's nice to just look at my wrist instead of fumbling around in my bag for my phone. I guess you could say I'm officially a wrist watch convert!

June 29, 2017

CLEAN Ultimate Beach Day

Hands up if you love the smell of summer and want to smell like it all year round! *raises hands* This girl right here is obsessed with beachy scents (mark. Saint Barts Soleil is one of my absolute favourites) so I was obviously very excited to get my hands on CLEAN Ultimate Beach Day at a media event a few months ago.

I've posted about CLEAN before (here and here) and no doubt the company continues to impress with its simple and refined fragrances that can be layered to create a unique-to-you scent. This latest offering comes housed in CLEAN's standard rectangular bottle but features a subtle glittery ombre glass.

From (where it retails for $74 CAD):
"Inspired by a carefree day at the beach, this refreshing fragrance offers a citrus floral escape. The scent opens with summery notes of mandarin orange, Italian bergamot, lemon, and Kaffir lime. The heart mellows into a bouquet of white rose, tuberose, soft neroli, jasmine, African orange blossom, and lavender. Crisp seaside notes add subtle bite to balance the softness of the flowers. The dry down embraces with notes of amber, musk, and sun-soaked sand."

It's hard to describe this perfume but to me it smells like the perfect blend of sunscreen, sand, and salt water... you know, basically like the ultimate beach day (no kidding, haha). It's a little powdery but not too much and I already know I'm going to be wearing this a ton as temperatures rise and the sun continues to shine.

June 26, 2017

Wedding Guest-ing

Wedding season officially kicked off for me this past weekend (I have 4 weddings to attend this summer) which finally meant an occasion to wear my new Diane Von Furstenberg Zarita Dress. I love my wrap dress and this is yet another classic DVF design. It comes in many different colours (although I'm partial to black, it making up a large portion of my wardrobe) and is a very flattering fit on. Definitely a great party dress!

Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg (on sale) / Shoes: Prada / Bag: Chanel
Bracelet: Pandora / Sunglasses: Quay Australia (here)

June 16, 2017

PRK Laser Eye Surgery Recovery (6 Month Update)

I promised an update to my PRK laser eye surgery experience (check out my post-surgery blog here) and I wanted to make sure I actually wrote one since I remember being frustrated at the lack of other peoples' updates when I was feverishly researching any and all things PRK last year. Honestly, I think the reason they don't update is because it becomes so easy to forget life pre-surgery.

In my case, it has now been 6 months since I had PRK. I wake up and I can see everything perfectly, whereas before I couldn't even read the time on my bedside clock which was less than a foot away from my head. The feeling of helpless blurriness is totally gone and being free from contacts/glasses has been incredible, especially now that it's summer. I was never much of a sunglasses girl even when I wore contacts but since I do need to protect my eyes, I've become quite religious about wearing them. As you can imagine, my sunglasses collection has basically tripled in size!

I'm especially loving my Quay Australia sunnies (here and here)

When I left off in my 1 month update, my eyes were not settled yet. Things were still blurry, it was hard to use the computer, and my eyes felt very dry. The blurriness continued for a few more months. I followed my eye drop regimen according to the 9 week tapering schedule set by Pacific Laser Eye Centre. I also continued taking Vitamin C and Omega 3 capsules, along with Restatis (a prescription eye drop for dry eyes) and preservative-free eye drops when my eyes felt dry.

I would say somewhere around 4 months post-surgery is when my blurriness/dryness issues seemed to level out. While I still use preservative-free eye drops at work, I find I don't really need them at other times when I'm not staring at a computer all day. I was already used to liberal eye drop use thanks to my dry eye syndrome, so continued use of eye drops hasn't been a bother for me. I just had my 6 month checkup with my eye doctor and she tells me everything has healed perfectly. In fact, it apparently looks like I never even had surgery! I am seeing 20/20 in both eyes with very slight astigmatism (+0.25) which I'm told is done intentionally to account for regression over time.

If you are in the Vancouver area (or planning on travelling to the area) and thinking about laser eye surgery, I cannot recommend Dr. David Lin at Pacific Laser Eye Centre enough. I mentioned my reasons for choosing him in my previous post and I stand by those reasons. Even though I had to wait many years to finally be eligible for PRK due to my numerous eye problems, I'm so grateful it eventually worked out and that it was such a huge success!

June 12, 2017

Lipault Paris Launches in Vancouver at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet

As you guys know, I travel a lot for work. This means a lot of time spent at airports, on planes, and, of course, thumbing through the in-flight magazine when taking off and landing since you're not allowed to listen to your headphones or be on your laptop (side note: I wish domestic flights had a duty-free catalogue since I love looking through the makeup offerings). Anyway, all that to say, on a recent trip, I noticed an ad for Lipault Paris, a bag and luggage brand I'd never heard of before.

Then coincidentally, a few days after I returned home, I received an e-mail about that very same brand! Turns out they are opening their first-ever stand-alone boutique right here in Vancouver at the end of June.

Founded in Paris in 2005, the French line specializes in colourful and lightweight designs that are perfect for frequent travelers or those on-the-go. It reminds me a bit of Longchamp (which you know I love), but the focus seems more on travel-friendly accessories that you can mix and match or colour coordinate. I'm especially in love with their Miss Plume line right now... seriously, how gorgeous is the rose gold? Want.

It seems totally fitting that Lipault Paris is launching at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet since it's right by the airport and, of course, joins a whole host of other designer brands currently at the mall.  I can't wait to check out their new store and all my fellow Vancouverites, you should too!

June 5, 2017

FOTD: Stila Matte 'N Metal Eye Shadow Palette

I love a good summer collection and Stila has some great new offerings I think people will really be into, including the Matte 'N Metal Eye Shadow Palette, Heaven's Hue Highlighter, and Color Balm Lipstick.

First up, the palette! I'm never one to say "no" to a good palette and I was pretty excited about this one. It comes housed in Stila's signature gold plastic packaging with a full-size mirror on the inside. The idea behind the shades is that you can mix and match however you want... maybe you want an all matte look, maybe you want an all metallic look, or maybe you want both!

If you're stuck, the shades are also arranged in coordinated order: three columns (top to bottom instead of by row) of four shadows for three different looks. The first look is a cool toned pewter, the second is a pink rose gold, and the third is a golden bronze. My swatches below are based on the three columns going from left to right.

The shades in the Matte 'N Metal Palette are right up my alley -- a mix of neutral mattes and some "metals" for a pop. However, as you can see from the swatches, not all the shadows apply that well. Some of the mattes are quite chalky, especially the lighter ones like Vintage, Velvet, and Feathered. The metallics are also patchy in the lighter shades, although they're a bit more forgiving since they can be easily blended.

Despite the disappointing swatches, I actually didn't have that much trouble once mixing the shades together for a makeup look though.

On my eyes, I'm wearing the four eye shadows from the middle column of the Matte 'N Metal Palette (with Sizzle smudged on as the bottom liner) which is the rose gold theme. I did my typical cat eye with my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper and topped it off with some Ardell Faux Mink false lashes (which are, by the way, super comfortable and lightweight).

On my face, I kept things glowy with the new Stila Heaven's Hue Highlighter in Bronze. The texture is really similar to Stila's Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector. It's bouncy, lightweight, and blends in really easily. It's definitely going to be a staple in my makeup arsenal this summer.

On my lips, I'm wearing Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Misty which is a pale barely there pink. Honestly, it's more a lip balm than a lipstick in this shade but I like it since it keeps my lips moisturized and is made with yummy peppermint oils.

May 23, 2017

Dermablend Professional Intense PowderCamo Foundation

I first read about Dermablend Professional in a magazine article many years ago. In it, the writer expounded on the products' amazing ability to cover up almost anything -- from varicose veins to birthmarks and tattoos. At the time, I remember thinking that I didn't have much use for such heavy coverage makeup but as it turns out, the line has a bit of something for everyone including those of us with more general skin concerns. It's also recently become available throughout Canada (there's a rather large display at my local Shoppers Drug Mart).

Since my main concern is dealing with uneven skin tone and covering the occasional freckle or two, the INTENSE PowderCamo Medium to Full Coverage Powder Foundation is a good pick for me. This one comes in a round matte black compact with a mirror and separated section for the applicator sponge. The Loose Setting Powder locks in the foundation, mattifying skin and leaving it with an all-over flawless effect. I should note that the powder comes with a weird overly puffy puff that I did away with in favour of a large powder brush. The instructions do say that you use the puff to apply powder then a separate brush to whisk the excess away. Dermablend Professional also has its own Long Wear Makeup Remover which easily removes long lasting makeup such as waterproof mascara, lip stains, and face/body foundations.

I spent a lot of time in the sun this past weekend as I was up at the cabin boating and stand up paddle boarding so I ended up slightly sunburnt despite my liberal application of sunscreen. As you can see below (left), my nose and cheeks got the worst of it. I also have quite a few more freckles than usual.

I applied the Dermablend Professional INTENSE PowderCamo in Toast all over and then topped it with the Loose Setting Powder in Cool Beige. The result is a pretty crazy, isn't it? All my redness is camouflaged... thanks to makeup alone. There's no photoshop here at all!

Dermablend claims that the PowderCamo foundation is buildable but not cakey or masky. It's definitely buildable and doesn't feel heavy on, but I personally think too much layering does result in almost "too perfect"-looking skin. I know I'm a big fan of matte makeup but this is more full coverage than I'm used to. I also found my skin fully greased up at the end of the day (common since I do have oily/combination skin) so powder touchups would be a necessity. For me, I don't think this will be an everyday foundation, but more a special occasion one... perhaps just for photographs when I need to look totally and completely flawless.

Find your perfect Dermablend Professional shade here.

May 15, 2017

Showers Inspired by the South of France with Le Petit Marseillais

A few weeks ago, an exciting box arrived in the mail, decked out like a piece of foreign mail and sporting a large "Bonjour!" on the front. The contents? A whole collection of new body washes from the beloved French company, Le Petit Marseillais, which has just launched in Canada.

It's been a few years since I was last in France (Paris, to be exact) and one of the things I do recall fondly is the prevalence of French pharmacies full of personal care products -- many of which I had never seen before. Now, thankfully, North American consumers can get a little taste of the classic French pharmacy with this launch.

Le Petit Marseillais was founded in 1981, finding its beginnings in a simple honeysuckle-scented bar soap. Since then the brand has expanded into an extensive line of body washes inspired by the nature and culture of the south of France. Each body wash, or "shower crème", is gentle on the skin with scents formulated by top perfumers. The result is a truly sensory experience every time you hop in the shower.

Canadians can look forward to the following five scents, although from what I understand there are many more in France. Hopefully we will get a chance to try those one day... I'm dying to try the coconut one!

White Peach & Nectarine is my favourite. It's a fresh fruity fragrance that really does seem to be bursting with juicy peaches and nectarines.

Vanilla Milk is a close second. I love vanilla scents, and this one is a sweet vanilla with subtle hints of ylang ylang and pistachio.

Cotton Milk & Poppy is probably my least favourite of the five. I don't even really know how to describe it; I guess it's supposed to smell like poppies. I think this will appeal to people who don't like fruity or sweet scents though.

Orange Blossom is not an orange or even orange creamsicle scent, as I had initially hoped. Instead, it features notes of orange blossoms layered with jasmine, vanilla, and musk.

Lavender Honey is my boyfriend's favourite. It's a calming lavender that's sweetened heavily by the honey note so I actually like it too (just lavender on its own can sometimes be too much for me).

May 8, 2017

$20 Spa Treatments in Vancouver at NIC Spa

As an avid spa goer (I was just at the Scandinave Spa a few weeks ago, spent two days at the Willow Stream Spa this past weekend, and have a trip planned to the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa three weeks from now), I am obviously a big fan of self care. However, I'm also cognizant of the fact that regular spa trips like these can cost a lot of money... where's a girl on a budget to go if she wants to treat herself?

Well, if you're in Vancouver, you need to check out NIC Spa where you can get treatments for a mere $20! These are full service treatments too; think AHA peels, facials, manis, pedis, and 30 minute massages. You can also pay a bit more for deluxe treatments or add-ons.

NIC Spa recently opened at the New Image College campus on Granville Street, one of Canada's leading accredited post-secondary institutions for esthetics and makeup artistry. Because the services are typically performed by advanced students of the college, they are able to offer treatments at an affordable rate. I was invited to try them out for myself and ended up getting a deluxe manicure and pedicure.

My aesthetician, Doris, was very friendly and put me at ease right away. Since I own my own tools and hundreds of bottles of nail polish (hello, I'm a beauty blogger), I mainly do my own nails at home but every once in a while, I like to get them done professionally. I had some very dry cuticles that needed taking care of and Doris spent a lot of time getting my nails in tip-top shape. 

The deluxe mani/pedi combo includes a paraffin wax treatment which I've only ever done once before. If you've never tried this, I cannot recommend it enough. It seems a bit weird to stick your hands and feet into bags of hot wax but the result is seriously silky smooth skin. Such a treat! I also received a hot stone massage on my legs and reflexology which ended my night on a very relaxed note.

Since the spa is located inside an educational institution, it's not a place I'd pick for a luxurious spa day. But for the price, I'd say expecting fountains, expansive views, and heated beds with remote controls would be quite unreasonable. With the cost savings, you can treat yourself to more services instead! Besides, they did have music playing and I felt very comfortable in my IKEA POÄNG chair (such a classic, haha). I think I'd liken the atmosphere to a basic nail salon (for the nail services), and had a peek into the massage/facial rooms which were fairly low frills as well but still seemed comfortable.

Address: 987 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC

May 4, 2017

L'Occitane En Provence Terre de Lumière

Inspired by golden hour, every blogger and Instagrammer's favourite time of day, L'Occitane En Provence has just launched a new EDP called Terre de Lumière (meaning "land of light" in French).

L'Occitane describes it as their first "Gourmand Aromatic" fragrance which means it's not a true gourmand. Instead, it starts off on a zesty note before melting into the more traditional sweetness you'd expect. The top notes include bergamot and pink pepper which dry down to mid notes of lavender honey before ending in base notes of musk, tonka bean, and almond. I like this fragrance a lot -- it's sweet but not overwhelming, making it wearable for everyday.

Terre de Lumière is available in two sizes – 50ml ($85) and 90ml ($105), and is available online and in-store now.

P.S. Thanks to L'Occitane for the special monogrammed bottle! Like my bottle of My Burberry Black, the engraved initials make for such a unique personalized touch.

May 1, 2017

MAKE UP FOR EVER New Releases: Ultra HD & Artist Liquid Matte

MAKE UP FOR EVER has been churning out quite a few new releases this year and, as always, they showcase the professional MUA-level quality we've all come to expect from the brand while still remaining totally wearable for us regular folks who don't have to worry about actually being camera-ready on the daily.

One of my most popular MUFE reviews, for some unknown reason, is of their HD Pressed Powder which came out back in 2014. For 2017, they've revamped the powder to make it compatible with 4K technology and changed the packaging as well. Instead of the round plastic compact, the new Ultra HD Microfinishing Pressed Powder comes housed in a square matte metal compact, similar to the packaging of my Andreja Pejić Eyeshadow Palette (but thankfully with a mirror). There is no sponge applicator included; MUFE recommends that this be applied with their Artisan Brush #160 so it's not exactly the most travel-friendly. I personally apply this right after I do my makeup in the morning and then touch up with my MAC Blot Powder for any shine that surfaces in the day since the finish is only semi-matte.

The powder is finely milled and the texture is extremely smooth. Seriously, it feels so nice to the touch but means you'll have to be careful about over-applying so you don't get too cakey. The overall result is a blurring effect to any pores and lines without depositing any colour. However, one warning: if you over-apply, flash photography might make your skin look whiter than a ghost. In fact, you might recall that I expressed some concerns in my last review about the Translucent (1) powder possibly not being suitable for all skin tones (although apparently it is). MUFE appears to have since addressed that issue with the release of two new pressed powder shades -- Banana (2) to finish a medium complexion and Peach (3) to finish a tan complexion, but I can't confirm if flashback is an issue with either as I haven't tried them.

Another addition to the Ultra HD line are the Skin and Lip Boosters. "What on earth is a booster?" you may be thinking. Well, they are basically intensely hydrating serums for your face and lips that are applied before any other product to improve their ability to hold makeup. I was sent the Lip Booster in 00 (Clear) to try out and it works great as a prepping lip mask (apply then wipe off excess product), especially before a matte lipstick. It doesn't really have a discernible scent and instantly adds hydration to dry lips.

Speaking of matte lipstick... if you are a fan, you really need to check out the new Artist Liquid Matte line. It seems like every brand these days has some form of matte liquid lipstick but I think these MUFE ones are my faves.

L-R:  Artist Liquid Matte in 101, 103, 107

The shade range is pretty limited as of right now (there are only six shades and most of them nudes) but since I'm a huge neutral-lover, most of them appealed to me. Above, I've swatched 101 (Cream Beige), 103 (Warm Beige), and 107 (Neutral Beige). Give me all the beige!!

These liquid lipsticks combine a true matte finish with intense pigmentation, though somehow remain pretty comfortable on the lips. They are also incredibly long-wearing... I had to really scrub to get my swatches off my arm although it was a lot easier when removing from my lips at the end of the day.

April 26, 2017

Spring Skincare Refresh

The cherry blossoms are officially blooming which means Spring is finally in the air... and it also means a little change-up to my regular skincare routine. I've received a few new products over the past few months to try out and they've made some quick and easy additions to my "pamper time."

I have previously raved about the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules and the company recently introduced an Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask. The packaging is quite unique; the mask pads are separated from the serum and you press down to break the seal and infuse the dry pads. It's kind of a luxe treatment at $14 CAD/pack but what a treat! Plus, you can refrigerate the pack beforehand for some extra refreshment.

In keeping with the treatment theme, face masks continue to be my favourite. Earth Kiss is the organic line from Montagne Jeunesse (which I've reviewed before)  of cruelty-free and 100% natural mud masks infused with Himalayan Shilajit, a rare form of powerful mineralized organic matter. The masks are also super cheap -- only $2.99 CAD/pack. For something more unconventional (and more expensive), there is Bliss Mask A-'Peel'. These cost $15 CAD for a one time use but I'll admit it is kind of a fun concept for an at-home facial. You add water to the powder mixture, stir it up with the enclosed spatula, and apply the thick paste to your face. Once on the skin, it dries to a rubberized texture which you then peel off after 15 minutes.

Lastly, I've been experimenting with EcoTools Polishing Facial Cloths ($10.99 CAD). I have never been a wash cloth kind of girl (I just use my hands to apply cleanser and wash my face), but these muslin cloths are a nice way to really clean your skin and remove all traces of makeup without feeling too harsh.

April 20, 2017

Mugler Angel Eau Sucrée

For 2017, Thierry Mugler has re-launched its Angel Eau Sucrée fragrance -- an even sweeter and fruitier version of the iconic Angel (which I've previously posted about here).

Eau Sucrée leans heavily into the "candy" realm with notes of red fruit sorbet, caramelized meringue, patchouli, and vanilla. I happen to love gourmand fragrances best so I really like this, but others might find this way too sweet and almost cloying. Even if that is the case, because it's an EDT, it is much lighter and dries. While that might be viewed as a negative, I actually think that makes Eau Sucrée a great option for Summer since I have always viewed Angel as more of a Fall/Winter scent.

Available only in a 50 mL non-refillable version for $82 CAD, the star-shaped bottle is a darker pearlescent blue than Angel and feels quite large in my hand. I have the 25 mL version of Angel so this is double the size!

Eau Sucrée is limited edition and is available at Hudson's Bay, Sephora, Nordstrom, Shoppers Drug Mart, Jean Coutu, and Murale.

April 17, 2017

Burberry Kisses in Pink Peony (No. 37) and Lip Velvet in Magenta Pink (No. 419)

I am a huge fan of Burberry Beauty (see previous posts here, here, and here) and believe their lip products, in particular, are the perfect marriage between quality and luxury. There is something about these square tubes with their clicky magnetic lids that just feels so expensive... and for $38 CAD, I guess they kind of are!

Burberry's lipsticks come in two main formulations: Kisses and Lip Velvet. Burberry Kisses are more hydrating with a shiny satin finish while the Lip Velvet is, as the name implies, a demi-matte. Both feel pretty weightless when worn.

I received two new shades from PR for Valentine's Day this year and wanted to make sure I got these swatches up because they are seriously beautiful and if you're looking to splurge on a little makeup treat, these might fit the bill.

For a really sweet, wearable, and shiny pink, I am loving Burberry Kisses in Pink Peony No. 37. In this swatch, I'm wearing two swipes for a more pigmented coverage (the formula is buildable). Seriously, so pretty.

Above, I'm wearing Burberry Lip Velvet in Magenta Pink No. 419. I was surprised at how much I liked this colour since hot pink is not really my thing, especially for makeup. I think the combination of the matte finish with the bright colour was really what won me over. Plus, this formula felt a lot more comfortable and less drying than the other Lip Velvet I own for some reason.

April 13, 2017

My Fresh Prep Experience

Meal prep delivery services have been around for a while in the United States (at least that's what it seemed like thanks to the ads on literally every podcast I listen to) but, as far as I know, they're a relatively new service here in Canada... and in Vancouver, more specifically. I've always wanted to try one so I obviously jumped at the opportunity to when I was contacted by local business, Fresh Prep.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that my Sunday Instagram stories are usually full of my meal prep process for the week. It's something that I do because I prefer to bring my own lunches to work and it also means I can control the food that I'm eating. I was curious to see how Fresh Prep would stack up and now that I've tested it out, I'm ready to share some thoughts.

You're given the opportunity to select your meals for the upcoming week (as long as you do so by 11:50 p.m. on Saturday), and they are delivered to your door during a specified delivery window on a day of your choosing. I got a text message when the driver was on his way with an estimated arrival time, and I definitely appreciated the heads-up. The meals come packed in paper bags and are placed in a large cooler bag so that nothing goes bad.

Inside each paper bag you get an easy-to-follow instruction sheet and all the ingredients you need to make a full meal for either 2 or 4 people depending on your subscription.  Everything comes washed, chopped, and ready to be mixed together. Even with seasonings like sugar or spices, they are perfectly portioned out so you use exactly what you get and nothing is wasted. Prepping vegetables and sauces can be incredibly time-consuming and it's amazing how, by skipping that step in the process, cooking goes so much faster.

The first meal that I made was Miso Glazed Salmon with Seasoned Sticky Rice and Bok Choy (pictured above). I loved the miso glaze and the recipe was very easy to follow and make. Plus, when I plated it, it turned out really fancy-looking. 

The second meal that I made was Hearty Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Bacon. I really like making stews but they often take a long time in the slow cooker or Dutch oven so I was curious how this would come together with only a 30 minute cooking time (all of Fresh Prep's meals can be made in 30 minutes or less). Unfortunately this one really was not to my taste. The bacon and beef was a weird combo. However, I will say that the stew tasted better the next day when I had the leftovers for lunch. Maybe it just needed to marinate more...

Overall, I was impressed with the service although it's not something that I personally would use regularly. I happen to actually like my dedicated meal prep days and enjoy coming up with my own healthy recipes of the week.

If I was a different person, however, I can see a service like this being very useful considering how limited my time is when I come home from a long day at work and I just want to eat something. The temptation for many in this situation would be to grab some takeout but with Fresh Prep, it takes almost the same amount of time you'd be waiting for a delivery and you know exactly what's going into your meal. Plus, for those who don't really know how to cook, it can be a great way to learn some new recipes and get more interested in the cooking process. Or, alternatively, a fun and easy date idea where you whip up something yummy for your significant other without forcing them to wait around watching you wash and chop veggies for 20 minutes. Honestly, the possibilities are endless!

April 7, 2017

Kauai Vacay

A month ago I was relaxing by the pool in sunny Kauai... MAJOR SIGH... and while it feels like much more time has passed than that, I did at least finally manage to get my act together for a recap post.

Unlike my usual vacations where I tend to fill my itinerary up, I was really in need of some full-on R&R so we didn't actually do too many "activities" on this trip. In fact, we really revelled in the fact that we could go to the gym almost everyday, swim and hot tub, read magazines, and take things totally at our leisure. I loved the slower pace of Kauai which, while being about the same size as Maui, has a much lower population.

Driving around the island is also reasonable, so we made sure to visit beaches all along the coast from Nawiliwili in the south to Anini Beach and Haena Beach Park in the north.

Of course, that's not to say that we didn't do anything. We managed to attend a luau which has always been at the top of my Hawaii bucket list. The Luau Kalamaku takes place at the Kilohana Sugar Plantation and was fun night of entertainment, drinks, and food. We had actually stopped by the plantation a few days earlier for some rum tasting at the Koloa Rum Company -- super yummy!

With the island's history of sugar/sugarcane, we made sure to book a mountain tubing adventure. It took us through the historic irrigation system of the former Lihue Plantation, meaning we were tubing past all sorts of beautiful scenery and through dark tunnels. 

Please note: this is the only time you will ever catch me in a pair of Crocs!

We had also gotten a GoPro Hero 5 Session right before our trip, which has voice command, so I felt super fancy saying "GoPro, start recording" and having it start filming. Even though I have no idea how to edit videos (evidenced here), I was able to put together this little highlight reel. 

Overall, however, my trip was way too short and I still have so many things I need to do in Kauai. For instance, there are tons of hikes that we were unable to do due to weather and lack of time. Clearly, I really just need to go back... and sooner rather than later!

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