February 2018 Favourites

 

No7 Instant Results Revitalising Hydrogel Eye Masks  – these cooling eye masks are perfect for depuffing the under eye area. I had never tried anything like this before and they are so incredibly comforting.

Suetables Initial Necklace – I had been wanting a new necklace with the kids initials on individual charms and I discovered Suetables on Instagram when they opened a location in my neighbourhood recently. This is exactly what I was looking for, the price was super reasonable and I love shopping local.

Free People Unravel Me Tunic Sweater– my love affair with Free People continues (this is the fourth top I have bought from them since Christmas- slowly taking over my wardrobe). This long sweater is distressed and has loooonnnggg sleeves which I love.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer – My skin tone is always super uneven at this time of the year and I decided to try this tinted moisturizer for those days when I don’t want to wear makeup but still want to look smooth. It is AMAZING. Feels good, lasts all day and lives up to the hype of being great for super sensitive skin.

The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Lackberg– It’s always a good month when there is a new Lackberg book. This Swedish mystery series is among my all time favourite crime fiction. See the series order here (there are currently 10 books in the series published in English) and get reading!!!

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick in Misfit– I received this lipstick from Influenster and I was immediately smitten. It is a brick-red (so different from the bright blue reds I tend to gravitate towards) and the formula is super pigmented and creamy.

 

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First Impressions- Moroccanoil skin care!

I was so excited when a HUGE box of Moroccanoil products dropped on my porch last week. I have used and loved their their hair products before but I was curious to try their skincare line. If you have followed the blog for a while, you know that I suffer from very dry skin especially in the winter and am always game for trying new products that can help!

The skin care items I was sent were from the Fleur D’Oranger line. Derived from the Orange Blossom Flower, this scent is meant to energize and invigorate.

First, I tried the  Body Butter  Fleur D’Oranger  and I was hooked- my skin was super smooth and hydrated afterward and that feeling lasted until my next shower. I was initially not sure about the scent because it is VERY orange-y in the container but it was much more subtle on the skin and I found myself really enjoying the smell. It really did seem to wake me up and give me a bit more pep!  The Body Souffle Fleur D’Oranger  is a much much lighter whipped moisturizer and I will be saving this for the spring because it is not quite strong enough for my winter skin. That being said, it feels gorgeous on the skin.

The Body Buff Fleur D’Oranger promises radiance and it really did. Smoothing it on, I was surprised that it didn’t have a rougher texture and wondered if it would smooth my skin enough. Upon rising it off and drying my skin, I was really happy with the results- my legs were silky smooth and ready for the body butter!

Next, the Shower Milk Fleur D’Oranger– super smooth and with that subtle orange sent on the skin. It left my skin feeling soft and perfect. Its a nice way to start the day.

Using the shower milk, body buff and body butter together has made my skin feel super hydrated and smooth, which is unusual for me at this time of the year. These products are now firmly part of my skin care regime.

In addition to the skin care products, they also sent over their Dry Shampoo for Dark Tones. Since going dark brunette in December I have been having issues with dry shampoo leaving white residue on my roots (which was of course not a problem when I was platinum blond). I love it and it has that AMAZING sent you expect from Moroccanoil hair products!

 

** While I was provided these products for review, all opinions are mine and mine alone**

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What I read- January and February 2018

What I read- January 2018

Origin by Dan Brown–  I admit, without shame, that I have a soft spot for Robert Langton. I really enjoy any novel (and film, if i am being honest) that features the worlds most famous fictional symbologist. This novel takes Robert to Spain to investigate the murder of a friend, an Elon Musk type, who is murdered at the Bilbao Museum the night he is about to disclose to the world that he has discovered the origin of all life on earth. As usual, Brown’s most recent book is well researched, fast paced and totally over the top but I think that it may be my favourite yet. The perfect read for a long winters day.

True Crime Addict By James Renner– I found this book incredibly fascinating. I am a long time fan of true crime books and more recently, podcasts (see my post about some of my favourite here) and this book explores one journalists single focused quest to discover what happened to Mara Murray (For some basic info on the Maura Murray case, check out this link). The most interesting thing about this book is how raw and honest the story telling is. The reader really feels like they are inside the mind of Mr. Renner as he goes on his search.

The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine– Amber has had a hard life. Doesn’t she deserve the happiness and luxury that money brings? She sets her sights on Jackson Parrish, a handsome millionaire and the best way to insert herself in his life is through his lovely wife, Daphne. Amber manipulates herself into the prime position of her BFF… this is where things start getting tricky for all three of them. I really really don’t want to give anything else away but  this was a deliciously devilish novel perfect for the beach.  Perfect for fans of the “domestic noir” genre. It also has a very Instagram friendly cover, if that is important to you 😉

Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga– This book is completely heartbreaking. Just wanted to say that right up front. If you were brought up, as most Canadians were, with limited information about the struggles of Indigenous people, the concept of generational trauma and the incredible racism that they face, this books is a pretty big wakeup call. Seven Indigenous students died over nine years in the town of Thunder Bay, Ontario and this book details who these kids where and what lead up to their deaths. I think that every single Canadian should read this book.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley  – Eleven people take off on a private plan from Martha’s Vineyard and eighteen minutes later, the plan crashes into the ocean. The only survivors are the four-year old son of a millionaire media mogul and a painter still waiting for his big break who almost wasn’t on the plane at all. With the back stories of the passengers explored to reveal the reason for the crash, the story also centre around the relationship between the two survivors. I loved this book. A thriller written like literature.

The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn– Dr Anna Fox, a psychologist turned agoraphobic, spends her days in her NYC townhouse watching black and white noir films, drinking copious amounts of Merlot and spying on her neighbours with a long lens camera. When she sees a crime being committed, she cannot seem to get anyone to believe her. She KNOWS she isn’t crazy and continues to investigate on her own. This book is one of the better domestic noir novels I have read; I probably enjoyed it so much because it is an ode to my all time favourite film Rear Window! I won’t say much more here, but if you like this type of thriller, you must read this one.

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When anxiety happened to my vacation

 

If you read my post from earlier this month  about Simplifying for 2018 ,  you may remember that one of my goals for this year is self-care. I am taking this to heart and this week I am heading to the beach! I have not been on a beach vacation in 9 (!!) years. I am heading away with two girl friends to an adults-only resort in the Dominican Republic. I cannot wait to sit by the pool, read, drink cocktails and relax in the sun, especially considering how brutally cold it has been the last several weeks. It will be weird to be away from the hubs and the kiddos but I think a little recharge and reset is the perfect way to set up for a successful new year!

 

 

That is how this post was supposed to start.

 

If you follow me on social media, you probably already  know how much I was looking forward to a recent girls trip to the Dominican Republic. I planned, dreamed and prepped for two months for these precious five days. It sustained me through the hectic and intense holiday season and the frantic back-to-school  week.

The day of departure arrive and I was SO excited. I had been packed and ready to go for ages. I had five books chosen and outfits planned. The airport departure was simple and the flight was enjoyable- we drank wine, watched movies and giggled at our good luck to be heading to a warm sunny destination in the dead of winter. However, when we landed something inside of me just felt…. off. Anxious rather than relaxed. I didn’t feel how I had expected to feel AT ALL. It was a bit disconcerting but I chalked it up to exhaustion and travel fatigue. The next morning I didn’t feel any better. My emotions were all over the map, one minute thinking that I would be okay to desperately wishing I was somewhere else. I spoke to my friends I was traveling with and they were super supportive and comforting but I didn’t want to burden them with this weird and unexpected development. This trip was a very important and well deserved break for them and they should be able to enjoy every second of it.

I spoke to my kids and husband and they were all happy and good. It was odd- I wasn’t really missing them per se but the idea of being where I was for three more days (which, I know, seems like nothing) filled me with dread. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I couldn’t even relax enough to enjoy a cocktail and read a book. Everything as too bright, too loud, too intimidating. It was terrifying.

I woke up the second morning and I thought I was feeling better. I texted my friends and told them to reserve me a pool bed. Then I actually tried to get up and the dread returned. In that instant I knew I needed to leave. I was on the verge of panic- shaking, dry mouth… I needed to go home immediately or I was afraid I would end up in the hospital. My mother helped me book a flight that was leaving in three hours and my friends spoke to the resort and got me a cab. I was packed and on my way to the airport within half an hour. I was a complete mess. I couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t feel much relief to be heading home. While still incredibly anxious, I was now terribly terribly sad that everything I had been looking forward to for months had been ruined by my stupid brain. I also felt completely ridiculous I had been telling everyone and their mother about this trip and now I leave after 36 hours? WTF? What would people think?

I decided to be honest and text my friends and even put up a couple of Instagram stories about my reasons for leaving.

The support I received and continue to receive has been incredible but at the end of the da it wouldn’t matter if I had not received any. I did what I had to do  for myself and isn’t that the very definition of self-care???

I never anticipated that this was going to happen on this trip, although maybe I should have in hindsight. It has happened to me while travelling before but it has also happened at home. That is the sneaky think about mental health issues. They can creep up on you like a thief and rob you of rational thought and common sense.

I have work to do to figure out these feelings because I have literally no idea where they came from and I hate feeling like I did that day on the plane home. It broke my own heart.

I decided to share this on the blog and on social media because I am not ashamed. Things happen in life over which we have zero control and sometimes making a choice that may seem extreme is required.

If you suffer from a mood disorder, including anxiety or depression, click here for some Canadian resources for help 

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January 2018 Beauty Favourites

Essie Nail Polish in Licorice – I wear a lot of black so of course I need a black nail polish!

Nars Blush in Orgasm – I am a huge fan of Nars products, especially their Exhibit A blush, but I had never tried Orgasm, the brands cult fave before! I get the hype- it is the perfect gold tinged pink to make you look healthy and fresh but not overly made up.

Clarins Blue Orchid Face Oil– I literally cannot say enough about my love for this product!!! It is meant for dehydrated skin and I use it over my serum before my moisturizer. It locks in hydration and feels amazing on my face. I have only been using it for a few weeks, but I really feel like it is soothing the redness and irritation around my nose and mouth and also helping blemishes heal faster.

Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation– This is a super light textured, medium coverage foundation. So far, I like it but I am never sure how to apply cushion products. I don’t want to use my fingers but the little pad that comes with it is pretty disappointing. After some trial and error, I am now applying with a foundation buffing brush which works a treat.

Benefit The Pore Professional Pearl Primer– I like the original pore professional but it was a bit too matte for my taste. The pearl version gives a nice glow under my makeup and the texture is so soft and smooth. My only complaint about this product is that it doesn’t spread across the face that well so I feel like I end up using too much.

Mac Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo– This iconic lipstick is the perfect pin-up red. I can’t believe I have never owned this before!

Pixi Glow Tonic– This is a bit of a cult favourite so I decided to check it out. I like its exfoliation properties but I think I have to put it away until spring because my skin is too dry for it at the moment.

 

Any products that you tried this month that I need to check out??

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Best of SpaceNK collection from Nordstrom

It is not often that I get to visit a Nordstrom with only one kid in tow. Over the christmas break the fam headed to Yorkdale Shopping Centre to pick up some workout gear for the hubs and while the boys (stereotypically) were hanging out with their dad in Nike, the little lady and I headed to Nordstrom to look a pretty things.

I was immediately drawn to the Space NK counter because it is not easy to find their products and the products they carry in Canada. I noticed that there was a SpaceNK Best of  Collection  available for a very good price and snapped it up to try a bunch of products that were new to me! It also came in a super adorable makeup bag, which I am a total sucker for.

The collection contains:

By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Care – I love the smell of this product and it goes on creamy and thick but it drys really really quickly which is not what I want in a lip balm. It doesn’t really leave my lips feeling soft.

EVE LOM Cleanser–  While I was at the Space NK counter in Nordstrom, the woman who helped me was raving about this balm cleanser. It is formulated with aromatic plant oils and has a unique application process, which she explained to me in detail (the product also comes with very detailed instructions). If I hadn’t understood how to use it, I don’t think I would like it as much as I do, which is A LOT. It takes of makeup in a snap, smells lovely and leave my skin softer then anything I have ever tried.

Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment– This serum is the only one I have ever tried with the Lactic Acid as the active ingredient. This acid is meant to exfoliate, clarify and plump the skin and the good news is, it actually seems to! After using it, my skin feels tingly (in a good way), super soft and full. My only complaint would be the smell, but its not a deal breaker for me.

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick – This lipstick looks mildly terrifying when you open it as it appears to be a shocking green colour. However, when applied the formula reacts with your Ph level and your natural skin tone to create a personalized rosy tint that is exclusive to you. I really like this lipstick- it is  creamy and I love the light wash of colour and I think my lips look plumper as well. The only downside to this is that it is very expensive for a lipstick that isn’t super pigmented (over $30) but who doesn’t love the idea of mood lipstick!!

Travel-size Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray–  I am not a big hair spray person generally but I am getting into trying some new things since my hair colour changed and I am liking the tousled look a lot- this spray  helps get some big hair happening and also helps absorb oil at the roots! Basically the best thing ever!

Kevyn Aucoin Beauty The Volume Mascara– This is the only product that I haven’t tried yet. I am hording it because I have heard such good things about this line and I am anxious that it won’t measure up to the genius that was Kevyn Aucoin. I am always surprised that people don’t realize that this brand is named for a very talented makeup artist who sadly passed away in 2002 at the age of 40. His makeup books remain my faves (check them out here)

 

 

** This is NOT sponsored in anyway**

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Simplify for 2018

I have decided that this is the year I actually do it. I simplify. I get organized.

I won’t call it a resolution because if I do, it FOR sure won’t happen.

Two things really sparked this for me. First, our long-awaited basement renovation is finally starting this week. I cannot begin to describe how excited I am about this. The basement will essentially be a playroom/family room/guest room with laundry and a small bathroom.  I am thrilled that all the kids toys and books will finally have a permanent home (as well as the husbands extensive vinyl collection) but the basement was full of crap. Like SO. MUCH. STUFF.  Basically our entire childhoods were boxed up and living down there. We have moved it all out now but it is taking longer to go through the piles of things and purge then I had ever imagined. We have taken about three van loads of stuff to donate and I am sure we will be sending at least three more soon. Getting rid of massive amounts of stuff I have been holding on to for literally decades has been hard but very invigorating and I have decided to continue the purge throughout the house and, dare I say it, my life!

Serendipity is my friend. The other day I was scrolling through the ‘gram and I stopped at Emily Ley’s account (a fellow twin mom and mom of three). She is the founder of the Simplified Planner and also the author of A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living. She was offering a free e-book for her Simplicity Challenge when you sign up to her mailing list (find it here without signing up) so I printed it out right away. There are so many amazing tips in there and mixed with the goals that I had already set for myself, I have come up with a list of ten ways I will be simplifying my life in 2018.  Again, not a resolution. Goals.

  • Clean out your bag- If you are like me, I carry around a ton of stuff in my bag. I change bags frequently but somehow all the junk just migrates. I am now trying to keep my bag more organized by keeping makeup and bits and bobs in a pouch so that everything is contained and there are no random hair ties and lipsticks floating around the bottom of my bag.  I am using a cute Kate Spade pouch similar to this one. If you like the look of your pouch, you are more likely to use it!
  • Purge your wardrobe and make it look pretty– I went out and bought a bunch of new velvet hangers at Homesense in an attempt to fit more in my fairly small closet. In the process of replacing all my bulky wooden hangers, I took literally every single piece out and had to hold it in my hand and look at it. If I didn’t think that I would wear it soon, I threw it in a pile to donate. For my drawers, I pulled every single piece out and dumped them all on the floor- when I reached for piece to re-fold it, I had to make the same decision.
  • Buy better, not more– Now that I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff, I have decided to try to cut down on impulsive, fast fashion purchases. I plan on keeping a list in my yearly planner (more on that later) of items that I want and really do my research to find exactly the right piece. Maybe it’s from Zara or maybe I will have to spend more, but it will have to be the perfect piece to make it into my newly arranged wardrobe.
  • Make a list of books you want to read this year– If you are a regular follower of mine, you know that I am a bit of a book addict. I buy a TON of books… more than I can ever realistically read. I need to curb the spending on books so I have decided to make a list of books I want to read this year and try to stick with it.
  • Clean out the pantry- If your house is like mine, you pantry or wherever you store your dry goods becomes a total disaster. Stuff gets crammed in there and soon enough, you are buying repeat items because you have no idea what you have. Cleaning it out, tossing anything that is too old or expired and arranging it so everything is visible will help cut down on unnecessary purchases. Also- you may find that you have some items that you can donate to a local food bank!
  • Weekly Meal Planning– Another way to avoid purchasing more food then you require. Planning meals cuts down on expense and food waste. I used to be very good at this but in recent years, life with babies got in the way. Really excited to get back to it!
  • Family calendar- My husband and I both have work events and separate social events that we need to keep track of in addition to appointments and activities for the kids. Sharing a calendar on iCal means that we always know what everyone is up to so we don’t double book. I have found that being able to see how the month is shaping up keeps me from getting overwhelmed and enables me to make sure that everyone gets to where they need to go.
  • Use my planner– Every year I buy a beautiful planner and every year it gets woefully neglected. The most successful year I had with a planner was when I used it more as a journal and a goal keeper then to track appointments (which are on the shared iCal calendar anyway!) This year, I received a lovely day per page planner from Paper Source  (pictured below) for Christmas. The day per page give me lots of room to take notes, make lists and write down random thoughts.
  • Purge that junk drawer– Don’t lie and say you don’t have one. Everyone has one somewhere in their home. For us, it’s in the kitchen island and it is where rubber bands and batteries go to die. Clean that puppy out and you will realize how much garbage has accumulated in there and how good it feels to say goodbye to it (until next year when it is full again!)
  • Go through the kids things every month– this may seem excessive but when you have three rapidly growing and changing kids, it really helps keeping their clothing and toys from getting out of control. I do this especially with the twins stuff, as once they outgrow something there is no need for me to hold on to it anymore (no more babies coming our way). I usually divide the purged items into a pile for charity and a pile to sell at a consignment store (if you live in Toronto, I suggest Merrily Merrily for consigning)

** Bonus- Take time for just you every day. Even if it is just a 10 minute shower, a 20 minute bath with a glass of wine or a walk or bike around the neighbourhood. Clear your head away from the family. It will make you a happier parent, partner and human!

 

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Holiday Style- Seeing Stars

I am obsessed with stars right now- it is the perfect minimal yet festive print which can easily be carried over into 2018!  I have the Zara sweatshirt below and my daughter has the cutest black and silver star patterned dress from Old Navy (similar here) and we have so much funning twinning in them (only once in a while because, otherwise… weird) Here are some other star pattern pieces I am currently lusting after!
Seeing Stars

Boots- Mango  / Jeans- Stella McCartney/Sunglasses – Gucci/Bag- Coach/ Heels- Giuseppe Zanotti/ Sweatshirt- Zara/ Earrings- Cara/ Dress- Zara

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Style Obsession- Teddy Bear Coats

All things 1990’s are back and that includes “fun fur”!!! But now instead of the bright garish colours that brings to mind raves and dance music, these faux fur Teddy Bear coats are chic and classy. Maybe that is why I bought one at age 37 when I never owned one when I was 16 (neon green was not my colour)!

 

Teddy Bear Coats

 

 

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Pantone Colour of the Year 2018- Ultraviolet

I am more excited about this Pantone colour of the year then I have been in a long time! Ultraviolet is a little intimidating at first glance but it is the perfect shade for accent pieces and accessories, especially combined with black, white and/or grey (my usual colour palette!)
Pantone Colour of the Year- Ultraviolet

Sneakers- Converse /Glasses- Stella McCartney/ Backpack- Fjällräven/ Booties- Steve Madden/Earrings- Miss Selfridge/ Lipstick- NYX / Clutch- Gucci/ Pumps- Nine West/ Eye Shadow- Tom Ford Beauty

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