, pub-5075614835530024, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 2020 | Classically Contemporary

Saturday, December 12, 2020

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS! | Stocking Stuffers, Skincare Sets, Self-Care Essentials and Handmade Masks!

Holiday Gift Ideas

I've been thinking all about gifting lately, spending time choosing awesome items that are thoughtful and apt for the time that we are living in right now. Here are a few ideas for very affordable stocking stuffers, along with unique and select locally-made gift sets to please both the girls and guys in your life.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Shower Routine Essentials

shower essentialsDuring a lockdown, it's so easy to let our personal hygiene routines fall to the way side. I was realizing at the beginning of WFH life in the spring, there were too many "more important" things to do than wash and dry my hair properly, put on some makeup or wear non-pyjama pants. But once I started doing those things again - I felt like a million bucks! I want to encourage all of you to stick to a regular shower or bath routine during lockdown, so here are some of my favourite products that keep me fresh for both Zoom calls, and in-person outings.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Best Face Oil for Combination and Acne-Prone Skin | Benefits of Gua Sha Facial Massage

Best Face Oil for Combination and Acne-Prone Skin

Ah, the change in season. It tends to throw off my skin each time. From the harsh heating/freezing of winter to humid summer days, I'm often changing up my products frequently to accommodate. One thing that stays consistent is the incredible healing, calming and rejuvenating effects of applying and massaging a plant oil into my combo skin. 


Friday, October 9, 2020

10 Mascara Reviews: From Drugstore to High End

Best Drugstore Mascara for Volume

As a follow-up to my Best Lash Primers post, I wanted to share a big ol' post detailing my favourite (and some not-so-favourite) mascaras from the past year or two. I used to do a bunch of "Splurge or Save" comparisons with lots of popular mascaras featured, so check these out for some more amazing dupes:

Monday, October 5, 2020

Best Mascara Primer | Drugstore Dupe for Dior Maximizer 3D and Marc Jacobs Lash Primer

Mascara Primers from the Drugstore

My mascara primer journey began a few years ago when I received a sample of the Dior Diorshow Maximizer 3D Triple volume plumping lash primer ($39) as a GWP from the Dior boutique in Vegas. Once it ran dry, I knew I had to repurchase the full size. This primer is my absolute favourite for its ability to create dense texture and fullness, while also improving the natural thickness and curl of our lashes thanks to an oil-serum concentrate infused into the formula. I end up using less mascara when I have a lash primer on, and it helps reduce clumping, crispiness, dried out lashes and flaking/transfer throughout the day.

This discovery completely changed my mascara game, and since the near $40 price tag is a bit steep, I wanted to try out a whole bunch of other formulas on the market starting at $5 to see if they even compared. This Dior tube does last a very long time though, so let's see how the others stack up.


Sunday, October 4, 2020

How To Get Anna Wintour's Bob Hairstyle | TUTORIAL

Anna Wintour Bob Hair

When I first decided to try a haircut with bangs, it was just a regular day at work and I asked my fashionable colleagues what I should do at my lunchtime hair appointment. Raj mentioned that I could try bangs, and I'm so happy I did. With my cowlick at the front right side, I don't properly style my bangs every day, but when I do, it's a fun look. I noticed that when I use my Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer to get that super smooth 'do, it looks a heck of a lot like Anna Wintour! 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

LIPSTICK TAG! Favourites, flops, high and low from my Collection

lipstick tag video

My friend Alanna tagged me in a lipstick collection video onYouTube, and I was so excited to take part! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BELIF True Cream: Aqua Bomb and Moisturizing Bomb | Skincare Review

belif Aqua Bomb

When Korean beauty brands started becoming more mainstream in Canada, I became both excited, and a little skeptical. One of the first to hit the shelves at Sephora was Laneige. Although I like their lip sleeping mask and creamy serum, I don't love their product selection overall. It doesn't do much for me and has a lot of fragrance. So when belif started becoming more talked about, I knew I had to get in on the Moisture Bomb crazeAvon is also selling these three products I am featuring today, which is great! they often run more sales than Sephora. Read on to see my thoughts.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

AVON FMG COLOURS OF LOVE MAKEUP TUTORIAL | Featuring AVON Cushions and Love Mascara, Clarisonic Foundation Brush Head and more!


Today is a makeup day, and I'm excited to share a fresh and pretty look with you that's great for day to day, or a patio dinner this fall. 


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Shopping for Eyeglasses Online | Firmoo Review

Firmoo Review
I’ve been shopping for glasses online for years. I’ve also shared my experience shopping with quite heavily, which you can see more of here. After feeling a bit discouraged with my options at Clearly, I decided to try out Firmoo, an even more affordable online glasses store which found me with three new pairs! A few photos are included below, along with a video detailing my experience overall. 


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Daily Essentials from COLAB, Bubble T, I LOVE, 7th Heaven and Perspirex

COLAB, Bubble T, I LOVE, 7th Heaven, Perspirex 
The one thing I've been enjoying about this extra time in lockdown is the amount of freedom I've had to take care of myself. Some weeks were NOT good and I could barely take a minute to brush my hair, but other times were amazing and I would do a full mani-pedi routine with no interruptions. Some of my newer routine additions include hand sanitizers, hand soaps and hand lotions, one of which I'll touch on in this post. Overall, I've loved this opportunity to discover new things and not feel rushed to throw on my beauty products and race out the door each morning. 

Since I am now heading into the office daily, I'm trying to maintain that slower beauty routine since it really is an important part of my day. Here are a few favourites I've been using as of late.

Friday, September 4, 2020

AnthroDesk Ergonomic Wobble Chair Review

Ergonomic Wobble Chair

At-home office furniture sales are understandably soaring right now, and I've also been making little tweaks and improvements where I can to keep my at-home workspace fun, comfy and interesting. Today I wanted to talk about the AnthroDesk Ergonomic Wobble Chair which can be bought online here or on Amazon. I'm still loving my AnthroDesk desk lamp which I reviewed back in March, so check out that post here for more info.

Friday, August 14, 2020

FULL FACE OF CATRICE | HD Liquid Coverage, Camouflage & Slimmatic Concealers, Insta Bae Palette, etc!


Hello Catrice, you are a fantastic drugstore makeup brand! 

Watch the video below to see my "going out" makeup look using a bunch of my brand new and well loved products from Catrice:


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Best Bras for Sweaty Summer Days | WonderBra Heat Regulating, Modest Lingerie

WonderBra Underwire Perfect Cami Bra $46.00

If you've been around here for a while you know my adoration for the WonderBra Europe Refined Glamour collection, and my favourite underwear on earth. After living the slug life in quarantine for a few months, I've recently started getting back into a regular routine, getting dressed most days and going out to work/shop/etc. WonderBra has some amazing underwear out right now that are perfect for hot summer days and the transition to fall. Keep reading to see my two current faves. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

MORNING SKINCARE ROUTINE | Dr.Belmeur, CeraVe, Avon Anew, Olay, High Beauty

go to bed with me morning skincare reacts hyram

I'm a total skincare enthusiast, and I've tried all of the trends over the years. I first started using Korean beauty products back in 2016 or so, and kind of fell off the wagon a bit. I recently began using these goodies from Dr. Belmeur and guys... I am literally never going back. Watch my video below for my entire routine, and keep reading to see a full review on 4 of my favourite K-Beauty essentials.


Friday, July 24, 2020

Introducing Avon Senses Fresh Bergamot & Wild Mint

Avon Senses Review

Seize the day with a fresh bouquet of dewy flowers mixed with spicy bergamot, clean wild mint and luminous solar musk.

I'm a big fan of Avon's classic bubble bath and body products which always leave my sensitive, combination skin feeling clean and balanced. It really is the perfect mix of fun and functional, so I was thrilled to see such fun fragrances released for this summer. Check out the Cozy Vanilla and Coconut, or Sparkling Grapefruit and Orange Blossom online here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

EMPTIES Products I've Used Up | Empties #12

drugstore empties

Believe it or not, this is actually a throwback post to items I used up over a year ago! I haven't gotten around to linking all these beauty bits for you, but just note that for the most part - these are things I enjoyed and I'd encourage you to check out my Empties #11 video to see some details on more things I've finished recently.

If you have any questions on the products featured here, send me a DM on Instagram @madeline_dm and I'd be happy to chat about it! xx


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

QuietOn Sleep Earbuds Review | Noise-Canceling Earplugs

Noise-Canceling Earplugs

I've been doing something truly unbelievable for the past few days. I have been waking up at FIVE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING... albeit against my will.

Just joking, I have volunteered to drive Joseph to the hospital for his surgery rotations, which calls for a 5:30 a.m. start time. Toronto's public transit isn't operating at that hour of the day, so M-UBER it is!

Going to sleep has never been my strength. It's quite common to find me pitter-pattering around at 2 a.m. since I'm a true night owl - and have been since birth, according to my mom. "You've always had your days and nights mixed up!", she'll say.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat Review & Experience (During COVID-19)

Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat Review

Summers are for getaways, and since we can't go too far right now, I am so excited to share my experience from a recent visit to Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat. A beautiful property just 1.5 hours east of Toronto, get ready for a true glamping experience filled with luxe tents and mild wildlife encounters. This was an early birthday gift from my boyfriend Joseph and we *unfortunately* picked one of the chilliest weekends to visit. That being said, we had bright sunshine during the day which made for an amazing time, and we pumped up the heaters to keep our tent cozy in the evening.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Bathroom Essentials | How I've Been Caring for My Fine Hair in Quarantine

Avon Shampoo Review

Guys, can you believe I haven't had my hair cut in nearly ONE WHOLE YEAR? Thanks to a really great result from my last trip to Civello and my low-maintenance haircare routine, I just haven't felt the need. Thennnn quarantine happened... and on day 5 I was wondering why my hair felt a little crispy at the ends. This made me take a closer look at my "bathroom essentials" so I'm here to share a few goodies that will keep your personal hygiene routine on point.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Avon Cashmere Complexion Review | Full Face of Avon Tutorial

Avon Cashmere Complexion Full Face

New favourite foundation alert! I'm loving all of these great Avon makeup products right now, and they've really been encouraging me to wear more makeup in quarantine. Do you also need to stick with a regular skincare and makeup routine to feel confident and productive?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It? | Pros & Cons of Laser Treatments


After writing my post Laser Hair Removal for BLONDE Hair! | The Ten Spot Laser Review I had a lot of friends and family asking what my results were like long-term. Today, I'm excited to share this with you! It has been one year since publishing the video (watch now for a laser demo!) and overall, my results are positive. Here's all you need to know:


Friday, May 22, 2020

10 Things to Do When you Have Time Off, or Get Laid Off

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
One year ago I had some time off between jobs, and I am so thankful to have experienced this break from the "daily grind". I began working in advertising immediately after graduating from university. I had absolutely no time off, which was A-OK because I didn't want to lose momentum. For those three years of working in media sales, I spent all of my vacation time actually on vacation - which was totally worthwhile, but also very busy.

From Italy to Spain, and BC to Cuba, it wasn't uncommon for me to fly out Friday night and arrive home Sunday night, only to start work again on Monday at 9. For adventure-style trips like hiking in Alberta or touring Barcelona by foot, I always felt like I needed a vacation, FROM my vacation! And don't get me started on the prep... I take packing very seriously, and there are many rounds of edits that go into fitting two weeks worth of shiz into a little carry on bag. Believe me, it can be done!

So when my office closed, I felt like a university student again. Being able to wake up at 9 (or later), going to appointments at 2 p.m., and shopping with all the grannies at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. It was fine, but I didn't want to get too used to it. I'm someone who thrives off of routine and needs to be surrounded by inspiring people to get work done. Otherwise, I laze around for hours in the morning, and work on my hobbies, like this blog, into the wee hours of the night. Not good!

This break in my career fortunately happened at the best possible moment. Within the two months, my oldest sister gave birth to her second boy, my middle sister got married, my cousin from Belgium came to stay with us for a week, and I was able to dedicate time to creating a whole new workshop strategy for teens undergoing cancer through my volunteer work with LGFB Canada. It was busy, but there were still moments where I felt a bit empty and unsure of my future. I reconnected with some former colleagues and friends that I had been meaning to see for so long, and those lunches and chats were so awesome. There's nothing quite like the power of human connection, especially when you're looking for direction.

In this wild time that we're experiencing right now, many of us have had to suddenly pivot into a new way of life. I encourage you to try and feel thankful for any extra time you may have right now, or if you are bombarded with extra work, have faith that if we continue to work together, things will get better. During my time off last year, I was able to reevaluate my priorities, reflect on my strengths, write out new goals, and ultimately prepare for the future. Here are 10 things I recommend doing during your next spurt of "time off":

Thursday, May 21, 2020

At-Home Manicure Essentials | DIY Mani Tips

Manicure Essentials At Home

Hi Everyone! I wanted to share some of my favourite at-home-mani essentials for this time in quarantine when salons are closed:

At Home Manicure Tips

Be sure to check out my tried and true tips in this blog post before painting your nails.

Here's a brief summary on how to keep your nails from chipping:

1. Take a bath
2. Remove Cuticles
3. Once dry, buff and file nails
*I like to do this the day before so my nails are super smooth
4. Clean any oil off nails with rubbing alcohol (not polish remover or acetone - those can leave polish-loosening residue) wipe with a muslin style TOWEL - not cotton, that leaves fuzzies!
5. Prep nails with OPI Nail Envy Matte - this strengthening polish always protects my nails from chipping and breaking, along with serving as the ideal matte base for nail polish over top. My nails are never left yellow and one bottle literally lasts 3-5 years
6. Apply 2-3 thin coats of polish and let them fully dry in between (5 min)
Pass over the nail once, don't keep applying! This will make the polish junk up and smear
7. Finish with a generous layer of top coat. My all-time fav is INM Out The Door
8. Again, follow the rule: one-and-done. Do not apply 5 strokes of top coat. 3 max, then let it dry. You can always clean up with an orange stick or apply more!
9. Re-apply top coat every 4 days to keep your mani strong and fresh.
10. Wear dish gloves and apply cuticle oil and hand cream daily to keep the nail beds healthy.


  • Cuticle Oil and Hand Cream - apply this the day after your manicure to prolong the life of your polish and to keep cuticles/nails strong - healthy nails start with moisturized cuticles!
  • Top Coat: Sally Hansen, Essie Top Coat or INM Out The Door (cheapest at Sally’s Beauty)
  • Nail Wheel to practice designs or swatch colours
  • How to remove glitter polish? 100% acetone applied to the nails using a robust cotton pad like these Shiseido ones - then scrub! If any glitter flakes remain, gently use a buffing block or cuticle pusher to remove.

Where do I save all of my favourite nail art ideas? PINTEREST! Follow my nail board here.

Happy painting,

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Growing Up In the 90s | Nostalgic 90s and 00s Fashion, Makeup and Lifestyle Memories

Hi everyone! As Alanna puts it, this is exactly the kind of video that you will want to grab a drink, grab a snack, sit back and enjoy because we're keeping it casual, and chatting through Zoom & Webcams. Let me know if you like this style of video, join the conversation in the comments, and if you love it we would be happy to film another one for Alanna's channel! Hope you enjoy, and be sure to visit Alanna at Classy on the Run.



Sunday, May 17, 2020

Lip Balms that Rival Designer Dupes | CATRICE Lip Care

CATRICE Lip Balm Review

Sundays are for self care in my books. Each time there’s a change in season (still winter to spring here in Toronto) I find my lips need some extra attention. Earlier this winter I began testing Catrice's lip care collection, and boy was it love at first swipe. Read on to see how these lovely lip lustres rival my higher-end favs.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Products I've Used Up | Empties #11

beauty empties

I test out a lot of beauty products so it's always interesting to see what I end up using in its entirety. 99% of the time when I don't get along with a product, I promptly pass it on to a family member or friend so that it doesn't sit on a shelf and go off. I try to make sure to share on my Instagram story before I get rid of it, just to make sure everyone is up to date on my recommendations!


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

BARE Minimum Makeup for Video Calls

Makeup for Zoom Calls

Virtual meetings are becoming quite a constant in most of our lives right now. But it hasn't been easy for me to feel as "revved-up" for events that are happening on my desk, versus those that usually happen in the flesh. Makeup for video calls can feel like a drag, but I need to force myself to do SOMETHING or else I get the infamous, "Madeline, are you sick?" interrogation. It's not the first time, as noted here.

I'm loving some unexpected beauty bits right now which have been providing the prettiest boost in 2 minutes or less. Read on to see how my Guerlain Cheek Stain, Henné Lip Balm and Clarins Milky Boost have been giving me a gorg glow.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Treat Yourself with Avon | Glimmerkiss Liquid Lipstick and Peony Rosé Fragrance

AVON Glimmerkiss Liquid Lipstick Peony Rosé

Now that we're "getting used to" isolation and spending time at home, I think May is the perfect time to start thinking of gifts both for mamas (Hi, Mother's Day!) and for ourselves. The sun is peeking out, short sleeves are becoming a reality, and flowers are blooming. Today I wanted to share some glorious fragrances and flirty lipsticks that you can wear all spring to feel a lil' extra fancy.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Best Vitamin C Serum | What Is It, and Why Do You Need It?

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Serum

Vitamin C is frequently recommended by dermatologists because of its multiple benefits. Now that the weather is warming up and the sun is peeking out, there has never been a better time to start integrating this wonderful ingredient into your daily (ideally, morning) skincare routine.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Shaving My Face?! How To Best Exfoliate The Skin

Best Exfoliators

I'm up for just about anything when it comes to wacky skincare products and trying new treatments. When I first heard about the skin-shaving trend for women, it brought me back to my first-ever facial at Miracle 10 in downtown Toronto.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Vanity Tour | Beauty Room, Makeup Storage & Organization

Come tour my makeup station! See how I store my makeup and tools, along with the products I'm using on a daily basis.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

EASY DIY Reusable Face Mask Tutorial

Here's a quick and easy DIY face mask tutorial using items found around the home. It's adjustable, customizable, cute and secure! The fabric I used is breathable and will act as a great barrier to catch any droplets that can cause the Covid-19 virus to spread. 

Hopw to safely remove a face mask

Always remember to put on and remove your mask properly. Send me photos of your DIY masks on Instagram @madeline_dm!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Best Moisturizer at the Drugstore | BIODERMA Review

I remember when Bioderma's Sensibio H2O micellar water first came to Canadian drugstores, making it no longer an item that could only be tracked down at French pharmacies. Since then, their entire line has become a staple in my bathroom. Although I don't love their gel facial cleansers (I find them to be a bit drying) their serums, moisturizers and body washes are fantastic and I've repurchased all of these multiple times.

"BIODERMA is a French skincare brand whose products are known for being highly effective but gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive skin. BIODERMA's approach involves reactivating the skin's natural resources to help it resist and recover its normal functions, which are those found in healthy skin. Their products are loved throughout the world, are prescribed by dermatologists and can be found in the kits of top makeup artists."

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bubble Bath and Self-Care Essentials by Avon | Plus 50 Mini Lipsticks?!

strawberry and cream bubble bath

I'm trying to be a glass-half-full person right now, channelling my quarantined energy into 3 buckets each day:
1. Work
2. Exercise and *fun* Self-Care
3. Cleaning my Space 


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Best Lamp For Your At-Home Office Desk

AnthroDesk LED Desk Lamp

Has there ever been a better time to invest in your home office? One of the biggest obstacles when trying to stay motivated is a dark, cluttered space that I feel cramped and uncomfortable in. Each day I've been trying to clean up one corner of my room, and tidying up my desk has been a part of that.

I was approached by AnthroDesk, a local Toronto-based company to spruce up my workspace with one of their LED desk lamps. My former Costco lamp worked just fine, but the tulip-style neck on it tended to shine light into my eyes, not evenly over my desk. It works wonderfully for crafting, so I moved it to my beading desk.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Clarins Milkshake Collection Review | Healthy Glow Milk, Lip Milky Mousse and Joli Blush

Clarins Milkshake Collection Review

Even though I'm working from home, I'm still doing lots of conference calls and workshops so my makeup game is semi-strong. One thing I'm excited to get ready for tomorrow is participating in our first LGFB Canada digital workshop, a 2-hour skincare, makeup and haircare presentation for women undergoing cancer treatment. In addition to my regular 9-5 work, I take so much pride and pleasure in my side-hustles and volunteer work so it's amazing to find products that can slide into my routine as easily as this new Clarins Milkshake collection. Let's dive in.

Monday, March 16, 2020

AVON x The Face Shop | Mono Pop Eyeshadow Palette and Rouge Satin Moisture Lipstick

AVON Mono Pop Eyeshadow Palette Satin Kiss

I love Avon lipstick, they make some of my most favourite formulas on the market. Their vivid shades are especially lovely, and never come with strange flavours, smells or textures. When I received 3 shades of their Rouge Satin Moisture Lipstick and their new Mono Pop Eyeshadow Palette in Moon Brown, I knew that they were on to something amazing.

Monday, March 9, 2020

AVON x THE FACE SHOP | Review of NEW K-Beauty Collab

AVON x THE FACE SHOP | Review of NEW K-Beauty Collab

There’s nothing I love more than when two of my favourite brands collide. You can imagine my excitement when I opened this kit of skincare and makeup from Avon, who've recently collaborated with The Face Shop!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar Punta Cana Dominican Republic | 2019-20

Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar

I’m realizing more and more that going away to a warm destination during winter break is so worth the investment. I had two full weeks off for the holidays, and it truly made me feel rejuvenated. Joseph and I won’t have much overlapping holiday this year, so we decided to splurge a bit for this vacation. We booked 7 days at the Bahia Principe Ambar (adults only) after having it recommended to us by my cousin Paul and his girlfriend Lisa. We paid around $2800 each via Transat, which I know - is incredibly steep, but it was everything we wanted and more.

Monday, January 6, 2020

CATKIN Cosmetics Review | Blush, Highlight, Lipstick, Eyeshadow Palette

Catkin Cosmetics Review

I recently tried CATKIN cosmetics and have fallen in love with the brand. Check out my video below to see how I used 4 products from their line!

Friday, January 3, 2020

In-Flight Essentials | Packing a Carry on Travel Bag

in-flight beauty snack essentials

I was inspired by a recent Instagram story by Mandy Moore (screenshot below) to show you what I keep in my carry on bag to ensure smooth travel, and less emergency purchases at the airport.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

What Daily Vitamins Should We Take?

Which vitamins should women take

Vitamin and mineral supplements are a tricky subject. They are generally quite expensive, and society tells us that we need to take all sorts of capsules to perform at our best. But what do we really need? The answer lies in the doctors office, because a blood test can identify any deficiencies that must be treated. Unless you’re feeling off, you don’t need to get a blood test. Something I found out a few years ago is that I am slightly iron deficient, and that my dry eyes could be helped with some fish oil. In general, Canadians should be taking vitamin D daily, especially in the winter due to the lack of sunlight.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

FARMACY Beauty Review | Honey Potion and Green Clean

Farmacy Beauty Review

Ever since the *cleverly named* farm-to-skin beauty brand Farmacy launched at Sephora in 2015, it has become one of the most talked-about green beauty brands in the world. I wanted to try these two products, Honey Potion ($56) and Green Clean ($34) since they have huge hype and fit well into my routine. Honey potion is a hydration mask packed with antioxidants and Green Clean is a makeup melt away cleansing balm. Let’s see how they work.
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