Monday, December 30, 2019

Scalp Exfoliators: Low, High or DIY?

Scalp Exfoliator Review DIY

I remember trying the LUSH “big” shampoo maybe six years ago, and being shocked at how clean it left my hair feeling. This product is essentially a salt scrub for the scalp, a genius step for someone like me who suffers from oily and congested skin – truly from head to toe. I don’t typically re-purchase lush products since I find them to be a bit expensive, but this idea of a frequent scalp treatment remained on my mind.

To go along with a scalp scrub, I have tried many vinegar rinses - one of them included here, I mostly use my own concoction:

DIY Scalp Rinse
  • one part apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
  • two parts water
After a deep clean with a scalp scrub (making sure to section my hair to really work the product into the skin) I apply my vinegar rinse using a squirt bottle with a skinny nozzle. This acts as a toner to further remove buildup, help keep my hair follicles from overproducing oil and thus becoming clogged.

I haven’t found the perfect DIY scalp scrub yet, but I’m sure you can make one easily. Instead, I’ve tried one from the higher end brand IGK, and a lower end option from The Body Shop. Read on to see how the two products differ, and rather significantly.
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Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Best Concealers at the Drugstore

Best Concealer at Drugstore

Concealer is a product that I'm always repurchasing, mostly because it makes the biggest difference in my makeup routine. It's also the one step that I do almost every single morning! Although I have tried many high-end options over the years (MACNARSCharlotte TilburyTarteClarins, YSL, etc.) some of my ride-or-die options are under $15.
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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Easy Wedding Guest Hair and Makeup | Warm, Beachy Tones using Catrice and Quo

Easy Wedding Guest Hair Makeup

I really like going to weddings, and lately I have been buying most of my fancy outfits from Evernew. I knew that I wanted to mimic the warm glitter of my dress in my eye look earlier this fall, so here's the breakdown of what I used to achieve it. Most of the items are new releases from Quo Cosmetics and Catrice Cosmetics. I love how Catrice products are all under $20, and Quo is usually right around that price as well.
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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Best Drugstore and High End Foundation for Combination Skin

Best Drugstore and High End Foundation for Combination Skin

I remember when I almost exclusively wore mousse foundations, as they were my one-stop-shop for full coverage, a satin finish and long wearing results. Proof, here. My OGs were the Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, which I still have in my kit, and the Essence Soft Touch Mousse which honestly changed my life after purchasing it in France on summer exchange. When Revlon discontinued my beloved ColorStay Whipped Creme Foundation, they replaced it with something that was equally as wonderful – but totally different. Revlon foundation is truly some of the best, and a brand that I used almost exclusively last winter. We also use their new whipped foundation in Look Good Feel Better workshops since it is gentle on sensitive skin.

I have since narrowed down a few really amazing options at both the drugstore and department store price point, all of which work very well for my combination skin that tends to get a bit oily. Although I do rely on primer and powder, sometimes I just need to whack something on really quick before work - and these all do the job.
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Monday, December 9, 2019

Revlon Super Lustrous Review | The World's Most Iconic Lipstick

revlon super lustrous review new

Revlon first started selling lipstick in 1939. They created "Super Lustrous" as we now know it back in 1961 and it remains a fan favourite today with one sold every four minutes in the US. So how does the formula perform? With Revlon bringing out a whole host of new shades, finishes and collections, I had to get my hands on them and do a little test.
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Sunday, December 8, 2019

SAXX Gets All Your Mens Holiday Shopping Done in One Place

SAXX underwear review

I find shopping for guys gifts to be a bit of a challenge. So why not strip it back to basics and get them some *highly essential* underthings? That's right folks, SAXX sells more than just underwear - and they ship to Canada too! Here are a few ideas of casual and sporty undergarments (plus a cheeky skincare product) that I indulged in for a gift to Joe.
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Thursday, December 5, 2019

EOS Review | Lip Balm, Shave Cream and Lip Scrub

EOS Lip Scrub Review

Did you know that EOS' first product was not lip balm? As a matter of fact... it was shaving cream!
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

What to Do in BC and Vancouver (Driving in from Alberta)

Visiting Kitsilano Beach Vancouver
Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver 

This is part 2 of my recent trip to Canada's Rocky Mountains. See part 1 here!

A refresher on our rough itinerary: 

(Click to enlarge)
Banff, Jasper, Vancouver Itinerary



After spending 5 days in the woods, Joseph and I were itching to get back to big city life. We drove from Jasper to Kamloops, stopping to see some gorgeous waterfalls on the way.

Wells Gray Falls
Helmcken Falls

Wells Gray Provincial Park is filled with gorgeous waterfalls, all part of the Thompson Okanagan area in Clearwater, BC. We started at the information centre to get a map, then made our way up to Spahats Falls, Helmcken Falls and Dawson Falls. We drove around to each and did not hike since the weather was quite rainy. If it was a gorgeous sunny day, we would have considered hiking 2.5 hr to Moul Falls too.

Thompson Okanagan Clearwater BC
Spahat's Falls, and my cool, new Patagonia hiking pants ;)

We also crossed a time zone while driving into BC! I definitely looked a bit younger after that.



In order to break up the 10 hour drive from Jasper to Vancouver, we stayed in Kamloops for the night. We had dinner at The Noble Pig, and enjoyed a luxe stay at the Marriott hotel. The food at The Noble Pig was fine, and clearly not a bad choice since the folks sitting beside us were just off the Rocky Mountaineer train. Which costs an arm and a leg... then some.

Sea to Sky Highway Waterfall
Views from our hike around the Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

After spending crazy amounts of $$ on Albertan hotels, I decided to book an Airbnb in Vancouver. Our building was really nice and new, located right beside the Matchstick Coffee Shop in Chinatown. This is a gentrified neighbourhood just steps away from the worst intersection in Vancouver. We accidentally walked through this part of the city (Hastings and Main) and won’t be doing that again. Drug addiction is a massive problem in Vancouver, so every morning the sidewalks, parks and bus shelters are littered with needles. I felt safe in the city, but this was very shocking to me since I’ve never seen anything that extreme (and so concentrated) in downtown Toronto.

Tacofino Taco Bar Vancouver

We settled into our accommodations in Vancouver, then ate dinner at Tacofino Taco Bar. We have grown quite an affinity to sharing a pitcher of margarita, which was a delightful way to wind down. Afterwards we went up to the Vancouver Observatory deck for a nice sweeping view of the city as the sun went down.

Vancouver Observatory deck

We made the most of our rental car by keeping it for one extra night in Vancouver (parking it overnight in a lot near our Airbnb) and driving up the Sea to Sky highway to visit Whistler for a day. We stopped at more waterfalls on our way.

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

Make sure to type Brandywine Falls into your Google Maps during the Sea to Sky trek. This adventure includes a hike, but it’s pretty flat. The path will take you into the woods and over old railroad tracks until you come to an overlook of the waterfall.

Brandywine waterfall on the way to whistler
Brandywine Falls

At this point, it was the afternoon when we made it into Whistler. I was tired AF trying to get going that morning, hiking is NO JOKE PPL. But we got there, and were destined to head to the top of the mountains.

Sea to Sky

Taking multiple gondolas up the mountains was incredible. I was feeling a bit congested and it caused my ears to feel like they were going to crumple up and fall off. But the views are spectacular.

Peak to Peak Whistler Blackcomb Tickets

Spanning the distance between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the Guinness World Record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola provides "an unparalleled perspective of British Columbia's rooftop and incomparable views of towering volcanic peaks, coastal rainforests, and ancient glacier". 

I can't remember how much our Peak to Peak tickets were exactly, but they weren't cheap. Maybe $50? We also didn't know that the brand new Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge located at the Top of the World Summit closed PROMPTLY at 4:15 pm. So sad! We'll have to go back.

Top of the World Summit Whistler

In order to make it back down in time to catch the final gondola, we did a quick walk around Top of the World summit (no time for the 1hr hike) then we travelled back down to enjoy kangaroo meat pies at Peaked Pies in Whistler Village.

On our way back to Vancouver we drove through Squamish, eating dinner on a small restaurant patio. It was a bit uneventful in town, and would have been nicer if we had more time to hike around the area. We also stopped off at Shannon Falls - the third highest waterfall in British Columbia. You get a great view from the main parking lot, so no trekking needed. It was getting dark and cold, which added to the eerie feel as three vloggers had actually slipped into Shannon Waterfall in and died just days prior. Be very. very. careful around these areas of nature.

That night we dropped off the car at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver (recommendation: drop off at an airport instead to save $$) and made our way back to the Airbnb. We walked around the Gaslamp District and saw the incredible tooting Gastown Steam Clock! Check out my vlog for a clip.

We also ate all-you-can-eat sushi in downtown Van, then waddled it off while discovering the area. We even stumbled upon a Netflix filming set with actors dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos entering one of the old heritage buildings.

Stanley Park Totem Poles

The following morning we lived up to our vacation essential: biking around the biggest park we can find! We rented some wheels and headed to Stanley Park to see the Redwoods, Totem Poles and the gorgeous coast.

Lunch in Stanley Park

We had some yummy burgers for lunch, sat on a picnic bench soaking up the summer warmth. Stanley Park is a huge area filled with winding roads, so it's very easy to get lost. Give yourself lots of time and enjoy the ride. Also - bring mosquito repellent.

Fanny Bay Oysters

That evening we had dinner at Fanny Bay Oysters. Yuuuum! I had the daily special: a broth of mixed seafood with crispy tortillas. Our server had actually worked in Toronto before at the famous Rodney's Oyster House, and many oyster shuckers visit T.O. for annual shucking competitions.

Fanny Bay Vancouver
Here are the oysters we tried

Frosé Cactus Club

After dinner we walked down to the Fairmont Pacific Rim, took a lap of the *exquisite* lobby then stopped for a drink at Cactus Club Coal Harbour. This is located in a really hip area, just beside Canada Place. It is here where I fell in love with Frosé. Blended, frozen, fruity Rosé. I have since had many glasses of this summer essential and am forever grateful to Cactus Club for bringing it into my life.

Granville Island Silos
Giants on Granville Island Silos

The following day I was feeling a little impulsive and went to get a mani-pedi. We were in Chinatown, but I still managed to pay a lot! Ha ha, welcome to Vancouver. Joseph spent that extra hour and a half strolling around and stopping into a cafe for an espresso and croissant. At this point in the vacation (one week in) we needed a short break from each other's constant presence. this was a lovely way to separate for a bit.

Granville Island Public Market

We ventured to Granville Island for the afternoon and had sausages and pickles and donuts for lunch. Does life get any sweeter?

Lee's Doughnuts Granville Island
Enjoying some Lee's Doughnuts 

After Granville we went to Kitsilano. There was a cute fruit stand so we enjoyed a box of Okanagan cherries on Kits Beach. Yesssss.


A few notes where transportation is concerned...

1. There is no Uber in Vancouver, but they do have the “Yellow Cab” taxi app. It is generally terrible, but occasionally works! Use with caution, I’d recommend always paying in the taxi itself since it’s easy for someone to get into your ride without you knowing, and charging the card on file.

2. The public transit system in Van is OK – make sure to carry change for the bus and note that Sky Train tickets allow you to tap in and out multiple times during the 90 minutes your trip is active. Bus passes do not work for the train.

3. If you’re going to Granville Island I’d recommend the SeaBus. We took it one-way and it cost $7 for 2 people. You’ll save $1 if you buy a round-trip ticket, but we decided to take a taxi back to save our legs.

Museum of Anthropology

For our last full day in Vancouver, we went to the Museum of Anthropology. The museum is situated on UBC campus and is filled with awesome native art.

Vancouver Museums

We took advantage of the back-to-back free tours led by volunteers Arlee and Joyce. We adored this, since it was so much easier to learn and absorb all that the museum had to offer without having to read every little plaque. The leaders told us the most important parts, and also showed us how to use the museum's interactive computers to get added info in each of the exhibits.

Museum of Anthropology BC
How amazing is this mosaic sculpture? Reminds me of the handmade Grace Touchie beaded ring that I bought in the gift shop.
The photo on the right is Bill Reid's "creation" sculpture in the rotunda.

We stayed for around 4-5 hours and stopped for a quick lunch at the museum cafe. I enjoyed a kale salad and Joe had a wrap. We ended off by walking around UBC campus then took the city bus back to downtown. Looking out the window on the way in was nice.

Big House Native Vancouver
Our guide explaining the customs of the native Haida and Coast Salish peoples who lived in traditional Big Houses 

Museum of Anthropology Vancouver

Gain Wah Restaurant Vancouver

Even though we stayed in Chinatown, we sadly didn't make it into the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in the neighbourhood. We did enjoy authentic Chinese food at Gain Wah resto on our last night though. Aside from some rowdy guests (it's expected in that area) the experience was lovely - and so affordable.
Vancouver was so incredible, and surely convinced me that it's a Canadian city that I could see myself living in some day. Next time I'm in BC, I want to visit Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Kelowna, Osoyoos and fit in a wine tour! And of course, return to the mountains in the winter for skiing.

Happy travels,
xx
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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Avène Hydrance Aqua Cream-In-Gel Review

Avène Hydrance Aqua Cream-In-Gel Review

I've always loved Avène for their soothing skincare that manages to make my skin look so much better - even after one use. The Soothing Moisture Mask, specifically, has been mentioned on my site many times. When I saw their Hydrance Aqua Cream-In-Gel released earlier this summer, I knew I had to try it out. As I grow older, I realize that my sensitive, combo skin sometimes just needs a drink of water and a blanket of redness-reducing moisturizer before bed. No acids, no charcoal, no fuss. Here's how the two products compare, as I use them both as a before-bed restorative mask.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

FRESH Rose Toner vs. The Body Shop British Rose Toner

FRESH Rose Toner

When I'm tired, toner is a step that I may skip out on during my nighttime routine. That being said, I definitely don't want to discount the value and truly wonderful results that a toner can bring into your life, which these two pretty bottles can provide. The FRESH Rose Toner ($45 US) is a very popular product, which works well to balance my combination skin. When I saw The Body Shop British Rose Petal-Soft Gel Toner ($18 CAD) this summer, I knew I had to try it out to see if they compare. 
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Friday, November 22, 2019

QUO 2019 Holiday Collection Review

QUO 2019 Holiday Collection Review

Fa la la la omg I love shopping for makeeeuuuupppp....

I think the best part about QUO is that it is extremely accessible. There's practically a Shoppers on every corner, and I've seen these goodies stocked and ready for the pickin'. The 2019 QUO Holiday Collection is immense, at 40+ pieces you're bound to find something to please any beauty lover in your life. Read on to see swatches of all of the items I received.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Where To Go On A Weekend Trip To Prince Edward County | Travel Vlog

Drake Devonshire Review
View at Drake Devonshire

I loveee a good weekend road trip. For my birthday this year, I took Friday off work and we drove to Prince Edward County for 3 days. Enamoured by the endless rows of vineyards, chic inns (Hi, Drake Devonshire) and classic small-town-Ontario Main Street shops, I knew it would be a great getaway.

The Owl's Nest Suites

Finding a place to stay in the summer right near the "downtown" of Picton isn't easy or cheap, so Joseph found a lovely spot at The Owl's Nest Suites in Belleville which was about a 10-20 min drive from all of our desired attractions. I’d recommend staying either in Wellington or Picton if you can. This would allow for more walking and less driving, but the winding roads are still very fun as you get to see pretty fields, cows and horsies.

One disappointing fact was that it rained all day on Sunday, and it wasn't very warm overall. Because of this, we didn't get to visist Sandbanks and we avoided walking through the Provincial Parks due to the risk of flies and mosquitoes. I would love to go back again to enjoy the beach on a warm day.

The Owl's Nest has 3 "straw bale" suites, each a unique work of art. The sinks, shower tiles, back splashes, dishes and lamps are all hand made out of pottery by the owner, Janna. A lot of the furniture has been lovingly crafted out of salvaged barn wood. Each suite has its own entrance, washroom and kitchenette. Guests are welcome to bring their own goodies and prepare their meals in the suite kitchenette.

Check out my video for a play-by-play of the weekend, and see below for some recommendations on food and outings:



Here are a few things we did during the weekend:

Food

- Started off with buying some bagels and a chocolate banana loaf at What a Bagel along with some peaches and drinks/snacks for the road since there was no breakfast/restos close to our Inn

- County Canteen in Picton – visited for our last dinner, good food – got ribs, a bit salty

Miller House Reservation

- Miller House for lunch – located at Lake on a Mountain, beautiful view, not much else to do there but go to restaurant/cafe

Miller House Prince Edward County Lake on a Mountain

- We had a drink and dessert at the patio of Miller Inn after lunch - great view!

The Drake Devonshire Brunch
The Drake Devonshire Brunch

- The Drake Devonshire for weekend brunch – so good, got Eggs Benny and Classic Breakfast

- Prince Eddy Brewing Co – pretty patio with beach volleyball court, could be a fun place to hang around at or around dinner time. We went in the rain, so we just bought some beers and moved on.

Sunflower Fields Prince Edward

Sunflower Fields Prince Edward County

Outings

- Sunflower Fields at sunset and ice cream - $5 entry per person, they also do yoga in the sunflowers, so cute

- Winery Tour at Sandbanks Winery – paid $45 ppn for 45 min yoga with Vicky, personal stone oven pizza and a wine tasting

Sandbanks Winery

Sandbanks Winery Yoga in the Vineyard

Sandbanks Winery Tasting Tour

Wine and pizza Sandbanks Winery

Sandbanks Wine Prince Edward County Winery
The wine we bought

- At Sandbanks Winery we learned that even though Malbec is traditionally from France, some of the best ones are now from South America, and pair very well red meat.  We learned about late harvest vs. ice wine (different degrees of sweetness), and I was also recommended Hinterland Whitecap VQA sparkling white wine, which I haven't tried yet - but definitely will over the holidays.

Kinsip Distillery Review

- Souvenir idea? I ended up buying the ingredients for a new cocktail recipe while visiting different wineries and distilleries, recommended by our wine tour leader Grace: Love Rosé, Juniper Gin from Kinsip, Orange Bitters and garnished with an orange peel

Coriander Girl Prince Edward

Want to do next time

- Alpaca farm in Wellington (bad weather but would have gone, close to lavender fields which were no longer in season)

- Presq’ile – no time to visit, we went to yoga instead. You must pay $20 to go in. It's a big provincial park to walk/hike around.

- Sandbanks beach – would have loved to go but we had bad weather

- Lavender – all gone for the season, next time (visit before mid-August, more sunflowers will be alive then too)

- Slicker’s Ice cream – a few locations, they close at 9 so you must go quick after dinner!

-County Cider Company – my colleague recommended the blood orange cider – really unique, didn't try it

Sunflower Fields Ontario Visit

Happy travels!
xx
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