May 12, 2016

3 Podcasts You Need to Listen to Now

I used to hate the idea of podcasts. Listening to someone talk...boring... But at the suggestion of some friends I decided to give them a try and I'm kind of hooked now. They're seriously addictive and amazing. I loved listening to Howard Stern whenever I'd be driving with my mom or dad, and I guess this is my (free) version of that. 

Music is not something I can usually zone out to. I have to sing along, and chances are I know all the words and am doing my own riffs over the ballads. It's an active process. Podcasts, on the other hand, are something that are so nice to just passively listen to. I listen to them in the car, while I'm getting ready, at work, even *shudder* at the gym. They're so good - you need to give them a try. 

The Nerdist
Waiiit- don't lose me at the title. This isn't a podcast about video games and calculators, I swear. Chris Hardwick (host of the Walking Dead after show, Talking Dead, and tv show At Midnight) interviews celebrities about their lives, careers, etc. and it's always genuinely so funny. I love the conversational nature of the show (can you call a podcast a "show"?) and you're bound to find episodes with people you want to hear from as there are literally 800+ episodes. Not an exaggeration. Some of my favorites thus far include Paul Rudd, Connie Britton, Tom Hanks, and Bryan Cranston.

Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
How can anyone not like Alec Baldwin? I was truly so excited when I found his podcast... He just has one of those rare, profoundly soothing voices that you could listen to for hours (and he'll always be Jack Donaghy to me). He talks with "artists, policy makers, and performers to hear their stories: what inspires their creations, what decisions changed their careers, and what relationships influenced their work." His show (again, just going with it), is a bit more highbrow than most you'll find and I hope he continues the podcast for a very long time. Some of my favorites thus far include Julie Andrews, Jimmy Fallon, and Fred Armison.

The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her
This podcast brand new so there are only a handful of episodes, but so far I'm into it. Lauryn Evarts, of, and her fiancé, Michael Bosstick, talk about business and their relationship. They've worked out the few kinks they had in the beginning and now I look forward to each new episode. She throws the best digs at him (in a loving way). As a blogger myself, I love listening to someone who's been so successful in the same role.

Last week I also downloaded my first audiobook, The Omnivore's Dilemma (only 5/15 hours through it, but good so far), and have been listening to that during the day. I used Audible, but I definitely won't be continuing with it as it's $15/month plus $15/book (?!?). I know that's not a TON, but it's enough. I'll be searching for some free alternatives and keep you posted. 

What podcasts do you listen to? What else should I check out?!

April 30, 2016

Snapshot | Weekend in Miami

Bienvenido a Miami!

Just looking at these pictures makes me wistful. Yeah, wistful.

Seriously, though. It's freezing here right now and I'm drooling over the warmth that was Miami last weekend. There wasn't any real purpose for our trip other than to enjoy the weather and a little uninterrupted time together - but really is there any better reason?
St Regis Bal Harbour Miami - bar patio, black and white stripe
We stayed at the St. Regis in Bal Harbour, which is drop-dead gorgeous, but very "Miami." Read: a touch over the top. However, there were a number of things they did very well and I definitely took decor notes.

Both my boyfriend, Jay, and I hate the term "foodie" - but there are few things we enjoy more than well prepared food and our trips do tend to revolve around fine dining. Though we didn't add any Michelin stars to our inventory, this trip was certainly no exception. We ate. And ate. And ate...
Rose wine on the Miami beach, water, sun, sky
Rosé all day.

Growing up, every trip with my family was a chance to stock our hotel room with an insane amount of unhealthy snacks that we usually couldn't get at home and in addition to going out for meals we'd be snacking all day. Not with Jay. There are meals, there are no snacks. The exception being the occasional late night cookies/ice cream/caramel corn - we're seriously the fattest skinny people you know. (HOWEVER, I did manage to sneak a bag of Pepperidge Farm soft s'mores cookies into the room. My inner crappy-junk-food-fat kid was happy.)
St Regis Bal Harbour Miami cookies and ice cream room service
I digress... our first night we had sushi at Makato and sat outside. I didn't get any good photos because it was dark, but I loved their tiny patio. Sushi is my jammm, and while the sushi at Makato was definitely good, it wasn't divine.
Jean George JG Grill Miami - 32oz. Wagyu tomahawk for two
32oz. Wagyu tomahawk for two.
Jean George JG Grill Miami - 32oz. Wagyu tomahawk for two, black truffle fritters. St. Regis Bal Harbour
Our second (and third) nights were at Jean George Grill in the St. Regis. The first night we had the ridiculous 32oz. Wagyu tomahawk ribeye for two (the order - as he calls it) with oyster mushrooms and black truffle cheese fritters. Clearly the Wagyu is the star here (and was insanely delicious), but can we talk about the truffle cheese fritters? I die. Dead. Soo good, like little warm balls of heaven.
Vitamin A Swim Neutra Barlette - Azure Blue Bikini
Aside from eating, picking out clothes for Jay at the shops of Bal Harbour (love), and wine shopping (double love), we spent our days lounging by the pool. I hadn't brought a book since I was working while we were there, so when the wifi was spotty and he was reading, naturally I took selfies. Obsessed with this Vitamin A bikini.
Royal Osetra Caviar - Jean George JG Grill Miami St. Regis Bal Harbour
Royal Osetra Caviar - Jean George JG Grill Miami St. Regis Bal Harbour
Our last night we dined at Jean George again, but switched up our order. After cocktails we had caviar (crème fraîche, shallots & chive is the way to go) and black truffle pizza. We had intended to have a fat-kid ice cream sundae in our room afterward but they were super busy that weekend and we went into a food coma and fell asleep before it could arrive...Black Truffle Pizza - Jean George JG Grill Miami St. Regis Bal Harbour
I wish we had had an extra two days there just to relax on the beach and soak up the sun, but alas, a return to reality was required. Fortunately, our anniversary is this month, which means another mini reprieve :)
St Regis Bal Harbour Miami, beach, sand, water, sky

March 29, 2016

Easy & Healthy Mushroom Risotto

Easy and Healthy Mushroom Risotto Recipe, Vegetarian, Vegan
Risotto definitely gets a bad rap on two fronts: being difficult to prepare and being super unhealthy. Guess what? Wrong. And wrong. Risotto one of those things that you only really need to attempt once to understand just how simple and easy it is to make. There are also a few quick changes that can make it not horrible for you.
Easy and Healthy Mushroom Risotto Recipe, Vegetarian, Vegan
I don't use any butter, oil, or cream (and only very little cheese) in this recipe. And I know for some people that might be sacrilege...but it's really good without it! This recipe yields enough for one as a meal, or two as a side, but can be easily doubled. The thing that I absolutely love about risotto is how much liquid it absorbs - 1/4 cup of rice turns into a giant, filling dish. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock in place of chicken - and can be made vegan by omitting the parmesan.

Easy and Healthy Mushroom Risotto Recipe, Vegetarian, Vegan
Easy and Healthy Mushroom Risotto Recipe, Vegetarian, Vegan
That's it! Seriously so easy. You probably noticed that the mushrooms, onion, and cheese were measured in grams instead of cups/tablespoons. This is because I use a food scale to weigh 99% of everything I eat. I'll probably do an entire separate post on my love for food scales and why everyone should be using them, but essentially it's just because they're super accurate. For conversion, it's approximately 1/3 cup chopped onion, 1 1/4 cup sliced mushroom, and maybe 1-2 cubic inches of cheese. Feel free to add a little more onion and mushroom, if you wish. Enjoy!
Easy and Healthy Mushroom Risotto Recipe, Vegetarian, Vegan

March 21, 2016

Wearing Reading Eating | 03/16

Brunette with long hair reading a book in bed, girly, vintage
RW&Co. Modern Stretch Legging
So this is kind of a weird one...but hear me out! I've had a pair of these for a little over a year and they've become such a staple as of late. Although they're a "legging," they look like a (perfectly tailored) dress pant and are super comfortable. Would I wear these to a formal function? No. But for the average day at the office with a silk blouse tucked into them, they're great (and cheap)!

It feels bizarre and unnatural to say, but over the past six months or so I've found myself really pulling away from nail polish. I even *GASP* gave away the vast majority of my polish collection to friends, only keeping about 50 bottles. I've fallen into a kind of uniform with my nails, constantly replacing my mani with the exact same two shades - both Dior. For my nails it's always Dior Nail Glow, which is just the perfect effortlessly polished look (read my entire post about it here). On my toes it's Dior Diorette, which is a deep, classic plum shade. As much as I loved being creative with my nails, I've grown out of the nail art phase, and it's nice to have signature shades I don't have to think about.

Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain
I watch (and love) every show Bourdain does, so reading his first book felt like a natural choice. To be completely honest, it wasn't love for me. Maybe because I've watched all his shows and heard all his stories the book wasn't that exciting. If you're unfamiliar with him, however, I'd recommend picking it up as it's a quick, easy read.

Native Son - Richard Wright
Set in Chicago in the 1930's, Native Son is a classic that chronicles the life of a young black man after he accidentally kills a young white woman in a moment of panic, and reflects upon what it means to be black in America. Highly recommend.

In Reproach of Hunger - David Rieff
I'm a complete and total sucker for new books about food. About food and society. About food and the food industry. I'm basically into it all. I'm just starting this one, but it covers the current food scarcity crisis.

Pomegranate Arils
I've become obsessed! In salads, yogurt, and oatmeal - they're so good! Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants and are a great source of fibre, vitamins B, C, & K, and potassium. They really do brighten up anything you add them to.

House of Cards
Soooooooooooo good. Sooooooooo obsessed. If you've finished the latest season: how good was it?! The ending... cannot handle that I have to wait a year now for the next season. And if you haven't seen the new season, or started the series...get on it immediately.

American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson
I was really excited when I first heard about this, but it hasn't really blown me away yet. It's interesting in the sense that I wasn't old enough when the actual case was happening to understand (or care - I was four), so I enjoy learning the whole story. But it's not something that I've been counting down the days to the next episode.

This is a Netflix original and I'm kind of undecided about it. I love (pun intended) Judd Apatow and while the show does have a lot of good moments, it did feel a touch too depressing. I'm sure there will be a season two and I'm sure I'll watch it and hope for the best!

I also really like having the TV on in the background while I'm doing things around the condo, so lately I've been rewatching Suits, The Office, and The O.C.

July 15, 2015

Sephora Extraordinary Rewards Review

If you're a Sephora Beauty Insider then you're familiar with the points you earn when you shop and the mini product perks that you can redeem your points for. Generally these range from 100, 250, or 500 point rewards that are typically things like mini mascaras or perfumes. Once a year, however, Sephora releases a very limited quantity of 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 extraordinary point rewards. These rewards included things like full-size perfume and makeup, books, designer handbags, and even trips. Though I didn't get the reward I wanted (the Elizabeth and James handbag), I was fortunate enough to score two of the 1000 point perks:

Anastasia Beverly Hills 1000 Point Perk
Precision Slant Tweezers ($36 CDN value)
Brush #12 ($23 value)
Clear Brow Gel ($29 value)
Pro Pencil in Base 1 ($23 value)
Brow Duality Pencil in Matte Shell/Lace Shimmer ($30 value)
Sephora Gift card for brow shaping ($35 value)
Total Perk Value: $176 CDN

Laura Mercier 1000 Point Perk
Signed Eye Art Artist's Palette ($70 value)
Lip Glace mini in Baby Doll ($19 value)
Flawless Skin Face Polish mini ($11.50 value)
Small makeup bag
Total Perk Value: $100.50 CDN

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
First and foremost, I have to say I love the idea of this yearly event. For point hoarders, like myself, they are a great way to use up your points on things you actually want (I could seriously go a lifetime without getting another mini mascara sample). Although truthfully I probably won't use most of the products in the perks I received, they are still much, much better than the standard perks offered year-round.

The rewards offered this year included:
  • Stella McCartney handbag and garden party event/trip (5000 points)
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana White & Black perfume set, handbag, and sunglasses (5000 points)
  • Urban Decay Naked Vault set: Naked 1, 2, 3 palettes, 3 Naked Flushed palettes, 3 lip glosses, 3 double-ended eyeliners (2000 points)
  • Drybar blow dryer and hair products (2000 points)
  • Bobbi Brown beauty book, lipsticks, shimmer brick, mascara, eyeliner, skin products (2000 points)
  • Josie Maran products and cookbook (1000 points)
  • Atelier Cologne fragrance set (1000 points)
  • Caudelie mini products and a chapter from an upcoming book on skincare (1000 points)
  • Kat Von D contour palette, brush, eyeliner, and lipstick (1000 points)
  • Stella McCartney perfume and tank top (1000 points)
There certainly were some appealing perks! I wanted the Elizabeth and James set and Bobbi Brown as well but there were extremely limited quantities. Sadly, these awesome rewards were overshadowed by the very unfortunate way this promotion was handled by Sephora. The vast majority of Beauty Insiders did not even know it existed. I remembered the general time last year the event happened and paid close attention to Sephora's Beauty Talk forum to find out more details. Some people, including myself, received emails that told them the extraordinary rewards would be coming soon and to keep an eye on their email for further details. No further emails regarding the rewards were ever sent.

I managed to find out the day they were being released, but not the time. The VIB Rouge hotline had said they would be launched at the start of their business day, so depending on the time zone you were in, this should have been somewhere between 8am-12pm. What time did the rewards go live? Between 3:30am-4am EST. I happened to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and looked at my phone, only to see half the rewards were already sold out. Quickly I added three to my cart (the two I received and the Bobbi Brown), only to be confronted with the next set of problems with the promotion.

Although all the rewards explicitly stated they were available to be redeemed and shipped to both Canada and the U.S., the website would not allow shipment to Canada. Not wanting to miss out entirely, and given that at that hour there was no one in their offices I could phone for help, I scrambled and had them sent to my parents place in Florida. While this ending out working alright for me (still had to pay to then have them shipped from Florida to Canada), this clearly wasn't a viable option for most Canadians who were then left without. During the shipping confusion, the Bobbi Brown perk sold out on me. By the time I woke up again in the morning, all the rewards were sold out, and a huge social media backlash had begun.

People were MAD! And rightfully so, they were promised at least the chance to access these "once in a lifetime" extraordinary rewards, and most people awoke at a normal morning hour to find them already completely gone, if they had even heard about them in the first place. I called the VIB Rouge hotline once their offices were open in the morning to try and get the shipping address changed, but the order had already been released to UPS or whichever provider they were using. The customer service representative told me that they had no idea what happened, that the rewards were not supposed to be released at that time, that they were supposed to ship to Canada, etc. Which I could understand...if the exact same scenario hadn't played out almost identically with the extraordinary rewards last year. Obviously the rep answering phones had nothing to do with it, and I genuinely felt bad for her and the others working that week because undoubtedly they were being bombarded by angry complaints. But it's like blaming a waitress for your steak being over-cooked. They may be the front line, but they didn't cook it. No official statement was ever released and as far as I can tell they deleted all comments and posts regarding the rewards debacle from their Facebook page.

Overall I'm very happy this is something Sephora offers, but they desperately need to iron out the kinks in their promotions. It might seem entitled to be complaining about not being able to get these 'free' perks, but every point is a dollar spent. So people redeeming these extraordinary rewards are loyal Sephora customers who have spent thousands of dollars patronizing them. To alienate this segment of your customer base is just plain bad business. Despite the negativity, the people who did receive these rewards were generally happy with them and the disappointment seems to have subsided. After all, it's only makeup.

What extraordinary rewards would you like to see offered next year?

June 10, 2015

May 2015 Favorites

So cliche, but I seriously can't believe May is already over. June? Really?!

Urban Decay Revolution Sheer Lipstick in Rapture
I also have this same shade in the regular formula. I seriously love the color, it's the perfect mauve berry shade. The semi-sheer formula because it means I can easily apply it on the go without a mirror and the slightly glossy finish doesn't dry out my lips. Available at Sephora.

Target Up & Up Latex Free Makeup Sponges
Ok hear me out! I'm a huge advocate of the beauty blender. If you haven't used one, it will seriously change the way you look at foundation. Go. Try. It. Now! However, besides being a little pricey, they're a pain in the butt to clean. Seriously there was nothing I dreaded more than cleaning those little sponges. I'm a bit of a germaphobe so I always had to clean them right after I used them, which is tedious and time-consuming. And when you're getting ready for a night out the last thing you want to do is pause and get your soap out. So a few months ago I switched to these single-use sponges and never looked back. I use them damp just as you would a beauty blender, but then just toss them after each use. Wasteful? A little. But they're very inexpensive and by using a fresh sponge each time you ensure germ-free application. Because they are the typical triangle shape they apply foundation a little less easily than the spherical beauty blender, but for the price, the difference is seriously negligible. Love them, end rant. Available at Target.

Urban Decay Naked Basics 1
No this isn't a new product, and it's not a new-to-me product, but this little powerhouse deserves so much credit. It effortlessly creates beautiful, subtle day looks and then with just a hint of darkness in the outer crease and lower lash line transitions perfectly for a night out. Although I love makeup, I'm a pretty natural, neutral girl and this eyeshadow palette serves my needs perfectly. I also have the Naked 2 Basics which I use in conjunction, but if I had to choose only one I'd go with the first as it is much more versatile. Available at Sephora.

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Body Lotion
This is a product I've used for about six months and it's seriously awesome. Incredibly hydrating and nourishing, this lotion is like a miracle in a bottle. Available at Kiehl's.

Kicking Horse Coffee in Half Ass
These past few months I have been absolutely obsessed with my french press and thus far these have been my favorite coffee beans. This is blend of half decaf and half dark roast to provide all the flavor but only half the caffeine. It's an absolute live saver for me because I love coffee but I can be a little sensitive to caffeine if I have too much. Sometimes I add a little unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but generally I just drink it black. It's seriously sooo good. Kicking Horse is Fair Trade, organic, and Canadian, so I'm thrilled to be able to support and enjoy such an awesome brand. If you're outside Canada, you can purchase Kicking Horse on Amazon.

Dior Nail Glow
I'm not sure what has changed, but my nails have done a complete 360 on me. They have always been very strong and healthy but lately they've been quite prone to peeling and I've had to keep them a bit shorter than I generally do. Instead of polish (which would just chip almost immediately), I've been solely using the Dior Nail Glow, which makes your nails look polished and healthy, even when they're not. It's seriously my secret weapon. See my full review and photos here. Available at Sephora.

Current Favourite Designers/Brands/Websites
Pink Tartan

April 6, 2015

Wearing Reading Eating | 04/15

White pink night side table with books, tea, candle, gold, accents, flowers
As Timbaland would say in that Aliyah song, it's been a long time, shouldn't have left you...without a blog post to read? Ok that was horrible! But it HAS been FOREVER since I posted! Unfortunately my final semester of university just ate up all of my time. But I am thrilled (with the exception of one upcoming exam) to be done! Now I'm in the frustrating limbo of job hunting. However, it does mean that I now have time again to dedicate to blogging. I thought I would come back with an update post of sorts and let you know what I've been wearing, reading, and eating lately...

While I certainly don't wear the same thing everyday, I have been gravitating toward some staple pieces as of late. Number one would definitely have to be my Wildfox baggy beach jumpers. Seriously. so. soft. I've basically been living in them.

And Dior nail polish. The brush, the formula, the colors, just awesome. Current favorite: Diorette.

I was extremely grateful that my last semester has not been reading-intensive and I was able to enjoy reading again over the past few months. I find reading a few chapters before bed to be extremely relaxing and enjoyable, so I've managed to go through a couple novels over the past month or so.

I read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which, despite the subject matter, is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in awhile. It is a true classic and I highly recommend it.

After Lolita, I wanted something that was a quick, easy read, so I picked up Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. It wasn't quite as good as Gone Girl, but still worth reading. I'll definitely be reading Dark Places, another by Flynn which will star Charlize Theron in the movie adaptation.

Currently, I'm reading The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler, which as I discovered halfway through the book is actually also the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books that I loved as a kid. This is another fairly quick read but a really enjoyable one. As I'm almost done this one, I've pulled out Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? to read next. I'm absolutely obsessed with the Mindy Project (it's seriously hilarious!), so I can't wait to read her book.

I know this is going to sound so boring, but I've been loving two really simple snacks lately: oatmeal and apple slices with peanut butter. I'm going to do a food-related post about my favorite healthy snacks soon so look out for that!

I recently picked up the Celestial Seasonings herbal fruit tea sampler pack and I'm in love! All the flavors are delicious hot and cold, but my favorite so far has got to be the "true blueberry." I swear it tastes just like a blueberry crumble!

I've also been addicted to Songza, an awesome free music app with hundreds of perfectly curated playlists. Go check it out!

What have you been into lately?

January 28, 2015

Valentine's Day Lust List

Photos property of their respective brands.
I know Valentine's is still two weeks away but I seriously love Valentine's Day! Ok, I pretty much love every holiday. I'm a sucker for a theme, food, and gifts! But Valentine's will always have my heart because it's all about the hearts! And pink and candy and love and all things romantic and girly. These are the things topping my list of what I'd like to receive this year and also serves as a nice gift guide, whether you'll be getting a little something from your boyfriend, husband, family, or even just yourself! 

Whether you're taking this to work or the gym, you cannot go wrong with this hot pink color. Personally I'm tired of my boring blue Nalgene bottle and can't wait to tote this pretty baby to the gym.

Black (or red) lingerie is pretty much a Valentine's night staple. L'agent is a much more reasonable price point than their original line, and still drop dead gorgeous.

Dainty necklaces are so sweet and this one with the tiny rose gold heart and diamond bezel is stunning. What girl doesn't love diamonds? She also has necklaces with the diamond that have your name initial instead of the heart if that's more your style.

How cute are these for Valentine's Day?! Perfect for stashing your keys, money, and lipgloss for a night out!

Available in light pink, black, red, and a holographic pink/white, these are the sweetest little crossbody's and perfect for a night out in February. 

Diptyque candles are some of my favorite, both for their scent and packaging. The new, limited edition Rosafolia comes in the most gorgeous floral designed container. Roses and greenery to scent your post-dinner Netflix binge on the couch. This is definitely one jar you have to save when you've finished burning the candle.

I'm so obsessed with these. So soft and cozy for lounging around the house or with tights and boots running errands. Wildfox has a few other Valentine's inspired jumpers right now, but I love the candy hearts on the sleeves of this one.

Lastly what Valentine's Day would be complete without some form of candy, chocolate, or dessert. I know macarons are getting a little passé, but they're still delicious - especially in festive flavors like strawberry or champagne!

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day whether it's spent bundled up on the couch with friends or out for a special night!

January 14, 2015

Top 25 Workout Songs

Pink Asics Running Shoes, iPod, Workout Songs
Just about everyones new year's resolutions include something related to fitness or health, so I figured it was the perfect time to start doing some fitness-related posts! About three or four months ago I got back into working out and one of the things I discovered is just how much music can affect your workout. Music is so motivating (and distracting!) regardless of the exercise you're doing so workout playlists are an absolute must for me.

The first four songs are my favorite running jams. When I'm running I like to have a playlist that matches my pace to keep me going. I tend to jog anywhere between level 5.5 to 6.0 on the treadmill (around 10.5 min/mile) and songs with a bpm of 130-140 tend to match this pace best. The rest of the songs are my favorites for general workouts, be it weights or the elliptical. When these come on they give me that extra little push to work harder.

Beat It - Michael Jackson
Memories - Kid Cudi/David Guetta
Touch the Sky - Kanye West Ft. Lupe Fiasco
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5

Animals - Maroon 5
I Can Transform Ya - Chris Brown
Stronger - Kanye West
Rock DJ - Robbie Williams
Bangarang - Skrillex
Power - Kanye West
The Boxer - Chemical Brothers
Work Hard Play Hard - Wiz Khalifa
Open Your Eyes - David Guetta
Wiggle - Jason Derulo
Guap - Big Sean
Forget You - Cee-Lo Green
In the Music - The Roots
Galvanize - Chemical Brothers
Bright Lights, Bigger City - Cee Lo Green
Money Make Her Smile - Bruno Mars
Badd Bitch - Mike Jones Ft. Ying Yang Twins
Fergalicious - Fergie Ft.
Cant Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Ft. Ray Dalton
Kiss Kiss - Chris Brown Ft. T. Pain
Set U Free - Keshia Chante

January 2, 2015

What I Got For Christmas & My Birthday 2014

"You wanted to take a picture of me, right?" - Peanut
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I had so much fun but it seemed to come and go so fast! Although I definitely ate enough.. haha. My birthday is also on December 24th so this is a bit of a combination haul. I mainly get money for birthday and Christmas because although I love makeup and nail polish and clothes and handbags and decor and... what was I talking about again? Oh right, even though I love all those things I'm pretty practical and know that I need to save for my future home. I did manage to get some pretty nice things this year, so onto the goodies!
Christian Louboutin, Zermadame, Nail Polish, Base Coat, Top Coat, Guerlain, Chanel, Butter London, Anthropologie
Beauty Products
Starting with the all important beauty products, my crowning jewel has to be my Christian Louboutin nail polish in Zermadame. I'll be doing a post about it soon so I won't go into much detail here, but I'm obsessed and I cannot wait to get my hands on more colors. I also got a new top and base coat to try out. I had originally wanted the lip balm in the pot and ended up with the stick form instead, but you can't really complain about Chanel! Finally this adorable little berry lip tint is from Anthropologie.
Rebecca Minkoff Crosby Crossbody and Dolce & Gabbana Sunglasses, Aviators, Pink, Tortoise
I went shopping on my birthday and picked up these Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and the cutest little pink Rebecca Minkoff bag. I adore sunglasses and Rebecca Minkoff so these purchases were right up my alley and will be perfect for Spring.
Wildfox Barbie Sweater
I'm a bit of a Wildfox addict, they're seriously the best loungewear ever. I managed to get two sweaters from their recent Barbie collection (obsessed) and two other really cute ones as well. These are just perfect for snuggling up in winter. Next I got three really pretty tops from BCBG that will be perfect for the office or date night. I have been loving BCBG lately, they're that perfect mix of classic and sexy. 
Goal Digger Workout Tank and Lululemon Tanks and Leggings
Workout Clothes
I got some new workout gear to add to my rotation that I'm excited about. I love these Lululemon Wunder Under Roll Down leggings in the luxtreme fabric. They're almost silky and so nice for working out in. The lululemon top is ballerina-like and so cute for yoga! The 'Goal Digger' tank is from Etsy.
Bits & Bobs
I got the lovely new Diptyque Vanille candle from my mom and I can't wait to start burning it. Jo Malone and Diptyque are my favorite for candles at the moment and this is a nice addition. This cute little mini vanilla perfume is from Anthropologie and smells so sweet. And you can never have too many hand soaps! I got the Beats Pill speakers as my iPod speakers broke this summer. I originally received them in pink, but exchanged them for black as they just looked a little sleeker. I absolutely love how they can connect to my iMac through bluetooth. My mom also got me a wireless remote for my camera and this adorable creamer from Anthropologie.

January 1, 2015

Hello 2015!

2015 new years resolutions
With the new year upon us, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2014 and set the inevitable goals for 2015. 

2014 was a bit of a mixed bag for me, but definitely ended on a very high note. I celebrated two very good friends weddings this year and was fortunate enough to be a "best man" in one. I visited my family in Florida and basked in the warm weather and delicious food. I quit my job. I almost made the Dean's list at University. I fell in love with the gym and working out. I spent an awesome weekend at a friends cottage. I cancelled my cable. I went on a few really fun dates. I marathoned four seasons of Big Brother in less than two weeks. I had a really lovely birthday. I ate quinoa chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream (yum!). I lost 5lbs. I received a freelance offer. I became closer with some friends. I made several batches of sugar-free, fat-free oatmeal raisin cookies (recipe to come). 

As for this year, I truly believe it will be the best yet. I'll be graduating University and (hopefully) getting my first big-girl job. I don't really make resolutions, but there are certainly things I want to continue. 

I've cleaned up my lifestyle a bit in the food and exercise department and don't foresee that ever changing now. Something clicked in me in September and I just decided to become a better version of myself. I was never fat by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn't work out and frequently ate junk food. I cannot tell you how much better I feel every single day by eating properly and working out. I'm kind of obsessed with the gym and the MyFitnessPal app where I track all my food, exercise, weight, and even waist measurement. I highly, highly recommend this app! I've also been keeping my condo very clean and tidy lately and definitely want to keep it that way. I've always been a bit of a neat-freak-perfectionist, but things have a tendency to pile up and get neglected when you're busy. I also want to read more! I adore reading and didn't do too much of it during this previous semester of school. I've started going to bed a little earlier so I can squeeze a few chapters in each night and have been loving it. Happiness is key and I only expect good things for 2015!

December 29, 2014

My Life in Pictures | 2014

2014 has been an awesome year and I can only hope that 2015 has even bigger and better things in store! These are some of my favorite pictures from my phone throughout the year. Hopefully you enjoy a little glimpse into my life! This first picture is one of my all time favorites of my little baby, Peanut. This was in February boating around in Florida.
Little chipmunk stealing strawberries from my Mom's garden!
"Stop working and play with me!"
 Silly photo booth at my best friend's wedding!
Gorgeous church and blue skies.
 Decisions, decisions. Naturally I made the correct choice and went with pink.
2014 would not have been complete without a studying photo. Sadly, this is how I spent many days and nights!
This is my absolute favorite of Peanut. She's just the sweetest little thing!
Pretty flower arrangements. I'm always taking mental notes for my future wedding... 
 Blue Jays home opener in Toronto.
 Always keeping a watchful eye.
Gorgeous centrepieces from one of my good friends wedding!
A sweet drawing I had done by the very talented Alina on Etsy.
Getting ready to see The Book of Mormon.
 Surrounded by blankets and toys.
This year I made custom advent calendars for my Mom and sister.
 Brown paper packages tied up with string...

December 6, 2014

IMATS Toronto 2014 Review & Haul!

IMATS Toronto 2014 Review & Haul
Two weekends ago was my first time attending Toronto IMATS! As I had never been before, I was excited but hesitant, not knowing what to expect. But, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! If you're not interested in my experience, scroll down for the haul!

Firstly, it was smaller and less chaotic than I thought, probably also due to the fact that I was there before it opened on the first day (Saturday). Among the vendors were: NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hakuhodo, Velour Lashes, Esquido, Beauty Blender, and several others.

I brought my mom with me so we could split up and hit more booths in less time. We arrived around 8:10 and were able to walk right in at 8:30 when the doors opened. I had made a list of what vendors I wanted to go to and what I wanted to purchase from each, as well as how much each item regularly costs so I could know how much of a deal I was getting (I'm super organized like that). 

I immediately made a beeline for Velour lashes and purchased what I wanted, while my mom headed to Beauty Blender. After Velour I wandered around for a bit and debated buying some very inexpensive Morphe brushes (decided against it). The MUFE booth was getting pretty busy by this point, so I quickly placed my order with them and got in line. While I was waiting my Mom went to MAC, which ended up being a bit disappointing because either they were sold out of the blot powder and prolongwear concealer or they were sold out within minutes. Afterward my Mom took my place in the MUFE line so I could continue shopping. Collectively (haha), we ended up waiting in line to pay at MUFE for probably an hour. In the meantime I hit up Hakuhodu, the one vendor I hadn't planned out my purchases for, and Esquido. We left around 9:45, but most of that time was spent waiting at MUFE! 

If you're going to purchase a fair bit, the ticket price is definitely worth it. If you've never been, I highly, highly suggest making a list and going to your most important booths first to ensure you get what you want. I waited until the end to go to NARS and they were sold out of what I wanted, but they were also a bit disappointing because the only discount they were offering was $10 off a $75 purchase.

1. Eat beforehand
This may seem like common sense, but you're going to need your energy (especially if you go first thing in the morning)! We had a small breakfast and coffee (!!) an hour or two before we got there and were absolutely starving by the time we left. At the very least, pack a granola bar.

2. Make a list
This is probably the most important in my opinion. You can view which vendors will be at IMATS before you go and make a list of which vendors you want to go to and what you'd like from each. When you're there looking at thousands of products it's easy to forget what you originally had your heart set on. Had I not double-checked my list while I was there I would have forgotten some of the things I really wanted.

3. Price things out
If you don't know how much products retail for, you won't know if you're getting a deal or not.

4. Bring cash
Every booth I purchased from took credit, but some had minimum limits, so if you only wanted one thing you'd be out of luck.

Velour Lashes in You Complete Me
Velour Lashes in Extra Oomph Oomf
Like I mentioned above, Velour Lashes was the first booth I hit. They had all their lashes out so you could see and touch them all, and everything was discounted from $35 to $20! I purchased 'You Complete Me' and 'Extra Oomph.' I kind of regret getting Extra Oomph, only because I originally thought I'd be able to wear them on their own, but now that I've looked at them I think I'll only be able to layer them over another pair of lashes.
Esquido Lashes in BFF
Esquido Lashes in BFF
Esquido Lashes in Lashlorette
Esquido Lashes in Lashlorette
At Esquido I picked up 'BFF' and 'Lashlorette.' I originally had wanted BFF and Unforgettable, but the girl in front of me purchased the last pair of Unforgettable! So, I settled for Lashlorette instead. Esquido was also discounted. I can't remember the exact amount but I think it was similar to Velour. These were also extremely hard to photograph because of the metallic background in the lash box.
MAC Bronzing Powder in Golden
I was only able to get the bronzing powder (in Golden) at MAC, although my mom purchased it so I didn't get to see the booth. The receipt showed a 'student discount,' I think it was around $6 off.
Hakuhodu Eye Brushes in J007 and H2889
I wasn't planning on purchasing anything from Hakuhodo but got sucked in by their softness. I wish I had made a plan in advance. I would've purchased some additional brushes had I been able to think it through. I ended up with J007 (horse) and H2889 (horse; I'm 99% sure that's what it is, I threw out the plastic with the label on it). These are actually my first Hakuhodo's! I don't think there was a big discount on these (if at all), but they had some special sets at cash - gorgeous, but still quite expensive.
MUFE Artistry Shadow in D200, Camouflage Concealer in 01, and 250 Eyeliner Brush, Make Up For Ever
MUFE Make Up For Ever Artistry Eyeshadow in D200
MUFE Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow D200
I restocked on my beloved camouflage concealer at MUFE, though I was disappointed they didn't have the individual pots. I also picked up the 250 extra fine eyeliner brush and an artistry shadow in D200 and palette. There was a pretty good discount at MUFE, the concealer was about $12 less, and the eyeshadow about $4 less.
Finally, Beauty Blender was my ultimate deal of the day. I purchased six beauty blenders and a solid cleanser for $60! Suuuuch a good deal. And yes, all six are for me. Purchased at a normal retailer it would have been at least $125 CDN.