Inspired Lately #2: Tackling Minimalism, Healthy Eating, & Sharing More Love

It has been a month since my last "Inspired Lately" post. I want to do this more often, as I love to share what I have been up to when it comes to gathering inspiration and self-improvement.

 

Recently, I have become more inspired than ever to become a "minimalist". Sometimes I feel the term gets a bad rep, or is at least misleading to some people, because it tends to seem as though it involves getting rid of everything. This isn't quite true. Really, I believe it means to pare down to the essentials, and find joy and purpose in everything you own.

 

Last week I mentioned that I started working towards a "curated closet" and two of the books that have helped me along the way are The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. For those in Canada, both books are on sale this weekend at Chapters online (just follow the links) and orders are eligible for 4% cash back through Ebates (get your account here)! But I digress, these books have been incredibly helpful and I even got my boyfriend and his family reading Marie's book. Not only has it helped me clear out my existing items, it has also helped me re-evaluate purchases and save money this past month. 

 

One of my mottoes this month has been "only essentials" thanks to this adorable tote by Vitruvi. Vitruvi is a Vancouver-based brand focused on wellness through the use to essential oils. I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for the beautiful packaging, but I am also deeply in love with their products. I have about eleven of their essential oils right now, an aromatherapy oil, and of course, their White Stone Diffuser. Right now, you can get this farmers' market tote with any purchase of $45+ with free shipping! Spoiler alert, I have a post on essential oils coming up next week, so stay tuned for that.

I hope this minimalism thing isn't just a phase, and I think blogging really helps me stay on track with my goals. These phases and goals eventually become habits, and whenever I stray, I know I have my blog to bring me back. Posts like these hold me accountable, which brings me to another goal I have been inspired to work towards lately. 

 

I wouldn't say I have ever been particularly unhealthy, but there were times when I struggled with my weight where I wanted to just eat crappy foods all the time just for the extra calories and fat. I'm underweight, and have been all my life. Even at 500-1000 extra calories over the recommended intake amount daily, I still struggle to gain any weight. Don't be jealous, because I've heard it a lot, but I was also bullied throughout grade school for my body. It was around middle school and high school where I would binge eat cookies and various junk food to pack on the extra calories and I felt awful. It also did nothing to my weight. Since then I have grown up to learn how awful that really is, and over the past year I have done research on how I can incorporate more healthy fats into my diet to help me gain weight in a healthy manner.

 

These days I'm focusing on cooking my own food more often. As someone who tends to be quite busy and also uses this as an excuse to eat poorly, I have been on the hunt for easy and tasty recipes. Some of my favourite food blogs at the moment are:

I'm also addicted to Pinterest, but when am I not? It's quite the long term relationship we have.

 

It never feels right not to share some love. I am loving Instagram more than ever right now, and while I could make a list of probably my top 50 feeds of the moment, I'll just share my top discoveries of the past month or so.

 

Until next time, share with me anything and everything that has inspired you this month! 

Spring to Summer Staples
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In response to the transition in weather, I have swapped out some old products and introduced some summer-ready bits. Some are just year-round staples for me, but worth a mention as they will be used even more often in the warmer months.

 

In the part of Canada that I live in, we spend a lot of time stuck in snowy weather. When the sun comes out, most people like to head outside and soak up the sun. As lovely as it is to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, I have become a more diligent sunscreen wearer. I recently began to wear a sunscreen for the face on a daily basis, and the Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28* is one that is currently part of the rotation. This one protects against both UVA and UVB, fully protecting the skin from rays that cause aging and burns. This SPF can also be made into a tinted SPF when mixed with a powder foundation. Definitely one of my favourites.

 

Other summer ready skincare products I have been loving include two year-round staples and a new addition. Firstly, the LUSH Tea Tree Water is a must-have for me. With combination/oily skin that is acne prone, this keeps the oil and spots at bay. I love it both morning and night, and can't imagine my skincare routine without it!

 

A newer year-round staple is the Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish. Words cannot describe how lovely this feels on the skin. It isn't too harsh, but definitely exfoliates the skin enough to leave it feeling clean and soft. The oil left behind after rinsing isn't too much, and doesn't linger post-shower. When I use a body scrub, I usually also remember to exfoliate my feet with the Aila Pumice Stone as well. I find that my feet can get quite rough during sandals season, and dry feet ain't cute when wearing shoes that expose them.

 

On days I don't use a scrub, I hydrate post-shower with the LUSH Dream Cream Body Lotion. It's a gorgeous, light body lotion with hints of lavender and chamomile blended with oat milk. This is the perfect lotion to apply before bed.

Another product I apply before bed is the Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Balm. I recently picked this up and have been trying it out. It is very hydrating without any sticky feeling, and by the morning it has fully sunk in to leave the lips feeling soft and supple.

 

For the hair, I have been loving the French Girl Organics Sea Spray more than usual for that everyday beachy wave. I will usually spray this onto damp hair and give my hair light twists as it air dries. I tend to wash my hair in the evenings so sometimes I'll just pin the twists. When I wake up in the morning I just go in with a curler and lightly curl small sections for added dimension. I'll finish all off with the Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray. I love that it doesn't leave my hair crunchy and doesn't have a very strong smell. It just gives my hair the lift and hold it needs, all day long. On the second day, I like to use the Verb Dry Shampoo just to soak up any excess oils and put a little volume back into the roots. 

 

Finally, there are two coloured items I have been enjoying this time of the year. The Aila Nail Polish in Ms. Martin has been a beautiful sheer pink just to add a healthy sheen to the nails. On the lips, I am loving the Milk Makeup Lip Colour in C.R.E.A.M.. To see the other shades I have been loving, head over to this post to see this month's go-to shades.

 

What have you been using to adapt to the changing weather?

 

Shop the post:

This Month's Go-to Lip Colours

Last month I did a Current Go-to Lip Colours post and a lot of you enjoyed it, and wanted more! I have since rotated my go-tos thanks to the introduction of a couple new products into my collection. 

 

I'll start with the ones that have remained the same. The Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Léché just cannot be beat for this time of the year when I want a light pink matte lip with incredibly travel friendly packaging. I know the lid with snap on tight and if I ever need that extra precision, I can pull the sharpener out from the end to get the point I need.

 

An all time favourite is the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria. I'm honestly surprised it doesn't look more beaten up than it is, considering how often I reach for this. I have somehow still managed to maintain the sharp cuts of the product. If I am ever unsure of what to wear, I reach for this. It goes with any look!

My favourite of the new three is the Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Peacemaker. I traded 100 BI points for this one, and it was probably the best 100 points I have spent. This peachy nude shade is perfect for everyday wear and goes so good with my skintone and the natural makeup looks I go for. This is truly a "my lips but better" shade with the added hint of peach to it. The formula is creamy and comfortable to wear with a satin finish. It is one that needs to be reapplied every couple hours, but is so worth it.

 

The MILK Makeup Lip Color in C.R.E.A.M. is a fantastic nude mauve with a matte finish. I love how comfortable this is, and the colour is beautiful. It reminds me of the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Glacé, but a touch lighter. The formula is also quite similar to the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayons, so if you like those, I think you'll like these too! I now have my eyes on the shades Wifey, Dip Out, New Whip, and Name Drop.

 

Lastly, a liquid lipstick. I was recently sent some of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Liquid Lip Cremes* and one of the shades was a favourite of mine, Slow Burn. This creamy nude rose shade is gorgeous and so comfortable to wear. It doesn't feel too drying, is long lasting, and is easy to apply. For the warmer months, I'm loving this for evening wear.

 

That's it for my updated picks! Let me know what you've been loving on the lips lately, and if you have shade recommendations for the products mentioned here.

Recipe | Avocado Rice Cakes + 3 Topping Ideas

It's not much of a recipe, but avocados on rice cakes are seriously good! While avocados on whole grain toast may be a breakfast favourite of mine, these avocados on rice cakes are my go-to mid-afternoon snack as of late.

 

I use to hate avocados as a child, but by my teenage years I was loving them in salads and on toast. Now I'm loving them on rice cakes. I pick up the rice cakes from my local Whole Foods store. They are by Kupiec and usually only $2 for a pack of 12. A bit more pricey, but I also like the Lundberg Organic Rice Cakes also available at Whole Foods or Well.ca (use code GET10TC for $10 off your order). 


SERVES 1
READY IN 5 MINUTES
GOOD FOR SNACKING, BREAKFAST

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the avocado in half and mash the flesh of each half in the shell.
  2. Scoop the mashed avocado flesh onto each rice cake.
  3. Season as desired (see below for my top 3 ideas!).
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TOPPING IDEAS:

  1. NUTRITIONAL YEAST + CAYENNE
    This is my personal favourite combination. I just sprinkle a bit of nutritional yeast for a hint of cheesy flavour and vitamin B12, and cayenne for a little kick of heat. 
     
  2. PLAIN OL' SALT
    Sometimes it's nice to just keep it simple with a quick crack and sprinkle of salt. I personally like to use Himalayan Pink Salt.
     
  3. SUNDRIED TOMATOES + A SPLASH OF BALSAMIC
    For something much more flavourful, I'll chop up a little sundried tomato and mix it with the mashed avocado. After spreading the mix onto the rice cakes, I splash some balsamic vinegar over it.

That's it! A super simple snack that is incredibly healthy and tasty. If you've given this a try before, let me know what you top your avocado rice cakes with! 

Cruelty-Free or Not | Marc Jacobs Beauty

When I was looking up whether or not Marc Jacobs Beauty is cruelty free or not, I found a lot of mixed information. In all this confusion, I decided to directly get in touch with customer service at Marc Jacobs to ask them about both Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances. Here is what I found out.

 

First of all, shout out to Marc Jacobs Customer Service for getting back to me literally within 20 minutes of sending out the email. I have been waiting for weeks on some of the other emails I sent out to other companies. Anyway, the representative at Marc Jacobs Customer Service provided me the contact info for Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances. Yes, they are two separate companies. I cannot stress that enough in the rest of this post. Marc Jacobs Beauty is owned by Kendo, a company that owns other brands like Kat Von D, Bite Beauty, and Formula X which are all cruelty-free brands. Marc Jacobs Fragrances is owned by Coty, a company that owns many other fragrance brands and is known to test on animals where required by law.

 

The separate responses

I sent my questions regarding animal testing of finished products and ingredients, available vegan products, and availability in China where animal testing is conducted by law.

 

Here is the response from Marc Jacobs Beauty:

 

Dear Celina, 

 

Thank you for contacting Marc Jacobs Beauty. Marc Jacobs Beauty does not carry any of Marc Jacobs fragrances. You will need to contact Marc Jacobs at http://www.marcjacobs.com regarding any of the fragrances. Marc Jacobs Beauty does not sell to China. 

 

Marc Jacobs Beauty is not considered a vegan line. While the vast majority of the products are free of animal byproducts, there are a small number of ingredients in the line that are of animal origin, such as beeswax & carmine. Products are not specifically formulated to be vegetarian but they currently are. We apologize, we do not have a list for vegan products. 

 

No; Marc Jacobs Beauty products are cruelty-free; we do not test our products on animals, nor do our manufacturers. We require all of our suppliers to comply with all non-animal testing laws. 

 

Please let us know if we can provide any additional assistance.


The next day, I received a response from Coty regarding Marc Jacobs Fragrances:

Dear Celina: 

 

Thank you for contacting us about our use of animals in safety testing. Coty Inc does not perform, nor do we ever commission any third parties on our behalf to perform, testing of our products or ingredients on animals. Attached please find our full Animal Testing Policy Statement. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

 

So I dig through their Animal Testing Policy Statement and after a couple paragraphs on how important being cruelty-free is to Coty, the golden statement on making them not cruelty-free showed up.

 

"The only exceptions are the very few countries where, by law, the regulatory authorities requires us to submit our products or ingredients to them for testing on animals as a mandatory part of their regulatory protocols in compliance with their local regulations. In these countries we regularly communicate directly with the authorities and try to convince them to accept the validity of the results of alternative non-animal testing methods. We accede to mandated testing by the authorities on animals only as a last resort."


So why are Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances different?

It all comes down to licensing. Marc Jacobs has licensed their name to Kendo for makeup products and the profits from the purchases we make to Marc Jacobs Beauty go to Kendo, a company that does not test on animals. Marc Jacobs has also licensed their name to Coty for fragrances so the profit from Marc Jacobs Fragrances go to Coty, a brand that does test on animals where required by law. 

 

I think it is very important to note that although Coty is not directly testing on animals, they are allowing others to do so in countries where it is required. While they say they are pushing to put an end to it, the best way to remain a company that does not test on animals is by choosing not to sell in those countries in the first place. 

 

In conclusion...

So after all this, I am happy to say that Marc Jacobs Beauty is a cruelty free company! Though they were unable to provide a list of vegan products, the ingredients for all their products are available online at Sephora and from what I was able to find, all their brushes are made of synthetic bristles.

 

Marc Jacobs Fragrances is not a cruelty free company and therefore, I will not be choosing to support the brand.


Please let me know what brand you would like me to find out more about next! 


Past "Cruelty-Free or Not" Posts:

My Curated Closet: Defining an Objective

How I Got Inspired

I have been toying around with the idea of whatever the definition of "capsule wardrobe" or "curated closet" is. After doing a massive clear-out of my beauty collection nearly six months ago, I had not felt happier with it than now. Everything had a place, a purpose, and a reason to bring me joy. I wanted to do the same with my wardrobe. I wanted to open it up every day and feel good about everything in there, to make dressing for each day easier and a generally more pleasant experience.

 

I had been reading about the idea of "capsule wardrobes" or "curated closets" for some time now. Blogs like Un-fancy and Anushka Rees (formerly Into Mind) were, and still are, two blogs that I followed closely. Seeing what they were doing, and later watching Anna's journey towards a capsule wardrobe, I knew it was totally possible for me to do the same. My problem was, I just didn't know where to start. I never had an excessive amount of clothing, yet I still never loved everything I own. So what was the problem?

 

Identifying My Wardrobe Needs

In early May, I picked up two books: Anushka Rees' "The Curated Closet" and Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". After doing online reading and following flowcharts, it was apparent that the amount of clothing I had wasn't the issue. It was what I was choosing to have in this small selection of items. 

 

After briefly flipping through the two books, I figured out what I needed for my wardrobe. I needed to firstly define a style, then choose items that fit the criteria and me. I also needed to let go of things I wasn't wearing, even if I really liked the items at the time of purchasing. 

Making a Plan

Knowing what my needs were now, I started setting goals and doing some proper planning. I already had a "mood board" going on Pinterest of everything I want to wear. I pulled it up, and it was so obvious what I am into.

I love:

  • Stripes
  • Denim
  • Black, dark grey, and white basics
  • Blush pink, olive green, mustard yellow, burnt orange, and burgundy pieces for "pops" of colour
  • Grey and camel coats
  • Leather jackets
  • Sneakers

These are the things I should have, and when I look into my closet there are items that don't fit in. Even for those that do fit in, I wasn't always wearing because they either didn't fit or were made of materials I didn't feel comfortable in. 

 

My way of tackling this was to pull everything out and give everything a category. I will discuss in a separate post about how I did this. Basically, I identified a lot of things that needing replacing. Yep, that was it. I needed to replace clothing, not cut down or expand the amount of items that exist

 

I am now working off a list of items I want to buy to either add to my wardrobe or replace something existing.

 

Where This is Going

It is a work in progress, and I am so happy to be documenting this on my blog. Going forward, in addition to posts about how I have achieved my dream wardrobe (fingers crossed this works out!), I want to provide shopping tips on how to stick to your goals and also choose better items. I have been doing research on ethical brands and am looking to support more companies that follow ethical and environmentally sustainable methods. 

 

I am also interested in partaking in the 10 x 10 Challenge. The idea is to create a mini capsule wardrobe featuring ten items to wear over ten days, and to get creative with it! 

 

Are You On Board?

Let me know if you've tried the capsule wardrobe or curated closet idea. What was your experience with it?

Trying Colourpop Eyeshadows

I've received a lot of requests since I went cruelty-free for affordable cruelty-free product options. I have known of the brand Colourpop for some time now, but I hadn't placed an order until now. I was watching some of Jenn's videos one Friday evening, and she mentioned Colourpop over and over. So I popped on their website and took advantage of their 3 for $10 eyeshadows promotion with free shipping. Here are the three shades I chose, and my thoughts on them.

 

Most of you know I tend to reach for neutrals. I also prefer matte and satin finish shadows, to glitters. After looking up swatches and reviews on their pigmentation and overall quality, I ended up with the Colourpop Super Shock Shadows in Hanky Panky, One by One, and Smash. As you'll see in the swatches below, these shades are actually very close in darkness to my actual skintone. I actually love that because I love subtle eyeshadows, but if you want to go lighter or darker in the same tones I'm pretty confident you'll find something that fits because Colourpop just has such a wide range of shades available.

 

Hanky Panky is described as a light, warm beige with a matte finish. I have been looking for a warm-toned matte crease shade as there isn't one my Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Palette (my go-to matte palette) and I think I've found the one! This is the perfect shade to blend those edges away and add a little depth to the lids on my light-medium skintone. I will say, it's a little warmer than I expected but it goes so well with my pink-toned shadows.

 

On the topic of pink-toned eyeshadows, how beautiful is One by One? Described as a true pastel pearlized peach, this is an unexpected love. This pulls orange/coral tones, but is still just a super wearable pink shade that I think I'll be loving all summer.

Left to right: Hanky Panky, One by One, Smash

Left to right: Hanky Panky, One by One, Smash

My favourite of the three for last, Smash. Described as a neutral satin beige with a soft golden sheen, this is an everyday shade for me. It almost like a warmer, slightly more gold version of my favourite Burberry Pale Barley which I have been looking for a cruelty-free dupe for. Although this is not a dupe, it is certainly in the running as a new everyday go-to shade. 

 

In general, I am super impressed by the Colourpop Super Shock Shadows. I have really been missing out! These are the definition of "buttery eyeshadows", they're incredibly pigmented, and easy blend. Next time they have a promotion (which is often), I'm definitely going to consider picking up a couple more shades. Please send your suggestions if you've tried Colourpop products! 

 

Quick note on shipping to Canada. My order took what felt like ages to arrive. I placed the order on a Friday night, it was shipped the following Tuesday, it hopped back and forth over the border about 5 times, then was stuck with Canadian customs for over a week. That part was quite frustrating, but considering how affordable these high quality shadows are, I can get over the wait time.

 

Have you tried Colourpop products? If so, send me recommendations!


Note that all shades featured in this post are vegan!

Ingredients:

Hanky Panky: CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE, TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, BORON NITRIDE, ISODODECANE, C30-45 ALKYL CETEARYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE/VINYLTRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE CROSSPOLYMER, PHENOXYETHANOL, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, MANGIFERA INDICA (MANGO) SEED BUTTER, PROPYLENE CARBONATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CUCUMIS SATIVUS (CUCUMBER) FRUIT EXTRACT, BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE (CI 77163), IRON OXIDES (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), MICA (CI 77019), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891).

One by One: CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE, TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, ISODODECANE, C30-45 ALKYL CETEARYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, BORON NITRIDE, DIMETHICONE/VINYLTRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE CROSSPOLYMER, PHENOXYETHANOL, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, MANGIFERA INDICA (MANGO) SEED BUTTER, PROPYLENE CARBONATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CUCUMIS SATIVUS (CUCUMBER) FRUIT EXTRACT, IRON OXIDES (CI 77491), RED 40 LAKE (CI 16035), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), YELLOW 5 LAKE (CI 19140), MICA (CI 77019).

 

Smash: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, trimethylsiloxysilicate, isododecane, boron nitride, c30-45 alkyl cetearyl dimethicone crosspolymer, synthetic fluorphlogopite, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, aluminum calcium sodium silicate, calcium sodium borosilicate, dimethicone/vinyl trimethylisiloxy silicate crosspolymer, calcium aluminum borosilicate, silica, disteardimonium hectorite, propylene carbonate, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, tin oxide, glycine soja (soybean) oil. [ +/- aluminum powder (ci 77000), bismuth oxychloride (ci 77163), black 2 (ci 77266), blue 1 (ci 42090), blue 1 lake (ci 42090), bronze powder (ci 77400), carmine (ci 75470), chromium oxide greens (ci 77288), copper powder (ci 77400), ferric ammonium ferrocyanide (ci 77510), ferric ferrocyanide (ci 77510), green 5 (ci 61570), iron oxides (ci 77491), iron oxides (ci 77492), iron oxides (ci 77499), manganese violet (ci 77742), mica (ci 77019), red 40 lake (ci 16035), titanium dioxide (ci 77891), ultramarines (ci 77007), yellow 5 (ci 19140), yellow 5 lake (ci 19140)].

May 2017 Favourites

The end of another months means another monthly favourite post. This month, I've been loving mostly new things.

 

Latest to my collection is the COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30. Although I haven't even used it for 2 weeks yet, I am already in love. It leaves my skin feeling so smooth for base makeup application and it keeps me oil-free like no other product I have ever tried. I have been pairing it often with the bareMinerals Matte Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Light 08 and together, they just give the most skin-like finish. I am blown away by this combination. Anyone with combination/oily skin, give this combo a go!

 

The coloured items on the makeup front are probably no surprise. One is a cult favourite, and the other is something I have been going on about recently. The NARS Blush in Orgasm is such an iconic, staple blush for most people. I picked up this mini for 100 BI points from Sephora, and I actually love it. I had it in a duo before years ago but never quite fell in love. It was too shimmery and too bright for me at the time, but with the heat dialing up outside and the sun beating down heavily, I suddenly love it! To keep things more subtle on the lips, I have been loving the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb. I never expected to like a true nude, but this one is a winner! You will have seen it in my "My Current Go-to Lip Colours" post and the "My Bite Beauty Collection" post. 

 

I dug out some LUSH products to use up this month because I honestly kind of missed using LUSH products. I'm not much of a "Lushie" but I do enjoy their products here and there. Over the holidays I picked up the LUSH Rose Jam Shower Gel and it is fab. It's rose-y yet citrus-y with the hint of lemon in it. When the holidays roll around this year, you need this and I need to stock up too. In their permanent line is the LUSH Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub. I got this in a gift set discounted after Christmas, but this is a product I pick up periodically anyway. This mix of fine and coarse sea salt is great for serious exfoliation, but is mixed in with coconut oil and avocado butter to soften and hydrate the skin. I also love the strong punch of lime to it and it even has a little vodka mixed in. I like this best on my legs and feet, but if my face is feeling extra dull, clogged, and oily that day, I will use a bit of this on the face too.

I saved the best for last. I know this is about to sound dramatic, but hear me out. I started using the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum every other night since the beginning of the month. From then to now, my skin has drastically changed in texture and tone, and it has changed my life. I have been suffering with acne and acne scars for nearly 10 years now, and I sort of accepted that that's just how it's going to be. When I first used this product, it broke me out in areas that are perfectly clear like my cheeks, but I stuck with it. What I noticed was that the product helped with active breakouts by minimizing redness and reducing the time it remains active. When it had died down, the scarring was minimal. Any old scars were drastically reduced.

 

The part that really changed my life, was seeing the scarring diminish which brought a wave of confidence in me. It has also cut down on my makeup application time, as I don't need to wear as much base makeup anymore. I know the product is incredibly pricey, but if your skin journey sounds anything like mine, I highly recommend this. You can also get 20% off your first Drunk Elephant order by following this link

 

Quick reminder that today is the last day to enter my re-launch giveaway. If it's too late by the time you read this, I have an Instagram giveaway going on for some Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish

 

That's it for now. Let me know what you've enjoyed this month! I love discovering new brands and products. 

Lessons Learned: Cruelty-Free Beauty
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I started going cruelty-free with my beauty collection in early February 2016, and nearly a year and a half in I have learned a lot about what it means to be "cruelty-free" and what some of the grey areas are. I have decided to start a mini series called "Lessons Learned" talking about some things I have learned along the way about labels and certifications in products, and lifestyle labels. 

1. "Cruelty-free" can mean a couple of things.

Typically, cruelty-free means the end products are not tested on animals. However, this is not to say that:

  • the ingredients have not been tested on animals
  • the products don't contain animal by-products

On this blog, I feature products where the end products have not been tested on animals. I try my best to make sure that the ingredients have also not been tested on animals, but sometimes this information can be hard to find. 

As for animal by-products, I try to find vegan products when I can and make sure I make a note of it when I can confirm it, but I definitely have products containing animal by-products. Some common animal by-products found in cosmetics are beeswax, carmine, glycerin, honey, lanolin, and retinol.

2. Hong Kong does not follow the same animal testing policies as china

In China, animal testing is required on products categorized as cosmetics. However, Hong Kong does not follow the same policies; animal testing is not required on cosmetics sold in HK. This means that just because a brand is sold in HK, it does not mean that it is also sold in China and therefore it may not have been animal tested. Be sure to do your research!

3. watch out for the parent companies

There are a lot of brands that do not test on animals, but are owned by brands that do test on animals. There are many brands owned by brands like Estee Lauder and Shiseido. For example, NARS and bareminerals are owned by Shiseido. While I do still buy from brands with parent companies that are not cruelty-free, I try my best to choose the fully cruelty-free option. The reason for this is because your money can still go to the parent company towards animal testing.

4. Similar name, not the same brand = different policies

Did you know that Marc Jacobs Beauty is not the same as Marc Jacobs Fragrances? MJB is owned by Kendo and MJF is owned by Coty. Kendo owns cruelty-free brands like MJB. Coty owns many fragrance brands which are available in China where animal testing is required by law. 

5. There are more cruelty-free brand than you may expect

When I first decided to go cruelty-free with my beauty collection, I was pretty nervous. I wasn't sure how many brands there actually were that do not conduct animal testing. To my surprise, most of the products I already love are from brands against animal testing. Through this switch, I also started shopping more "indie" or "green" brands. I will touch on green beauty in another post. Anyway, I have discovered so many new brands this past year and have also learned so much more about each brand by doing research and reaching out to brands to talk about their stance on animal testing. It has been great, and much easier than I expected!


I think when determining whether something is cruelty-free or not by your definition of cruelty-free, it is important to find brands that transparent about their animal testing policy and to do as much research as you can. You can expect to see more of my "cruelty-free or not" posts popping up with responses from brands regarding their animal testing policies and vegan options. 

 

Hope you enjoyed this first installment of the "Lessons Learned" series. Let me know if there are certain brands you would like me to investigate more on. 

Haul | This Month's Green Beauty Picks
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I placed two orders this month for some green beauty bits, one from a regular favourite and one from a new discovery. I have been shopping at Clementine Fields for over a year now and they recently implemented a rewards system. Kiss and Makeup is new to me, but I discovered it when hunting for some particular items I'm about to mention.

 

I needed a new base coat, and had AILA Cosmetics Prime on my list for some time. I love AILA Cosmetics because they offer a safer nail polish formula but still work great, if not better, than conventional polishes. This base coat contains ingredients like garlic, zinc, calcium, and selenium to strengthen the nails and allicin and sulphur with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties to keep the nails clean. It also prevents yellowing of the nails. I have used it once so far, and really like it! It dried quickly and really helped the colour stay on. The colour I used was AILA Cosmetics Petunia which has been lovely for this spring weather. 

 

With the purchase of two AILA Cosmetics products, there was a code to receive a pack of the AILA Cosmetics 3-in-1 Soy-Based Nail Colour Remover Cloths. These are textures cloths soaked in an oily solution that really do take nail polish off well without the smell. While they claim not to leave a filmy residue behind, I have to disagree. I just wash my hands after with soap, and it still leaves my nails feeling nourished. 

 

Some tools I picked up are a pumice stone and some face cloths. I picked up the AILA Cosmetics Pumice Stone after remembering my mum using pumice stones and also how great they were in a Fig + Yarrow foot scrub I tried a couple years ago. I also wanted some face cloths and these Pai Dual Effect Sensitive Skin Cloth Pack stood out to me. They have a textured muslin on one side for gentle exfoliation, and a soft terry flannel on the other. 

I was on the hunt for some COOLA products when I stumbled upon Kiss and Makeup. I was keen on getting my hands on the following two products and Kiss and Makeup seemed to be one of the only places stocking these in Canada. While I have heard a lot of good things about COOLA's matte sunscreens for the face, I really wanted to try the COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30. I haven't heard anything about it before, but loved the idea of a multipurpose product. I have used it twice now and love it! It doesn't leave a white film over the skin and is the complete opposite of greasy, as you may expect from a sunscreen. It just leaves my skin smooth and keeps it oil free throughout the day. 

 

I also couldn't pass up the COOLA Liplux in Nude Beach. I love trying any tinted lip balms, and wanted to compare these to the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments I love but will not longer repurchase because they are not cruelty-free. So far, I see a lot of similarities but I will touch on that in another post. 

 

Last but not least, I have been dying to try some RMS Beauty products and I finally settled on the RMS Beauty Swift Shadow in TT-73. This taupe shade pulls a lot of warm tones which is different from most of the shadows I already own. It is incredibly pigmented and lasts really well with a primer underneath. I have yet to try it without a primer, but to be honest I don't wear any eyeshadows without primers anyway. I'm definitely going to buy more of these.

 

That's my haul for the month. What have you purchased recently?

 

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50 Blog Post Ideas

Running out of ideas? Here are 50 ideas to kick-start your brain again with single post ideas that could be repeated and series ideas. 

Single Posts

1 | Share your Sunday routine

Do you pamper yourself? Share your favourite products, the music you listen to, shows you're watching, and other guilty pleasures.
 

2 | Gym bag essentials

What's in your gym bag? What is your favourite workout gear? How about post-gym workout products?
 

3 | Seasonal skincare routine

Do you switch products up as the seasons change? 
 

4 | The products you can trust

What are the products you know will always work? Maybe it's a full coverage foundation that gives you that flawless finish with no flash-back in photos. Maybe it's a red lip that makes you feel 100% confident. Maybe a mask that helps your skin find its balance again.
 

5 | Drugstore favourites

Everyone loves affordable products. What are your favourites?
 

6 | Beauty product combinations

Is there a lip liner that goes perfect with a lipstick you love? How about mixing skincare products?
 

7 | Favourite places to shop

Whether it's online or in-store, what places stock the products you love?
 

8 | Multipurpose products

Do you use certain products in more than one way? Share your tips!
 

9 | How do you edit your photos?

Share your tips! What software or apps do you use?
 

10 | shop the stash

Looks through what you have, and share what you re-discover!
 

11 | Cleaning the stash

Is there a product that is just too old? How about the product you no longer love or have never used? Get rid of it, and show us how you made those decisions.
 

12 | Brand focus

Is there a brand you're obsessed with? Share your collection of products by this brand, and tell us why you love them so much!
 

13 | Current favourites

Whether it's monthly or seasonal, share your favourites!
 

14 | Where do you get inspired?

Is it Instagram? Other blogs? Pinterest? Share your secrets!
 

15 | #SHelfie

What products live on your bathroom shelf?
 

16 | Favourite photo props

Are there certain props you like to use to jazz up your photos?
 

17 | Products showdown

Compare products! 
 

18 | Dupes

We all love dupes! Share the ones you've found.
 

19 | Best of, or Worst of

Pick a type of product or pick a brand, and share the bests or worsts.
 

20 | The products you used when you were young

What did you save your pennies for when you first became interested in beauty?
 

21 | Raid his/her stash

What do your friends and family love? Raid their stash! 
 

22 | Products you've repurchased

Loved something so much you had to buy it again? Let us know what it is!
 

23 | Share your blogging tips

How to get your posts together? Why do you use the platform your blog is on? Where did you get your blog layout? Help a fellow blogger out!
 

24 | Review a product

Everyone likes product reviews, right?
 

25 | Bloggers made me do it

Are there products you purchased because someone else told you how much they love it? 
 

26 | Products worth the hype

What are the hyped up products that actually lived up to the hype?
 

27 | Face of the day

Show us what you're wearing!
 

28 | Behind the Scenes

Show us the process of creating a blog post, and how messy things can get!
 

29 | Things you wish you knew about blogging

There are definitely things you probably wish you knew about blogging before you started blogging. 
 

30 | Q&A

Ask your followers to ask you some questions. 
 

31 | ___ Things You didn't know about me

Or just go ahead and share some things you've never shared before.
 

32 | Hair care routine

Different hair types and hair styles require different care. How do you care for your hair?
 

33 | At home Manicure Routine

Is there a routine you have to get your nails looking great without the salon?
 

34 | Controversial Beauty Habits

Do you secretly do something that's frowned upon?


35 | 5 Minute Makeup

What do you put on when you're in a hurry?


36 | Share the LOve

Who do you follow on social media and Bloglovin? Share the love!

 

37 | Morning & Evening Routine

What do you do to start your day? What do you do to wind down at the end of the day?

 

38 | A-Z of Beauty

Share a product or a tip about beauty, through the alphabet.

Series

39 | Collaboration Posts

Work with other bloggers! It could be an interview with them or ask for their take on any of the single post ideas above.

 

40 | Top 5 _____

Share your top 5 of the different types of products in your collection!


41 | Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

This is a super popular one, and one I am doing on my blog as well! Share your journey in refining your collection and creating your perfect capsule wardrobe.


42 | SPending Ban Journey

Are you on a spending ban? How did you stick to it, what did you want to buy, what did you end up buying, and was it helpful?

 

43 | Travel Guides

Do you travel a lot? How about even just exploring the area around you? Share your favourite spots!

 

44 | Create a book club

Round up like-minded people and start reading! Start a discussion.

 

45 | Create a TV/Movie/Podcast club

Why not do the same as a book club, but with TV series, movies, or podcasts?

 

46 | Share your fitness journey

Are you on some sort of fitness journey? Share what you are doing to reach your goals, and share your progress!

 

47 | Home Tour

Share each room with us! Be careful not to show anything that may give away your exact address.

 

48 | 10 x 10 challenge

Choose ten items for ten days. Show us how you style it! See the details here.

 

49 | Teach Something

Do an entire series on teaching something that you're good at.

 

50 | Create + Share Resources

Whether it's free or paid, create something others can use.

My Current Go-to Lip Colours

I know how much you all love makeup posts. Usually lipstick posts in particular too. Am I right? I hope so, because here's a drop of the six lip products I have been reaching for the most. Yep, that's right. New-ish products are in the mix here too!

 

Not entirely a lip product only, but the Bite Beauty Multistick in Almond has been so great. I traded in 100 beauty insiders points for this mini, and it was so worth it. I'm not one to use my fingers when applying products, normally, but with this one I've loved using my fingers to tap the product onto my cheeks. I've worked so hard to keep that perfect dome shape it arrived in too, just because I think it looks so cute that way. Anyway, it has been great as a cheek colour and nice on the lips too when I want the deep mahogany shade in the evenings.

 

For daytime wear, I have more realistically been reaching for the follow five shades. The Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria should be no surprise to most of you who have followed my blog for some time. Unexpectedly, I started rocking a proper nude lip more often and my go-to is the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb. For a more pink-toned nude, I reach for the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Leche. I love this one for the spring and summer weather. They have since changed the packaging for these lip crayons, by the way! I'm loving the pop of colour on the end where the secret sharpener is to help differentiate between the shades. 

Ok, last Bite Beauty product feature here. Yes, I'm still loving the Bite Beauty Lip Pencil in 022. I can't really compare these lip pencils to others because I was never a big lip pencil user, but I know these feel comfortable on the lips and are easy to apply. If you want to win one, enter my giveaway! Additionally, if you want to see what shade goes with what Amuse Bouche lipstick the best, I posted the chart in my Bite Beauty Collection post. They also released a bunch of new shades this month full of bold shades. 

 

I feel bad for ending this with a limited edition product that is probably no longer available unless you're very lucky, but the NARS x Sarah Moon Matte Lipstick in Indecent Proposal is just lovely. I'm just being honest here with my most reached for lip products, and this one has been in my handbag a lot. It's a true mauve shade that is super matte and long lasting. With Tarte Exposed on the cheeks, I just feel complete.

 

That's it for now! Let me know what lip colours you're reaching for the most!

 

PS: I'm thinking of doing a tinted lip balms round-up and showdown, because again if you know me you know I love a good tinted lip balm. Anyone interested in that?

 

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The Best Eye Makeup Remover Duo

I was at my optometrist's office lately and noticed they stocked We Love Eyes. When I got home, I looked up the brand to see if they are cruelty-free, and it was then that I found they were looking for some bloggers! Of course, I hopped on the opportunity after confirming their cruelty-free status, and I'm so glad I did. 

 

We Love Eyes is a brand created by optometrist Dr. Tanya Gill featuring a range of vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, gluten-free eye makeup removing products. All products are non-toxic using just natural ingredients. I picked out the We Love Eyes The Eye Makeup Removal Kit* and upon first use, I knew the duo was a winner.

The idea is to first use the Tea Tree Eyelid & Eyelash Makeup Remover Oil* to break down the makeup. I like to apply about 5 drops to a cotton pad, but if you have more stubborn products on, you can also massage it off with the oil on clean fingers. Afterwards, I follow up with once pump of the Tea Tree Eyelid Foaming Cleanser* on my fingers and gently clean off the leftover oil and any leftover makeup.

 

I love this duo so much, because it not only has good ingredients but is also incredibly effective. Do any of you ever wake up the next morning and find eye makeup residue even though you thought it was all gone from the wash the night before? Well I no longer have that issue using these products. I also noticed that the oil has helped prevent eyelash loss when removing makeup. It just breaks down the products so well that there is no rubbing required. 

 

I'm so happy with this duo, and it is certainly one that I will repurchase when they run out. Thank you, We Loves Eyes, for letting me sample these products! 

 

What eye makeup remover do you use?

 

Ingredients: 

Tea Tree Eyelid & Eyelash Makeup Remover Oil: Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil.

Tea Tree Eyelid Foaming Cleanser: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Propanediol, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Laurylglucoside Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Decylglucoside Crosspolymer, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Heptyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Gluconolactone, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Phenethyl Alcohol, O-cymen-5-OL, Citric Acid

Inspired Lately #1: New on Netflix, Supporting Bloggers & Seeking Recommendations

Welcome to the first post of the "Inspired Lately" series. Here I will share some of the things I have been inspired by lately, and I hope you will respond by introducing me to things you have been recently inspired by too!

I'm kicking things off with two things created by bloggers that I have been incredibly excited about. The first is a book, the second is a podcast. Let's start with the book.

NEW ON THE SHELF

I have always loved Anushka Rees' blog, previously known as Into Mind, and more recently she published a booked called The Curated Closet. I am working hard to declutter my home but I'm mostly focusing on building my ideal wardrobe of quality clothing I love. I'm so excited to take time out today to properly crack it open and get started on my "curated closet" or "capsule wardrobe" journey which I, of course, will be documenting on the blog. 

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO...

This is probably no surprise, by I spent a half hour on Friday listening to Anna and Lily's new podcast series, At Home With..., at work. Their first guest was Jo Elvin, editor-in-chief of Glamour UK. Owning an Android phone, I listen to this on Acast and I loved seeing the photos of Jo's home pop up as they discussed note-worthy parts of her home. I believe the next episode will release on Wednesday featuring Kate of Kate la Vie. I adore Kate and her style, so I can't wait!

THE FRIDAY NIGHT BINGE WATCH

Master of None season 2 by Aziz Ansari was released this past Friday and I just couldn't stop watching. M (my boyfriend) and I started watching after dinner and we were hooked until it the last second of the last episode. I love the way this show is written and filmed. It lightheartedly touches on relateable topics from relationships to families to internal self conflict. Fingers cross it will be back with another season soon.

THIS WEEK'S INSTAGRAM DISCOVERIES

Getting back into the blogging game meant getting involved in social media again. Instagram is probably my favourite social media platform, and this week I encountered three feeds I can't get enough of. Go on, give sofieuh, ameliaasays, and heleneisfor a follow.

THAT'S IT FOR NOW FROM ME,

although quick little updates for those who care:

  1. I'm doing a gradual wardrobe overhaul and, fingers crossed, I hope some of you are interested in this journey. 
  2. I want to start sharing some recipes for meals, drinks, and snacks that M and I make regularly. 
  3. I'm still working to get my blog back up to what it was and also add all the content I've planned to add. It's a long work in progress. 
  4. I plan to post core content on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and will fit smaller posts in on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays if time permits. 
  5. M and I are headed to Quebec City later in the year. If any of you have recommendations on places to see, shop, and eat, please let me know!

BY THE WAY, PLEASE SEND POST RECOMMENDATIONS & DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY.

I'm always looking for post ideas and want to post more of what you want to see! Please do send any recommendations my way. Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Until next time!

Currently Testing #1

I am fortunate that blogging has allowed me to work with many brands that offer me product samples, but I also tend to purchase a lot of things to try out too. With so many products coming in and out of my stash, I don't always end up mentioning everything I try. A lot of you are interested in reading reviews of products, but sometimes I have a hard time gauging what products you are most interested in seeing reviews of. To help me get to know more about what you're interested in and to encourage me to commit to trying more products, I'm trying out a mini series called "Currently Testing" to give you an idea of what's available in my stash at the moment. 

 

Let's start with something really exciting for me. I have been looking for a good eye makeup remover that is cruelty-free with natural ingredients that actually works. I stumbled across We Love Eyes at my optometrist's office and got in touch with the team. They kindly sent over the Eye Makeup Removal Kit* containing the containing the Tea Tree Eyelid & Eyelash Makeup Remover Oil and Tea Tree Eyelid Foaming Cleanser. I cannot get over how great this has been, and I already have a dedicated review post in the works. 

 

In skincare, I have just started using the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. I have been using it every other night for about five nights so far and I have to say, I'm impressed. 

In a recent Clementine Fields order, I picked up the AILA Prime base coat because I ran out of my Nails Inc one, and this greener option stood out to me. At the time, they had a promotion on where I ended up with a pack of the AILA 3-in-1 Soy-Based Nail Colour Remover Cloths*. I'm pretty excited to give these a go, and I'm thinking of doing a basic nail routine post featuring a lot of AILA products if they stick as part of my new set of nail routine products. 

 

For hair, I haven't tried these two products yet but they're being added to my collection as I begin to use up older products. I stumbled across Briogeo about two weeks ago on the Sephora webstore, and decided to give the Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Creme a try. I'm also excited to try the Ouai Wave Spray after hearing so many people rave about Ouai. I love their Texturizing Spray, so I have high hopes for this one too.

 

And of course, yet another foundation I'm trying. I just don't think I have truly found that holy grail foundation that I want to repurchase endlessly yet. The NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint is close. So is the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation. I want a powder foundation that feels weightless though. Right now, I'm playing around with the bareMinerals Matte Foundation.

 

If there are any products here you want me to go into more details on, let me know! Also leave me product recommendations, because you know I'm all ears for that. 

 

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Cruelty-Free Brands at Sephora (S/S 2017)
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Over the past couple years, Sephora has increased the availability of cruelty-free and green brands at their stores. While I have been venturing into brands from smaller green beauty stores, by default I tend to turn to Sephora for beauty products due to convenience. For your convenience, here is a list of cruelty-free brands available at Sephora as of spring/summer 2017. 

 

If there are any brands I missed, please let me know! I have built this list off what's available at Sephora Canada. 

Makeup

Skincare

Haircare

Nails

Fragrances

  • Commodity
Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Picks

Mother's Day is coming up next weekend and if you're like me, you've procrastinated and still haven't purchased a gift yet. If you're in need of some ideas, here are some items to consider.

 

Tatcha does amazing skincare, and their Kyoto Cleanse is the perfect evening cleansing combination. Step 1 is to start with the Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil* to remove makeup. Step 2 is to use the Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder* to gently exfoliate. This combination leaves my skin silky smooth and ready for serums and moisturizers before bed. 

 

On a Sunday evening, I love a quick pamper. The Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish is a must-have to refresh, smooth, and hydrate my skin. After getting out of the shower, I will usually then paint my nails for the week. My favourite polishes are the AILA Nail Colors as they use safer ingredients and come in a good range of some of the most beautiful colours. My current favourites are Petunia and Room 212.

 

If you're looking for more everyday treats, why not try one of the new Simons Eau Contemporaine by Ruby Brown fragrances? It can be tough finding a good cruelty-free fragrance and at $50 for 50mL, these are great options. There are currently three scents available, all incredibly wearable. 

 

On the makeup front, Charlotte Tilbury products never disappoint. The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow is a cult favourite, and the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks are sure to impress as well. For more ingredients conscious users, Beautycounter is a brand I can always count on. Pictured here are the Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Petal* and the Beautycounter Color Shade Eye Duo in Slipper/Slate*. I also love the Kari Gran Color Lip Whips*. They are so pigmented for tinted lip balms, and so incredibly hydrating and comfortable to wear. And of course, it can't be a post recommending lip products without mentioning Bite Beauty. I highly recommend some of their newer products, the Bite Beauty Multistick in Cashew and the Bite Beauty Lip Pencil in 022. You really can't go wrong with their products though. For more recommendations by Bite Beauty, check out my Bite Beauty collection post! If you want to win the lip pencil along with a couple other goodies, don't forget to enter my giveaway

Beauty comes from the inside out, and tea is perfect for that little boost. Some of my favourites at the moment are Silk Road Tea's "Moonlight on the Grove" Jasmine Green Tea and Enjoy the Sunnyside White Peach Tea. Both a loose leaf and organic options, two key qualities I look for when buying a tea. No one should be putting hot water on bleached tea bags and pesticides! I steep my tea in unbleached, compostable bags by a brand called TeaBrew, but I also love the David's Tea Filters.

 

I'm also a sucker for handmade ceramics. I love how unique every piece is, and it reminds me of the days when I use to do pottery as a child. Pictured here is the Mérida Anderson Sand Cup in pink and a mug by Kalika Bowlby, both from Enjoy the Sunnyside.

 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I love home fragrances. My latest obsession is with the Vitruvi Stone Diffuser. I have always loved working with essential oils, and finally I invested in this beautiful diffuser fit for any home. Of course, I also love the Diptyque Baies Scented Black Candle. As a housewarming gift to myself, I picked this big one up. No regrets! It smells incredible and looks stunning. 

 

Lastly, why not a coffee table book? Currently, I have The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings but another favourite is The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living. I also love their magazines, and perhaps a subscription to them would make a great gift too!

 

Phwef, this was a long post! Hopefully you gathered some ideas here, and please do let me (and everyone else!) know what your ideas are! 

 

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FOTD | Everyday Makeup, Lately
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Most days, I have been keeping it quite simple. As much as I enjoy the process of applying makeup, I sometimes just cannot be bothered. Since I have been loving and reaching for the same products these past couple of months, I thought I would share with you my everyday makeup routine. 

 

Since I polished off the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Alaska, I moved on to the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation in Light-Medium Sand. Despite having "full coverage" in the name, I find the coverage to be quite buildable. I typically apply it with a Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki brush for a medium coverage, but it works great with a beautyblender as well for a sheer coverage.

 

As a blush, I have been reaching for the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Seduce. I have been using it a lot since I completely used up Exposed. This is a more warm-toned pink compared to Exposed, and just perfect for a neutral summer look. As usual, I've been doing my brows with the Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade in Chocolate. I swear this product just never ends. I have been using this product on and off for about a year now, and I've barely made a dent.

 

Moving on to the eyes, I've fallen back in love with the winged liner look. I've been doing it with the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper. No surprise there. For mascara, I'm still using the new STELLAR* Absolute Mascara*. I raved about it a little in my STELLAR* introduction post.  Since then I've seen some mixed reviews on Sephora saying it tends to smudge, but for some reason I haven't experienced this even with slightly oily lids. 

 

On the lips, I have been keeping it simple. I either don't wear lip products at all, or I reach for one of the following two products. Some of you may know how much I love the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bow n' Arrow. I just can't get over how long it lasts on the lips and how even and opaque the finish is. Despite being a long wearing and matte product, it is also not particularly drying. For something a little creamier, I've been reaching for the Bite Beauty Lip Pencil in 036. While it can be used as a lip pencil, I just wear it all over the lips sometimes. It is long lasting and feels so comfortable. 

 

I hope this satisfies some of the requests I've received regarding my latest everyday makeup favourites! 

 

What have you been using in your everyday makeup routine?

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Products I've reviewed: