Monday, March 31, 2014

Staying Chic With Warm Layers

Vintage AirForce jacket, J Crew cashmere circle scarf, Material Girl burgundy wax denim, H&M fuzzy cardigan,
Vintage striped shirt, Gap belt, Roots Selina satchel
Before heading out to see Divergent the other night, I decided to snap a few quick pictures of my outfit. It's far too easy to fall into the routine of wearing the same neutral layers each and every week, especially with this fabulous polar vortex still holding strong. Changing up my typical outfit choices by incorporating colour into my weekly wardrobe has proven to be very fun and exciting. To stay warm, I made sure to throw on a layer in-between my jacket and shirt. This H&M sweater is so incredibly warm, but doesn't look bulky or boring. I loved pairing the rich army green with a deep burgundy plum, and finishing off with some splashes of neutrals to pull the look together.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

My Favourite Teas


I used to hate the taste of most teas, since they lacked the sweet and pungent flavour of the drinks I typically reach for. I began experimenting with mint tea after seeing one of my friends order a mint green tea from Tim Hortons (ask for a large, get two tea bags, one green and one mint). It was then that I realized I was doing things all wrong. Here is what I have learned about tea brewing and now follow religiously.

1. Adding sugar to most teas is a no-go
Sugar frequently throws off the natural flavours of herbal teas. I only add sugar to fruity teas since they can be a bit too tart.
2. I carefully read the packages and only steep the tea for as long as it recommends
Over-steeping especially ruins green tea, which can result in a bitter mess. You're usually safe with a 2-5 min brewing time, if not specified on the package.
3. Drink tea around 10 minutes after pouring in the boiled water, and finish within 15 minutes of that 
Cold herbal tea usually tastes nasty. Drinking my tea earlier than 10 mins in will typically burn my tongue, so I always wait.

Here are my three favourites:

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

HowTo Apply Natural Glowing Makeup

It is truly incredible what a bit of makeup can do to enhance a dull, winter-y complexion. Over the years, I've experimented with hundreds of makeup products and methods of applying them. A good face of makeup comes down to the principle of less is more. The important part is not what other people think of your makeup, but how you actually feel in it. Lots of product = a sticky, uncomfortable mess. If there is anything to practice in regards to applying makeup products, it's going to be detailed blending to create seamless divides between different colours and contours of the face. See the steps I take in the images below to achieve a natural, glowing, less-is-more makeup look.

*Note: I applied my daily moisturizer and a translucent face primer prior to step 1. 

1. Thin layer of tinted moisturizer or BB cream to even the complexion and work as a base. I use a damp sponge to give a very natural, airbrushed finish. *Don't try to cover every little imperfection with your base- it will look thick, caky and fake. Apply concealer last for the most natural finish.

2, 3. Pink toned concealer under the eyes, blended out to the areas beside the nose and up on the cheek bones.

4, 5. Cream bronzer to the contours of the face- under the cheek bones, around the temples, top of the forehead, etc. 

6. Cream blush to the centre of the cheeks, then blend up towards the tops of the cheekbones
7, 8. Powder to the under eye area and t-zone to lock in the cream products, which will help avoid creasing and shifting throughout the day.

9. Stipple concealer onto spots of darkness or redness still showing through. You do not want to try and cover up a red blemish with concealer before applying a pink toned blush over the top. It will just come right off! See this post on how to apply and set concealer over a blemish.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Staying Fresh With Dove

Dove gofresh cool essentials cucumber & green tea scented anti-perspirant deodorant 

Although I do still love my natural salt crystal deodorants featured here, some days call for more drastic measures. Dove products are registered in my mind as the "failsafe, gentle, reliable alternative" to the more fancy frilly new products that get released every few months. Recently, just by chance, I have been incorporating many new and old Dove products into my routine. Let's just say that I have been loving every minute of it. One of my classic Dove Loves (I should make this into a series) is the gofresh cucumber and green tea antiperspirant. My reaction after applying this heavenly smooth stick is: aaaaahhhhhhhhh.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Top 10 Nail Myths


As an advocate of the at-home mani, I have decided to share some common myths and corresponding truths about nails. First and foremost, it is important to keep your hands and nails moisturized. If possible, use a lotion with sun protection, especially if you plan on spending time outside. Hands show age very quickly and can develop skin cancer sooner than other parts of the body. For the best results, apply moisturizer to your hands and nails immediately after washing and right before bed.

Where nail painting is concerned, wearing nail polish is not dangerous. The dangerous part is inhaling the toxic solvents, which keep the paint in liquid state. To avoid inhaling these solvents, be sure to use nail polish indoors with a window open, or outdoors in the shade. I would also recommend wearing a surgical mask if you are exposed to these fumes for an extended period of time. Yes, this may sound silly, but studies have shown that the inhalation of solvent vapours when pregnant can lead to birth defects. Now you aren't going to be coming into contact with mass amounts of harmful chemicals when you paint your nails every so often, but just keep in mind that most lacquer, paint and glue fumes are not meant to be inhaled.

On to the myths!

1. Wearing nail polish often makes your nails turn yellow.
Nails are porous, and will absorb the pigment in polishes. The darker the polish, the more pigment it contains. This means that applying a very dark coloured polish, with no base coat, will most likely cause your nails to become discoloured. Simple solution? Apply a clear base coat to your nails before polishing to prevent the absorption of pigment and future discolouration.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

HowTo Shine Silver Jewellery Fast

If you're a wearer of silver jewellery, this quick trick may change your life forever. I rarely shine my jewellery, since using an old fashioned cloth takes a bit too much time and elbow grease. I did some research and discovered a fool-proof way of removing the tarnish from any silver piece, without much effort.
All you're going to need is:
Aluminum foil, baking soda, boiling water.


Here's how to do it:

1. Place aluminum foil at the bottom of a cup, bowl or pot
2. Pour in about 1 tbsp of baking soda
3. Drop in your jewellery
4. Pour boiling water into cup
5. Remove jewellery after 20 seconds

6. Dry and leave to cool
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Monday, March 17, 2014

HowTo Make The Best Oatmeal Ever


I began eating oatmeal for breakfast last year, since I was looking for a meal to keep me feeling full, longer. Instant oatmeal is my go-to since it's quick and easy in the mornings. Although the apple, cinnamon and brown sugar flavours are good, they still aren't very filling. These instant oats have also been heavily processed: cut, flattened, cooked and dehydrated. All of these processes significantly take away from the nutrituional value. 

I started to search for different homemade oatmeal recipes, all claiming to produce the best and most delicious bowl. After playing around with the ingredients I have available in my kitchen, I have come up with a combined recipe that truly holds the optimal texture.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Exploring Iceland

A photo taken from our tour bus


Tourism is the fuel of Iceland's economy. While there are only 300,000 Icelanders, around 800,000 tourists visit the island each year.

For this trip, we found a great deal through TravelZoo. The package included 4 nights at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica and 3 days of tours. We paid extra for a daily buffet breakfast, which was amazing. Eating out in Iceland is definitely not cheap, but the food is always top notch. Everyone there speaks English and all of the locals are very kind.


There is a very strong Scandinavian influence in Iceland. The architecture, furniture, stores, etc. are are all very clean and simple, truly embodying the "less is more"  mentality.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Too Faced Boudoir Eyeshadow Palette

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes eyeshadow palette swatches - natural lighting
After falling in love with the shade "Satin Sheets" from Too Faced, I was all over the Boudoir Eyes palette when it was released about a year ago. For my greenish brown eyes, this palette works perfectly for achieving any type of look. The palette itself is about 3x4 inches and is enclosed in a metal box with a magnetic clasp. In place of a mirror, there is an inspiration/how-to booklet included inside the palette. I love the durability of the metal casing and lack of useless applicators or excessive cardboard. 

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: Korres Lip Butter

I purchased the Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine a few months back after hearing so many great reviews online. During one of the Sephora VIB discount days, I decided to bite the bullet and try it out in Jasmine since I had never tried a nude-toned lip balm before. Now, the question is: are high-end lip balms worth it? Read on to see if this popular balm lives up to the hype.
Korres Lip Butter - Jasmine
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

HowTo Clean, Condition, And Protect Leather


Even though winter is (hopefully) coming to an end, it's never too late to show your leather some love. In this post I'm going to walk you through the steps I take to clean and condition my leather boots, shoes and bags when they start to look a bit dirty and dull. These products are very reliable and will not harm even the most expensive and delicate pieces. Take note that this method does not work for suede. Opt for a vinegar and water cleanser, followed by a silicone based spray when caring for suede. I've also recently discovered how amazing baby wipes work to clean rubber boots, pleather items and real leather in a pinch. Their moisturizing and cleansing properties work to gently clean leather like they do on the skin.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

HowTo Moisturize Hair

If cold weather isn't harsh enough on our skin, I find that my hair can also take a real beating in the freezing temperatures. For some reason, I am prone to super-static-y hair, which drives me absolutely crazy. To combat this dryness, I use a hair oil once a week and leave it in overnight as a hydrating treatment. 
Apply a few pumps of oil into your hair, focusing on the ends, but coating from root to tip. Comb through to ensure an even application, then twist up in a clip. Wash out the oil in the morning.
I've been using the Matrix Biolage Exquisite Oil and really enjoy its light, moringa flower fragrance. If you have longer, thicker hair, I would recommend using a heavier oil, such as coconut oil. Make sure to only apply about a quarter sized amount of product to eliminate leaving an oily residue on your pillows. Your hair should be thirsty enough to absorb it all! If your hair is feeling dry and static-y though out the day, apply just a small amount (1-2 pumps) of oil to the ends for weightless shine and moisture.

Keep those locks shiny, healthy and happy!

Madeline
xx
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Monday, March 3, 2014

HowTo Make Chia Pudding



Chia seed pudding is a delicious and nutritious snack, suitable for anyone with any dietary restriction. Chia is a super food, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and protein. These dry seeds slowly soak up the milk to create a pudding-like substance, taking on a similar texture to tapioca. If you are sensitive to interesting textures, this might not be the best fit for you. I like making this pudding at nighttime, and eating it in the morning for breakfast. I purchased this huge bag of chia seeds at Costco for about $15. These seeds are also a great addition to smoothies. This pudding is completely customizable and has a truly addictive texture. I like my pudding with regular 1% milk, cinnamon and honey. You can use any type of nut, coconut, or dairy milk for this recipe. Topping it off with bananas is the absolute best, but here, I finished it off with some granola and dried apricots. See how to re-create this yummy cup of goodness in the steps below.


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