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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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

Scent Saturday | Ayalitta By Ayala Moriel

COMPANY | Ayala Moriel Parfums

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Ayalitta

NOTES | Galbanum, Sage, Neroli, Jasmine, Rose, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Labdanum

Soft and earthy with a delicate innocence, Ayalitta was the first perfume by indie perfumer Ayala Moriel I ever owned, and to this day, is one my all time favourites. I have always had a soft spot for chypres, a fact that surprised Ayala when I first met her. I was seventeen at the time and I think she expected me to prefer sugary gourmands or saccharine fruity-florals like most young girls do (no judgements towards those who love sweet scents – there are a few that I enjoy too!). After learning that I loved earthy, green fragrances, Ayala so kindly gifted me with a bottle of Ayalitta. Not to be cliché, but it truly was love at first sniff. It’s everything I love in a perfume. It’s soft yet enchanting. It creates an impression that is at once familiar yet totally unusual. I could bathe in Ayalitta’s elegant composition of earthy oakmoss, sweet neroli and intoxicating galbanum.

Like a playful woodland pixie, Ayalitta lightly traipses onto the scene with notes that evoke images of a damp forest floor, strewn with sweetly smelling fallen leaves. Galbanum, sage and neroli create this impression, immediately revealing Ayalitta as a stunning chypre. There’s something about the opening of this scent that almost smells aldehydic, reminding me briefly of other iconic perfumes like Chanel Nº 19 or Oscar by Oscar De La Renta. That being said, because Ayalitta is comprised only of all natural essences, there’s nothing about it that smells heavy or artificial. It’s got a vintage quality but still smells current.

The heart of Ayalitta is when it really begins to bloom into something breathtaking – no pun intended. Opulent rose dances with the rich, almost carnal aroma of jasmine before collapsing on a soft bed of clary sage. It reminds me of sunbaked earth and wet wildflowers, soaked by autumn rain. It smells comforting and it soothes me when I’m having a stressful day. It recreates the feeling I get when I’m in nature – sometimes just a sniff of the bottle is enough to lift up my spirits when I’m feeling down. Ayala was right on the money when she picked this scent for me. There are a lot of perfumes I love from her collection, but there’s something truly special about Ayalitta.

Like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and Ayalitta does so beautifully. Oakmoss, labdanum, and patchouli are all that’s left on the skin at the fragrance’s conclusion. Patchouli has a soil-like scent that pairs perfectly with damp, green oakmoss before fading into the sweet, slightly spicy scent of labdanum. From start to finish, Ayalitta is a magical experience. It’s sensual and soothing. It’s honestly perfect for any season, but there is something about its fresh green notes and earthiness that feels especially at home in the fall. I’m wearing it right now and am cocooned in a beautiful blanket of delicate flowers and dewy leaves. Like all things of quality and beauty, Ayalitta just gets better with time.

xoxo,

Alicia

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Six Stunning Scents For Spring

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In the same way that people like to update their wardrobe from season to season with a few key pieces, I like to refresh my perfume arsenal. As the chillier months melt away, I am looking forward to a lighter, more romantic scent wardrobe, filled with bright fruits, feminine florals, and earthy aromas that bring me closer to nature. With this in mind, I have curated a short and sweet list of six stunning scents that absolutely scream ‘spring is here!’. Keep scrolling to check them out!


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1 // Pop By Stella McCartney

Notes: Tomato Leaf, Violet Leaf, Green Mandarin, Violet, Frangipani, Tuberose, Sandalwood, Cedar, Musk

When you look at the notes for Pop by Stella McCartney, you don’t really get a strong impression of what this scent will smell like. Despite its predominantly floral, herbaceous ingredients, Pop is bright, flirty and optimistic. If it was a colour, it would be shocking pink. It has a sweet, almost edible aroma that is accented with ultra-feminine floral aromas. Wear it on those sunny spring days when you want to be dancing through your 9-to-5.

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2 // Marche au Fleurs By Fragonard

Notes: Melon, Black Currant, Sweet Pea, Lily-Of-The-Valley, Peach, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Musk

Fresh and almost watery in it’s opening, Marche aux Fleurs truly does smell like a walk through a rain-soaked French garden. Juicy black currant and ripe melon add a touch of sweetness to a dewy bouquet of white florals.

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3 // White Potion By Ayala Moriel

Notes: Ylang-Ylang, Grapefruit, Rosewood, Tuberose, Jasmine, Gardenia, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Coconut

Tuberose is the sultry vamp of the flower world. It’s not shy and it doesn’t hold back. It’s the star of the show in indie-perfumer Ayala Moriel’s decadent confection. White Potion is unapologetically sexy with sweet, almost carnal tuberose combined with juicy grapefruit, creamy sandalwood and beachy coconut. It’s a creamy, romantic fragrance that softens throughout the day, leaving a rich, floral trail that will intoxicate those around you all day long.

 

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4 // Baiser Volé By Cartier

Note: Lily Pistil, Citrus, Lily Petals, Lily Leaves, Green Notes

If spring could be incapsulated in a singular fragrance, it would be the delicate, powdery aroma of a fresh-cut bouquet of lilies. This ingenious cocktail by Cartier captures this timeless scent, surrounding all parts of the lily – the pistil, petals and leaves. I love spritzing this on when I leave the house on a spring day. Its bright and joyful, with an aroma that garners compliments from ladies and gentlemen alike.

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5 // Curious By Britney Spears

Notes: Louisiana Magnolia, Anjou Pear, Lotus, Tuberose, Cyclamen, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Musk, White Woods, Vanilla

What?! A celebrity scent?! No seriously, Curious by Britney Spears is simply gorgeous and so ‘spring’ that it had to be included on this list. It opens with a refreshing, watery burst of juicy pear, Louisiana magnolia and lotus. As it continues to bloom, the intensive floral heart is enveloped in a warm, sultry blanket of sandalwood, musk, vanilla and precious woods. This fragrance has been flying off its shelf since 2004 and it’s not a surprise why. Curious may be a celebrity-endorsed scent but it’s effortlessly elegant, feminine and timeless.

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6 // Wisteria Blue By Nest Fragrances

Notes: French Wisteria, Bulgarian Rose, Imperial Jasmine

Romantic and regal are the two words that could best describe Wisteria Blue. Its simple composition proves that a complicated array of notes doesn’t always mean that a scent is more interesting. The three distinctive but complimentary notes blend together perfectly, creating a soft, velvety scent that is perfect for everyday (even office!) wear. It’s the kind of airy spring scent that you won’t want to start your day without!

Have you tried any of these fragrances? What is your spring signature?

xoxo,

Alicia

 

Fragrance Friday | Oh Lola! By Marc Jacobs

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Oh Lola! By Marc Jacobs

NOTES | Wild Strawberry, Raspberry, Pear, Magnolia, Peony, Cyclamen, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

VIBE | Youthful, Playful, Flirty, Refreshing, Exuberant, Sweet

Launched in 2011, Oh Lola! is the much fruitier flanker to Marc Jacobs’ Lola. While the latter is richly floral with romantic notes of rose, musk and pink pepper, Oh Lola! is a juicy treat, with the welcomed addition of wild strawberry, raspberry and creamy sandalwood. The fragrance world is completely saturated with fruity florals and while this crowd-pleasing blend isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it’s refreshing and yummy – like a raspberry Bellini. It’s the kind of scent you could give any girl as a gift and they would most likely enjoy it. So what does it actually smell like? Let’s get right into it.

Oh Lola! opens with a lively spectacle of succulent strawberry, zesty raspberry and juicy pear. It’s unabashedly fruity yet clean and refreshing. It has a soapy quality because of the florals in the heart and it’s this floral bouquet that keeps the top from being childish and saccharine. It smells like a fruity body wash but not as generic or abstract. I’ve got a bit of a crush on this scent at this point but I’m not yet in love.

Like most fruity-florals, the sweet berries and pear fade slightly and the flowers in the heart begin to reveal themselves in the heart. Peony, magnolia and cyclamen take centre stage but these are very soft flowers and they don’t smell opulently floral or perfumey like rose, gardenia or violet would. They are clean (almost watery) and they balance out the fruits in the top and the creamy notes in the base. For some reason the heart reminds me of pink champagne. It’s sparkling, light, and kind of intoxicating. Now I’m officially swooning.

And now for the final stages of Oh Lola!. The lights are dimming, the curtains are closing and the after-party is beginning to kick into gear. Luscious vanilla combines with rich tonka bean to create a mouthwatering impression reminiscent of creme brûlée. This is the most seductive aspect of the fragrance and is when Oh Lola! most closely resembles the original. Sandalwood also adds a sexy woodsy, smoky element that reminds me of roasting marshmallows over a fire. Five hours into wearing this fragrance the fruits are gone, the flowers have faded and all that’s left on my skin is a warm veil of decadent vanilla cream. It’s faint but oh-so sultry and is my favorite part of the composition.

From start to finish Oh Lola! is a playful and uplifting scent. It’s not too strong and is perfect for all kinds of situations, from casual days spent running errands to sparkling evenings out. If you like fruity fragrances and are looking for a fail-safe crowd pleaser for everyday, then I guarantee that Oh Lola! is a great bet.

Have you tried Oh Lola! and Lola by Marc Jacobs? What was your favorite? Give me your two scents.

xoxo,

Alicia

Fragrance Friday | Fancy by Jessica Simpson

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Fancy by Jessica Simpson

NOTES | Pear, Apricot, Red Berries, Gardenia, Jasmine, Almond, Caramel, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber

VIBE | Romantic, Cozy, Cuddly, Feminine, Comforting

If perfumers had the ability to bottle up the exact essence of caramel drizzled creme brûlée, you would get Fancy by Jessica Simpson (her debut scent). It’s unabashedly sweet and decadent, and it’s exactly the kind of cuddly, cozy fragrance I want to wear on a chilly autumn day.

This gourmand treat opens with sweet pear, syrupy apricot and sugary red berries. The top notes may be purely fruity, but the rich, dessert-like notes in the base are already rising up at this point. My first impression of Fancy, when I initially sprayed it on, was that it was very, very sweet but not youthful. It doesn’t smell like the candied, cheap body sprays that young teens wear. It’s rich and creamy, and wraps around you like a soft cashmere sweater. It just radiates warmth and soft femininity.

As the fragrance evolves into the heart, the most prominent notes that give Fancy its main characteristics come into play. Voluptuous jasmine and gardenia are the only two flowers in the scent but they are barely detectable. They just add an underlying sexiness, an almost animalic quality that compliments the creamy caramel and sugared almonds perfectly. It’s in the heart of the fragrance where Fancy is truly at its best. At this point, I can hardly stop sniffing my wrist. Seriously, I could happily drown in Fancy.

Like a fairytale, Fancy is a romantic fragrance that ends as beautifully as it began. Staying true to the cuddly, gourmand nature of the scent, the three notes that are left on your skin are vanilla, amber and sandalwood. It’s slightly spicy, milky and sexy. It’s soft and delicate and is only strong enough to smell when leaning in for a hug. My boyfriend loves when I wear Fancy. Honestly, he rarely notices the perfumes I wear, so the fact that he actually verbalizes that he likes this scent, says it all. If you enjoy sweet, dessert-like scents and orientals, or are looking for a romantic scent for a date, then give Fancy a try. It’s super cheap (I got my 50ml bottle for $25) but stands up to more expensive designer juices. It’s one of my favorite fall scents and if you love vanilla, you are going to be obsessed with this yummy perfume.

Have you smelled Fancy before? What’s your favorite fall scent?

xoxo,

Alicia

5 Fantastic Subscriptions That Are Totally Worth It

I’ll admit that, while I love nature, I’m a total city girl who loves the many amenities of urban living. Prior to this year the only kind of subscription I paid for was Netflix and for monthly issues of Elle Canada. The past year has been a revelation and I have discovered 5 game-changing subscription services that make everything from getting ready in the morning to cooking dinner, so much easier and more pleasurable. Whether you’re looking for convenience or a little bit of luxury, these services are sure to elevate your daily life. 

1 // My Stylish French Box

If you’re like me and go wild for all things french, then this lovely box of treasures is going to give you goosebumps. Sign up and every few months you will be sent a parcel filled with fashion, beauty, home decor and lifestyle items by gorgeous french designers from all over the country. It costs a pretty penny, but when you consider how many luxury gifts you get per box and how useful each item is, it’s totally worth it. You can even gift a box to a friend! If you want to live like the french, and who doesn’t, then this is the subscription service of your dreams.

2 // Naturebox

Healthy and yummy snacks delivered to your door? I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a dream come true to me! I don’t snack a ton during the day but I like to have a pick me up or two while I am work and after a workout to keep my energy levels high and my mood pleasant. Because hanger is a real thing my friends! Each snack is made without artificial flavours or ingredients and there are over 100 options. Go nuts – literally and figuratively (the salt and pepper cashews are delish).

3 // ScentBird

I’m a fragrance fanatic and so when I discovered Scentbird I was hooked. For only $14.95 a month they send you a small bottle of perfume so you can see if you love it and want a full-sized bottle. Each month you get to choose the perfume you want to be sent and they have options from some of the biggest brands and designers – think Dolce and Gabbana and Armani – as well as more obscure indie brands. For the cost of a sandwich and coffee, you’ll be sent high-end perfumes bottles. And these aren’t the tiny sample vials you are given along with a purchase at a department store. Each bottle comes with 8ml of fragrance and so if you spray modestly they can last ages! It really is the subscription service of my olfactory dreams. 

4 // Ipsy

I can honestly say that since I’ve started my subscription with Ipsy (early spring last year), I have rarely had to go out and buy makeup. When you sign up you fill out a profile that tells the company what your preferences, skin type and hair type are, and then each month a bag is sent to your door that is specially created with products to fit your tastes and beauty needs. I have to say, their system is effective because I very rarely get a product that I don’t like. They also send fabulous, high-end products from brands like Benefit, Tarte, Too Faced and Makeup Forever, as well as lesser known indie brands. Beauty fiends, sign up to discover new products and brands, and for the joy of getting a little bag filled with makeup every month. Oh, and did I mention that the bags are adorable? I have used Ipsy bags as clutches and wallets on more than one occasion. 

5 // Hello Fresh 

I can honestly say that I love cooking, and so the only real obstacle to me making a home-cooked meal at the end of the day is a lack of energy and ingredients. Hello Fresh delivers perfectly proportioned ingredients and recipes to your door so that you can make fancy-pants, delish dishes in no time at all and with practically zero cooking know-how. I wouldn’t use this service on a daily basis, but it’s perfect for lazy days or when you are hosting a dinner party and want to make a stellar impression with very little effort. It’s also a great way for beginners to improve their cooking skills!

Have you tried any of these subscription services? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia