Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Favourite Snack Of The Moment | Prana Organic Coconut Chips

Prana Coconut Chips

I'm a total chip person. I love a good crunchy snack, and the healthier the better. But I must admit - some healthy chips aren't always deliciousAfter recently trying some Kale chips, I only got through about five before I quickly resorted to salt and vinegar Pringles. When my crunchy craving hits, dried leaves just don't cut it.
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The Only Skirt You Need For The Holidays | PARTYSKIRTS by Lauren & Mariel

PARTYSKIRTS
Marsala Lady Length PARTYSKIRT

I wish I had unlimited amounts of time to pick out my outfits. I love fun fashion, and life is too short to wear boring clothes. Admittedly, the holiday season can be hectic, and spending hours getting ready for an event isn't always possible. So isn't it nice having that "go-to" wardrobe staple to throw on for a party?

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Conditioning My Roots? | Derma e® Scalp Relief Review


Washing my hair is part of my daily routine, and with the colder weather drawing near, I have to be extra cautious. A dry, itchy scalp could make an appearance at any time, so when I received a sample of Derma e®'s new Scalp Relief line, I began testing it right away.

This shampoo and conditioner is part of their "Therapeutic Tropicals" range. It's main aim is to help your body repair itself when dry and itchy dandruff appears. Though my scalp is in good condition right now, I always notice minor flakes and irritation from time to time. After using the shampoo and conditioner daily for over a month, I have definitely noticed an improvement in the condition of my scalp and hair, from root to tip.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Marvis Toothpaste Gift Set | Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is coming fast, and I couldn't be more excited. December has been great overall, and I've luckily completed (almost) all of my Christmas shopping without having to deal with too many crowds. So if you're like me and you're still hunting for those perfect present toppers, look no further. Because who doesn't love a fancy tube of toothpaste that comes along with a cult following?

Marvis holiday set

The Marvis 7 Flavours Gift Set is only $35 and contains 7 dazzling tubes of their world renowned toothpaste. This luxury take on a daily staple will make all of your friends and family set for their next vacation.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

THEFACESHOP Holiday Makeup Look

thefaceshop makeup

If you haven't already heard, THEFACESHOP is one of the first Korean beauty brands to open up shop here in Canada. Whenever I go to Fairview Mall or Eaton Centre, I often find myself browsing through their beauty shelves, mesmerized by the pretty packaging. I've only ever tried their sheet masks (which are awesome) so being a part of the CBB x THEFACESHOP campaign has been the perfect opportunity to try their makeup.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

L'OCCITANE Holiday Gift Sets


Whether you're shopping for family, friends, colleagues or yourself (always allowed), L'Occitane makes it easy for you to get an elegantly wrapped present, with countless options ranging anywhere from $20 - $200.

In the past I've often enjoyed a more eclectic form of gift wrap when I'm in a time crunch (using a collage of old magazine pages and newspaper), but sometimes it just makes sense to trust the wonderful people in-store at L'Occitane, since you'll probably even walk away with some product samples for yourself too.

I mentioned in my most recent post linked here that $10 from the sale of each L'Occitane gift set (up to $120,000) will be donated to Dress for Success, a charity which helps outfit women in need for job interviews.

Here are my favourite sets this year:
First row L-R: 123
Second row L-R: 456
Third row L-R: 78910

And if you're looking for some dessert table inspiration for a holiday party, check out the spread from this event..


Swooooooon! 

You can find all of the gift sets online at ca.loccitane.com or in-store at your local boutique.

xx


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Pamplemousse-Rhubarbe | Pierre Hermé x L'OCCITANE

Grapefruit Rhubarb Classic Hand Cream - $12


The more I experiment with different products from around the world, the more I realize that French skincare is exceptional among the rest.
We all know that French pastries are also crème de la crème, so the thought of a skincare line inspired by flavours sounded like a match made in heaven.

Pierre Herme, Olivier Baussan, JessGo
Pierre Hermé and Olivier Baussan, their holiday box sets and JessGo - a professional Live Painter from Toronto




L'Occitane founder Olivier Baussan recently collaborated with pastry chef Pierre Hermé, to create two limited edition fragrances for the holiday season. The collection brings together a unique mix of shape, colour and flavour, using the natural fruit and flowers from Corsica - their favourite island in the South of France.
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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Banana Chia Pancakes | Prana ProactivCHIA

organic chia seeds

My food tab has been a bit empty lately, but not to worry - my tummy is still full! Even though we follow a pretty traditional Italian diet at home, I'm all for the occasional green smoothie or bowl of quinoa. Believe it or not, I'd probably take some plain yogurt topped with berries, granola and honey over anything else.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Herbal Essences Naked Volume | BzzAgent Review

Herbal Essences Naked Volume

Back in the spring, I found my perfect shampoo. L'Occitane has absolutely mastered the art of creating a good cleansing wash, that never strips the hair or skin. And I'm not the only one who's hooked - Joseph just asked for a refill of the Cedrat Shower Gel & Shampoo, also mentioned earlier this year. But let's face it, paying over $20 for an essential product can be too expensive for us budget-conscious folk, so I'm staying open-minded to the less-luxe alternatives.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Marcelle Skincare | Makeup Remover and Gentle Moisturizer

marcelle review

My sisters have been using Marcelle BB Cream and makeup remover for years. I've read many rave reviews on the makeup remover in particular, from popular Canadian bloggers like Chelle from Makeup Your Mind. So when people ask for a good makeup remover recommendation, this one is sure to top the list. 

Priced at $15 cad, these dual-phase removers are very effective. The original "Gentle Makeup Remover" from Marcelle always reminds me of my go-to Express remover from Nivea. 
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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Essence Cosmetics | Fall Favourites For Eyes, Lips & Nails


When walking through my local Shoppers Drug Mart, I'm bound to stop at the Essence display to find a new nail polish or blush to add to my collection. How could you not be intrigued by a rainbow coloured display of under $10 makeup, that's actually high quality?

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Annabelle Makeup For Fall 2015 | Review & Swatches

Annabelle mekup

Earlier this week I shared some thoughts on a bunch of new releases from Marcelle Cosmetics, so to continue on the same theme, here are my faves from their sister brand Annabelle.

I've purchased many Annabelle eyeliners in the past, and they've all turned out to be consistently pigmented and easy to use. The two brands are known for their hypoallergenic, affordable and well formulated products, so I was thrilled to receive these as press samples back in the summer.

It's no surprise that my three favourite eye products right now happen to be from this collection:
The Brow Show Liner & Highlighter in light ($10), Smokey Nudes Eyeshadow Palette ($13) and The EyeInk² Liquid Eyeliner Duo in brown. Their efficacy is blowing my mind.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

AMOREPACIFIC Color Control Cushion Compact | Foundation Review

AmorePacific cushion

Ever since I started to see BB Cream reviews all over YouTube beauty channels, Korean skincare has been a total love of mine.

One of my favourite products to date has to be the Skin79 BB Cream, and I've gone through 3 entire bottles over the years. I don't talk much about my favourite Korean products, simply because they aren't readily available in Canada. Now that mass retailers are beginning to stock more Asian brands, I'm thrilled that I don't need to turn to Ebay to get my foundation fix. 

I recently received an invite from AmorePacific to try out their Color Control Cushion Compact foundation, and I quickly replied with a surefire yes!
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Monday, October 26, 2015

Glam My Mani Nail Vinyls | Review & Tutorial

diy mani

I've become a somewhat lazy manicurist. I've been known in the past to come up with pretty wacky holiday-themed nail art, which would usually take 1-2 hours at best. I still love creating fun designs, but some weeks I can barely find time to maintain my cuticles, let alone paint my nails.

Welcome, nail vinyls from Glam My Mani.

glam my mani aztec

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Marcelle Cosmetics FOTD | The Best Canadian Brands



Canadian pride is bigger now than ever before, and if the current economy isn't enough of an incentive to shop local, these hot new makeup bits surely are.

While perusing the cosmetics aisle at any Canadian drugstore, sister brands Marcelle and Annabelle are found to be slightly more luxe than the typical Covergirl, Maybelline and Revlon products alike. I've tried many of their best-sellers in the past, and I've never been disappointed.

Face of the day (#FOTD) featuring Marcelle & Annabelle (video tutorial below)...

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Glycolic Acid | The Skin-Brightening Ingredient


If you're wanting to make a visible difference to the tone and texture of your skin, look no further than AHAs and BHAs.

  • An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is best suited for those whose main concern is dark spots and sun damage, since it exfoliates the skin's upper most layers.
  • A beta hydroxy acid (BHA) is best for treating acne and blackheads since it is able to dissolve the oil that clogs pores. You could even layer the two ingredients at the same time for maximal benefits.

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) naturally derived from sugar cane. This chemical exfoliant has the ability to remove dead skin cells to reveal brighter, fresher skin, without scratching at the surface.

Glycolic acid is the most common exfoliant for a chemical peel, though there are other options for those with very sensitive skin. When I had my peel at Miracle 10 (documented here) they used a 20% Lactic Acid, and thanks to the great results I've been using their daily lactic acid cream ever since.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

36 Questions To Get To Know Yourself Better | ELLE Canada

get to know yourself better quiz
I'm an avid reader of ELLE Canada, and they're the one publication whose email list I stay subscribed to. Not only do they have fun and insightful articles, but their horoscopes are always on point. 

This past year has brought along many new opportunities, and in turn I have gotten to know myself a lot better. For example, working in my university's Student Affairs office has helped me to develop my leadership skills and find personal value in my work. With exams and deadlines creeping around the corner, we often become unexcited about school. Now that I'm getting more involved, I can say that the 12-hour days are truly worth it.

If you find yourself with some free time over the next few days, pull up these questions and see how they make you feel. I am feeling motivated to work harder, be nicer, and go that extra step to help those around me. 


36 questions to get to know yourself better - imperfections and all
By: Gary Lewandowski, Ph.D., professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey, and Brent Mattingly, Ph.D., assistant professor at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. Source Link: ellecanada.com 

PART 1 – Your Essentials. Who are you today?
1. List five adjectives or traits that describe you.
2. List five roles that you fulfill.
3. List five of your skills and abilities.
4. List five of your possessions that provide insight into who you are as a person.
5. List five life experiences that have helped define who you are.
6. List five attributes that you think your family and closest friends would say describe you.
   
GO ONE STEP FURTHER - Actually reach out to your family and several of your closest friends and ask them to share the five traits that they think best describe you. Then compare and contrast these lists with your own. “People who know themselves well tend to have a list similar to what their friends said,” says Lewandowski. “Sometimes other people can see us more accurately than we see ourselves, and sometimes we define ourselves by how we think other people see us.”
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Monday, October 19, 2015

Natural Remedies That Work | Lavender For Head Lice

lavender for head lice

Have you ever had head lice?

Believe it or not, I am one of the few 20-somethings who hasn't. Not even pink eye! What a blessing.

I can attribute most of it to pure luck, but my obsessive hand washing addiction definitely kicks in where school-borne germs are concerned.
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Party Unicorn Halloween Makeup Look | Hard Candy Cosmetics

halloween makeup

It's October, it's autumn, it's snowing, and I'm ready for it!
Kinda.

Halloween is coming up soon so the buzz around costumes and parties has definitely begun. I haven't really been dressing up over the past few years, but this one will be different. Though I'm not completely set on a costume, I know that Hard Candy has got me covered for fun and affordable makeup no matter what look I choose.

They recently sent over an ahdorable bin of Halloween treats, and I dug into it right away. I decided to create a unicorn-party-princess type look, and I'm so happy with how the colours turned out. These products pack a punch, and the under $10 price tags from Walmart makes me quite happy.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Stromae Visits Toronto


A concert on a beach, under the moon, with a beautiful fall breeze brushing through the crowd. Fooooormidable.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Visiting Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille | Lauren's Travels

After a short hiatus due to a new job and various fall-time shenanigans, Lauren is back for her second instalment documenting her european adventure. Click here to see details from her first stop in Barcelona. 


Frioul Chateau d'If
Frioul Archipelago in Marseille

The next leg of our adventure brought us to a few cities in the South of France, a short train ride away from our starting point in Barcelona. With only a week to explore what may be one of my favourite parts of Europe, we decided to spend three nights in Marseille and three nights in Nice. These costal cities offered plenty of shopping and unique cuisines and were perfectly located for taking day trips, including an exquisite wine tour.

Montpellier

For $121 each, we took a high-speed train from Barcelona and arrived in central Marseille about 6 hours later. There were a few options when choosing our itinerary on the super user-friendly Rail Europe website, and we decided to go with a trip that included a 1.5 hour stopover in Montpellier, France.


Place de la Comédie, Montpellier

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Masquerade | Multi-Masking Ideas

Multimasking

It's now BuzzFeed official that "multi-masking" is one of the hottest skincare trends of the moment. As a product tester extraordinaire, I had to get in on the action. 

I have finicky combination skin, which means that while my t-zone (nose, forehead, chin) is shiny as can be, my eye area and cheeks can get quite dry. To top it all off, I get flaky and "dehydrated" patches on and around my nose, especially when I'm not drinking enough water throughout the day. Have I mentioned my annoying breakouts yet? Well, this is how I combat all of it.

Multi-Masking Cheat Sheet
multi-masking
Live rendering...
multi masking products
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Products I've Used Up #5 | Skincare, Makeup, Hair

Continuing with another "empties" post, today I'm showcasing a bunch of mini-reviews of all the lotions and potions that I've finished over the past few months. To avoid accumulating a sheer excess in products, I always try to use things up or giving them away so that nothing is left unloved.

HAIR
Hair empties

✓ Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo - Love this, totally recommend. Smells very fresh and works great.
 Klorane Tinted Dry Shampoo - This is my favourite dry shampoo, and the tinted version is just as great as the original.
✓ Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Dry Shampoo - Not bad, but definitely not as great as Klorane.
L'Oreal Elnett Satin Hair Spray - Great drugstore hair spray that's a total classic. The scent unfortunately started to bother me by the end.
✓ Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray - This texturizing spray was a nice product for use on wet hair, before blow drying. I'd sometimes use too much, and my hair would feel heavy and sticky. The scent isn't very good, so especially for the price, I wouldn't repurchase.


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Monday, September 28, 2015

How I Learned French As An Anglophone

how to learn French

Alongside my degree in Linguistics and Language Studies, I am completing a certificate to become an International English Teacher. Our first assignment in one of my classes this year was to explain some of our "dreams" and "nightmares" from our experience learning a second language. For me, this language is French. Attaining native-like proficiency in a complex language like French is nearly impossible, but with a few thousand hours of practice and a bit of life in France, I've luckily made it pretty far. So here is a snippet from my first assignment, titled "dreams and nightmares". Enjoy!


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Sunday, September 27, 2015

IMATS Toronto | Haul & Review

Yesterday I attended my very first IMATS, and it was wonderful.

IMATS Toronto

The International Makeup Artist Trade Show is an annual event that is being held this weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Tickets are $50, which allows you to get exclusive discounts on some of the biggest professional makeup brands. Since I enjoy writing about all things makeup and beauty, I was eligible for a free press pass to the show.

Royal and Langnickel

My first stop was at the Royal And Langnickel booth, since they are one of the most popular makeup brush companies featured at the show. I had such a great time exploring their displays, and I ended up coming home with quite the haul.


I spent some time looking through the professional palettes, and trying out the most natural ones to take home for more practical use. These coloured creams reminded me of Halloween face paint, and definitely left me feeling inspired for this year's makeup and costumes.

Here's what I picked up at the event:
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Friday, September 25, 2015

The Best High-End Concealer | Clarins Instant vs. Nars Radiant Creamy


Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer Clarins Instant

Now that I'm either working or in class every day of the week (yay, real life!) I have vowed to put on makeup before all outings to avoid the inevitable question, "are you sick?".

My one nonnegotiable product is always concealer. I'll swipe it under the eyes, around the nose, centre of the forehead, and on any rogue spots. 

radiant creamy concealer vanilla swatch

Today I decided to compare my two favourite high-end concealers which I had purchased around six months ago:

1. Clarins Instant Concealer in the shade 01, which is the lightest shade of 3 and costs $32 cad for 15 ml. (Purchased at The Bay)

2. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Vanilla, which is the second lightest shade of ten and costs $36 cad for 6 ml. (Purchased at Sephora)


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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Colette Grand Café | Birthday Brunch

Colette Grand Cafe

Right at the end of August, my best friend Elena treated me to a Saturday brunch for my birthday. I've had "Caesar at Colette" on my list of things to do ever since I stumbled across their Instagram page, so we decided to make it happen.

Brunching at Colette was a great experience through and through, since they made us feel like no request was out of reach. Located at Portland and Wellington, Colette just celebrated its one year anniversary. This venue is managed by The Chase Hospitality Group, which means that your call will always be answered, and fancy events are often occupying the stunning French dining room.

Located at Bathurst and Wellington, Colette Grand Café is well known for its exquisite Sunday brunch. Though the all-you-can-eat buffet was tempting, we went on a Saturday afternoon and ordered off their breakfast-lunch menu. We enjoyed a variety of superb food and drinks for a reasonable price.


Upon arrival, Tom, the General Manager, brought us two glasses of birthday bubbly to enjoy. We ordered a mimosa and caesar, along with three menu options to share - an omelette with cheese and greens, the turkey sandwich, and pancakes with berries.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Life, Lately | Summer 2015


This summer was great. It got off to a somewhat slow start, as I have been working in administration at my university since May, and each day seemed to quietly flow into the next.

Once August rolled around, Summer started to get real. Here are the highlights:

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How-To Wash A BEAUTYBLENDER Makeup Sponge


Today I'm answering every beauty junkie's favourite question: is the BeautyBlender sponge worth it? 

For me, yes!

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Kensington Market | Toronto

the dirty bird chicken and waffles toronto
The Original Dirty Bird, or "ODB" with fries

Toronto is home to some of the world's most fascinating neighbourhoods. I've been spending most of my free time this summer as a tourist in my own city, hitting up all the hotspots before the sun goes down. My sister and I met up in Kensington Market after work earlier in August to visit a popular new restaurant called The Dirty Bird Chicken & Waffles.

We ordered one ODB with fries, which came to $20. My review: YUM. Fluffy waffle, great boneless chicken, delicious sauce and the "dirty" seasoned fries are so tasty. Maple syrup is provided at all tables to drizzle all over your meal. You totally have to hit up this (tiny) Kensington gem. They use locally-sourced ingredients to ensure ultimate freshness. I promise it won't disappoint!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Packing A Travel Toiletries Bag


travel toiletries

Between cottage weekends and one longer vacation, this summer has been a true test of my last minute packing abilities. 

I love living simply, and I definitely try to abide by the "less is more" motto wherever possible. That being said, I'm not ready to loose the title of being that girl who always has everything, since it's totally worth it when you're travelling. 


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Rebalancing Ritual | Aromachologie By L'OCCITANE

aromatherapy body l'occitane

With summer slowly rolling to a close and the September stress looming over the horizon, warm baths are going to become a crucial part of my weekly routine.

I see great value in using essential oils for their relaxing (lavender), bacteria-fighting (tea tree) and revitalizing properties (sweet orange), so I always keep a few favourites in my bathroom for when I need a boost.

There is a simplicity and undeniable freshness that comes along with all essential oils, as they are distilled and pressed from nature's most amazing plants. Incorporating aromatherapy, or aromachologie into your skincare routine is both easy and effective. See my favourite spa-night tips here.

Today I wanted to document the Rebalancing Body Care Ritual from L'OCCITANE which I was given earlier this summer to try out. This is a unisex line which comes in exquisite packaging. There are two other existing lines in the Aromachologie collection, one which is Revitalizing (rosemary and orange) and the other is Relaxing (lavender and bergamot).

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lightweight Sunscreen | Summer SPF



We all need to sit in the sun. Vitamin D is crucial for our overall health, and I can tell you firsthand that a bit of sun exposure makes me noticeably happier. 

But a few too many sunburns can kill. And I don't just mean that in an "ow-my-skin-is-on-fire" kind of kill.

As someone who can't stand slapping on thick, greasy, stinky cream on a humid and sweaty day, I am extremely picky when it comes to sunscreen. So here are 4 lightweight favourites that have kept me out of the red zone this entire summer. (See the ones from 2014 linked here)

I'll start off by saying that Neutrogena makes some of the best sunscreens on the market. I swear by their Ultra Sheer line of high-quality lotions, and we usually stock up on SPF 30-60 every year since they're $20 for a 3-pack at Costco.

best sunscreen under makeup

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Almond + Macadamia | Coffee Scrub

Coffee Scrub Review

Ah, coffee. One of nature’s finest gifts to humans, and an integral part of my morning routine.

With the success of their original coconut oil formula (reviewed here) Jealous Body has now released a full range of five different coffee scrubs for the body and face. 


jealous body scrubs organic
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Proraso Red - Shaving Cream & Foam Review


When I think of men's shave cream, all the drugstore classics come to mind - Barbasol, Schick, Gillette. But what makes a shave cream just one step above the rest, and in turn, worth the higher price tag?

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Touring Texas


Mission San José
Mission San José

A week off work means a week down south, and a very warm one at that. Texas in the summer is hot hot hot, and also not very crowded. (Bonus!) I've been explaining the experience to people as "it's like you just opened the pre-heated oven door, except that's the door to the street." Fortunately, the A/C is blasting all day every day, so a cool escape is always near.

Let's start off with the San José Mission in San Antonio. There are five Spanish Missions of Old San Antonio scattered along the San Antonio River. These establishments were built by Spanish Catholic religious orders who trained the native peoples to cultivate the land and adopt new culture, in order to live sustainably and prosper. These sites were built in 1720 (The Alamo) and 1731 (San José, San Juan, Concepcion and Espada). The missions are free UNESCO World Heritage Sites which still run as active parishes. When it isn't 100°F I'd totally do a bike tour of the four latter missions.


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