Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Bare Necessities

I was recently inspired by Glossier's blog series The Top Shelf where a long list of women throughout the industry are asked to share their beauty must-haves. Glossier's motto is skin first, beauty second, smile always, I used this as inspiration in putting together my own little top shelf. Here are a few of my beauty favourites that help me feeling confident bare faced and beautiful.
If you were to have told my teenage self that one day I'd be in-love with my big brows I would have either laughed in your face or asked you how much my mother paid you to say that. My mother always stressed the importance of leaving my brows alone, in fact she was strictly adamant on it. She literally scared me out of becoming a closet plucker and forced me to have no choice but to embrace my eyebrows. Today, I could kiss her for it. They've actually become one of my favourite features, making accentuating them a daily ritual. Lately, I've been straying away from a polished brow and letting them go a bit rogue (emphasis on "a bit" - let's not get too carried away) . My favourite thing to do is just brush a bit of tinted brow gel through them while brushing them up - at the moment I'm loving Essence's Make Me Brow. It is a super affordable ($4!!!) alternative to products along the lines of Benefit's Gimme Brow.If I were to only have time to do one beauty ritual in the morning, it would be this. Brows can make or break your whole look and for me, just making sure to give them a quick brush through with some tint can really make a dramatic difference and does wonders for framing my face and accentuating my eyes. There are some great options out there, Glossier's Boy Brow has been on my lust list for quite some time now and definitely next on my list to try.

For years I took advantage of my relatively clear skin, I always thought if I don't break out easily then there isn't much to tend to for my skin. Wrong. Wrong. W R O N G. I have dry-combination skin, it typically sees its roughest days in the winter months but every now and again I need to exfoliate and keep it moisturized on the daily. At the moment, my favourite moisturizing product is the Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet. Making sure my skin is moisturized has become a huge priority for me, it brings life to my skin allowing me to enjoy it makeup-free and on days where I do decide to put on a face it makes a  h u g e  difference in how my makeup applies on my skin. Glossier's Moisturizing Moon Mask is great for whenever your skin is having a dry day.

A newer addition to my skin care routine is also by the Body Shop has been their Drops of Youth serum. This leaves my skin feeling so baby smooth and I've noticed a difference in the pigmentation of my skin, and have found that this has started to really help with the discolouration in my skin. Glossier's Balm Dotcom is another great alternative for achieving that super moisturized, locked in hydration.

Check out Glossier here and shop their amazing products here


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

In anticipation for Christmas, I have been testing out baking recipes for the last week. After one too many pinterest fails, I decided to make a few tweaks of my own to a couple recipes I stumbled upon. This recipe worked out beautifully - these cookies are so soft and chewy and are a perfect little festive treat. I tested them out on my family (a rather blunt bunch of people I might add) and they were an absolute hit! I'll definitely be making these again come Christmas day.

- 3/4 cup butter (room temperature works best, if too soft it will cause your cookies to come out flat)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

- Beat together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add in flour, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch until a soft dough is formed. By hand, add in the white chocolate chips and cranberries.
- Refrigerate dough for at least an hour, this is crucial to ensure your cookies do not turn out flat.
- Preheat oven to 350F, prepare by lining baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and roll 1 inch balls. Place on baking sheet ~2 inches apart.
- Bake for approx 6-10 minutes depending on your oven. I found 7 minutes to be the perfect timing for my oven.
- Don't fret if your cookied appear undercooked, they will settled even after they've been removed from the oven.
- Let cookies settle on baking sheet for ~5 minutes once removed from oven before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
- Lastly, dig in!

I hope you try out this recipe, make sure to share your experience with me if you do!


Monday, 14 December 2015

Beating the Winter Blues

Amidst the grey skies, shorter days, and cold weather it's quite easy to slip into a bit of a funk - otherwise known as the winter blues. This is something I've experienced over the last few years, particularly heightened since I came to university. Quite honestly, come winter time I barely ever want to leave the house. Now keep in mind, I'm typically avoiding the gale force winds and knee high snow that accompany a Canadian winter. Over the last few years I've become familiar with the term SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

SAD is a type of depression that accompanies a change in weather, you typically feel the effects of SAD in the fall and it drags out throughout the winter months - and if you live anywhere like I do these long winters make for absolute hell on earth. Just like depression, SAD can become absolutely debilitating. Even if you don't experience SAD and simply seem to fall into a bit of a temporary funk come winter time, you'll be familiar with the complete lack of motivation, and exhaustion. This year, I decided to be proactive about my SAD. I'm tired of feeling this way each winter, and I want to do as much as I can to avoid having to undergo this this winter. As I said SAD can be entirely debilitating and being a university student it can be absolutely miserable having to undergo this funk during your exams.

 Now, I'm not claiming this to be any sort of cure but these are some of the things I've been adamant on including into my routine this winter to try and keep my SAD relatively contained.

Firstly, I recommend picking up a "SAD lamp". Light technology can help improve your moods, your ability to focus, your motivation, and energy levels. I purchased mine on November 1st (I wasn't kidding about being proactive), and have been using it twice a day and have so far noticed quite a difference! I read that it is recommended that you turn your light on when you wake up and before you go to bed to create the illusion of longer daylight (as lack daylight is a contributor to SAD). I also use it when I'm studying or working on term papers to help with my focus and concentration. I purchased mine of amazon for around $50, again they are an investment but if this is something you go through it does make a world of a difference. There are several models, some quite a pretty penny but I find mine to work really well for a fair price. You can purchase the same one I have here.

My next tip - stay hydrated! Your hydration levels are crucial to anxiety. It's important to drink a lot of water for an endless amount of reasons but I've definitely noticed how crucial this can be for how I'm feeling. If you have anxiety and ever wonder why you feel particularly anxious after a night of drinking (some call it "hangover anxiety") it is due to your dehydration. When I first learned this my mind was b l o w n.

Lastly, get some fresh air each day. I know in exams and if you work from home it's all to easy to get cooped up inside but just spending a few minutes outside, just enough to get some fresh air, can make a world of a difference.

I hope these tips help as winter rolls in!


Friday, 11 December 2015

Tree Hunting

Finally came the day that we brought home a Christmas tree. Admitedly, our family is always super late to get around to getting a tree but this year we wanted to make a point of being somewhat timely. As the weather is obscenely nice in Ontario at the moment, everyone seems to be out cutting trees a lot earlier. It's definitely easier to get in the festive spirit when you don't have to trudge through thigh deep snow. 

After driving around to a few tree farms we finally settled on one near by that had the best selection for the fairest prices. It was a cute and quaint little farm off the side of the road that offers free cider and candy canes with an adorable little gift shop. My dad and I found our tree pretty quickly - well he found it .. and is a little too chuffed with himself if you ask me. 

All in all it was a lovely way to spend our morning. The weather was great, the sun was out, and it was an all around festive day. Now time to decorate! 


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A Day Uptown

This morning I had a law exam that I've been stressing over for weeks. For the last 5 days I've been cramped inside trying to prepare for it, so needless to say I was beyond anxious to get it over with. As soon as I walked out of my exam I called one of my closest friends Elektra, and we did a bit (a little more than a bit) of retail therapy. After having been home all week it was so nice to get outside and have a stress free afternoon. Uptown had been decorated for Christmas and it just felt like a perfectly festive afternoon. What started out as a stress and anxiety ridden morning turned out to be a day well spent with good company.


Monday, 7 December 2015

Winter Skin Essentials

Come winter time, my skin always tends to get quite dry. I typically have combination skin and around this time of year I start to notice that my skin becomes quite patchy and my makeup starts to sit weirdly on my skin. For those with dry or combination skin like myself, these two products will work beautifully and help to combat that dry winter air.

- Lush Ocean Salt is a great exfoliant, I tend to use this one more on my body than my face but it works great for both. This has become a staple in my shower, it keeps my arms feeling soft and because of the added citrus it actually works well to help with any discolouration as well, particularly in the underarm area.

- Body Shop Aqua Boost Sorbet this has quickly become a firm staple in my everyday skin care routine. It provides optimal moisture all day while keeping your skin matte, avoiding that greasy look many moisturizers tend to leave behind. 


Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Meaning of Christmas

This morning my cousin tagged me in an old home video from Christmas over 15 years ago. It featured highlights of me running around with an uncontrollable amount of excitement, my brothers as awkward teens, and my mom going crazy getting dinner ready. The home video also featured some family members who are sadly no longer with us.

A lot changes when you lose key members of your family, the glue that kept everyone together begins to dissolve and we all start to get more and more distant as we get older. There was something so heartbreaking yet so fulfilling about seeing us all together like that as a family. It's been years since we were all together in that way. It's crazy to see the dynamic then, and think of the dynamic now and how family really does play a key role in your life. It really hits you that behind the big production that is Christmas, family is the core of it all and without family you wouldn't have much to celebrate. Things are quickly changing as we continue to get older, while we are missing a few beloved members of our family, our family is also growing in other ways. And while it's an adjustment I'm learning to make, the most important thing is that we embrace the family we have and cherish being together this time of year. That is the true meaning of Christmas.

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