January Beauty Picks

It’s a new year and so it’s time to hit refresh on my beauty routine! After a few weeks of my skin totally freaking out and my go-to products not clearing things up, I had to overhaul my skin and makeup regime. Luckily, come Christmas my complexion cleared up and I found a few beauty treasures that I can’t stop gushing about. From a sugary-sweet nail polish to the holy grail of toners, these beauty gems are the cream of the crop!

1 // Pixi By Petra – Mesmerizing Mineral Duo in Orchid Ornament

I rarely step out of my neutral box when it comes to my eye makeup (unless I’m going out and feel saucy). That being said, these shimmery peach and deep plum shadows add a subtle hit of colour without being too much. I also love that the purple tones bring out the green in my hazel eyes.

2 // Thayers – Witch Hazel & Rose Petal Alcohol-Free Toner

I used to think toners were useless until I tried this fan-favorite formula from Thayers. Witch Hazel deeply cleanses and minimizes pores while rose petal water hydrates and evens out one’s skin tone. It’s also suitable for super sensitive skin and smells amazing.

3 // Pixi Beauty – Glow Tonic

Packed with skin-saving ingredients like glycolic acid, aloe, and ginseng, this celebrated toner has a cult-following and for good reason. Glycolic acid increases cell turnover which helps to exfoliate skin, leaving it smooth, clear and glowing. A few weeks ago I was breaking out like no one’s business and this stuff seriously saved the day. I use it every other day and it has really made my complexion much more even and smooth. My skin is super sensitive and it hasn’t irritated it. That’s no small feat! This is truly a skincare gem that I will be repurchasing again and again.

4 // Essie – Nail Polish in Mint Candy Apple

This super-sweet shade feels festive and is reminiscent of mint chocolate ice cream. It also looks fabulous on all skin tones and will look on-point well into spring!

5 // Rimmel – Lasting Finish Lip Colour by Kate Moss in 009

Reminiscent of crushed raspberries, this gorgeous shade goes on matte yet is delightfully hydrating. Swipe on one coat for a just bitten look or layer it on for a beautiful Bordeaux hue.

I love all of these products so much that it’s hard to pick a favorite! Have you tried any of these? And if so, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

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February Beauty Picks

february-beauty-picks

So, I have been trying my very best to cut back on my spending this month. Why? My boyfriend and I went to Jamaica last week and stayed at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. It was an absolutely gorgeous and luxurious trip but it was all insanely expensive. Seriously. Beyonce and Jay-Z pricey. I don’t know who I thought I was. I’ll be paying off this trip for the next couple of months and so my favorite little indulgences have to be sacrificed for the time being. Goodbye $6 matcha lattes, sushi takeout, and perfume binges. That being said, my monthly subscription to Ipsy‘s Glam Bags is one treat that I will be keeping. For $14 a month I get five miniature beauty products from luxe brands like Tarte and Too Faced and that is simply too delightful to pass up. I honestly haven’t bought a tube of mascara in ages because they keep sending me different ones (and despite being samples, the sizes are pretty generous!). If you haven’t already signed up for a beauty subscription service like Ipsy (Birchbox is another good one), I highly recommend it! You get a lot for your money and it’s a fabulous way to try new products and colours that you normally wouldn’t have access to or think to buy. A lot of the products I have received have become favorites of mine and are ones that I will definitely repurchase when I run out. So without further ado, here are five products that I have absolutely fallen in love with this month.


 

1 // Trust Fund Beauty – Nail Polish in $12 Latte

Okay, so I have never in my life thought to buy a brown nail polish. I just thought it was a dull colour and I generally like my finger nails to be fresh, clean, and simple. I normally lean towards pale petal pinks, nudes, and french manis. When I received this in my Ipsy bag I was actually kind of disappointed because the deep brown/purple hue was such a departure from my signature style. I loved the cheeky name as someone who enjoys her overpriced coffee. After giving the colour a try I quickly changed my tune. It’s very dark, almost black, but seems to change subtly from deep coffee brown to dark purple depending on the light. It’s not at all goth and has a subtle sophistication that I love. I won’t wear it much longer – it’s too dark for summer. It’s the perfect moody shade for fall and provides a striking contrast against my silver rings.

2 //  Tarte – Amazonian Clay 12-hour Naughty Nudes Blush in Sensual

If your favorite bronzer and peachy blush had a baby, this would be it. It’s a beautiful shade that instantly warms up the complexion and lasts a crazy long time (12 hours is absolutely accurate). It’s great for the winter months and brightens up a pale visage. It also enhances my newly acquired Jamaica tan and looks beautiful against darker complexions.

3 //  The Balm Cosmetics – Meet Matt(e) Trimony Matte Eyeshadow Palette

I am kind of obsessed with this palette. I rarely wear colour on my lids and almost exclusively opt for play-it-safe neutrals but I can honestly say that I adore every single one of these shades and they work great for day and night. Each shade is named after a different Matt – i.e. Matt Lopez, Matt Reed, Matt Evans. My favorite colour is Matt Moskowitz. It’s a lovely dark purple that is subtle enough to work for every day while still providing a fresh pop of colour. I’ve been wearing it every day lately instead of my usual brown and taupe shades.

4 // NYX – Butter Lipstick in Ripe Berry

Creamy, moisturizing, highly pigmented, long-lasting – this HG of a lipstick seriously ticks every single one of my boxes. The satin finish is gorgeous and is a refreshing change from the over saturation of matte options out there. I honestly cannot get enough of the juicy colour which is reminiscent of raspberry wine. It’s very sultry without being super dark. I’ve been wearing it every day since I got it and I doubt I will be tucking it away anytime soon. Love. Love. Love.

5 //  Be Fine Food Skin Care – Gentle Face Cleanser

If any of you have read my other posts, you will know that skincare is one of my (many) obsessions. No amount of makeup can truly cover up unhealthy skin and so I make it the main focus of my beauty routine and I do my best to use quality products and a consistent regime. Whatever your skin type, I can pretty much guarantee that this lovely cleanser would be a happy addition to your own routine. This soothing cleanser whisks away all traces of makeup, oil, sweat, and gunk without leaving my face feeling parched. It also manages to remove my waterproof mascara without any problems – a difficult feat. True to its name, this nourishing cleanser is packed with vitamin-rich ingredients such as oat bran extract, wheat amino acids, and sugar cane. Sweet.

xoxo,

Alicia

august-beauty-picks

August Beauty Picks

Summer may just be my absolute favorite season when it comes to beauty. It’s low-maintenance, playful, and fun in a way that other seasons aren’t. This summer my focus has been hair and skincare more than anything else. My hair and skin both tend to be very dry and during the summer, with the hot, dry weather, it gets even more dehydrated. I have been trying to combat these beauty woes with a whole lot of hydration, not just in terms of drinking lots of water, but with my products as well. Hair masks, conditioning treatments, and non-drying breakout treatments (my dehydrated skin overcompensates in the summer by producing excess oil) have been my savior. Here are the five products I have been obsessed with this month.

1 //  Marc Anthony – Argan Conditioning Treatment

Not only is this nourishing conditioner super hydrating, it is also very light and not at all greasy. It keeps my dry, curly hair shiny, soft, and manageable. And the fact that it smells like a bouquet of fresh lilies is a total plus.

2 // NYX – Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator in Gleam

I don’t like to wear foundation in the summer, but I do like to make sure that my complexion has a fresh, healthy glow.This illuminator has quickly become my favorite. It’s delicate shimmer and rose gold tint creates a natural, sunkissed look that is polished but never overdone.

3 // Formula X – Nail Polish in Dollface

Lately, I have been favoring soft, neutral colours on my fingernails because they are clean, classic and go with everything. This baby pink shade from Formula X is so pretty against a tan and is feminine without being too girly. Although I love a dark, vampy red on my nails in the Fall, I have a feeling I will be wearing this colour well into Winter.

4 // Essence – Longlasting Lipstick in On The Runway

I am an unabashed lipstick junkie with about twenty different colours in my makeup bag. This rosy, ruby red hue is just so flattering and makes my face looked polished and put together even when I’m wearing no makeup. This formula is inexpensive, long lasting and hydrating to boot – in other words, it’s everything I want in a lipstick.

5 // Burt’s Bees – Herbal Blemish Stick

My skin is always at its most temperamental during the summer. My skin gets super dry during the hotter months and produces way more oil than usual. That combined with sweat and melting makeup results in a complexion that is uneven and a little bit spotty. I love this product from Burt’s Bees because it clears up my skin without drying it out more. With natural, acne-fighting essential oils such as tea tree, fennel, willowbark, and juniper, my little bumps go away in no time after putting this on. Bonus: it smells like licorice.

xoxo,

Alicia

Saturday Inspo

From a 3-ingredient strawberry sorbet to an off-beat illustrator that I found on Instagram, here are few things that have kept me inspired this week.

  1. Natalie Foss

Instagram is an amazing resource when it comes to looking for inspiration in fashion, art, decor, beauty etc. I found Natalie Foss, an artist from Orlo, Norway, while scrolling through my feed. Her style is quirky with a slightly dark, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. With bright colours and an aesthetic that reminds me of the psychedelic sixties, @natillustration is a must follow.

2. Vancouver-inspired candles

Okay. I have a candle addiction that borderlines on out of control. There’s nothing I love more than unwinding at the end of the day with some scented candles, a good book, music and a bath. I discovered Vancouver Candle Co. by chance when walking into a delightful little boutique in Abbotsford called Montrose and George. With a range of scents inspired by different parts of Vancouver, neighbourhoods like Kitsilano, Fairview, Mount Pleasant and Gastown have been interpreted into different fragrances. I have always had a soft spot for historic Gastown and love the amber, tobacco, and leather scent that truly does evoke images of century old brick buildings and rustically stylish cafes and restaurants.

3. Ridiculously yummy (and healthy!) three-ingredient sorbet

I love icecream. I really do. So much so in fact, that I have started making my own so that my figure doesn’t reflect my addiction to frozen dairy. This recipe is ridiculously easy. All you need is a blender, frozen fruit, sugar, and water (or coconut milk or yogurt depending on your taste). Simply blend and freeze in a container. It really is delicious and if you swap the sugar for stevia it is actually super healthy.

4. Five awesome tips for a salon-worthy manicure at home

While I love the indulgence of getting my nails professionally painted, I rarely take the time to get it done. One reason being that I have a tendency to chip my nails within minutes of getting them done. Luckily, I am pretty good at doing my own nails and have found that with a little bit of googling and tutorials from Youtube, the manicures I give myself are nearly as good (cost free). It’s also a fun way to relax at the end of the day. I typically paint my nails while indulging in a Netflix binge. This site has a lot of great tips on how to get salon-worthy nails at home.

5. The perfect minimalist, everyday handbag

are-studio-arc-bag

via ARE Studio

It’s sometimes said that you are either a shoe person or a handbag person. I definitely fall into the bag lady camp. I once lined up all my purses on my bed and took a picture. I definitely have more bags than I need but I can’t help but fall in love over and over with different brands and styles. ARE Studios, a brand from Los Angeles, makes the most amazing, sleek, minimalistic styles that are perfect for everyday. For drool-worthy arm candy, no one does it better than the brand’s designer Cecilia Bordarampe.

xoxo,

Alicia

nail art inspiration header

Nail Art Inspiration

It really is amazing what people can do with nails. Nail art has gone beyond polish and cheesy decals and has become a form of art and personal expression that is truly beautiful and creative. Normally I tend to lean towards classic manicures (think french or square cut with a high-shine top coat) in soft, neutral colours (nude, pale pink, opalescent mauve). But after a recent trip to Bling Nail Salon in Vancouver, I found myself entranced by the many trends and nail art possibilities. From earthy marble nails to crystal encrusted french tips, here are a few of my favorite nail trends.

French with a Twist

french nails with swarovski crystals

Photo Source | Bling Nail Studio

pointed ombre french nails

Photo Source | buzznet

A fierce twist on my favorite manicure, the always elegant french manicure is given a couture-esque update with pointed tips, ombre effects and luxe swarovski crystals. This look is still as chic as a classic french manicure but is a little more dramatic and glamorous.

Marble and Quartz

grey marble nails

Photo Source | annagraph.tumblr.com

turquoise marble nails

Photo Source | Glam Radar

As a lover of jewelry and precious stones, I can’t think of anything more fun then transforming my nails into my favorite gems. The marble look is tricky. If you choose an unflattering colour combination or the slightest mistake is made, they tend to look dirty and bizarre rather than like clean and minimalistic marble. Take this look to the next level with colours and metallic polishes to mimic other stones. If done right, the marble look is utterly stunning and totally insta-worthy.

Matte Pastel

matte lilac nails

Photo Source | playbuzz

pale matte mint nails

Photo Source | Beauty Hihi

I am a sucker for pastels. In fact as I type this, my nails are a powdery shade of baby blue. Pastels are girly, fun, and light enough that they don’t clash as garishly when worn with other colours. Soft lilac, mint green, cotton candy pink are given an edgy update when painted over with a matte top coat. I love the sophistication that a matte coat gives to youthful, candy-like nails. It’s a perfect look for spring and brightens up a gloomy winter day as well.

Navy and Gold Graphics

navy and gold graphic nails

Photo Source | Beauty Tidbits

navy and gold single striped nails

Photo Source | Buzzfeed

Classic navy nails are always elegant but are given a regal update with opulent gold graphics. Luxurious and simple, this look reminds me of plates that were found in the wreck of the Titanic (I am obsessed with everything related to the Titanic). This is a timeless look that surprisingly pairs well with everything.

Shimmering Opalescent

opalescent rainbow nails

Photo Source | mademoiselle-emma.fr

opal nails

Photo Source | Beauty Hihi

Opals are one of my favorite gemstones (opals, aquamarines and peridots). Fossilized water, they are beautiful in a mesmerizing, ethereal way. A moment in time captured forever, opals are as fascinating as they are stunning. This is a look that I personally haven’t yet been able to recreate on my own (a little more practice and youtube video viewing!). Complex yet elegant, I love this soft and eclectic look.

Floral Decals

navy daisy nails

Photo Source | Style Caster

lavender and white floral nails

Photo Source | We Heart It

I have to admit, I am pretty well done with winter. As the holidays are over and there is no snow, the grey skies, chilly weather and dark days have left me feeling gloomy and stagnant. Winter has lost its charm and I am ready for spring-time. I am ready for the smell of wet, cut grass, damp, fresh blooms and warm rain on pavement. I am ready for sunshine, longer days and cool, cathartic walks through the trees. Unfortunately, we are not even half way through January and so I am going to have to channel my own spring until then. Floral printed nails and joyful daisy patterns are a simple and fun way to brighten up these dreary winter days. Delicate painted roses, dainty lavender sprigs and boisterous daffodil decals will have to do for now.

Are there any nail art trends that you are loving right now? Please share in the comments! I am always looking for new ideas.

xoxo,

Alicia

August Beauty Picks

August Beauty Picks

August is usually the hottest month of the summer and because of this my beauty routine has begun to center around hydration of both my hair and skin. As glorious as days spent by the beach can be, all of the saltwater, sand and sun can really do a nasty number on one’s complexion and hair. With this in mind, here are five of my favorite products this month.

1. The Balm Cosmetics – Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush

As someone with a very fair, almost translucent complexion, bronzer is an absolute staple in my beauty arsenal. While there are a lot of great options out there, I am incredibly choosy when it comes to what I use on my face. Overly warm, orangey hues and glitter flecked, shimmery formulas are my biggest bronzer pet peeves. What I love about this product is that it does double duty as both a bronzer and blush creating a gorgeous, flushed glow that perfectly imitates a natural, sun-kissed complexion. It’s incredibly long lasting and neither sweat, sunblock nor sea spray will make it budge.

2. LUSH Cosmetics – The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask

I have been a fan of LUSH cosmetics for a while. I love that they use all natural, fresh ingredients and that everything is always created in an ethical and sustainable way (in fact a lot of LUSH products support various social causes around the world, such as their Charity Pot lotions which gives 100% of its proceeds to its designated cause). The first of their products that I have ever tried was one of their fresh face masks. Made with real fruits, vegetable, clays and oils, these masks have a short shelf-life of about two weeks and need to be refrigerated at all times. While some may find that to be inconvenient, I love the indulgent feeling of putting these cool masks on my face directly from the fridge. I have tried every single one of LUSH’s masks and most of them are very effective and create visible results. Sacred Truth is a very rich, moisturizing, nourishing mask made with ingredients such as papaya, wheat grass, matcha green tea and egg. It has recently been brought back onto the shelf after being pulled to be reformulated. This is an extremely hydrating, sweet smelling mask that gives the skin a healthy, bright glow. It’s a great mask to use all year round, to cool sun-burnt skin and to quench, parched winter complexions. This is one of my all time favorite LUSH masks, along with Catastrophe Cosmetic (the calamine, rose and blueberry laden holy grail of face masks).

3. Vasanti Cosmetics – BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

If there is one step in my skin care routine that I strive to be vigilant about, it’s regular, gentle exfoliation. As a teenager I had a terrible experience using St.Ives Apricot scrub. The ultra-abrasive, crushed walnut shells irritated my skin and created microscopic tears in my skin which led to an overgrowth of bacteria and an acne breakout like I had never had before and have never had since (I know that there are many people who love St.Ives Apricot scrub but I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy and no esthetician I have ever spoken to about it has ever had anything nice to say. One woman I spoke to said that it is so harsh of a scrub that the only appropriate way to use it is on one’s calloused feet).Because of this experience, for years I had avoided products that promised any kind of exfoliation like that plague. After being told by an esthetician that my skin was congested due to a lack of exfoliation, I began gently exfoliating with non-abrasive, enzymatic products. What I love about this one is that it is very gentle – the papaya enzymes loosen dead skin cells while the incredibly fine micro crystals delicately polish them away. It is also very effective when used two or three times a week and anytime I feel like my skin is getting a bit congested, this cleanser clears it right up, like a great smelling, soothing buffer for my face. It smooths away blackheads, flakes, and can even reduce the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores and an uneven skin tone. I discovered this in my Birchbox this month and have every intention of buying a full sized version. I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially those with sensitive or blemish-prone skin.

4. Essie – Nail Lacquer in Peach Side Babe

There’s no better summer accessory than a glossy manicure and pedicure in a cheerful, tropical inspired colour. I love this new shade from Essie’s Summer 2015 collection. Its creamy, Georgia peach inspired shade will warm up any complexion and transitions easily from summer to fall, evoking images of fiery-hued, crunchy leaves, just as easily as it does sun-ripened fruit from a summer’s orchard. I will be donning this playful, yet sophisticated shade all the way through till September.

5. RUSK Hair Care Heatshift Re-Styling Cream

My hair is extremely curly and therefore constantly drenched in some sort of serum, gel, or cream just so that it is manageable and doesn’t become a complete ecosystem of its own. I love to straighten my hair, if not to get perfectly pin straight strands, but to turn my tight spiral curls into loose, beachy waves. Because of all of the heated torture that I put my hair through, I try to use products that are made from heat-styling and this is my favorite of all of the ones I have tried so far. It is hydrating without being heavy, light without being sticky and it keeps my hair from breaking. I have been able to see a visible improvement in the healthy of my hair (almost no breakage). The fact that this stuff smells absolutely delicious is the cherry on top.

Are there any products that you are particularly loving right now? I am always on the hunt for new lotions and potions so please feel free to let me know!

xoxo,

Alicia