What I Read- March 2017

What I read in March 2017

 

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul– In this historical novel, one of the Romanov daughters of Russia fell in love with a soldier before the Russian Revolution. As the war intensified, these unlikely lovers struggle to stay together. This is a really touching book about the power of love, however I found many parts of it are soooo farfetched.
The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb (via Netgalley. Available June 6th) I have loved Wendy Webbs previous “Northern Gothic” novels and I was so excited that I was able to read the advance copy of Temperance Dare!
Eleanor becomes the new director of an artists retreat located in an old TB hospital and when her first group of writers arrive, suspicious things begin to happen. Slowly she realizes that all her guest have ties to the hospital and that something paranormal may have brought them all together. Such a good, tense and atmospheric read. If you like a good gothic story, I highly recommend this!
My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella- Katie wishes her life were as glamorous as the life she shares on Instagram. Her “perfect” job is ruined by her horrible boss Demeter, she lives in a hovel with weird roommates and dating isn’t really happening. When Demeter suddenly and cruel fires here, Katie returns home to her family to regroup and finds herself starting a new glamping business on their farm. But when Demeter arrives as a guest….. Sophie Kinsella is the queen of women’s fiction and this novel doesn’t disappoint. Katie is a hero you emp and laugh with. Loved this book.
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan  The intersecting stories of the women of the Chilbury village choir and how they navigate love, suspicion, grief and fear during WW2. Such a wonderful book- characters that were so well developed and real that you couldn’t help cheering for every single women.
Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt (via Netgalley. Available now) The second book in a frothy trilogy about three women living in the cottages of Willoughby Close.  Harriet moves into one of the little cottages after she discovers that not only is her husband having an affair, but he has also mortgaged away their home. Suddenly single and broke, Harriet sets about trying to create a new life with her children and figure out who she is on her own.
Have you read anything recently that I have to cozy up with???
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Favourite Things- March 2017

Favorite Things- March 2017

 

My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella– I have read every book she has written since the hight of the chick flick era of the early aughts! The perfect funny, frothy, romantic light read. Perfect for the beach or the cottage!
Josie Maran Argan Oil– I am obsessed with this oil for my face since I got a sample with a Sephora order recently. Smells nice and super hydrating but not heavy for the Spring.
BioSteel High Performance Sports Mix– Never being able to bring myself to drink quite enough water, I picked up some Bio Steel mix to help me hydrate. It tastes like bubble gum and is bright pink and I can DOWN it in about two seconds. Totally makes it easier to drink all the fluids I need for the day!
Asos Sunnies– I got these on super sale and I love the clear plastic frames and the gold and black accents. The shape is amazing and so different then any other pair I own!
Baby Foot– A friend told me that I HAD to try this before sandal season. You basically put bags full of a citric acid solution on your feet and leave them on for two hours then soak you feet every night for a week and watch the hard skin just peel away.  It is gross and amazing and your feet really are so much softer after. My advice is do this well BEFORE you want to rock open toe shoes…. peeling feet are not sexy.
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Toddler Favourites- Two Years Old!

Toddler Favourites- Two Years Old

Leapfrog Number Lovin’ Oven– We don’t have room for a play kitchen in our house so this little talking oven is a real life/spacesaver

Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway Set–  SOO happy that I kept all the tracks and trains from the twin’s big bro ( are they ever expensive)! They love them as much as he did.

Megablocks Big Building Bag– WOW do all three kids enjoy these. The twins are well on their way to being  master builder and their brother loves helping them make elaborate constructions! Next stop- LEGO!

IKEA Lockig Potty– Cheap and cheerful. Let the potty training fun begin.

“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”– This is a favourite book in our house and a fun, rythmic way of teaching the alphabet.

Beanie Boos– All three kids are OBSESSED withe these big eyes plushies.

 

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Spring Style -Step Hem Denim

Jeans with raw step hems are all over the place this year!  I love it when jeans have a little bit of something different to keep them feeling fresh.
Here are some really cute options!
Step Hem Denim

 

 It has been super cold and grey in Toronto the last week or so and I am really craving some warm spring weather. I went down a bit of a rabbit hole researching these jeans and created my dream casual Spring look featuring the Rag & Bone step hem jeans.
Spring Style- Weekend Step Hem Denim

 

Jeans- Rag & Bone
Sweatshirt- Skinny Sweats
Shoes- Adidas
Sunglasses- Quay
Earrings- Jenny Bird

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Spring Style- The Structured Ruffle

The Ruffle is  having a major style moment right now and my favorite take on this look is the more structured version- crisp, clean and sharp. Here are a few pieces I am loving!
The Structured Ruffle

White Blouse- Alice + Olivia/Pinstripe Blouse- Vici Collection/Pink Top- Stella McCartney/Grey Dress- New Look/ Yellow Dress- ASOS/Striped Top- J. Crew/Red Dress- Valentin0

What do you think of ruffles for spring? Cute or too cutesy?
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Favourite Things- February 2017

February 2017 Favourites

 

Santa Clarita Diet– Sheila and Joel are just your average California real estate agents until Sheila begins to crave the taste of raw meat…. turns out she’s a zombie. Part horror, part frothy family comedy, this show is super fun if you can stomach A LOT of gore. This Netflix show is the perfect binge- ten episodes at half an hour each means that you can easily kill this one (pun intended) in two nights!

Sephora Makeup Brushes– While purging my way though all the stuff in my bathroom cabinets, I realized that I was using makeup brushes that were at least 5 years old and many were much older than that. I decided to purchase a totally new set from Sephora, which are infused with charcoal powder, which has antimicrobial properties.

Sephora Contour Palette– Another thing that I noticed was that I didn’t have a proper all-in-one contour/highlight palette. This one from Sephora is awesome. The pigments are rich enough for my fair skin and  are super blendable.
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer– Oh dark circles, how loathe thee. I am constantly trying out different products to cover up my under eye shadows. I recently saw this product recommended on a vlog so I picked it up and I love it. Good coverage, easy to apply and blend and doesn’t go dry and cake-y as the days goes on.
Icone Kimono CardiganSimons has become a fave online shopping destination over the last year or so (Canadian company means better shipping rates and NO DUTY) for good quality, inexpensive basics. I LOVE this cardigan so much. The shape is super chic and totally different than any other sweater I own.
Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill  by Sonia Purnell– Winston Churchill is a towering figure in 20th Century history as the Prime Minister of England during the last years of World War Two. His wife Clementine, his lifelong companion and staunchest supporter, is ofter overlooked or misrepresented in biographies of him. Here, Purnell writes about how “Clemmy” shaped the life of her larger-than-life husband.
Ikea Tea Lights– In my quest to fully embrace Hygge this winter, I am burning a ton of candles. Ikea tea lights burn clean and are super inexpensive.
Dr. Jart Water-Sure Gel– I have used Dr. Jart BB creams in the past and loved them but until I received a sample, I had never tried the creams. This gel based moisturizer is amazing and while pricey, a little goes a long way. Perfect over your favourite serum.
What was your favorite product or thing that you discovered in February?
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Product Review- Svelte Shapewear

Svelte Shapewear

 

Mom-preneaur Liliana Tureck wanted to create clothing  that reflected how a  woman’s body changes after children and as she ages. She also wanted comfortable and flattering yet supportive shapeware that didn’t feel like bondage so she created Svelte Shapewear– Svelte products are the result of fabric, fit and style working together”.  Designed in Montreal, Svelte items are made with built-in four way stretch Spandex which makes for the most comfortable non-restrictive shape wear I have ever tried. 

Since having the twins, my abs haven’t been…well… really abs any more. I can’t seem to get rid of that skin/fat pooch (If you have had kids and especially if you have had a c-section you get it) and I am super self-consious about it. When given the chance to choose a piece from the Svelte website to review, I headed right for the jeans. I had been looking for a new pair of skinnies because jeans are my uniform in my casual office environment. When they arrived, I knew that I had chosen wisely- these jeans are wonderful.  They are SO insanely comfortable and soft; they feel like sweatpants but the spandex panel comes up nice and high and keeps me feeling smooth and tucked in without being too constricted.

The first time I wore them, I was so excited that I kept pulling up my top to show the panel for all my female friends and colleagues and they were so impressed with the style and the slimming power.  The back has perfectly placed pockets and the length is perfect for me (may run a bit long for shorter girls) and they have small slits at the ankle that help elongate the look of the leg.

My only  initial concern was a dye smell that really permeated the pants until after a couple of washes but that is a small  thing for such comfortable and flattering pants! I am totally coveting several other pieces from their collection, especially the Leather Spike leggings and the Pencil Skirt.

Svelte Shapewear is available online and ships for free on orders over $55 in Canada with 30 day free returns  (they ship internationally as well) and are also available at stores across the country (which are listed on their website) Right now, if you order online, you get 20% off your first purchase!  DO it! You can thank me later 😉

 

 

 

** This product was provided to me free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

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Review- Goop Clean Beauty

 

Goop Clean Beauty

I have been a subscriber of goop since the beginning because I love Gwyneth Paltrow’s clean, crisp clothing style. Honestly- her uniform post from several years ago is still a go-to for me. I am still a subscriber but over the years as goop has developed as a “lifestyle” brand, I have certainly stopped being an avid reader. The problem that I have is the same as a lot of other people- the site just SMACKS of privilege; almost everything featured is insanely expensive and it seems out of touch with the lives of most women (steaming ones vagina?? Really??? That cannot be healthy)

When I was sent Goop Clean Beauty by the publisher, Hachette Book Group Canada, I was willing to attempt to look at it without any preconceived notions. It was January and who doesn’t love a good lifestyle book to start the New Year with? I was certainly curious if the book would be accessible to the 99% who aren’t Hollywood royalty….

My first impression of the book was how clean (no pun intended) and stylish the layout design was. It was like your favourite Instagrammer who uses a lot of flat-lay pictures- perfect and styled within an inch of its life. I did have to chuckle a bit that kale leaves were prominently featured on the dedication page.

While the credit for the book goes to the staff of goop, GP “curated’ the book so naturally the introduction was penned by her. In it, she extols the virtues of natural self-preservation and aging gracefully while feeling as good as possible both inside and out. So far I am on board. She addresses all the negative products in so many beauty products and stresses how bad “toxins” are for the body (this feels a bit like an ad for goop by Juice Beauty)

GP has gotten a lot of flack by members of the medical community about her detox cleanses and she clearly wants to clarify her position here by stressing that her detox focuses on clean eating (i.e eating nothing fun at all) and not juice cleanses or fasts. Thea Baumann (the resident goop chef), provides 24 recipes for clean eating, many of which look pretty yummy (I am for sure trying  the Steamed Fish with Dashi and Soba Noodles and all the chopped salads). However…. there is a recipe for hot water and lemon.. Seriously?

A list of superfoods and antioxidants are included here which is hardly new territory but its nice to have all the info in one place if you are into that sort of thing (I am sort of on the fence, personally)

Of course Tracey Anderson also shows. I am as envious as anyone of GP’s figure but Tracey’s “method” is not super feasible for me as much as I wish it were. (working out for an hour a day would be amazing if I had that sort of time)

One thing that I was very interested in was the section addressing supplements and foods that help with hair, skin and nails. I took some of the advice and started talking a Biotin and have noticed a difference with my hair, especially. The beauty section is very blunt about how skin and haircare products work and that the real permanent changes and improvements come from what you put in your body rather than what you put on it. YES! This was probably my favourite section.

The the section that focuses on hair styles and makeup is a bit silly, especially in the era of YouTube tutorials. How to do a cat eye and a ponytail? Huh?

Another section that I was really interested in was about sleep- about how much you need, how to get the most out of sleep, the importance of naps for adults (HA- vindication! I LOVE naps) and how lack of sleep can affect your body. I am working on implementing some of the suggestions in an attempt to feel more rested.

All in all, this book is a beautiful hard covered version of the goop website and while there are certainly some good recipes and references, it doesn’t exactly break new ground.

Also one more thing- Is adrenal fatigue a real thing?

 

 

** I was provided this book for review by Hatchette Book Group Canada. All opinions are solely my own.

 

 

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Favourite Things – January 2017

These are a few of my (January) favourite things!!!!
Favorites- January 2017

 

I See You by Clare Mackintosh– The perfect creepy read for a dreary January evening. Zoe sees a picture of herself in the classified section of the newspaper. Then she sees another woman’s picture… and that woman ends up dead….
Caspar Mattress– Our old mattress, while high end, was ten years old and both of us were waking up tired and sore every morning. We decided to try out the Caspar mattress and so fare we are super happy we did. Feeling less sore and tired every day! Also, many podcasts these days are sponsored by Caspar so there are lots of $50 discount codes out there.
MimiTENS “Mama” Hat– A lovely mum friend of mine gave me and another friend these hats for Christmas. I love that they say “mama” but they look totally badass. Mums can be cool too! #doesitcomeinblack
Mackage Card Case– I used to carry around a massive wallet that became a dumping ground for tons of crap. In my quest to streamline what I was carrying around in my bag, I asked my husband for a small card case style wallet and he chose this one (does he have great taste or what?)
MishMash Notebook– I saw a notebook by this Portugal based company in a vlogger’s video on Youtube. I checked out their site right away and fell in love with the stitched spines and unique paper quality. It wasn’t cheap (22 euros) but I love it so much. Blog planning and grocery lists were never so chic!
Michael Kors Boots– I saw a girl on the subway wearing these boots and they were exactly what I was looking for- cute toe, low heel, suede… I took a mental snapshot (I thought I would look like a creep taking a photo of someones feet on the TTC) and searched for them as soon as I could. The husband got them for me for Christmas. They as cute and comfortable as I had hoped!
Murad Advances Active Radiance Serum – Murad products are amazing but so expensive so they are a splurge for me. My mum gave this to me for Christmas and it really does make my skin glow and helps it retain so much more moisture.
Anthenay Mini Brass Bag– Another Christmas gift from the husband (I was totally spoiled this year). I was so surprised because I took a photo of the bag ages earlier at Zane (one of my favourite stores) and sent it to him… and then promptly forgot about it. Anthenay bags are locally made by hand in Toronto of really lovely structured leather. They are total works of art.
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I tried microbladding.

Getting out of the house looking decent in the morning can be challenging when you have a gaggle of kids hanging off your leg, even with a helpful spouse like I have. Spending too much time getting ready while the kids are tearing up the joint downstairs while my husband does his level best to wrangle is super stressful for me.

A few months ago, my friend Kat got her brows micro bladed  and I was CAPTIVATED. Her new and improved brows framed her face, were the perfect shape and semi- permanent! No pencils or powder required!

One night Kat and I were out for drinks with another friend Tina and Kat told us about a friend of a friend who was training to microblade and was looking for models to use.  Tina literally texted her the next day and I followed suit. I also convinced my sister-in-law to do it too!

We were both super nervous about the pain and permanence of the procedure ahead of time. As I do, I spent a lot of time researching microbladding and I started to get excited about the prospect!

My SIL and I arrives at Sonia Marques home studio on a fall afternoon totally unsure about the entire process. SIL went first (I was chicken). Sonia consulted with her about the shape that she wanted and mapped her brows with grease pencil (looked nuts) and then applied the numbing gel. After about 20 minutes, Sonia began applying the dye via a teeny tiny blade. Yes- basically a super sharp scalpel. The first couple of cuts hurt quite a bit but not as much as I was anticipating ( I guess after two pregnancies and two c-sections, my pain threshold has increased). Sonia re-applied the numbing gel several times over the course of the work, so it hurt less and less.

When we left her studio, SIL and I were laughing at our bonkers dark brows! You are not allowed to wash your face for 24 hours so there is a lot of dye still on there and then as the brows scab and oxidize, they get SUPER dark. Here is a picture of me the day after.

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I felt super self-conscious about how dark they were but look at that SHAPE!! So boss!

By day five I was really feeling my brows, although they were still quite dark.

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I have to say that while getting my brows microbladded was a totally vanity based decision, I am so glad that I did it. I feel put together with even the smallest amount of makeup on and I think they give my face angles that it didn’t have before (I am a total moon pie face girl).

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I have not regretted my decision to micro blade once in the last three months. I even looked forward to my one month touch up because I wanted them even MORE defined in some places.

If you are interested in microbladding and have waited on pulling the trigger DO IT!

If you are in the Toronto area, contact Sonia Marques! She will hook you up.

 

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