, pub-5075614835530024, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 2016 | Classically Contemporary

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Last Minute Holiday Gifts | Christmas 2016

christmas 2016

There are two types of people in the world: those who have their Christmas shopping done, and those who started yesterday.

Though I do fall into the first category, I’m excited to share these gift ideas with you to help solve any last-minute conundrums, or to fill your list of “personal rewards” for Boxing Day and New Year shopping.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Affordable Wine for the Holidays | Inception

Inception Blushing Rosé

Being a total noob in the world of wines, I make my decisions at the LCBO based on packaging and price. Though oodles of fun, it's not the best strategy. So reviews and recommendations play a big part in choosing wine that's easy on the wallet, and keeps my guests happy.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

One of a Kind Toronto | Winter 2016


It's the most wonderful time of the year when the One of a Kind holiday show comes back around. This is the first time I visited as a shopper, as I had worked at the show for Joanna at Belle Boutique over the past few years. I am always enchanted by the jewellery and accessories on display, though this year's food and homeware especially drew me in. The delicate designs of Goye, pictured above were my favourite.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Products I've Used Up #7 | Skincare, Bodycare, Makeup & Haircare

bath empties

My empties have been piling up since January (omg) so get ready for a good round of mini-reviews.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Esqido Eyelashes | Little Black Lash Review

Esquido Review

Esqido just opened up shop in Holt Renfrew, and though I couldn't make it to the opening event I was kindly gifted a set of their Little Black Lash EL101 ($30 USD) for review. Esqido is a Toronto-based false eyelash company started in 2013. Made from mink hair and cotton bands, the lashes range from simple to extravagant. Their branding is incredible, with snakeskin-printed boxes and rose gold accents.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Essence 2-in-1 Eye Shadow & Liner | 06 "She's Got The Mauve"

Essence 2-in-1 Eye Shadow Liner

I'm always in the market to try a new taupe coloured liner, shadow, or cream eye base. After falling for the Burberry Eye Colour Contour Stick in 116 Dusky Mauve (review) I couldn't help but notice this wonderful creamy eye pencil on the shelf at Shoppers Drug Mart. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Navy Velvet & Tokyo Tortoise | Clearly™‎ Review

Clearly Glasses Review

I used to buy new sunglasses all the time, testing out the latest shapes and sizes with each passing summer. I predominantly wear glasses over contacts now since I'm at a computer almost 7 days a week, and my prescription changes every time I visit the optometrist. This means that my sunnies need to have prescription lenses too, which leaves me with very few options to choose from.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation | Review

Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation

I am so picky with my foundation products. My favourite concealer is Clarins Instant Light (review), my go-to foundation base is Smashbox CC Cream and I switch between Laura Mercier's Mineral Powder or It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation powder to set it all in place. I recently won this beautiful Face and Body foundation ($54) in a giveaway hosted by Beautezine, and I am so pleased with how it works on my skin.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Face Palette | Review

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Face Palette

Earlier in the summer, I felt as if this Make Up For Ever palette was following me. Popping up on social media, featured in blog giveaways, and gracing the cheeks of my favourite YouTubers. I bit the bullet and purchased the Sculpting Face Palette in shade 20 ($54) for light skin tones.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Avoid The Makeup Meltdown!

Farmaesthetics review

I am partial to a simple morning routine: 10 minutes for makeup, and very little skincare underneath. Especially going into winter, I adapt certain steps to make sure that my face makeup is simple and light so that it doesn't melt off by the end of the day.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

FOREO LUNA™ mini 2 Save the Sea | Review

Foreo LUNA mini 2

Soon after I purchased my Clarisonic Mia 1™ in 2012 (Read: How to Deep Clean a Clarisonic), alternatives to this popular cleansing brush began to enter into the ring. I have been so intrigued by the FOREO brand for years, and I was literally jumping up and down when I received this limited edition "Save the Sea" FOREO LUNA mini 2 for review. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Mani Ideas | 2016

Halloween mani
Halloween has come and gone, and I'm already looking forward to next year. Now before I get ahead of myself, here's my DIY mani from this past week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Japanese Skincare & Makeup Favourites | Jealousy Beauty

japanese beauty

I remember the thrill of buying my first Korean BB cream back in 2011 - Skin79 Hot Pink Super Plus BB Cream SPF25 ++. It was nearly impossible to find K Beauty products in Canada back then, so I would resort to blogger swatches and shopping online. After going through 3 full bottles, I decided to explore more North American options to keep things within reach for the main readership of my blog.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Most Chic Gifts Ever | L'OCCITANE Advent Calendar 2016

L'Occitane Advent Calendar

It's dark when I leave for work, holiday sets are up for grabs, and I'm bringing gloves around with me once again. Helllooooooo Autumn!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or any other holiday, beauty advent calendars like this ($59 CAD) are a very effective way to try out 24 best-selling products from favourite brands like L'OCCITANE. With a value of $117, this current online exclusive will be available in store only beginning Oct. 26, 2016.

The (only) downside? They somehow forgot to include my beloved Immortelle Oil Makeup Remover. Well, there's always hope for next year.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Stick Foundation Review | Cream Contour Shade 420 Bisque (N)

420 Bisque N

I am so happy that I got to test out and review the #LancomeTIUstick through ChickAdvisor. As someone who always uses a cream contour product for my everyday makeup routine (see it here), I had a feeling that this would be an all star. I'll admit that I was a bit unimpressed by the packaging, as I wish the tube covered the entire stick of foundation. I also find the label to be a little bit blasé. I'm always scared to nick the stick with the cap, since it doesn't roll all the way down.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Delia Organics | Canadian Skincare Review

Delia Organics Review

Earlier in the summer I got in touch with Delia Organics to try out a collection of their products. I'll admit that I do quite a bit of research before trying new skincare, to keep the whole process fun and stress-free. Skincare is something that you must integrate slowly, to ensure the ingredients are suitable for your skin type.

It has been so difficult to find a line of products from one company that provide a simple, powerful, no-fuss routine. Though I still adore brands like Paula's Choice, and everything mentioned here, I've found some serious winners which are ALL from Canada. Delia Organics offers quick cleansers, nourishing oils, powerful treatments, refreshing serums, and light, soothing lotions. Shop Vancouver-based Delia Organics here.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Weekend Drinks | Appleton Estate Rum

Jamaican mule

The hot summer months make for a very refreshing fall, and I'm so excited to warm up with some delicious, spicy cocktails now that the October chill is in full force.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Aspire Eyewear | "Popular" Frames in Navy

aspire eyewear

"Hold on, I can't see."

Ah, the joys of nearsightedness. I've been wearing glasses for ten years now, and it's a love-hate kind of thing. At one point, I only wore monthly contacts, which I would wash and put away at nighttime. Now that I'm working at a computer every day, glasses are my go-to as I suffer from dry eyes and contacts become very uncomfortable after a few hours.


Monday, September 19, 2016

What's On My Desk

Jason Wu Caudalie

Monday, funday! 
*Said no one ever*


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Summer Beauty Secrets | The Body Shop

body shop review

I'm making summer last as looooong as possible, and these gorgeous goodies from The Body Shop have been keeping my skin nourished and fresh.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Easy Tapas Recipes

A few weeks ago I was a guest at a tapas-themed party. It was so fun, especially since it was potluck style. In the above photo you'll see what we prepared: fried peppers, "papas bravas", and my favourite dish brought by another guest, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe with cheese and chili flakes. Yum!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Best in Brows | Cool, Light Toned Browns

I love a good brow. It's a step that I won't miss in a full face of makeup, so I go through brow products regularly. Years ago I would use any brown powder that I had on hand (routine here), paired with a slanted liner brush and a spoolie to blend out the colour. My skin gets oily and it's difficult to blot inside the brow area, so I've always enjoyed the natural effect and easy application of powders.

I've rotated between a few (Body Shop, Annabelle, Lancôme's Cappuccino, Marcelle, etc.) but once I realized that my perfect taupe shade only came packaged in an eyeshadow palette (Lancome Petal Pusher here) I decided to start shopping around. I tried MAC Omega and a few others, but nothing looked just right. There is something very appealing about a super thin pencil to mimic the natural appearance of hairs, so once I began testing, I was hooked.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Best Sangria From The LCBO

sangria recipe

Sangria is a total crowd pleaser for its light, fruity taste and deep wine base. It's easy to drink, easy to serve, and can be a refreshing way to cool down during these hot summer days. I often don't have the opportunity to plan all of my drinks ahead, so buying a pre-mixed sangria is ideal.

During a last-minute LCBO run before a party with friends earlier in July, I picked up three of their lower priced bottles to try and compare throughout the evening.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Burberry Eye Colour Contour Smoke & Sculpt Pen in Dusky Mauve | Review

Eye Colour Contour Smoke & Sculpt Pen 116

Instead of watching TV, I like to keep up with too many YouTube channels to count, some of which you can find here in a past favourites post.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Removing Makeup With Only Water? | FaceOff Cloth Review

FaceOff Makeup Cloth 
I'll admit that I totally love wearing makeup every day to work. Though I am sometimes forced to throw it on during my 1-hour commute, nothing makes me feel more pulled together. When I get home, it all needs to come off, and I don't have much patience when doing so.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Rimmel Wonder'lash Volume Colourist Mascara | Review

Review Rimmel Wonder'lash Volume Colourist Mascara

I recently bought this brand new mascara on a whim when I was in Shoppers Drug Mart since it was on sale for $7.99. I've always wanted darker lashes, and this mascara claims to tint or dye your lashes darker within two weeks of consistent use. Upon first application, I found the packaging to be really cheap feeling. This isn't a problem, it's just unnecessary to have such a massive tube.

Lashes before
Lashes after application

The mascara itself is very dark, and I find the brush to be extraordinarily long - which isn't the easiest to work with. The product is super lengthening, but not volumizing or curling. It dries very fast and is pretty sticky, causing my lashes to clump up - especially with multiple coats. Usually if you get a spot of mascara on your eyelid, the best way to wipe it off is to wait until it has dried. If you wait even 10 seconds with this mascara before wiping it off, green dye will be left behind on your skin. The lash dye comes off rather quickly with soap and water, but on your eye area, that won't be so easy.

As I wore the mascara, I found it to be flaky and not good for building up length. My lashes didn't look super full and fluttery, and the dye caused some awkward smudging under my lower lash line at the end of a long day. In general, I could use a less-dark mascara than this super black one.

Brush shape in relation to my eye

Final Verdict:

My lashes were not darker after 2 weeks. I didn't even bother taking a photo because nothing had changed. I use an oil makeup remover every night (L'Occitane Immortelle Remover Oil) and I only noticed that my under-eye area and lower lash line looked a bit darker than usual after washing it off. Not cute. I've gotten my lashes tinted once before, and that was the first and last time since my eyes are far too sensitive and it really burned.

I do prefer this type of classic bristle brush to the rubber variety, but I don't prefer the straight cone shape of Volume Colourist. I find that a more hourglass shaped brush (or anything that shorter and more curved) fits my eye shape a lot better. I'd pass on Rimmel mascara and stick with Maybelline - their Flamed Out is my go-to!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Visiting Cinque Terre, Italy

This is a recount from one of Lauren's recent trips to Europe. To see more of her posts, click here.

Corniglia, Italy

This could very well be the one millionth blog post on the internet about Cinque Terre, Italy, since it is just that incredible. The photos speak for themselves, so I’ll be sharing some of the finer things from our recent visit.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Best Hair Tie Ever? | Hair Slinky by La Vita Glam

La Vita Glam

A few years back my sister Alissa introduced us to these stretchy coil hair elastics that comfortably hold up a ponytail without creating kinks. As veteran lifeguards, we would use similar coil bands (example) to keep our whistles on our arms. And yes.. I'll admit to using my whistle a few times to hold my hair up in a pony. But only on those extremely hot days!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wet n Wild Reviews | Blushes, Contour Palettes & Highlighters

color icon blush review

Some of my first-ever makeup buys were from wet n wild. YouTube stars raved on and on about the Color Icon Blush in Heather Silk, the 8-Pan Comfort Zone Eyeshadow Palette, and the Color Icon Bronzer (um, highlight) in Reserve Your Cabana. Two of those classic favourites were featured here in my 2014 "10 Drugstore Makeup Items", and they're still going strong in the beauty community today.

Wet n Wild Reviews | Shadows & Liners

wet n wild review

Earlier this year I attended an event for wet wild's new spring collection. The products I tried out were either brand new and totally unique, or repackaged and reformulated versions of their bestsellers. This post is a quick overview of some new eye shadows and eyeliners.

Wet n Wild Reviews | Primers, Powders & Setting Spray

To continue with my series of wet wild reviews, I wanted to dedicate a post to bases and setting products that are supposed to prep, prime and protect your makeup from slipping off throughout the day.

Wet n Wild Reviews | Mega Slicks Lip Gloss

wined and dined
Mega Slicks Lip Gloss in 550 Wined and Dined, and 559 Great Coral-ation

Sound the alarms, I've found my favourite drugstore lipgloss. This must be one very good lip product since I can wear it all day, re-apply multiple times (without putting on a balm in between) and enjoy the colour even when it's wearing off. I now present, wet n wild's Mega Slicks Lip Gloss in Wined and Dined which costs a mere 3-ish dollars.

Monday, August 1, 2016

VICHY Ideal Body Care | ChickAdvisor Product Review Club

Vichy Moisturizer

It's always a good day when a ChickAdvisor Product Review Club package arrives at the door, and this one from Vichy was extra exciting. I was recently given the opportunity to test out three new Ideal products, formulated with iconic Vichy Thermal Spa Water to create a skincare routine that leaves your skin feeling comfortable, nourished and pampered.

Monday, July 25, 2016

CLINIQUE City Block Purifying Charcoal Collection | Review

Clinique City Block Charcoal

After coming home from a day out in the city, I always feel like I need to wash my face. And feet. City pollution and environmental toxins can pile up on the surface of our skin, so it is crucial to (gently) scrub off all the makeup and grime before heading to bed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shower #Shelfie | №1

Tresemme Beauty-Full Volume

Ah, summer. My routine doesn't change too much when the weather heats up, so I wanted to share a little update on my shower essentials featuring a few new products that I've been loving every single day.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Life in Havana | Exploring Cuba as an English Teacher


The day after my sister's wedding back in April, I hopped on a flight to Havana for a highly anticipated month-long teaching adventure. Myself and 15 of my classmates were visiting teachers at Varona University's Faculty of Foreign Languages. The Cuban students there were also studying to become English teachers. It was such a rewarding experience to share our Canadian perspective as we learned about Cuban traditions and the importance of English around the world.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Inspired To Taste Canada | #HBxTasteCanada

Derek Dammann and Chris Johns

As I become more and more of a real adult, cooking has creeped its way into my life. We gotta eat at some point, so why not make it enjoyable?

In this first photo you'll see Derek Dammann preparing the Wild Garlic Pasta, which acquired that bright green colour from "wild garlic" or "bear leeks", a type of leafy vegetable. (p. 39 of True North)


Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Experience at The Body Blitz Spa in Toronto

body blitz spa

Last weekend my sisters and I spent the afternoon at the spa for a little bridal party getaway in the city. This was a first for us, and definitely not a last. The women-only Body Blitz Spa has two locations in Toronto, one at 71 Adelaide St. West and the other at 497 King St. East. We went to the Adelaide St West location, since the East location couldn't accommodate all of our treatments at the same time. We chose to take part in the "Body Blitz Spa Day Extravaganza" to make the most out of the baths and body treatments that afternoon.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

5-Minute Chocolate Banana Mug Cake Recipe

Mug cake recipe

The amount of times I crave brownies during an average week is probably concerning. There's just something so satisfying about a smooth chocolatey snack mid-afternoon, but due to laziness I almost always resort to a little KitKat instead. 

I've been seeing mug cake recipes all around Pinterest lately, so one day I decided to try it out. Needless to say, I'm hooked. 5 minutes, 5 ingredients, and a whole lot of yum. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Paula's Choice 4 Mattes & A Glam Eyeshadow Palette Review

Earlier in March I shared a review of my new skincare line that I got from Paula's Choice. I was so excited to see that they included one of the 4 Mattes & A Glam eyeshadow palettes in the box, since I'm borderline addicted to creamy nude tones on the eye.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Paula's Choice CALM Collection | Review & Updated Routine

Paula's Choice Reviews

If I could recommend only one skincare brand to provide options for any age and skin type, it would have to be Paula's Choice. I've already invested a small fortune into this company, because I trust their philosophy and formulations over anything else. Seeing that they sell products exclusively online, I frequently rely on reviews to help make well-informed decisions.

I was recently invited to join a campaign through the Pretty In My Pocket Network, which allowed me to try out a full range of products tailored to my skin type. Paula's Choice does not test on animals and they offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee (within 60 days) since the team is committed to helping people find the best products for their skin. In fact, everyone can receive a free personal skincare consultation just by calling their customer care line (1-800-831-4088). If you're curious about ingredients or treatments, their website has a full encyclopedia of advice for every type of skin care concern. 


Saturday, March 19, 2016

What's In My Bag? | Fashion Week Edition

What's in my bag video

Amidst the #MarchMadness of work and finals, I escaped to Toronto Fashion Week for some CBB mingling and the Mondor fashion show earlier this week.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Wet n Wild Cruelty Free Makeup Brushes | Review

wet n wild brushes
wet n wild®’s cruelty-free makeup brushes

I'm on a bit of a makeup brush kick right now, and today I have an adorable set of tools that will surely put a spring in your step. wet n wild’s new line of cruelty free brushes (17 in total) are made of an exclusive thermoplastic polymer complex, which is designed to mimic the small breaks and imperfections found in natural hair.

These “micro breaks” along the hair shaft create friction to pick up powder with a single swipe. Both PETA certified and vegan, these highly affordable brushes are just as effective as those made from animal hair.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

EcoTools Makeup Brush Collection

ecotools collection

I first tracked down EcoTools makeup brushes at Honey Fig boutique back in high school. I collected almost all of their brushes with the original silver ferrule, and even a few doubles. For the most part, the ones that I have are still in tip-top condition. I actually forgot to include my favourite travel brush in these photos - the Retractable Kabuki featured here. More recently, I've been obsessing over their bath and body tools, which I reviewed here.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Wet n Wild Velvet Matte Lip Crayon | Review & Swatches

wet n wild matte velvet

Liquid lipstick, contouring palettes, and glowing highlighters. Makeup trends are forever evolving, and I always enjoy indulging in a select few. On an almost daily basis, I wear concealer, mascara, brows and blush. Lip balm is a give in, especially in the winter. So the one product that I just can't get behind is lipstick. I'll swipe some on for a night out or special meeting, but the smudging and resulting dryness never seems to be worth it.

One of the new products that I'm trying out from wet n wild is their Velvet Matte Lip Color Crayon. Available in 9 shades, these pencils are a great drugstore find when you're looking for a fresh and fun lip colour for the spring.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Wet n Wild 1 Step WonderGel | Nail Polish Review

  1 step wonder gel review

Nail polish is the one product that I exclusively purchase from the drugstore. I'm a big fan of the regular Wild Shine collection from wet n wild (reviewed here) because I can count on their rich pigmentation and thin, workable consistency. The one downside? Their packaging is totally sub-par.

Since I change up my nail colour every week or two, gel manicures aren't something I invest in. I was excited to get my hands on the 1 Step WonderGel polishes from wet n wild as they claim to leave a finish that is comparable to UV cured gel. I swear by my OPI Nail Envy Matte base coat, so I still follow my 3 step routine outlined here. Nevertheless these are high quality drugstore polishes that come off easy using an acetone-free nail polish remover. And look at those beautiful, durable bottles! Complete with a flat, rounded edge brush, this collection is topping the charts.

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