December 22, 2017

KISS Christmas Manicure

I just couldn't let December 25 come around without sharing a Christmas mani! This year, I'm keeping things simple by making use of these KISS Accent Stickers in Glad Tidings -- a totally holiday-appropriate set of nail art stickers. There are candy canes, trees, reindeer, wreaths, gingerbread men... basically all the festive designs you can think of. Plus, not only are they cute, they're also easy-to-use.

On my nails, I decided to use a base of CND Vinylux in Palm Deco which was actually released as part of their Summer 2017 Rhythm & Heat Collection. The dark green, however, is totally perfect for this time of year as well.

I'll be taking a break from the blog until 2018 (where has 2017 gone??). Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 18, 2017

Last-Minute Stocking Stuffers from Burt's Bees

You guys, how is Christmas in 1 week?! Craziness. If you're scrambling for any last-minute presents, the drugstore can be a lifesaver -- especially for stocking stuffers. I've already featured a few ideas in this post but wanted to dedicate a separate one to a brand I've been using for years (seriously, check out this post from 2010), Burt's Bees.

I feel like lip balm is always welcome no matter who you're giving it to (even my fiance often requests it, so it's totally a unisex gift!) and Burt's Bees has some fabulous little sets out right now. Plus, they're all super affordable which is great if you're on a budget.

For the frequent flyer, the Skin Essentials set ($9.99 CAD) features a small pack of Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract, a Strawberry Lip Balm, and a Vanilla Bean Lip Balm. For fans of the classic Peppermint Lip Balm, get a set of four with the Beeswax Bounty ($12.99 CAD) which comes in a cute square box. And for something festive, there's the limited edition Ginger Spice Lip Balm ($4.89 CAD). I thought it would smell more like a baked good given the gingerbread-themed packaging but in my opinion, it's just a clean ginger scent. Nonetheless, still a fun holiday treat!

December 12, 2017

Fresh "Color Me" Gift Sets

Clearly interactiveness is a theme with holiday gift sets this year. First it was The Body Shop with its game and puzzle-based packaging, and now it's Fresh with its gorgeous"Color Me" Gift Sets.

The Best of Beauty Bundle ($90) is sure to be a coveted gift, containing a selection of the brand's bestsellers: Soy Face Cleanser, Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask, Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream with Super 7 Complex, Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate, and a Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy. The products slide out of the box by pulling the white ribbon loop on the side, and you can use the two pencil crayons to personalize the fun orange grove pattern.

You'll also find pencil crayons included in the Sugar Lip Prep 'N' Paint ($47) which can be used not only to personalize the heart-covered packaging but the rolled up love note contained inside. This set includes everything you'll need to prep, perfect, and paint your pout: Sugar Lip Polish, Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy, Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment, Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy, and Sugar Cream Lip Treatment Buff.

If you're looking for a small gift that packs a punch, Facial On The Fly ($41) is the way to go. It contains three skincare products that are perfectly sized for travel: Soy Face Cleanser, Rose Face Mask, and Lotus Youth Face Cream with Super 7 Complex.

Aren't these sets the cutest? If you've got a girly girl or a beauty lover with an artistic side in your life, they will absolutely love unwrapping one this Christmas.

Check out the full selection of Fresh gifts here.

December 7, 2017

Loving My Mackage

Brrr! Vancouver has been having a few cold snaps in between our usual downpours so I've brought out one of my fave parkas that keeps me warm & toasty. Mackage is definitely one of my favourite outerwear brands (I also own two leather jackets and a wool coat from them)... even better that they're Canadian so they know how to do us right for winter.

Parka: Mackage (similar here and here) / Leggings: Alo (here)
Shoes: New Balance (here) / Toque: Roots (here)

December 4, 2017

The Body Shop #ComeGiftWithMe

Last week I was invited on a fun VIP store visit to The Body Shop in Pacific Centre to learn all about their holiday offerings (thanks Heather!) and simply could not wait to share with you all.

This year's theme is all about playfulness with a portion of proceeds going towards the Peace Play Project in Lebanon, a fund that provides play and activities in a safe place for Syrian refugee children. All the seasonal gift packaging is interactive in some way; some gift boxes feature word searches and mazes while others like the Dial-A-Flavour Body Butter Trio ($15 CAD) have an arrow that you can spin to pick which one you're going to use.

For lip balm fans, you need to get your hands on the Kiss and Tell Born Lippy Wand ($18 CAD) or the House of Holland x The Body Shop Kiss Me Cube ($20 CAD). That's right -- The Body Shop has teamed up with House of Holland, the iconic British fashion line, on the colourful prints used on some of the limited edition holiday sets. I'm particularly obsessed with the House of Holland x The Body Shop Wonder Cube ($60 CAD), which is seriously fun to play with and features a different beauty surprise in each numbered compartment.

There are three limited edition holiday scents as well: Frosted Plum, Vanilla Chai, and Frosted Berries. I really like the hand creams, but you can find these scents in a range of products and gift sets. For something super special, the Festive Tin ($28 CAD) is modelled after a round ornament, while the Tin Of Delights ($45 CAD) is larger and shaped like a hatbox.

If you've got someone on your wishlist who loves a particular scent from The Body Shop's regular line (Satsuma, anyone?), a pre-packaged gift set is definitely the way to go. They come in a few sizes to fit your budget and are a great option if you aren't really sure what to buy someone on your list. The smaller sets make excellent stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts, or presents for your coworkers. Check out the Gift Cube ($10 CAD) and Gift Pouch ($15 CAD), which are apparently quite popular.

What I'm personally most excited about, however, is the Countdown to New Year! Advent Calendar ($69 CAD). Most of us are used to the typical advent calendars which count down from December 1 to Christmas (The Body Shop has some great ones), but this is the first advent calendar I've seen that counts down from Christmas Day to New Years Day.

Housed in a colourful star, each triangular box contains a product aimed at prepping you for any NYE parties you might be attending; for example, the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Face Mask and Gold and Pink Glitter Dust for sparkle.

Find all The Body Shop holiday items in-store or online.

November 30, 2017

Holiday Offerings from L'Occitane En Provence

Following up on my stocking stuffers for beauty lovers post, I've got a bunch more reviews coming up as part of this year's holiday gift guide series. Today, it's all about L'Occitane En Provence!

L'Occitane puts together some very thoughtfully curated gift sets including the Shea Butter Collection ($79 CAD), which I was kindly sent to try out. Packaged in a sleek round box with a gold lid, it includes a Shea Butter Hand Cream (75ml), Foot Cream (75ml), Ultra-Rich Body Cream (200ml), and Extra Gentle Milk Soap (100g). I've reviewed the Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm before and I love how this set allows me to sample some of the company's other shea butter offerings. I was also pleased to find a coupon for $10 off any shea butter product from January 1-31, 2018 -- great bonus!

And, as if you needed another reason to splurge on this collection for yourself or someone else,  L’Occitane has partnered with UNICEF to help thousands of children around the world this holiday season. From October 25 to December 25, the company will donate $4 from each Shea Butter Collection and Shea Butter Deluxe Collection Gift Sets purchased to UNICEF, up to $120,000.

If shea butter isn't your thing, L'Occitane does have a range of other sets for those on your Christmas shopping list. Check them all out here here, but if you need a little guidance, I've rounded up a few of my picks for you too:

Terre de Lumière Collection ($89 CAD): Featuring L'Occitane's 2017 fragrance launch (reviewed here), this set includes a holiday limited edition Terre de Lumière Eau de Parfum (50ml), Gentle Shower Gel (50ml), Body Lotion (50ml), and Perfumed Soap (75g) wrapped in luxury silk gold tissue.

Advent Calendar ($69 CAD): You can't go wrong with a beauty advent calendar and this one is sure to please any crowd by revealing a surprise beauty essential on each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

Premium Advent Calendar ($134 CAD): New for 2017, this premium advent calendar includes 24 premium fragrance, body care, and face care products from many of L'Occitane's beloved lines, including Verbena, Shea Butter, Immortelle, Almond, Cherry Blossom, Rose, and more.

Crackers Collection ($34 CAD): A super fun alternative to your traditional holiday crackers, these contain cute L'Occitane minis. Now that's a cracker I want to pop open!

L’Homme Cédrat Collection ($84): For the men in your life, L’Homme Cédrat is the essence of escape, inspired by the sailors of Arles with a crisp freshness and aquatic notes. This set includes the signature L’Homme Cédrat Cologne Eau de Toilette (75ml), Shower Gel (250ml), After-Shave gel cream (30ml), and Cologne Soap (50g).

November 27, 2017

Stocking Stuffers for Beauty Lovers

Can you believe Christmas is in less than a month?! I've been working hard to get all my holiday shopping done early and thought I'd share some stocking stuffer ideas for any beauty lovers on your gift list this year.

Being by Sanctuary Spa is a new bath & body line from the UK catered towards millennials. Edgy messaging and unique scents are their M.O. with this Chilli Mango & Tonka Bean Body Mist being one of my faves. Find this in-store at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Next up, these Real Techniques Mini Miracle Complexion Sponges are super cute and perfect for travel or those on-the-go. Find this in-store at London Drugs.

Face masks also make great stocking stuffers and this 7th Heaven Charcoal Peel-Off Face Mask is a fun take on the traditional peel-off mask featuring pressed birch leaf, crushed witch hazel, and activated charcoal. Find this in-store at London Drugs.

If you're looking for some pre-made gift sets, Stila has released some really nice ones this season. The Play it Cool Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set comes with three deluxe sizes of their beloved matte liquid lipsticks: Baci (nude pink), Patina (dusty rose), and Bacca (raspberry).

For those who are more into defined eye looks, the Stila Big Shots Set comes with full-sizes of their Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner & HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara. I've been a devoted Kat Von D Ink Liner user for years but this summer I received a sample of Stila's liner from a Sephora order and I think I'm going to make the switch -- it's so good!

Lastly, while not quite a beauty product, everyone could use a Saje Peppermint Halo Headache Remedy rollerball. I keep one of these in my desk at work for when I feel a headache coming on.

November 17, 2017

A Matte Shellac Mani (feat. CND Mystic Slate)

Last week, I was invited to preview the new CND Glacial Illusion Collection at Prép Beauty Parlour and it's got to be one of my favourite nail polish collections that's been released in recent years. With the Arctic as its core inspiration, the collection features some gorgeous shades that are perfect for the winter and holiday season (check them all out here).

I was immediately drawn to Mystic Slate, an icy slate grey that leans blue. However, I also wanted to add a unique touch to my mani so I asked my manicurist to finish it with the Matte Top Coat from the CND Shellac Alluring Trilogy Collection.

That's right... a MATTE Shellac mani! Did you even know such a thing was possible? Most people love gel and Shellac manicures for the glossy shine, but I love that this top coat means you can now get the long wear of Shellac with a matte finish. 

I've tried matte top coats before like Essie Matte About You, but because I was dealing with regular nail polish, I found that I would get chipping after only a few days. This CND top coat, on the other hand, cures under a UV lamp like the regular Shellac top coat. It's a serious game changer.

I couldn't be happier with this mani and am honestly just obsessed with how it turned out. So chic, right?!

November 14, 2017

Big Changes

As you all know, I started this blog almost 8 years ago while I was attending law school. Since graduating in 2011, I have been working as a lawyer in a very specialized practice area and have, for privacy reasons, made efforts to ensure that my professional career is kept separate from my blogging hobby. In keeping with this caveat, I actually have some big news to share: as of today, I am officially leaving private practice! This decision was not an easy one to make as I truly love my firm and the work that we do. However, private practice has proven difficult for me in many ways and resulted in considerable stress and health issues over time. I felt I owed it to myself to see if there was a way I could transition my career into something more sustainable for the long-term. So, starting today, I will be taking on a new role at a large organization (still in law). Although it's a bit nerve-wracking to be taking this step, I am very excited about the new opportunity.

To celebrate, I had to buy myself something -- obviously. I love a bit of flash and this Prada Lion Bag definitely fit the bill. Who wouldn't love a statement piece that resembles a large door knocker?!

Blouse: TWIK (Simons) (c/o Chick Advisor) / Jeans: Frame (similar)
Boots: Vince / Bag: Prada (here)

November 6, 2017

Make Up For Ever Artist Face Color in B206 and B314

A few months ago, MAKE UP FOR EVER introduced its latest innovation in colour and customization: the Artist Face Color. Similar to the Artist Shadow line, Artist Face Color is a line of highlighters, sculpting powders, and blushes that come in magnetized refill pans which you can pop into either a single ($31 CAD for 1 refill + 1 palette), duo ($44 CAD for 2 refills + 1 palette) or a triple ($56 CAD for 3 refills + 1 palette).

The palette (for the duo and triple) is MUFE's standard design that we've seen on other products like the Ultra HD Pressed Powder, for example. It features a large mirror and a very strong magnet so you'll never have to worry about your refill pans falling out. 

I love the concept behind this release because it allows you to truly customize how you want your palette. You could have an entire highlighter palette or create the ultimate highlighter + sculpting power + blush combination. In total, there are 34 shades to choose from in a range of matte, shimmer, and pearl finishes. For ease of reference, highlighter shades are denoted by an H-#, sculpting powders by S-#, and blushes by B-#.

L-R: Artist Face Color in B206 and B314

Since I'm a blush fiend, I obviously went for a blush duo when MUFE offered me the opportunity to test these out. B206 is a matte which is described as a peachy pink. In the pan this sounds about right but an initial swatch looked like a cooler pale pink. However, once I blended it into my skin it did get warmer and appeared true to its description. B314 is a shimmer tangerine which is a lot more bold but very pretty.

Both blushes are highly pigmented and easily blendable. The textures are so nice as well... very soft and finely milled. If you're on the hunt for a new face colour (or two, or maybe even three), definitely check these out!

October 31, 2017

For Beloved Girl Cloud-Silk Masks

With colder weather slowly creeping in, I have fully been embracing my less busy schedule with some cozy pamper nights at home. This means candles, hot baths, and face masks!

I was recently sent some new masks to try out from For Beloved Girl, a new sister line from Taiwanese cosmeceutical company, For Beloved One. It's aimed at a younger demographic and offers a range of "cloud-silk masks" at a very reasonable price point of $12.99 CAD/pack of 3.

So what exactly is this "cloud-silk" technology? Crafted from top-grade cotton and textile technology, cloud-silk is transparent and invisible, with a high degree of elasticity. According to the brand, the ultra-fine cotton fibres in the masks lock in more serum for complete absorption within the skin. This mask is unlike anything I've ever used before. Unlike those thick and opaque white sheet masks most of us are probably used to, the material is super thin and, when pressed down on the skin, essentially see-through. Because of how malleable and soaked in serum the mask is, it is actually bit more difficult to work with since the cloud-silk folds over and sticks to itself but you can easily play around with it to get it into place.

For Beloved Girl Cloud-Silk Masks are also packed with minerals such as copper, iron, and zinc to target specific skin concerns. I received the Extreme Moisture Mineral Cloud-Silk Mask made with Hyaluronic Acid (Na) for extremely dry skin and the Skin Renewal Mineral Cloud-Silk Mask made with Calcium Lactate (Ca) to cleanse pores. Each mask apparently contains, on average, the equivalent of 1.88 bottles of mineral spring water spray. Talk about a luxurious treat for the skin!

For the Winter months, I know I will be reaching for the Extreme Moisture Mineral Cloud-Silk Mask (above) a ton. There's no heavily perfumed scent and it leaves my skin feeling ultra plump and hydrated.

For Beloved Girl offers six different masks to choose from and they can be found in-store at T&T or online at

October 26, 2017

Desert Discoveries

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently went to Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona is home to my favourite football team and it's been my dream for years to visit and attend a game -- a dream that finally became a reality a few weeks ago!

My first visit to the desert began with full immersion on the Lost Goldmine Trail where we trekked through fields of cacti and admired views of the Superstition Mountains.

Located nearby is the Goldfield Ghost Town, an abandoned mining town that has been reconstructed into a tourist attraction.

Just a short road trip away from Phoenix is Sedona, a.k.a. red rock country. This was definitely one of the highlights of our vacation... it was so beautiful.

We started out with a hike up Cathedral Rock, one of the scariest hikes I've ever done (you're basically climbing straight up rock faces). Despite the anxiety it caused me, this hike was well worth it for the views.

We also explored some of the other sights in Sedona like the Chapel of the Holy Cross and took in the stunning red sandstone formations, which were visible almost every way we turned.

Then, of course, there were the sports. Hockey games are ridiculously cheap in Arizona so we were able to get some great lower bowl seats to see Arizona Coyotes vs. Detroit Red Wings for only $25 each. These same tickets would cost an insane amount at a Vancouver Canucks game back home.

I was most looking forward to Football Sunday, however. I had so much fun cheering on the Arizona Cardinals as they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Phoenix is such a reasonable flight from Vancouver (both time- and cost-wise), my fiance and I both can't wait to go back again. It was especially nice to get some respite from the rain... gotta get that vitamin D!

October 23, 2017

Sweater Dress-ing for Fall

Sorry for yet another absence... I was having far too much fun on vacation in sunny Arizona (a few pics are on my Instagram and I'll have a full recap up soon). As you can imagine, it was quite a shock returning home to rainy Vancouver. Thankfully I do love Fall outfits, especially a good sweater dress like this one), and wanted to add another into the rotation this season. The navy is a classic colour for pairing with neutrals, and I'm also loving the mini cable knit detailing and flared skirt.

Dress: TWIK (Simons) (c/o Chick Advisor) / Tote Bag: Madewell (here)
Socks: Wilfred (Aritzia) / Boots: Rachel Comey (different colour)

October 6, 2017

The Body Shop Amazonian Saviour Multi-Purpose Balm

This summer, The Body Shop launched their innovative Amazonian Saviour Multi-Purpose Balm inspired by communities in the Amazonian Rainforest that have relied on natural oils for centuries to care for wounded and tattooed skin. The product is intended to revive the appearance of tattoos, nourish severely dry skin, and improve the appearance of skin marks.

100% vegetarian, the balm is made with only 9 ingredients: Community Trade Organic Babassu Oil, Organic Andiroba Oil, Candeia Tree's Bisabolol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Community Trade Beeswax, Sunflower Wax, Cera Bellina Wax, Vitamin E, and Citric Acid from Citrus. In the pot, it has a hard waxy texture with no discernible fragrance (it honestly just smells like wax).

I don't have any tattoos so I first decided to test out its efficacy on my fiance. We both noticed that his tattoo looked a little more vibrant after application although I'm not sure if the balm acts more as a protectant for fresh tattoos (his is at least 5 years old and not in an area that's sun-exposed). I, on the other hand, have been using the product on dry areas like like my knees and elbows and it's really helped keep them moisturized. I will definitely be keeping this in my bag for winter time!

At only $15 CAD, I'd say the Amazonian Saviour Multi-Purpose Balm is a real steal. You use such little product each time that it will last for ages.

Find it online or in-stores.

October 3, 2017

My Fall Picks from Essie Gel Couture: Closing Night and Twill Seeker

As much as I love gel nail polish (the shine! how long it lasts!), I'm the type of person who gets sick of colours really quickly and having to wait around for my mani to grow out or take on the ordeal of soaking and orange stick-ing my polish off is just not my idea of a good time. Thankfully, many brands have been releasing their own versions of gel-like polish which lasts longer than regular polish, doesn't require a heat lamp, and can be removed with nail polish remover. Essie Gel Couture is one such line.

I was actually introduced to Essie Gel Couture last summer when it first debuted and was really impressed with the shine and wear time (it's advertised to last 14 days although with these types of polishes I typically switch it up around 7 days). I can definitely get away with doing my nails less than normal with minimal tip wear.

What I also like about the line is that it's only a 2-step process with no base coat required. Just do 2 coats of colour and add 1 coat of the special top coat.

Unlike regular Essie polishes, the Gel Couture bottles are twisted glass and feature a thicker brush (similar to OPI's wide brush). The brush is also twisted, as you can see in the picture above, although I believe this is more aesthetic since it doesn't seem to have any effect on the brush itself or how it's used.

Nail Polish Canada, my favourite online store to buy nail polish from, kindly offered to send over a couple new shades for me to add to my collection. With such a huge shade range it was hard to pick but I opted for two that I think are just perfect for Fall: Closing Night and Twill Seeker.

Closing Night is a cool blue-grey packed with shimmer. It's really pretty and makes for a unique neutral despite not being a pink or beige.

Twill Seeker was a hard one to photograph; although it's essentially a dusty grey plum colour, it features a shimmery green base. Essie describes it as an "enchanting pewter with sage luster".

Find a huge range of Essie Gel Couture online at Nail Polish Canada.

September 28, 2017

AERIN Tuberose Le Jour

For those of you who aren't familiar with AERIN, it is the namesake luxury beauty and lifestyle brand of Estée Lauder's granddaughter, Aerin Lauder. With a particular focus on fragrance, every season she releases something new and this Fall, it's the Tuberose Collection.

The collection features two scents inspired by the Tuberose flower -- one for day (Tuberose Le Jour) and one for night (Tuberose Le Soir). The idea behind this pairing is that you wouldn't want to wear the same fragrance for work as you would for play, but you can instead layer on something new to bring greater depth to what you're already wearing. AERIN's classic perfume packaging has also been updated with Le Jour in a pale pink glass and Le Soir in a darker rose. The result is super pretty and feminine.

I was gifted a bottle of Tuberose Le Jour at a recent media event and have been using it a lot since then. Admittedly, however, it did take me a little while to warm up to the scent because it's very different from anything else I own. With a base of white Tuberose, it's layered with Neroli, Orange Flower, Jasmine, Cashmeran, and Cedarwood. The result is a woody floral musk that almost has a bit of a "salty" undertone if that makes any sense. Overall, I really like it for daytime because it's unique but not overpowering.

At $215 for 1.7 mL, it is quite expensive (although in line with the pricing of other high-end fragrances). Nonetheless, it would make a great gift or splurge... even better if you bought both Le Jour and Le Soir!

September 25, 2017

All About The Bows

I haven't done a ton of Fall shopping this year but when I saw this dress, it went straight into my online shopping cart. I mean, I really couldn't say "no"... I love bows (evidence here, here, and here). Naturally, I also had to keep on theme by pairing it with this bag.

Dress: re:named (here) / Boots: Steve Madden (here and here) / Bag: Kate Spade

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