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!

April 3, 2017

Comme des Garçons PLAY Striped Shirt

Although this Comme des Garçons PLAY Striped Shirt has been on my radar for years, I only picked it up a few months ago. Since then, I've found myself reaching for it pretty frequently since it's such a classic piece (with a twist thanks to the cute heart appliqué). In fact, all of the items worn here are wardrobe staples of mine -- from the oversized sunglasses down to the slip-on shoes!

Shirt: Comme des Garçons PLAY (here) / Pants: Babaton (Aritzia)
Coat: Massimo Dutti / Shoes: Miu Miu (here)
Bag: Proenza Schouler (here) / Sunglasses: Quay Australia (blue lenses)

March 29, 2017

Pixi Beauty is back in Canada!

Canadians may remember our short-lived access to Pixi Beauty before all the Target stores closed down... well, the brand is finally back and this time you can find it nationwide at Shoppers Drug Mart. I never got a chance to try their products before so when I attended the Pixi Beauty Vancouver Launch Party last month and came home with all sorts of goodies, I couldn't wait to put them to the test.

The brand's lineup seems mostly focused on skincare, though there is makeup as well (more on that below). Glow Tonic (250 mL/$38 CAD) is one of their star offerings (I was lucky enough to receive a personalized bottle!) and exfoliates without any alcohol to dry out your skin. I have also really been loving the Vitamin Wakeup Mist ($20 CAD) which is made with orange blossom and citrus extracts. I spritz it on my face throughout the day to feel more refreshed.

As a sucker for packaging, I think Pixi Beauty's green-themed packaging is super cute and seems to fit well with the brand's philosophy of incorporating botanicals and other beneficial ingredients into its products. You also don't really see this colour too often (except maybe old school Clinique), which makes it more unique. I checked out Pixi Beauty's new display at my local Shoppers Drug Mart and it was definitely very eye-catching.

I decided to put together a FOTD using products I received from the Vancouver Launch Party and the result was something totally natural and wearable. If you like fuss-free makeup with a focus on skincare, Pixi Beauty has a lot to offer.

On my face, I started with a layer of the Flawless & Poreless Primer ($30 CAD). It applied nicely although I prefer the more mattifying properties my Make Up For Ever Step 1 Ski  Equalizer Mattifying Primer (used here). In this case, you'll see that I was going for a more dewy look anyway with the H2O Skintint ($34 CAD). The result is a "no makeup" effect with a lot of hydration and a natural glow.

On my eyes, I used the Mesmerizing Mineral Palette in Mineral Contour ($16 CAD), which was perfect for a neutral-loving girl like me. For mineral shadows, they are surprisingly pigmented and I didn't even use them wet! The Endless Silky Eye Pen ($16 CAD) is a long-wearing gel pencil that applied like a dream and I skipped mascara, using the Black Lacquer Lash Primer ($20 CAD) alone instead. With any mascara layered on top, I'm sure lashes will just pop.

On my lips, I'm wearing the Mattelustre Lipstick in Rose Naturelle ($16 CAD). I love the colour although I thought it would be more matte than it is. Apparently it's meant to have an "adjustable finish" and to get it matte, you can blot it with your fingers.

I honestly really like everything that I've tried so far and am looking forward to experimenting more with the brand. The slightly higher price point initially surprised me (most of the skincare is in the $20-35 CAD range) but I've noticed a lot of drugstore products aren't even really that cheap anymore, so these prices are probably pretty standard. Plus, with Pixi Beauty, at least you are getting quality and cute packaging in one.

March 26, 2017

Copper H2O Water Bottle

Call me a little bit strange but I like to collect water bottles. Since I work out a lot and try to drink tons of water throughout the day, having a cool water bottle has become a fun and easy way for me to accessorize while keeping hydrated at the same time. So, it totally seemed like kismet when Jessica from Copper H2O reached out to see if I wanted to try out their copper water bottle. She and her partner first discovered the use of copper as a water vessel while traveling in India and decided to bring the idea to the mass market. The result: something both stylish and full of health benefits!

Each water bottle is made with a hammered copper and features a leak-proof cap with a food-safe seal. Over time, the copper will patina (become darker and less shiny) but it can easily be brought back to its original looks by sprinkling a lemon wedge with a few grains of sea salt and rubbing it over the surface of the bottle.

Apart from aesthetics, however, a copper water bottle like this is also good for you. If you let your water sit in the bottle for a few hours, it becomes naturally alkaline which helps balance your body's pH levels. Jessica told me she's noticed over time that regular use has helped with digestion (I'm excited to see if this works for me). Plus, copper is anti-bacterial so the bottle is naturally sterilizing meaning you don't have to clean it as much as you do regular water bottles. I haven't noticed any metallic taste while drinking from my bottle; in fact, both tap and filtered water taste nice and clean.

If you're obsessed with water bottles like me (and even if you aren't!), you will absolutely love Copper H2O's copper water bottle (as of now, only available online). In addition to upping your style points while getting your daily recommended intake of H2O, it's awesome being able to support a local Vancouver company at the same time.

March 15, 2017

Glamping Getaway on the Sunshine Coast

Sorry for the brief absence... I'm (sadly) back from Kauai which was a much-needed break but, as with most vacations, it was way too short. Just one day after arriving home I hopped on a float plane to Victoria for a meeting and already have two more work trips coming up in the next three weeks. With my work/travel schedule being what it is, weekend getaways have become increasingly important to me. I'm not sure I could get by without them!

Last month, I had the opportunity to take a break and fully recharge thanks to a weekend spent at the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort. Not only that but I also finally got to achieve my dream of "glamping"! Located in Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast, the resort is only a ferry ride and short drive away from Vancouver but it seems like a whole other world with its gorgeous views and the overwhelming feeling of being nestled in nature.

The resort does have some small cabins and a lodge/hotel on its grounds, but the real claim to fame here are the amazing tenthouse suites. If you ever make it out this way, a tenthouse suite is the only way to go -- trust me.

Accessed by a long treehouse boardwalk and built upon wooden platforms, each tenthouse suite is equipped with everything you'll need for a total glamping experience: fireplace, rainfall shower, jacuzzi bathtub, kingsize bed, and 360° views all around (you can bring down the blinds at night for privacy).

I had the best time just shutting out all the craziness of life and decompressing... in fact, I even got to read for fun!

February 27, 2017

Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil

Since I'm about to head off on a tropical vacation, I wanted to talk about something else tropical that I love... coconut! Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I love coconut everything, whether it's in my food or in my beauty and skincare products. In my household, we typically go through a case of coconut water every week (it's one of my favourite drinks) and cook with coconut oil on the regular (it's especially good with roasted veggies). Honestly, coconut oil is such a versatile product, so it's no surprise that companies have been bottling it up into cute packaging and marketing its various uses.

I have seen bottles of Skinny & Co. coconut oil while browsing through the products on display in the checkout line at Sephora, but it turns out the company has a wider product range than I was aware of. The key linkage: everything contains 100% pure raw coconut oil, cold-processed from from wild-harvested, handpicked coconuts. 

I was sent a couple of products to try a while back, including the regular Coconut Oil, Facial Oil (with Roman Chamomile Extract, Lavender Extract, and a proprietary blend of essential oils), Sugar Scrub (with coconut sugar and vanilla bean), and Oil Pull (infused with peppermint).

I mean, seriously, what can't coconut oil be used for? You can eat it, use it as a moisturizer for dry skin, even clean your teeth (that's what the Oil Pulling one is for). 

All in all, I have been absolutely loving Skinny & Co.'s line up.  If you haven't had a chance to try it yet, I definitely recommend you pick up a jar of your own. I'm betting you'll quickly become a coconut oil convert if you aren't already!

February 21, 2017

90s Graphics Wall

So after all that weird early February snow we received, Vancouver now appears to be on track for Spring. Unfortunately, I'm heading up north for a work trip later today where snow and minus degree temperatures are definitely in the forecast, but I can take comfort in the fact that next week I'll be in Hawaii! You may remember my Big Island trip from a few years ago; well, this time I am heading to Kauai, which I understand is the "sleepier island", and I am seriously looking forward to a week of lazing about.

Coat: Ever New / Pants: Wilfred Free (Aritzia) / Boots: Chloe (here and here)
Backpack: Auxiliary (Aritzia) / Scarf: Gucci (here)
Sunglasses: Quay Australia (here and with blue lenses)

February 14, 2017

FOTD: Romantic But Understated Makeup for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! In the past, I've done themed nail art but this year I wanted to pull together a romantic but understated pink-based makeup look which turned out just perfect for date night.

On my face, I'm wearing bareMinerals BAREPRO Performance Wear Powder Foundation in Aspen 04 which packs all the goodness of mineral makeup into a pressed compact for easy of use and portability. I applied it using the accompanying bareMinerals BAREPRO Core Coverage Brush and I like that the foundation provides enough coverage to even out my skin tone without looking cakey. For a neutral cheek, I am wearing Burberry Light Glow Earthy Blush 07 and Benefit Watt's Up! highlighter on my cheekbones.

On my eyes, I opted for a matte look using colours from my Urban Decay Naked3 Palette (seen here). I applied Limit at the base, Strange to highlight, blended Nooner and Darkside into the crease, and smudged Burnout along my bottom lashes.  Next, I created a small winged liner look with my go-to Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper before applying ESQIDO lashes in Lash Named Desire (ESQIDO's new Companion Long Lasting Bond eyelash glue is amazing, by the way). My eyebrows are a mix of Anastasia Brow Wiz topped with brow powder from local Vancouver business, Bombay Brow Bar.

Lastly, I lined my lips with MAKE UP FOR EVER High Precision Lip Pencil in #10 (seen here) and topped it with bareMinerals Gen Nude Matte Liquid Lip Colour in "Frenemy". If you haven't tried bareMinerals liquid lipstick line yet, I highly recommend it. All the colours are super wearable and so pretty!

February 9, 2017

Prada Suede Block Heel Pumps

I recently added a new pair of shoes to my designer shoe collection: Prada Block Heel Pumps in black suede. I've had great success with Prada shoes in the past like my Saffiano leather pointy toe pumps (also seen here and here), and these are no exception.

They feature an interesting design with the squared toe, and come in a super comfortable height at 2.5 inches. However, thanks to the unique round block heel, I don't have to worry about the unflattering kitten heel effect you can get with that style of lower heel. On the contrary, I think they actually look really great when worn (definitely not as "grandma" as some people probably think they are)... they're the perfect day-to-night shoe to take me from work to evening. I'm envisioning these with a lot of cropped skinny pants which often form the basis of my everyday work outfits.

I also love Prada's signature pink soles... so pretty! Now if only our weather would clear up so I don't have to worry about ruining the suede in the snow and rain!

February 6, 2017

Winter Skincare Saviours to Apply Before Bed

Vancouver just got another snowfall (after barely being able to handle the last one) throwing our city into chaos yet again. While I dream of tropical vacations, back in reality, I've been upping my skincare regimen with a few key items to battle the harsh weather.

I received a bottle of Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules at a product preview in early Fall not realizing how much I'd end up reaching for it. It's pricey at $135 CAD but you're not meant to use the ampoules everyday -- only when your skin is over-stressed and really needs the help.

To use, you twist off the top of the ampoule to open and dispense the oil into your palm. It's applied before bed between your serum and moisturizer. The first time I used this in my routine, I was completely shocked at how plump and soft my skin felt the next morning. Plus, no breakouts! These ampoules may look tiny but they are potent. I'm obsessed.

L'Occitane En Provence Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm ($40 CAD) has also been a go-to these days. Specially formulated for "Very Dry" skin, this is the product you need if your hands are in need of some serious TLC. Plus, it also comes packaged in L'Occitane's signature paint tube... except giant-sized (150 mL). So cute!

I love that the Intensive Hand Balm is made with only five ingredients: 25% organic shea butter, allantoin (to soothe), coconut oil, sunflower oil, and glycerin. You really notice the effects after only a few days but I will say, since the product is so intensely moisturizing, it doesn't absorb completely (although it's not sticky either). I personally like to apply it right before bed so I don't have to deal with touching things and getting fingerprints everywhere. In terms of scent, there's a standard "cream" scent that's nothing special but not overly perfumed or offensive.

Armed with these two products, I've been able to keep my skin (face and hands) fully moisturized, but let's hope Winter ends sometime soon. This girl is ready for some warmer temperatures!

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