August Beauty Picks


This summer my beauty routine has centered almost entirely around my complexion. Vancouver has been going through a major heat wave for the last few weeks. That combined with pollutants and toxins from forest fires have left my skin dry and irritated skin very prone to breakouts. Luckily, I have come across a handful of products that have kept my face free of congestion and glowy. From a deep cleansing mask that makes me look like an extra from Avatar, to the prettiest lip gloss I have worn since the eighth grade, here are my five favorite beauty finds this month.

1 // LUSH – Don’t Look At Me Fresh Face Mask

Behold, the delightfully scrubby antidote to oily, sunparched summer skin. Loaded with cleansing lemon juice, brightening neroli and exfoliating ground rice, this bright turquoise mask will make you look like a smurf when you first put it on, but after ten minutes you will be left with matte, baby soft skin that is as clear as the summer sky (not to be overly poetic). Plus, it smells like a lemon tart which is always a bonus.

2 // Organik Botanik – Brown Sugar Face Scrub

If you love DIYing your own beauty products, then prepare to fall in love with this sweet smelling scrub. Organic Botanik is an Australian brand that champions all natural ingredients and simple formulas that are effective and earth-friendly. This scrub is made primarily with, you guessed it, brown sugar, and polishes away blockages and dead cells for a complexion that is hydrated and glowing. You’ll be forgoing your tinted moisturizer after one use, because who needs makeup with a face this fresh?

3 // Benefit Cosmetics – The Porefessional Face Primer

I rarely use foundation, primer, or any other skin of face makeup, other than a touch of concealer and bronzer. Although this silky potion is technically a primer, I like to wear it and nothing else on my face. It glides on like whipped air and blurs everything from pores to imperfections. Seriously, my complexion looks like that of a China doll when I use this (which is quite frequently). It doesn’t provide a lot of coverage, but is great for hot, humid days when the last thing you want to do is layer on foundation.

4 // Urban Decay – Naked Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in Streak

Let’s face it – Urban Decay can do no wrong. Although I am normally a lipstick kind of gal, this punchy coral gloss is too fun to resist. I love it because it deeply hydrates my chapped lips like a balm while providing a sexy, I-just-licked-my-lips sheen. This colour is also gorgeous – not too orange and not too pink. It absolutely pops against a (obviously faux – no skin damage here) tan.

5 // Hikari Cosmetics – Shimmer Bronzer in Flush

If you’re anything like me and have a naturally pasty complexion that you drench  in SPF from May through September, than an authentic sun-kissed glow is kind of a far-fetched fantasy. Enter, bronzer. This multitasking compact can be swept across your forehead, cheeks and nose for an all over glow, or used to contour and sculpt your face for a more polished look. I also love the hint of shimmer it gives. It’s not so much sparkle that I look like a disco queen, but is just enough to give my face a lit from within glow.

What are your favorite summer beauty products? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Scent Sunday | Forbidden Euphoria by Calvin Klein


NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Forbidden Euphoria by Calvin Klein

NOTES | Raspberry, Tangerine, Peach Blossom, Tiger Orchid, Pink Peony, Jasmine,  Musk, Cashmere Wood, Patchouli

VIBE | Sultry, Decadent, Sexy, Flirty, Feminine, Playful, Sparkly, Energetic

So, this week has been crazy and I hate that I haven’t been able to blog as much as I usually do and would like to. Normally I like to do my fragrance reviews on Friday (Fragrance Friday – catchy right?), but I don’t want to wait until next week because I LOVE this scent. So without further ado, let’s chat about Forbidden Euphoria – AKA the best perfume ever released by Calvin Klein.

Most perfumes that are marketed as being ‘sexy’ are anything but sexy in my opinion. I’m not about musky, spice-laden scents but this fruity, patchouli-laced juice has an effortless sexiness that is lighthearted and fun. Released in 2011, Forbidden Euphoria was created to be the more playful, youthful counterpart to the original floriental, Euphoria. Truthfully, it smells nothing like the original. If Euphoria is the chic LBD you wear to work and to your boyfriend’s sister’s wedding, then Forbidden Euphoria is the sequinned romper you wear out to the club on a Friday night. It’s not what I would call classy or elegant, but it’s totally gorgeous and fun. If you’re on the lookout for a fruity evening scent for summer, then read on, because this fruitchouli is a gem.

Encased in a translucent violet bottle, Forbidden Euphoria opens with juicy notes of tangerine juice, iced raspberry, and velvety peach blossom. The first spritz is bright and effervescent and sparkles for about an hour before the florals in the heart eventually begin to bloom. The fruits in the top don’t exactly smell natural, but they don’t smell so synthetic that the perfume smells fake or like chemicals. The raspberry and tangerine stand out the most, and they smell candied, laced with a dusting of sugar. It’s a little syrupy at first (this is not a formal or office-appropriate scent) but as the florals in the heart become more prominent, it really starts to soften.

I love when orchid is in a scent, and Tiger Lily orchid is the main accord in the heart. Creamy jasmine and translucent peony don’t particularly stand out, but they do compliment the orchid and help to water down the sugary fruits in the top. The florals in the heart add to the feminine sexiness of the scent, and smooth out all of the notes. At this point, Forbidden Euphoria is still fruity, but softer and with a floral creaminess thanks to the orchid.

After around five hours, the fruits dissipate, the florals fade away, and the musky, woody notes of the base come front and centre. Musk, cashmere wood, and patchouli conclude the scent with earthiness and a hint of spice. Not everyone likes patchouli – it’s kind of a love it or hate it kind of note. It’s dark and has a unique aroma that has been compared to everything from soil and mold to coffee and chocolate. I personally love patchouli but even if you’re not a fan, it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t dominate or overtake the other ingredients in the base. The cashmere and wood is soft and velvety, and the musk adds to the sensual vibe of the fragrance. I love putting Forbidden Euphoria on in the evening because the smell of the base on my skin is just utterly sexy and I love waking up smelling like this. The musk and wood also deepens the top and heart of the scent, making it last for ages. If you’re looking for a nighttime scent that would keep up with you no matter what crazy shenanigans you get up to, this is an amazing choice.

As I mentioned before, I would not wear Forbidden Euphoria to formal occasions or to work. It’s quite strong and fruity, and it better suited for evening and for nights out dancing or clubbing. It’s also a good date-night scent because of how sultry it is. If you’re hunting for a nighttime perfume or adore fruity fragrances, then this is totally your jam and you should give it a try.

What’s your favorite Calvin Klein perfume? Have you tried Forbidden Euphoria? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Fragrance Friday | Island Fantasy by Britney Spears 

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Island Fantasy by Britney Spears (for Elizabeth Arden)

NOTES | Citruses, Mandarin, Clementine, Red Berries, Watermelon, Jasmine, Violet, Freesia, Musk, Sugar Cane

VIBE | Tropical, Summery, Flirty, Playful, Bright, Refreshing, Youthful

Tropical summer perfumes always have the same vibe. Whether it’s yet another Escada beach blend or an island-inspired Glow from Jennifer Lopez (seriously, Miami and Sunkissed Glow are pretty much identical), they all smell the same, with heavy doses of pineapple, passion fruit, and coconut. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy these tropical scents, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Island Fantasy by Britney Spears (a beachy flanker of her original, and most popular, scent Fantasy) was completely unique in its interpretation of what a summer fragrance should be. Released in 2013, Island Fantasy was composed to capture the breezy feeling of relaxing on a remote island, with the scent of tropical florals and fruits in the air. Before I begin describing Island Fantasy, I have to say that this perfume is unlike any of her other Fantasy confections. It is not a gourmand and you will find no traces of vanilla, caramel, or any other foodie ingredients. Instead, it is refreshing and uplifting, like kicking back with an ice cold mojito while you indulge in trashy beach reads and soak up the summer sun.

Island Fantasy opens with a sweet yet clean opening of citrus fruits, clementine, red berries and watermelon. The watermelon is what gives the whole fragrance its character and it really dominates the entire experience. When I first put it on it smells tropical but in a watery, refreshing way. It doesn’t smell like a piña colada, but it reminds me of the feeling you get when you plunge head first into the ocean. It’s refreshing and fruity, but it’s also a little bit green. I always feel like I can smell cucumber in the top, but I think it’s the combination of sweet watermelon and the zesty citrus fruits. The red berries are not distinct and I can’t pick them out in the fragrance. They just enhance the fruitiness of the top without taking over like berry notes so often do. I adore the opening of this scent because while it definitely gives off a summer vacation vibe, it’s pared down and refreshing. It’s a fragrance that you can wear in the spring and summer without smelling like a sticky, fruity cocktail.

As the top notes transcend into the heart, the promised beachy florals begin to bloom. Jasmine, violet, and freesia soften the fruity notes, without being overly strong or opulent. Jasmine is one of my least favorite flowers in perfume (I just feel like it’s overdone. It’s in everything.) but it’s very subtle in Island Fantasy. It just adds a soft floral touch that reminds me of sunblock and works well with the other beachy notes. Violet is one of my favorite flowers of all time, but it isn’t strong in this scent. It’s barely detectable and, when combined with the fruity/floral fragrance of freesia, just adds a sweet and powdery backdrop to the more prominent fruity notes. I think the flowers in the heart are perfect, because they compliment the fruity notes of the top without taking over and transforming the perfume into a floral scent.

Finally, as the perfume dries down, all you’re left with is a delicate shimmer of musk and sugar cane. The base is unremarkable and all you will smell on your skin is a bit of sweetness. I hardly even smell the musk. It’s pretty and suits the sheer, almost translucent fragrance, but it isn’t my favorite part of Island Fantasy because, well, it’s a bit dull. It also doesn’t do much to increase the longevity of the scent. While I absolutely love the top and heart of this fragrance, I do wish it lasted longer and projected farther. This is a very light, eau de toilette and it only lasts a couple of hours at best. That being said, it’s quite inexpensive (I snagged a bottle for under $20) so I don’t mind reapplying it throughout the day. It’s very light and doesn’t project very far – others will only be able to smell it on you if they are standing close to you or hugging you. To some this may be considered a plus, but I like my perfumes to be just a touch stronger. I don’t want to walk into a room with a perfume cloud but I also don’t want to have to put my nose to my skin to smell my fragrance. With all that being said, I do enjoy Island Fantasy and it’s my favorite tropical scent right now, among designer and celebrity offerings. It’s a great casual or beach day scent. It’s also a good one to wear to the office just because of how subtle and light it is. If you love Britney scents and/or are sick to death of all the atypical tropical pineapple and coconut fragrances out there, than you need to spritz on a bit of Island Fantasy. Those who love clean citruses and watermelon scents with fall head over heels for this fragrance. I know I did!

What’s your favorite tropical perfume? Have you tried Island Fantasy yet? Let me know your thoughts and let’s talk perfume in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

xoxo,

Alicia

Brie, Tomato & Basil Pasta

On hot summer days when I’m feeling lethargic and unmotivated, I just want a meal that can be made quickly. And you know, one that is also delicious and not filled with fast-food preservatives and grease – it’s a tall order, I know. Enter, this simple but sumptuous Mediterranean pasta. With chunks of gooey Brie and aromatic sundried tomatoes and basil, it takes fifteen minutes to make but tastes like something you’d eat with delicate silverware over a white linen tablecloth. It’s also incredibly easy. Seriously, if you can boil water and have opposable thumbs to tear cheese, you can whip this dish up without a problem! Here’s how it’s done.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 Wheel of Brie
  • 1 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 2 Chopped Fresh Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Chopped Basil 
  • 1 Package of Pasta (Choose whole wheat variations for extra fiber.)
  • Olive Oil (Use enough to lightly coat all of the pasta.)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS

1 // Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the package (usually for around 10 minutes). Drain the pasta.

2 // Drizzle olive oil over cooked pasta and toss until all of the noodles are lightly coated. Add the butter and toss the pasta further.

3 // While the pasta is still super hot, tear up Brie into small pieces and add it to the pasta. Stir the pasta so that the melted cheese is dispersed throughout.

4 // Add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to the pasta. Toss in the sundried tomatoes and basil. 

5 // Garnish the pasta with a little extra chopped basil to make it pretty!

This is one of the easiest (and most delicious) pastas ever. It tastes equally yummy cold as it does hot and the flavours seem to intensify when you reheat and eat it the next day. You can also customize this recipe with any other add-one you want – for example, my boyfriend loves it with chopped up bacon bits. If you’re feeling like having a lazy evening but don’t want another meal that comes in a take-out box, this quick and tasty dish is absolutely perfect. You can also eat it cold as a pasta salad for a light summer’s day dinner.

What’s your favorite lazy day recipe? 

xoxo,

Alicia

Trip To Tahiti

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Everyone has a dream vacation waiting at the top of their bucket list. For me (and my boyfriend Chris), Tahiti is the end all be all of tropical trips. It’s extremely expensive and takes ages to get there from Vancouver though, (several transfers and over 24 hours of travelling) so that’s why I haven’t already crossed it off my list. One day I know we will finally make it to this breathtaking place, but until then I have my daydreams and Pinterest boards to tide me over. If I were to magically win a full-expense paid vacation to Tahiti, these are the ten beauty and fashion items that would be in my suitcase.

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TAHITI PICKS

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1 // LATTORI – Sleeveless Bright Orange Ruffle Dress

2 // Lipstick Queen – Jungle Queen Lipstick

3 // NARS – Monoi Body Glow II (Tahiti Bronze Collection)

4 // Water Every Sunday – Zip Front Tropical Print Bikini Set

5 // Charlotte Olympia – Tropical Embellished Slide Sandals

6 // Kate Spade – Hummingbird Trilby Straw Hat

7 // Trust Fund Beauty – Nail Polish in Squad Goals

8 // BaubleBar – Tahiti Pom Pom Necklace

9 // Stephanie Johnson – Tahiti Nancy Shop Tote in Poppy Red

10 // Miss Selfridge – Petite Stripe Sundress

I hope you all have lovely, sun-filled vacations planned for the rest of the summer! What would pack in your suitcase if you were going to Tahiti?

xoxo,

Alicia

Brand Spotlight | Ace & Jig

Looking for a little printspiration? Then look no further than Brooklyn-based brand Ace & Jig. Launched in 2009, this eclectic label was created by designers – and close friends – Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson. This creative super team launched their label with the idea of creating a line of clothing that was timeless, seasonless and effortlessly chic. And all it takes is a quick look at their Spring/Summer 2017 collection to know that they’ve definitely succeeded. Loose fitting silhouettes and stunning fabrics are the two main components of this brand’s magic fashion formula and every piece is as comfy as it is head-turning. Cary and Jenna draw most of their creative inspiration from their own textile collections, including antique French linens and Japanese boro quilts. This worldly influence is clearly present in their aesthetic and all of the fabrics they use for Ace & Jig are 100% original and are woven in India using ancient wooden hand looms. India’s culture is intricately woven throughout the fabric of the brand (both literally and figuratively) and each piece is created ethically and with compassion. Workers in India are provided with childcare and organic produce, ensuring that their physical and family needs are more than met while working. The ornate textiles that these artisans create are nothing short of breathtaking and every season of Ace & Jig is like a smorgasbord of different textures, patterns, and colours. Although Cary and Jenna show their love for all types of patterns (jacquard, gingham, plaid, checkers), stripes are their all time favorite, and you will never see an Ace & Jig collection devoid of stripes. Whether they are thick or pencil thin, every collection has a refreshing take on this classic print. So if you can’t get enough of stripes, then you’re going to fall in love with this quirky label!

Ace & Jog’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection is earthy and rustic, saturated with a mix of subdued neutrals and oceanic blues. Gingham and, of course, stripes are splashed throughout the collection. I absolutely love the multicolour gingham pantsuit (the print is called Madras) and the comfy Ojai crop top (in solstice – a pale fawn and white pattern). These pieces are comfy and effortless – perfect for lounging around or a summer picnic with the family. There are so many pieces from this collection that I’m lusting over, but these top 10 are my ultimate favorites!

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ACE & JIG PICKS

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1 // Clarke Tunic | Solstice

2 // Suit Up | Madras

3 // Clifton Top | Lunar

4 // Hooded Mesa Dress | Solstice

5 // Jo Midi | Lunar

6 // Simone Dress | Solstice

7 // Orchard Pant | Madras

8 // Ojai Crop | Solstice

9 // Stillwater Dress | Merry

10 // Atwood Dress | Spackle

What piece from Ace & Jig’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection is your favorite? I want your thoughts! Let me know in the comments! 

Photos via Ace & Jig

xoxo,

Alicia

June Beauty Picks


The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I tried surfing for the first time in Tofino, I started a new marketing campaign at work, and I’ve been busy studying for tedious quizzes and midterms in my Macro Economics class. It’s just been go-go-go! My busy schedule combined with the rising temperatures have resulted in a pared down beauty routine centered around frizz-free hair, clear, sun-burn free skin, and pretty toes. When I’m sweating profusely as soon as I leave the house, I have no desire to pile on makeup or do anything complex to my hair. A bit of sunscreen, a swipe of lip balm, a palmful of mousse and I’m good to go. Here’s to summer, winding down after winding up, and low-maintenance beauty!

1 // Arbonne – Pure Vibrance Texturizing Mousse

This sweet smelling mousse not only keeps my unruly strands frizz-free, but it does so without leaving my hair sticky or crunchy. I’m not usually a big fan of mousse for the above reasons, but this baby ticks all my boxes.

2 // Benefit – Dandelion Brightening Finishing Powder

I love when beauty products can do double or triple duty (it’s the multi-tasking type A in me). This sweet shade of petal pink is so subtle, you can hardly tell you’re wearing makeup. It acts as a blush AND highlighter, but all anyone will see is glowing, radiant skin.

3 // Fresh – Sugar Lip Treatment in Rosé

My boyfriend actually got me this for Christmas last year (I’m spoiled, I know) and I immediately fell in love with it. I was always hesitant to spend so much money on a lip balm, but after using it constantly over the past six months, I know I’m going to repurchase it as soon as I run out. It’s hydrating, smells subtly of roses, and leaves the prettiest strawberry sheen on my lips. This is a god-send.

4 // Essie – Nail Polish in Mint Candy Apple

I love sorbet-inspired nail polishes on my toes in the summer (I keep things neutral when it comes to my finger nails). This sweet shade reminds me of mint chocolate chip icecream and absolutely pops against a tan!

5 // Neutrogena – Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunblock

I’ve always hated wearing sunscreen on my face. It always feels heavy and sticky. I practically feel my pores clogging with SPF-infused goo. Not the case with this bad boy. This liquid formula goes on light as air and sinks in immediately, so even though my face is protected from sun-damage, I feel like I’m wearing nothing at all. If you’re weird about sunscreen on your face like me, then I highly recommend this sunblock from Neutrogena. Afterall, no one wants skin cancer (not to mention wrinkles or age spots)!

xoxo,

Alicia