February Beauty Picks

I love February for a few reasons. One – it’s the end of January which is the worst month of the year (it’s right after Christmas and right before Valentine’s Day and spring – it’s a total limbo). Two – it’s when my boyfriend and I celebrate our anniversary and I love cheesy, romantic, Valentine’s Day B.S (sue me). Three – I love that I can gradually transition my winter wardrobe and beauty routine into spring. Sure, the weather is still freezing, but things start to feel more cheerful. Pink lipstick, shiny glosses, shimmery highlighters, soft and even skin – it’s feminine and relaxed. My February beauty routine is very natural but cheerful. A touch of mascara, a dab of colour corrector and a swipe of rosé or cherry lipstick and I’m ready to go. The five products below are my absolute favourites right now. From a light but quenching moisturizer to a skin-saving primer – take it from me, you are going to want to check all of these goodies out!


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1 // Cake Beauty – Milk Made Velveteen Hand Cream

I can’t stand having dry hands (or feet, knees or elbows) and winter wreaks havoc on my skin. I picked up a tube of this in Shoppers and instantly fell in love with its light but hydrating texture and subtle scent of candied oats. With rich, vegan ingredients like marshmallow root, mango and shea butter, it leaves my hands silky and soothed. It also smells yummy – like vanilla rice pudding or steamed vanilla milk.

2 // Caudalie – Instant Detox Mask

Ahhh Caudalie. If there is ever a mask worth splurging on it’s this beauty. A thin layer of this pink elixir is all it takes to suck the gunk out of my pores like a magnet (especially the blackheads in my nose). It is filled with detoxifying ingredients such as pink clay, lavender, coffee and papaya enzymes and smells amazing with all natural essential oils. One use was enough to make me notice that my skin was more even and my pores were smaller but regular use is seriously transformational.

3 // Morning Glamour – Black Satin Pillow Case

For years I had read that a silk or satin pillow case was the key to keeping your skin and hair wrinkle and tangle free but I had never been sold. Flash forward to a couple weeks ago when I found this pillow case on sale. At only $10 I thought, why not? I am glad I bought it because it is so luxurious sleeping on a cool, silky pillow. I also have noticed that my bed head is significantly less crazy. Will it reduce my wrinkles? We will see. But it’s worth getting just because of how delightful it feels to sleep on. Now I feel like Holly Golightly from ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ when I am snoozing.

4 // Scentuals – Neroli Twist Roll-On Perfume

I love to smell good and have a perfume collection that counts well over a hundred scents (I am insane, I know). I like to keep minis and roll-ons on hand just to touch up during the day and this natural neroli fragrance has become a favourite of mine. The perfect mix of floral and earthy, it’s a heady blend of neroli, ylang-ylang, bergamot and lavender. It’s elegant but casual enough for everyday. It reminds me of being in a forest in the springtime and has me daydreaming of sunnier days.

5 // Indeed – Nanoblur Colour Corrector in Green

I don’t like to wear foundation or primer unless I’ve got some kind of event to go to. Most formulas feel too heavy and I don’t like an overly matte finish. I like a little dew and for my natural skin to show through. This green tinted cream came across my radar when I was looking for a new BB cream and I was instantly intrigued by its promise to reduce redness while reducing inflammation. I’ve always been fairly pink and I loved the idea of evening out my complexion without caking on skin coloured paste. This goes on light as air and blends in seamlessly, transforming from mint green to a beautiful even finish in seconds. I wear this everyday and it feels like I’m wearing nothing at all. I also feel like it has made my skin less red when I’m wearing no makeup at all! For a smooth, even, hydrated face, this nourishing colour corrector is a god-send. Don’t be scared of the green colour – it neutralizes the pink in your skin and blends into your natural skin colour way better than a traditional foundation or bb cream! If you are like me and have skin that tends to get a bit ruddy, this is a fabulous product.

What beauty treasures are you obsessed with right now? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

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lush-cosmetics-best-and-worst

Best & Worst Of LUSH

If you’ve read a few of my Beauty Picks posts, you know that I love LUSH Cosmetics – I mean, I feature a LUSH gem in almost every one of those roundups! I know a few of you are as obsessed as me (I love when you guys comment – please, keep them coming!), so I wanted to do an official ranking of my favourite and least favourite LUSH products. From my favourite cleanser of all time (it’s been my holy grail for the last four years) to a shampoo that literally makes me look like I have extreme dandruff due to an inexplicable addition of shredded coconut to its formula (why though?), these are the best and worst LUSH products according to me.

THE BEST

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1 // Angels On Bare Skin Face & Body Cleanser

Unlike other scrubby exfoliants that can create micro tears, irritating skin and kicking your complexion’s oil production into overdrive, Angels ever-so-gently polishes away dead skin and blockages using ground almonds, lavender buds and kaolin clay. It leaves my face feeling like silk and is gentle enough to use everyday. Also, its heavenly blend of lavender and rose essential oils do more than smell amazing – they also soothe your skin while reducing redness. Truly a skincare elixir sent from above!

2 // R&B Hair Moisturizer

My hair is very curly and thick and so all of my hair products are about hydration. I swear, I could saturate my hair in straight up oil and my strands would just slurp it up and be frizzy a few hours later. This incredibly luxe cream is chock full of delish ingredients like cupuacu butter, avocado butter, olive oil and oat milk and makes my hair shiny and soft for at least an entire day. Also, the fact that is smells like orange blossom – one of my favourite flowers – is an added bonus. A little bit goes a long way and this stuff really works.

3 // The Comforter Bubble Bar

I’ve tried a bunch of bubble bars from LUSH but none come close to this gem. It smells like pure heaven – like cassis and cream to be exact. I also love that a bar lasts way longer than conventional bubble bath. Simply break off a piece and crumble it into running water for rich, luxurious black currant scented bubbles. If these are ever pulled from the shelves I am going to straight up weep.

4 // The American Cream Conditioner

The conundrum I always face is that I want a conditioner that hydrates my unruly curls without leaving my hair limp and greasy. This balance is tough to find but The American Cream has it nailed. It smells like a comforting bowl of strawberries and cream (my mom used to give me cut up strawberries with milk and a sprinkle of sugar as a child) and deeply nourishes each strand leaving your hair shiny and healthy looking but still light and bouncy.

5 // Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask

If you have sensitive skin that is prone to redness and irritation like mine, then this rose-scented creamy mask will be your new best friend. I love it because it has the texture and absorbency of a clay mask with the soothing benefits of calamine and rose petal infusion. On days when I am breaking out or my face is dull and splotchy, this is a miracle worker. Also, because it’s fresh it has to be kept in the fridge which makes putting it on such a refreshing, luxurious experience.

THE WORST

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1 // Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask

Now discontinued, Love Lettuce used to be one of LUSH’s best selling masks. At first glance, it’s not hard to see why. It smells like lavender, it has an absorbent clay texture and it goes on looking like a classic green face mask from an old-school slumber party. Some people love it but I am not one of those people. While I can get behind the seaweed, lavender and kaolin that is packed into this formula, its the ultra-abrasive crushed almond shells that rub me the wrong way – literally. I mean, think about it. Those pieces are sharp! If you crushed an almond shell, would you rub that on your face? The jagged edges create micro-tears in the skin, making your face a breeding ground for bacteria. Think acne, discolouration, redness – all things we are trying to avoid. If the exfoliant was a little more gentle, I would like this product. But I just can’t get behind sand papering my face with sharp nut shells.

2 // Curly Wurly Shampoo

Riddle me this – in what world is it necessary or beneficial to have clumps of shredded coconut in your shampoo? Not only does it do nothing but get tangled up in my curls and clog my drain, but it is damn near impossible to rinse out and makes it look I have extreme dandruff. The proof was on my boyfriend’s horrified face when I got out of the shower and he wordlessly pointed at my head. And why wouldn’t he look shocked? There were literal chunks of coconut in my hair. It looked like I had suddenly sprouted rampant scalp fungus. Yes this smells good and yes it has a bunch of great ingredients (coconut oil, shea butter, avocado oil, papaya and jojoba oil), but that shredded coconut ruins the party in a big way. Unless you want to look like your scalp is flaking off your skull, I would give this a seriously hard pass.

3 // Lust Perfume

I like jasmine but it’s a perfume note that I prefer in small quantities. It is a very strong white floral scent and too much of it can be incredibly overpowering and heavy. Lust is centred around ‘carnal’ jasmine and, ahem, it smells toooo carnal for me, Like, it has an almost salty, body-odour smell that I am just not down for. I have never smelled a jasmine perfume that has reminded me of sweat before, but that’s what I get from this. If smelling like sweaty sex in a seventies night club bathroom is your jam, then have at it. This is just not my cup of tea.

4 // Any Of The Lip Scrubs

Okay, so it’s not like there is anything really wrong with these scrubs per-se, I just think they are a total waste of money. These scrubs are comprised of sugar and oil – two ingredients most people already have in their pantries. And why do we need to scrub our lips with sugar? It’s a lot easier to smooth chapped lips with a damp wash cloth or tooth brush. Also, the description for these scrubs encourage the user to ‘lick off the excess sugar’. MMM – dead skin and dyed sugar. Colour me grossed out.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Designer Spotlight | Justine Brooks

Justine-Brooks_Jewelry

Photos via Justine Brooks

Blending international intrigue with familiar nature-inspired motifs, Justine Brooks has built a name for herself in Canada and around the world for her eponymous label which combines precious metals with raw stones and ultra-realistic shapes (think anatomically correct hearts, pine cones, cedar leaves and succulents). Justine launched her brand in 2005 after graduating from both the Emily Carr Institute Of Art & Design and Vancouver Community College’s Jewelry Art and Design Program. Beyond her love for design and jewelry, Justine is a passionate traveler and has explored the globe from top to bottom, visiting breathtaking places throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa and more. In fact, this globe-trotter first fell in love with jewelry and design in 2005 while learning traditional jewelry-making techniques in India. This passion for travel is evident in Justine’s designs. Sometimes it’s a stone, sometime’s its a colour combination and sometimes its a shape or technique, but there is always an international feel to Justine’s designs and multiculturalism is woven into the core of her brand and her vision. I have loved her designs since I first discovered her pieces in Forsya (a lovely but now closed boutique that used to reside on Vancouver’s eclectic Main Street. You can still shop them online though!). I loved the way her pendant, earrings and charms resembled items found in nature in such a realistic way. Her itty-bitty silver pinecones and acorns looked just like the ones I would find while walking through Stanley Park. Her pieces have such a stunning simplicity to them and can be worn with anything – from weekend wear to a wedding dress. These are pieces that are meant to be worn and treasured, everyday. While it’s hard to pick favourites, scroll on to see 10 pieces that are on my wish list!

 

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MY PICKS

1 // Tiny Cedar Earrings

2 // Rose Double Deer Antler Pendant

3 // Hammered Wave Ring

4 // Moonstone Charm Bracelet

5 // Tiny Pinecone Charm Necklace

6 // Fiddlehead Fern Necklace

7 // Anatomical Brain Pendant

8 // Wave & Sunshine Necklace

9 // Raw Opal Studs

10 // Moon + Star Opal Silver Ring

xoxo,

Alicia

Lavender Pear Almond Muffins

I love a good pumpkin muffin around fall, don’t get me wrong, but last week I decided to take a great muffin recipe and shake it up with other fall flavours instead! Pear is a subtle, but oh-so-delicious, flavour that pairs beautifully with the cherry-like aroma of toasted almonds and the herbaceous, floral flavour of lavender. These are absolutely delicious hot out of the oven and make a great on-the-go breakfast. Not to mention how sparkly and pretty they look with their crust of granulated sugar on the top. For a sweet fall treat that doesn’t centre around pumpkin or cinnamon, look no further!

Lavender-Pear-Almond-Muffins-Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Tsp Food Grade Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1Tbsp Honey
  • 1/2 Tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Unsalted Almonds
  • 1 Can Pears (Chopped Into 1/4″ Pieces)

Lavender-Pear-Almond-Muffins-Recipe

DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tin with cupcake foils or grease with a bit of butter or cooking oil.

2 // Mix the dry ingredients together (apart from the sugar) in a large mixing bowl until well blended.

3 // In a medium sized bowl, used an electric mixer or fork to cream the butter, sugar, honey and extracts together until they have the consistency of fluffy snow.

4 // Add your eggs to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until light and creamy.

5 // Gradually your dry mixture to your creamed butter, eggs and sugar. Add your mix and mix with a spoon. The batter should be a little bit lumpy.

6 // Open your canned pears, drain them, and chop them into 1/4″ pieces. Mix them into your batter until they are evenly distributed.

7 // Scoop your batter into your muffin tin – each cup should be 3/4 full so they have enough space to rise while they are baking.

8 // Sprinkle the tops of your muffins with extra granulated sugar to create a delicious, sugary crust.

9 // Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the over, let them cool and enjoy!

These are truly the coziest fall treat and are the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of coffee or fragrant mug of tea. A little butter really makes these flavours sing, so don’t be afraid to use the real thing (let’s face it, margarine never made anything better). Let me know what you think about this recipe! If you love lavender and like your desserts on the floral and not-too-sweet side, I have a feeling this will be a hit with you.

xoxo,

Alicia

Scent Saturday | Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Toilette By Chanel

COMPANY | Chanel

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Toilette

NOTES | Sicilian Orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Litchi, Italian Jasmine, Rose, Patchouli, Tahitian Vetiver, Bourbon Vanilla, White Musk

It’s strange, but when I first smelled Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum a few years ago I was not a fan. I liked its initial citrusy burst but as is developed on my skin, it changed into a heavy, thick floriental that I did not appreciate. Cut to testing this Eau De Toilette version last fall and I fell madly in love. It’s zesty and bright with a sharpness that reminds me of men’s cologne. It’s my absolute favourite office fragrance (it makes me feel powerful and pulled together) and has become a signature scent for me.

If you, like me, don’t like the Eau De Parfum version of Coco Mademoiselle, don’t let that stop you from giving this a test. It’s much fresher with a barely there sweetness that makes it modern and sparkling. This spectacle opens with bright citruses (grapefruit, Sicilian orange and Bergamot) and it’s like a refreshing slap in the face. It really wakes me up in the morning but doesn’t smell like straight up lemon peel or a basket of oranges like other citrus scents do. After about 20 minutes the zingy top softens and the romantic floral heart reveals itself. Dreamy jasmine, opulent rose and juicy litchi dance together creating a well-blended accord that is feminine without being overly sweet or flowery. It’s the olfactory equivalent of a Chanel LBD – it’s classic yet sexy. It’s feminine and sensual but still powerful. Like I said, it’s my favourite office scent but it’s really perfect for any occasion.

What really saves this from being just another girly floral is the base. A heady combination of Tahitian vetiver, patchouli, bourbon vanilla and musk, it’s a dusky accord reminiscent of cigar smoke filled lounges, leather and aged wood. It’s subtle but it makes the scent the sexy oriental it is. If you’re on the hunt for an everyday perfume that is sexy and fresh with a masculine edge, this is one you will love.

xoxo,

Alicia

DIY Exfoliating Pumpkin Face Mask

Face masks are truly one of my favourite indulgences. While there are a bunch of masks I love (especially LUSH’s Oatifix and Sand & Sky’s Australian Pink Clay Mask), it is fun, and cost-effective, to make your own. This fall-inspired formula is one of my favourite recipes. With enzyme-rich pumpkin purée to exfoliate, yogurt and oatmeal to soothe, honey to moisturize and lavender to clarify, it leaves my skin silky and noticeably brighter. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself! You will be hooked.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Purée
  • 2 Tbsp Organic Plain Yogurt
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Absolute
  • 1 Tsp Liquid Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Oatmeal
  • 1/2 Tsp Lavender Essential Oil
  • liquid-honey-Face-Mask pumpkin-purée-Face-Mask-diydoterra-Lavender-Essential-Oil-Face-Mask
  • DIRECTIONS

    1 // Measure out your ingredients and add them to a bowl.

    2 // Mix well until the mask is a smooth, easy-to-spread paste. If it’s too thick, add a little bit more yogurt and pumpkin purée. If it’s too runny, add more oatmeal. Easy-peasy.

    3 // Spread a thin layer over your face and leave it on for 15 minutes.

    4 // Wash the mask off and admire your smooth and silky face! Dab on a bit of your favorite moisturizer to lock in some hydration.

    And voila! This is a super easy-to-make mask and it’s incredibly nourishing and exfoliating. It also smells ah-maaazing. Give it a try and then immediately report back on how much you love it (or hate it, but I doubt it).

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    October Beauty Picks

    When you lead a busy life, it is easy to forget to take time for self-care. Although it may seem frivolous, a little luxury goes a long way in terms of improving the quality of your life and adding a little magic into an otherwise mundane day. Right now I am reaching for products that are not only effective, but are fun to use. From luxe textures and playful packaging to delicious smells, all of these five products are a pleasure to use while creating real results. Because, like in life, your beauty routine should be a happy mix of work and play!

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    1 // C.O. Bigelow – Rose Salve

    This lightly scented salve hydrates with luxe rose extract and deeply moisturizing squalene and jojoba oil. It also leaves a flush of colour that will make your pout look full and pink – like you’ve just been kissed!

    2 // Bath & Bodyworks- Stress Relief Hand Cream

    I can’t get enough of this refreshing blend of zingy eucalyptus and spicy spearmint. I have two bottles of this at all times – on my desk at work and in my purse. I love that it subtly scents my skin while soothing my dry hands with vitamin E and shea butter. Putting it on honestly feels like a little spa ritual.

    3 // City Color Cosmetics – Glow Pro Stellar Highlighting Palette

    Although these highlighters appear to be richly pigmented, each leaves a different kind of shimmering effect on the skin, from dewy to a holographic glow. My favourite shade is Nebula – an icy blue that I dust on the bridge of my nose, tops of my cheeks, brow bones and on my cupid’s bow. It blends into my skin seamlessly and makes my complexion look like that of a sexy alien.

    4 // LUSH – Bûche De Noël Face & Body Cleanser

    I adore LUSH products. They’re high quality, they smell amazing, and they are made with ethical and sustainable practices – what’s not to love? This holiday favourite is no exception. Formulated with face brightening mandarins, antioxidant-packed cranberries, scrubby ground almonds, cleansing kaolin and hydrating cocoa butter, this elixir is a treat to use and leaves my skin soft and glowing. It also smells like a spicy slice of Christmas Cake. Think of it as a confection for your complexion!

    5 // Wander Beauty – Lift Off Purifying & Brightening Peel Off Mask

    A more insta-worthy mask never existed. Not only does this shimmering fuchsia mask look gorgeous on, after 15 minutes your skin will look even more stunning! It’s chock full of yummy, skin-beautifying ingredients such as açai, goji and blueberries, plus antioxidant-rich green tea. Simply apply a thin layer, snap a few pictures and then peel off a while later to reveal brighter, healthier skin.

    Which beauty products are you obsessed with right now? I am always looking for new ideas so let me know in the comments!

    xoxo,

    Alicia