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Pack with me

24 Sep

WHAT: Girls (mostly) trip

WHERE: Vegas baby!

WHEN: Sometime in the near Future

Hello and welcome to ‘Packing with me.” I will soon be taking a trip to Las Vegas and I thought I would share a few of my must-haves.

Clockwise from bottom

Flip-flops- These cute nude tones jelly ones with bows let your feet stay comfy while looking super cute.

Crossbody– This recent acquisition (as if I needed another crossbody) is by Ann Kline, a great contemporary designer. I love the structured box shape, the (faux) alligator skin finish and (faux) antique gold hardware. This will work great for all my exciting handsfree activities!

Hair Moisturizer– Do NOT leave home without your go-to hair product. This Coconut infused Whole Blends by Garnier keeps my thick, curly, unruly tresses in order. Of course, to avoid checked baggage I will be placing some of it in a travel appropriate (less than 3 fl Oz/ 100mL) bottle.

Way-Cool shades- That’s what I’ve decided to call these trendy sunglasses. The cat eye frame and super reflective finish have been popular recently and who doesn’t want to look trendy when on vacay. This is not my regular pair of sunnies, these are a much cheaper pair so just in case things get “way-crazy” and they are destroyed/lost I’ll still have my regular pair.

Bright red Lipstick– I chose this slightly cool toned brilliant red by Loreal “Frieda’s Red “. Red is my personal favourite lip colour so of course I want to have a nice turned up red on my lips while I’m turning things up in Vegas. If red isn’t your thing go for a nice bright pink/orange/coral. 

Sunscreen– Whatever your age, ethnicity, skin type etc, do not step outside without loading up on sunscreen. UV rays don’t discriminate. This is actually a daily moisturiser by Ceruve and contains hydrating cerumide but also contains SPF 30.

Fragrance– I am a huge believer in minis, whether you buy them or make your own by transferring products into smaller containers. My mother gave me this little sampler set of Atilier fragrances for my birthday and I think they are perfect for this trip. With scents ranging from blood orange to white musk, there is no occasion where I won’t find something just right.

Blazer– You really can’t go wrong with a blazer,  particularly this oversized fit black one from H+M. A nice blazer can keep you warm on your flight, dress up a nightime outfit and add dimension to daytime dress. DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT ONE!

Statement Necklace- Or statement earrings, or statement arm cuff. Point is, a jewellery piece (or two or three) that can really pop and elevate your looks.

Thank you for letting me share some of my travel essentials. Hopefully you see some inspiration for your next trip and have an awesome day!

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(Drugstore) Makeup brush Essentials

10 Sep

So you have your Drugstore makeup collection. Great. What are you going to put it in with? Drugstore brushes of course! This is a guide to the basic brushes you need and all affordable drugstore options. It is not exhaustive by any means but if you have these brushes you will be able to create almost any makeup look you want.


FACE

(l-r : Real Techniques Stipple brush, Real Techniques contour brush, Moda large face brush [comes in set of four], Real Techniques buffing brush, Real Techniques fan brush)

Stipple brush– This is excellent for blending out liquid or stick foundation. It tends to give an even finish.

Fluffy face brush– This works for application of powder products to the cheeks i.e blush/bronzer/highlight.

Flat, dense Face brush– Excellent for blending out liquid or stick foundation as well as for application of face powders.

Buffing brush– This thick, dense slightly rounded brush is the right tools for blending out blush/highlight/contour/bronzer as well as applying all over setting powder. (Kabuki brush which tends to have a flatter top can do the same)

Fan brush– This is perfect for applying a narrow amount of product e.g highlighter over the cheekbone or along the nose.

EYES

(top: e.l.f flat, shadow, crease brushes, bottom l-r: Real techniques slanted brow brush, Real techniques base shadow brush, Real techniques crease brush, Real techniques accent brush) 




Flat thin brush– This type of brush is useful in applying highlight to the brow bone,  for applying concealer if sculpting the eyebrows and for applying eyeshadow to line the upper or lower lids.

Dense rounded brush– Perfect for packing on eyeshadow especially all over the lid.

Dense brush– This type of brush works well when applying product to the outer corner of the eye and it allows for easy blending.

Angled flat brush– The angle referenced here is the angle in the bristles not so much the handle although that helps. This is the ideal type of brush to use when filling in brows with pomade or powder.

Fluffy brush– This is an all purpose eye shadow brush great for adding colour in the crease but can also pack on product on the lid or blend.

Dense fluffy brush– Another all purpose brush but this one can apply colour all over the eye and can also be useful in blending.

Small rounded brush– This is the brush you use to get into small spaces like adding a pop of colour on the inner corner, smudging out the lower lash line or even to add highlight to the brow bone.

 
I hope this guide is useful for anyone trying to expand their brush Collection. Are there any must-have brushes that I left out? Let me know and have an awesome day!

(Drugstore) Haircare

20 Aug

Hello and welcome to my drugstore hair care! My hair is natural, course, thick and very curly meaning it is constantly desperately craving moisture. This means my routine is focused on hydration. Hair care products can really add up even at the drugstore but especially if you use higher end products. For me, my core products are all more affordable drugstore ones and I will share my current favs.

Shampoo and Conditioner

As someone with such thirsty hair, I use shampoo very sparingly as it does strip the oils (along with dirt) from the hair. I oscillate between the Garnier Fructis and Tre Semme formulas specifically for hydrating curly hair as they are both effective and both affordable.

For conditioner, I do switch around quite a bit depending on the state of my hair at the time. Classic favourites are again Garnier Fructis and Tre Semme but right now I’m using a Kukui oil one by Ogx. This is a recently popular brand known for infusing lots of oils and essences in their products. I will say the price point for this brand is at the top of drugstore pricing but still very reasonable.

Moisturizers


Here comes Garnier Fructis again smashing the drugstore hair care game. This moisturizer is a thick cream that really drenches the hair and gives good slip.

The Aussie 3 minute Miracle is the MVP of my hair care. First, it’s really affordable, like bordering on dirt cheap. Secondly, you seem to find it everywhere!. Lastly, they were not exaggerating when they called it “miricle”. This stuff is thick and heavy and can moisturize the driest, crunchiest hair. It’s marketed as a deep conditioner meant to wash out after 3 minutes but I actually use it as a leave in and it really defines my curls.

Oils


Oils/serums are the newest addition to my hair regimen. Basically, they add extra moisture and I’m all about that. I also find they tend to leave the hair silky and polished looking.

I’m not specifically loyal to one brand of oils meaning I’m still in the testing phase. However, a great place to start is with the Ogx brand as it has an array of oils to chose from as well as Garnier Whole Blends. Both ones I currently use contain coconut which is a favourite these days.

Dry Shampoo

For anyone with textured hair, you KNOW you can’t wash it daily or even every other day… I personally wash my hair once a week. This means by day 5 and 6 things can get a bit messy. Enter…dry shampoo. I actually didn’t think dry shampoo was meant for textured hair but it works, making my scalp dry and clean feeling and stretching my hair an extra couple of days.

That’s my current affordable hair care regimen. What are your favourite drug store hair care brands? Let me know and have an awesome day!

How to dress when travelling

6 Aug

There was a time when I felt I had to really dress up when travelling. I would make sure my hair was well coiffed, full face of makeup and dressed to impress: nice jeans, cute top, chandelier earrings…basically I did the most.

As I progressed in life and began travelling more frequently my need to look dressed up dwindled and was gradually replaced with functional dressing until I reached the point I’m at now…comfortable.

TIPS

Comfy pants– For me, that’s leggings but joggers or sweatpants can work.

Layer – I usually wear a tank or other lightweight top so I can keep cool if I’m running from one gate to the next but then I carry a long sleeve button down to bundle up in when it gets cold.

Easy shoes– After travelling in flip-flops and sneakers, I’ve finally found my sweet spot… slip-ons. Let me tell you why. Slip ons are comfortable and durable like sneakers BUT super easy to get on and off when going through security.

Change of clothes– This is for when you travel from one climate to another e.g. going from a colder to a tropical climate. I would toss a change of shoes and bottom in my carry on luggage.

Limit jewelry– All the bangles and rings look fantastic especially for selfie purposes but become a bulky chore both when going through security and trying to get comfy in your airplane seat.

Bare your face– This was my personal “AHA” moment. Despite dressing down I would still make an effort to have my face done, so as to look presentable. But guess what, nothing and I do mean NOTHING feels better than travelling sans makeup save for a bit of SPF (except that moment you take your bra off …but I digress). If you’re on a long flight your skin gets a chance to breathe and you won’t have to worry about touching up after half of your makeup comes off on your neck pillow.

That’s my 2 cents on how to dress when travelling. I find when I go this route I feel relaxed and I have one less thing to stress about when travelling. Have an awesome day!

A few Summer Things

11 Jun

Hello and happy summer. I have a smattering of a few things I’ve been using and look forward to continue using as the hottest months of the year approach.

Clothing 

Bomber jacket

You’re probably thinking…how can a jacket be the first thing I talk about in a summer centered post. But hear me out. Most contemporary bomber jackets which are super trending this year are actually quite lightweight meaning they are just right for a cooler summer night or if you will be indoors where ac will be blasting to no end. 

I picked up this olive green (khaki some call it) one with beautiful pink rose patches from T J Maxx. The brand is Love Tree and this cost about $34 US. I love the look of bomber jackets and I love this more traditional colour but the pop of pink floral really speaks to my personality. 

Hair, Lips and Skin

Garnier Whole Blends smoothing oil

This is Garnier’s more modern line of hair products focusing on using more natural ingredients. I’ve tried a number of these products and I would say overall they are just okay. However the standout is the “Coconut oil and cocoa butter” line particularly the hair butter and this little nugget here:smoothing oil. I have very curly hair and we all know that curly hair is thirsty (pronounced THUUURRRSTEE) and constantly craves moisture. I use this oil as part of my post wash treatment and occasionally when I want to give my tresses a little extra shine.

Nivea Lip Butter

An oldie with a new spin. Back when I was a wee lass Nivea came in a flat blue tin and it’s distinctly scented thick oily texture was my jam. I’m happy to see this company is still making products. This lip butter is literally that. The texture is soft with a lot of slip and it coats the lips well. And it smells really good. Like, really really good. 

The Body Shop Almond, Milk and Honey Body Butter

I picked this up at the Body Shop kiosk at the Charlotte NC airport (the staff was so nice and helpful btw). It was a bit of an impulse purchase as I was trying to kill time before my flight. But it turned out to be a great purchase. As with most Body shop body butters the formula is thick yet soft and not too heavy. Perfect texture. The scent is beautiful, it smells just enough of honey, not too much, not too little.

Makeup 

NYX Jumbo eye sticks

I picked up these cute jumbo eye pencils a couple weeks ago. I’ve recently become more open about the types of makeup I use wanting to try different varieties of things. These are cool. You can basically draw on your eyeshadow! I got a couple of my favourite colours ; muted jewel tones and a gold for a bright pop.

Fragrance- room

Bath and Body Works Tobacco Flower candle

This BBW candle is my pick for this summer. Tobacco flower is actually used in many perfumes and fragrances and with good reason. The scent is rich and complex and really adds ambience. This is great to light in the evening when you’re relaxing with a book.

Fragrance- body

Dahlia and Vines rollerball by Nest

I bought this little Nest rollerball in a set of six. Nest makes beautiful but pricey fragrances so this was my way to sample the brand. This fragrance is my favourite. It smells clean and fresh with just a hint of sweet floral. Because it’s so small I often toss this in my bag with me when I’m going out for the day and reapply if I need to.

Tutti Dolci White Mocha Kiss from BBW

I was surprised to see this line in BBW. I remember it or a similarly named line from about 10 years ago and I don’t recall seeing it since then. Until now that is. The Tutti Dolci line is meant to be a sweet candy inspired set of fragrances from what I can tell. This one: White Mocha Kiss is my favourite in fact I plan to repurchase a full size. It literally smells like a white chocolate mocha drink. I think of it as a more grown up vanilla fragrance and I use it under all my perfumes. 10 out of 10 would recommend. 

Those are my summer things. Hope you enjoyed reading and hope you have an awesome day!

(Drugstore) Skincare Essentials 

21 May

Skincare has become as big an industry as makeup, with hundreds to thousands of brands pumping out some new exciting product every other week.  It can make things very confusing and you can find yourself dropping lots of money on these items.

This is my list of skincare essentials all of which may be found in a drugstore. This doesn’t mean there aren’t outstanding higher end skincare products, but it isn’t a necessity.

Before I proceed with my list let me state two important points:

FIRSTLY, Consult your family physician or dermatologist to determine the right skincare regimen for you. Skincare and makeup go side by side, however, one (skincare) falls into the realm of medicine. I’m not saying to disregard any advice given by makeup artists or gurus, however, do not take it as gospel.

SECONDLY, Having healthy skin is affected by lifestyle, so it almost goes without mentioning that you should aim to: eat healthily, exercise regularly, sleep well, limit the amount of alcohol you intake and avoid smoking.

I also want to state that many of my skincare choices come both from my personal dermatologist as well as a dermatologist who has a great, informative YouTube channel; Dr.Dray

Lastly it is worth mentioning that I have acne prone, sensitive, oily-combination skin (that’s also technically ageing). This means that if I can use it,  anyone can!

With all that stuff out of the way, let us proceed.
SKINCARE ESSENTIALS

1 Makeup remover and eye makeup remover– Yes I know these are technically two things! Makeup remover is important in breaking down as much of the cake face before you wash, making it easier. Makeup remover comes in wipes or liquid and even some oils (also technically liquid)

I have nothing but good things to say about the Garnier micellar remover, but there are loads of other brands at the drugstore. 

As for eye makeup remover I’m currently using Almay liquid remover. Another recommendation is witch hazel which is gentle, affordable and effective. 

2 Face wash– A gentle, non-exfoliant face wash for everyday use. This creates a bit of controversy as many persons especially those who wear a lot of makeup think they need a very abrasive face wash to deep clean their pores and get the gunk out. However, being harsh on your skin can ultimately result in further damage and overproduction of oil.

I have three recommendations for gentle everyday face washes: Ceruve, Cetaphil and Neutrogena Ultra gentle cleanser.

3 Day cream WITH SPF!– Do NOT leave out the SPF. This will almost surely defeat the purpose of wearing cream during the day. A day cream with SPF helps keep the skin moisturized, acts as a primer for any makeup products and most importantly protects from sun damage which ultimately leads to wrinkling and increases the risk of skin cancer. If your favourite daily moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF then add a sunscreen.

NB. ANYONE, of any skin tone, can get skin cancer, so cover up!

My drugstore day cream recommendations include: Ceruve, Cetaphil and Oil of Olay.

Sunscreen recommendation: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen.

4 Night cream– After you’ve brushed your teeth and washed your face and getting ready to settle in for the night, put on some night cream. A cream with a glycerin base is good for keeping the skin moisturized by protecting it from drying out. You can also use the same daytime moisturizer at night (sans SPF)

Night cream recommendation: Ceruve, Neutrogena Hydro boost .

A tip for nighttime cream is to put it on when your face is still moist to avoid it drying out when the water evaporates.

5 Night eye cream- You don’t need it. Yes the skin surrounding the eye is quite delicate and can show aging before other parts of the face but your regular moisturising cream works for your entire face. I KNOW, I’ve been fooled before.

6 Retinol cream (on alternate nights)- This is optional. Retinol containing products help prevent signs of aging and it is recommended to start using at age 30. Additionally, retinol products also help treat acne, so it’s useful for many persons. When you do use retinol containing products, stil, use your regular night moisturizer and use the retinol sparingly.

Let me clarify that these retinol products have to be “prescription” strength to offer real benefit. There are some prescription strength preparations available over the counter in some places but other than that your doctor will have to write up the prescription for you.

Recommendations for retinol products: Retin A and Differin gel.

7 Lip balm– I use a thick moisturising balm in the morning and the evening to condition my lips, especially with the increased use of drying liquid lipsticks. A petroleum based lip balm also helps in the removal of stubborn lipstick.

This list is one of essentials and not exhaustive. Also, it doesn’t include products to specifically treat acne or other skin conditions. For that you must see your health care provider.

Are there any other drugstore skincare brands you know about? Let me know and have an awesome day!

Cheap Trend: Tassels and Pom Poms

8 May

Tassels hand pom Poms have long adorned clothing and accessories.  From the ends of strings on a peasant blouse to decorating the perimeter of bohemian style cushions. For the past three springs and summers  tassels and pom poms have been out  in full force, dotting otherwise mundane items with dots and splashes of colour and texture. I actually thought this trend was winding down but look and behold it continues to be ever present from runway to the racks of fast fashion stores.

Tassels bangles by Aqua Lilith  $41 US, Pom Poms and Tassels hat by Eric Javitz $250 US, Pom Pom sandals by Elina Linardaki $225 US.

This trend is easy to wear. You can make any look fun and bright with tassels and pom poms, going from zero to vacation mode in seconds. You can shell out some serious coin for a designer item or pick up something more affordable from off price retailers or fast fashion boutiques. OR, you could DIY!

That’s exactly what I did. I decorated a pair of espadrilles, a cross body bag and made a necklace.

Necklace

WHAT YOU NEED 

Length of leather, rope or chain.

Embroidery thread or floss.

Jump rings

WHAT TO DO 

1. Take a length of the thread and wrap it around three fingers multiple times. The more you wrap, the thicker the tassel will be. Alternately, you can use a square of card board, the with determining the length of the tassel.

2. Cut a short piece of the embroidery thread and tie it approximately 1/4 way down the tassel. Make a few wraps then tie off.

3.Thread a piece of the embroidery thread through the top loop and tie off. Add a jump rings and knot.

4.Cut off all the loose ends, then trim the bottom loop to create the fringe.

5.I repeated this twice using different colours and creating varying length fringes. I also combed through the thread with a fine toothed comb to make it fluffy.

6. Slide onto faux leather and tie ends together .

Shoes

WHAT YOU NEED 

Shoes- I used a pair of espadrilles with laces. You can use gladiator sandals or any other shoes with laces.

Pom Poms-These can also be easily DIY’d using yarn but they are very cheap and accessible from craft and stationary stores.

Eye pins- These are the small metal pins with loops at the top. They can either be bought from jewelry supply stores or you can make one yourself with jewelry wire and a round nosed pliers.

WHAT TO DO 

1.Push the eye pin through the Centre of the pom poms.

2. Cut the excess length off the eye pin and using pliers make a loop at the other end. Note, it must be large enough to slide over the laces.

3. Slide the completed pom poms onto the laces at varying points.

An alternate way is using jewelry bales and gluing the pom poms on then sliding those on to the laces.

Bag Charm

WHAT YOU NEED 

Bag- any style you wish, I chose a black square crossbows.

Tassels- you can make them the same way demonstrated above or use inexpensive  ready made ones from a craft stores,  like I am. 

Pom Poms

Thread- I used embroidery thread since it was at hand. You can use rope or ribbon if you like.

WHAT TO DO 

1. Make a loop and knot it.

2. Add an eye pin to the pom poms.

3. Slide onto thread and knot after each addition.

4. Add a jump ring to the top loop then add a keyring to the jump ring.

 

Bonus

I made this little cutie as a bonus. I’ve been seeing pom poms bag charms with eyes all over. This is great for a kid’s bag or for an adult with quirky taste.

I used a larger pom poms, added an eye pin and a jump ring at the top, then a keyring to that and glued on the googly eyes.

Whether you chose to DIY or buy, you’re sure to feel festive and trendy wearing tassels and pom poms.

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