July 3, 2018

EcoTools Facial Mask Mates

As an avid masker, I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy my "pamper time" and recently purchased a facial mask brush from Origins (you may recall it was on my Sephora VIB Sale Wishlist). At $20 CAD, however, the price for the Origins brush is a little steep... especially when you can get the even more affordable EcoTools Facial Mask Mates set for less than $10.

The set contains a mask applicator brush for easy application of any cream, gel, or clay mask. Using a brush rather than your fingers makes the whole process mess-free and also allows you to conserve product because you can control how much you're layering on your face.

Once ready to remove the mask, you can then use one of the three mask remover sponges included in the set. I usually use a wash cloth but a sponge is a great way to do it too. EcoTools recommends another use for them as well: with your cleanser as part of your everyday skincare routine to remove dirt, oil, and makeup.

In case you were wondering how the two compare, the Ecotools mask applicator brush is a pretty decent alternative to the more expensive Origins brush. Both have synthetic bristles and are similar in shape (Origins is a little wider but they are about the same level of density). The Origins brush does feel a bit weightier and more substantial but both get the job done just the same.

If you have to pick, the EcoTools set is a no-brainer! It's definitely made my masking routine even more enjoyable and is a great buy that you can find at your local drugstore (London Drugs, Rexall, or Pharma Plus, to name a few).

June 28, 2018

Revlonissimo Color Sublime: Ammonia-Free Hair Colour in Three Stimulating Scents

My hair had been in dire need of a touch-up so it was most fortuitous that I was offered an appointment to try the new Revlonissimo Color Sublime a few weeks ago. A salon-exclusive treatment, this line of Revlon Professional hair colour is ammonia-free and offers something never-before-seen (or smelled): customizable fragrance!

Getting my hair done is always a bit of a treat... the head massage, the blowdry... it's an experience that you really want to indulge in. With Color Sublime, you can choose from three different fragrances, depending on how you're feeling. Sunset Mood is a tropical affair with notes of orange, mandarin, peach, apricot, rose, and musk. Sweet Gourmet is reminiscent of baked goods with notes of lily, jasmine, chocolate, cocoa butter, vanilla, and musk. Finally, Zen Moment transports you to the spa with notes of orange, lemon, rosemary, clove, tangerine, lily, freesia, wood, and musk.

For my colour session, I chose Sweet Gourmet because I felt like something homey and comforting. Plus, I might have been a bit hungry since it smelled exactly like fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Yum!! It was nice to breathe it in and not have to worry about huffing damaging fumes. Since Color Sublime is ammonia-free, you're also getting a treatment that is more gentle on your hair but still rich and vibrant. The line is available in 51 shades and can lighten up to 3 levels.

I personally have been going darker these days (especially after my time as a blonde) and was super happy with how rich my colour turned out. My hair also felt incredibly soft and it was fun to have that added bonus of a special fragrance chosen by me (note: the fragrance is present during the treatment but not really once it's washed and conditioned for obvious reasons).

Thank you to Revlon Professional and Pink Lime Salon & Spa in Yaletown for this fun experience!

May 28, 2018

Carbon Coco Ultimate Carbon Kit: Teeth Whitening with Activated Charcoal

With the sheer amount of photos that will inevitably be taken, weddings are always a good excuse to work on your appearance, from hitting the gym more often to growing your hair longer for a fancy hairstyle (both of which I've been doing myself). Another thing I'm working on: teeth whitening thanks to Carbon Coco!

A while back, the company sent over their Ultimate Carbon Kit for me to try out. The star of the kit is Carbon Coco's Activated Charcoal Tooth Polish. A finely milled black powder, it's an oxidized version of charcoal with a hint of bentonite clay and lemon myrtle that supposedly whitens and polishes teeth without any chemicals or bad-for-you ingredients.

To use, you wet the toothbrush (conveniently made with dark bristles to avoid staining) and dip it in the powder. Brush in small circles for 2-3 minutes, spit out and rinse. The powder is odourless and tasteless but the sensation is a bit weird at first. You can feel the powder on your teeth, but it's not gritty and shouldn't cause any sensitivity.

The powder is followed up with the Activated Charcoal Toothpaste, which is also black in colour but foams up. I don't usually like spearmint flavours but this toothpaste was actually quite refreshing once I got past the strangeness of my teeth looking black while I brushed. Thankfully it does all rinse clear. The toothpaste acts as a protectant from staining to maintain your pearly whites.

Pretty easy to use, right? The main caveat I would give to anyone interested in trying these products is that they can get messy if you're not careful. The first time I tried the Tooth Polish, I accidentally used too much and got black powder all over my bathroom sink and counter. You only need to use a tiny bit of powder so once I got the hang of it, the mess factor was no longer an issue.

As for the whitening capabilities, my teeth are already pretty white but I have noticed they do seem brighter. The results are great for only 7-14 days of use (the recommended course).

Overall, I definitely prefer the Carbon Coco system over other more conventional at-home whitening products like Crest White Strips. I love not having to worry about harsh chemicals and potential tooth sensitivity, plus I need to brush my teeth anyway so it doesn't add much extra time to my night time routine.

The Ultimate Carbon Kit is super reasonably priced (on sale now for $59.95)... just make sure you factor in shipping time from Australia since it does take a while to get to North America.

May 8, 2018

CLEAN Fresh Linens

Sometimes there really is nothing better than the scent of fresh linens and no company that does simple, nostalgic fragrances better than CLEAN. The aptly named Fresh Linens is new for Spring 2018, made with top notes of Clean Sheet Accord, Asian Pear, and Clementine, mid notes of Rain Lily, Lady Orchid, Blonde Woods, and base notes of Skin Musk, Sandalwood, and Smooth Amber.

Perfumer Claude Dir explains:

"Inspired by the softness of fresh cotton linens on a sunny weekend morning, this fragrance evokes memories of lying wrapped in bed for hours, feeling the warm sun shine through your window and a light breeze tickle your skin as you rest, relax, and daydream.

When creating Fresh Linens, I was trying to capture that perfect moment when you have just changed the sheets on your bed and you slip in post-shower. The bed feels extra cool and crisp."

Housed in CLEAN's standard rectangular glass bottle, this time made in a matte yellow, Fresh Linens is a crisp unisex scent with a bite of citrus (although clementine is the only citrus note featured, it smells a bit lemon-y to me). I can see it being perfect for the warmer weather when you want to wear something fresh and light. As with all of CLEAN's perfumes, you can also layer it with any number of other CLEAN offerings, such as the infamous Skin or Warm Cotton.

Find it at Sephora for $95 CAD (60 mL).

May 3, 2018

Engagement Shoot Portraits

With our wedding date slowly creeping up, my fiancé and I had our engagement shoot with our amazing photographer, Sara Rogers, about a week ago. We picked Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver as the location since we often spend time there if we miss the ferry when we are heading up to the cabin in the summer.

Being the over-prepared type of person that I am, I actually had my outfit ready for months in advance. I think I ordered this dress last Fall in anticipation for our shoot and I've got to say, it was totally worth it... the photos turned out better than we could have imagined and we can't wait to have some printed and framed for our home. Sara also took a few portrait shots of me which means I can now share the look with you!

Dress: Love Verity / Boots: Sam Edelman (here)

April 13, 2018

Sephora VIB Sale Wishlist

Today marks the first day of the VIB Rouge Sale at Sephora (15% off everything) and next Friday, the sale will open up to to VIBs (15% off everything) and BIs (10% off everything). I've been eagerly awaiting this sale since I've got quite a few items on my wishlist.

My skin has been less than stellar so I've become super obsessed with revamping my skincare routine. I'm especially looking forward to trying out the much-talked-about line, Drunk Elephant. The Littles Kit seems like the perfect way to try out their most popular products. I've also heard great things about the Kate Somerville EradiKate Foam-Activated Mask so am planning on popping that into my shopping bag as well.

Since GLAMGLOW masks are quite pricey, I'll be picking up the GLAMGLOW Let It Glow! Little Sexy Trio. To apply them (and my other face masks since I do love a good mask session), I also want the Origins Facial Mask Brush. I presently just use my fingers which gets messy.

I don't need any new makeup but I will be stocking up on my must-haves: Anastasia Brow Wiz and Kat Von D Ink Liner. I go through these every few months so it makes sense to nab a few extras now at a savings.

Lastly, I have loved Victor & Rolf BONBON for the longest time but never purchased it since I don't wear fragrances on a daily basis. The Victor & Rolf BONBON Travel Spray seems like the perfect way to get my fix of this sweet scent without having to invest in a full-size bottle.

April 3, 2018

FOTD: Revlon Photoready Insta-Filter Foundation & Exactify Liquid Liner

You may have seen the ads and articles promoting the graphic eyeliner trend as the hot new makeup look of the season. I'm personally unsure about it off-the-runway, but if you're wanting to try it out for yourself, Revlon's new Exactify Wheel Tip Liquid Liner is aimed at making it easy as pie. The applicator reminds me of a tiny pizza cutter and proved difficult to work with for my standard thick cat eye (would be good if you're making a thin line that you don't need to build up). The formula applies super wet so you have to make sure not to blink and get it everywhere but when it dries, it does become smudge-proof. I'm not sold on this liner but it certainly has a specific target demographic.

In addition to the liner, Revlon sent over some products to help me achieve a "Minimalist Graphic Goddess" FOTD. The focus is on simplicity -- effortless skin with an accentuated graphic glaze.

As a base, I used the new Revlon Photoready Insta-Filter Foundation which comes in a sponge tip applicator. I hate sponge tip applicators... there's really no way of keeping them clean when they are attached to the product and overall it just seems unsanitary. The sponge does apply the product really well since it's a bit like a Beauty Blender but, ugh, how am I supposed to clean it?? It's a shame too because I really like this foundation. It's not too heavy, coverage is nice, and the finish really does give the skin a soft filter effect.

I filled in my brows with Anastasia Brow Wiz and then topped them with the ColorStay Brow Mousse. If you have sparse brows like I do, there's no way of using this brow mousse alone because it won't fill them in. The applicator is also super finicky... you twist the base of the brush to dispense the mousse (it gets pushed through the brush tip) but you have to be careful not to dispense too much or you'll end up with globs of product.

On my lashes, I'm wearing the Mega Multiplier Mascara. I've heard this mascara is pretty hit or miss with some people loving it and others really hating it. I'm neutral; it worked fine for me and I do like the brush.

On my lips, I'm wearing Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink in the Afternoon. Aside from the foundation (minus the sponge applicator), this was my favourite product. You can't go wrong with a good lipstick and I like both the colour and formula of this one. The Super Lustrous Lipstick is classic Revlon and there's good reason for it.

Lastly, gotta have a mani to match! I'm wearing the Nail Enamel in Copper Penny which was an easy two-coater.

Overall, it's nice that Revlon is trying to innovate with their products and offer more as a drugstore line but, for the most part, the innovations were a big fail to me (built-in sponge tip foundation applicator, wheel tip liner, twisty brush brow mousse). However, the product formulations themselves are good for the most part and you can't go wrong with classic Revlon in terms of quality and price.

March 28, 2018

Easter Nails with CND Chic Shock

With Easter coming up this weekend, this manicure featuring the CND Spring 2018 Chic Shock Collection could not be more appropriate. Thanks to Hazuki at Onyx Aesthetics for giving me such  cute Spring-ready nails!

The Chic Shock Collection adds four new creamy opaque shades to CND's lineup: Jellied (pastel yellow), Candied (pastel pink), Taffy (pastel blue-green), and Gummi (pastel purple). All four are available in Shellac and Vinylux, CND's long wear polish line. I love Vinylux because it truly does last a long time, making it great for short vacations or special event days when you really don't want to be dealing with an accidental chip. The formula has also been revamped this year, thanks to the addition of vitamin E, keratin, and jojoba oil for that extra bit of goodness. Plus, the brush is now wider and curved for easier application.

Hope you all have a great Easter long weekend! Thanks to this mani, I'm kind of craving some Cadbury Mini Eggs... anyone else?

March 20, 2018

One Week in Oahu

Aloha! It's been a while since my last post... things have been busy with wedding planning and also an incredibly short trip to Hawaii for some sunshine and warmth. I have been to the Big Island and Kauai before, but this was my first time in Oahu.

The Hawaiian islands are so diverse; Oahu being the most populous with a "big city" vibe. Nonetheless there are still some quiet beaches like Lanikai Beach in the east.

We wanted to do a mix of culture and history with beach and relaxation. For one of our culture days, we headed over to the Polynesian Cultural Center which ended up being a ton of fun. We learned about all the different Polynesian cultures (not just Hawaiian), went to a luau, saw a great live show, and even got to do some rowing.

Pearl Harbor was #1 on my fiance's to-do list so we went on a full tour, which included the USS Arizona Memorial. Being Canadian, I only knew the basics about what happened that fateful day of December 7, 1941 beforehand so I really learned a lot through our visit.

We also explored the USS Missouri, a real battleship that has been decommissioned and is now available to the public.

A trip to Oahu would not have been complete without many strolls along Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. It's got a spectacular view of Diamond Head.

Wanting to stay active even though we only had a few days on the island, we made sure to do a hike. The Lanikai Pill Box Hike was super short and easy with incredible views. Truly, a great reward for little effort!

Kailua Beach was just down the road from the hike so we made sure to stop off there as well for a quick dip in the ocean.

And now we're back to our regular lives! This trip was much too short but we are looking forward to returning later this year as part of our honeymoon. In the meantime, I'll just be dreaming about those palm trees and gorgeous sunsets.

February 24, 2018

MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Color Shadow

I feel like I can't keep up with MAKE UP FOR EVER's new launches sometimes... the brand is constantly innovating and building on its products, making beloved staples better and better. For example, the Artist Shadow collection, first introduced back in 2014, has just been relaunched as the Artist Color Shadow.

With 121 shades and 5 different finishes (matte, metallic, diamond, satin, and iridescent), the refillable pans are now rectangular instead of round to fit into revamped packaging that looks a little sleeker this time around.

As always, in addition to its large offering of shades, customization is key to this line, meaning you can pick and choose your eye shadows to create your own palette. It is actually more cost-effective to go with a bigger palette too; a single is $24 CAD, a duo is $37 CAD, a trio is $50 CAD, a quad is $63 CAD, and a six is $77 CAD (for a $134 value).

I have really been feeling a more pink-based eye look lately after rediscovering my love for my Urban Decay Naked3 Palette so I wanted to pick some similar shades from the Artist Color collection to try out. I went with M546 (a matte dark purple taupe) and S542 (a satin pinky clay).

The texture on these shadows is really soft and blendable although I did need to layer a bit to get enough pigmentation for the above swatches. It seems to be less of a problem when actually creating an eye look although I felt M546 could have been darker based on its description. S542 is very pretty neutral that makes an excellent brow highlight.

Overall, the quality is what we've all come to expect from MUFE and highly recommended for both professional make up artists and makeup aficionados alike!

February 18, 2018

AERIN Hibiscus Palm

About a month or so ago a new perfume launch caught my eye while shopping at Nordstrom and, not long after, I finally had the opportunity to test it out in person at an Estée Lauder media preview. Aerin Hibiscus Palm is the latest addition to the Aerin fragrance line (following Tuberose Le Jour and Tuberose Le Soir) and has quickly become a favourite of mine.

The scent features top notes of lotus, hibiscus, ylang ylang, palm leaf, and ginger; mid notes of frangipani and white blossoms; and base notes of coconut milk, vanilla, and musk. Doesn't that just sound divine?

Housed in Aerin's classic glass bottle, the cap is a pretty slightly marbled coral which matches the packaging from the Hibiscus Palm Body Cream (layer both for extra fragrance staying power). Pricing ranges from $120-170 USD for the EDP and $60 USD for the Body Cream.

It's no secret that I love beachy scents and Hibiscus Palm perfectly captures the essence of a lush tropical vacation. At this time of year, people are often yearning for a reprieve from winter (myself included) and a little spritz of this can help transport you to somewhere much warmer if you can't actually go on a vacation. In my case, however, I'm planning on smelling of Hibiscus Palm while on a beach in Hawaii... where I'll be in just over a week!

February 1, 2018

"Leather" & Lace

... not real leather in this case, but faux leather in the form of this very versatile waterfall jacket I picked up on the cheap a few seasons ago. It pairs perfectly with this dress from Tobi for a girly look with a slight edge. I know they say you can never go wrong with an LBD, but I think the same can be said about an LWD (little white dress) too!

Dress: Tobi (c/o) / Jacket: Zara / Shoes: Prada / Bag: Chanel
Watch: Cartier

January 29, 2018

Ready for Spring

Despite what these photos imply (they were taken during a very brief sunny respite), it's been raining non-stop and the weather has seriously been getting me down. S.A.D. is totally real, you guys. I know we're lucky here on the west coast in that we haven't had any snowstorms at all this winter but I'm definitely ready for spring to arrive. To that end, I've already started picking up some new pieces, like this Emma Floral Maxi Dress from Tobi, which I know I'm going to be rocking once it finally starts to warm up.

Dress: Tobi (c/o) / Boots: Sam Edelman

January 25, 2018

Noughty To The Rescue Haircare

If you're battling dry and frizzy hair, a new British brand is coming to your rescue with a vegetarian and vegan-friendly formula that's free of silicones, sulphates, petrochemicals, and parabens. And it just so happens to be a little bit "noughty"... ;)

Noughty To The Rescue Moisture Boost Shampoo and Conditioner are formulated with sweet almond oil and sunflower seed extracts to feed thirsty hair and repair split ends.  For some extra TLC, there's also the Intensive Care Leave-In Conditioner, which contains shea butter and argan oil. All three products have a nice natural fragrance that are sure to leave your hair feeling fresh and clean. As a bonus, the packaging is really sleek with its easy-to-squeeze tubes that will look great in your summer (I'm sure I'm not the only one who cares about cute products being visible).

I personally don't have dry hair so this isn't the right set for me but the brand has a range of different lines to address other haircare woes, such as Wave Hello for curly hair and Rise & Shine for everyday shine. Plus, each bottle is only $12.99 CAD at London Drugs, which is a steal for such high quality haircare that's 97% natural to boot!

January 22, 2018

All Laced Up

I know these lace up sweatshirts and tops have been around for a while now, but this Sophia Lace Up Sweatshirt Dress from Tobi such a fun take on the trend... plus, it has pockets. Can't go wrong with that, am I right?

Sweater Dress: Tobi (c/o) / Jacket: Zara / Boots: Stuart Weitzman
Toque: Roots

January 3, 2018

All Saints Kita Small Backpack

Happy New Year! Sadly, I started off 2018 with the flu (wasn't even awake at midnight) so hopefully that's not an indicator of how this year is going to go... especially since I've got a lot planned like my wedding and honeymoon this Fall. Thankfully I'm not superstitious!

In other news, this All Saints Kita Small Backpack has become my new go-to work bag. You may recall my love for my leather mini backpack from a few years ago so I've been on the lookout for something hands-free for my daily commute. This All Saints backpack was the perfect find because it fits a lot for its size, goes with everything thanks to minimalist design, and the best part -- it's convertible. You can wear it as a slim backpack but you can also change and remove the straps to carry it as a tote.

Coat: Wilfred (Aritzia) / Blanket Scarf: Wilfred (Aritzia) / Leggings: Club Monaco (here)
Shoes: Alexander Wang (here and here) / Bag: All Saints (here)

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