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Friday, 30 December 2016

2016 in Makeup Looks

Hi, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Mine was quite lovely, with bountiful amounts of friends, family, food, and pajama time. All I could ask for! As 2016 comes to a close, I've had an interesting time assessing the year as a whole. On the one hand, there has been so much loss, tragedy, and unexpectedly disturbing (*cough*Trump*cough*) turns of events across the world over the past 12 months; on the other hand, 2016 brought my engagement and marriage, fantastic celebrations with loved ones, and unforgettable trips to New York City and Niagara Falls. It's hard to situate a year full of personal growth amidst a year of global sadness. I am grateful for the former and can only have hope that 2017 will bring less of the latter. 

When it comes to the blog, 2016 was a blast! I continued to make and deepen friendships with so many fellow bloggers and developed relationships with some incredible brands. There was no lack of amazing product releases and I did my best to keep my makeup experimentation going. As always, I did not develop my skills or share as many creative looks as I'd like, but that's an ongoing resolution I hope to hone further in the coming year.

For the time being, let's take a look back at some of my favourite makeup looks from 2016!

I don't often associate January with rich, warm hues, but the MAC Faerie Whispers collection was rife with such gorgeous shades I couldn't help but play! Here I am wearing two lovelies from the collection- Cremesheen Lipstick in Among the Fireflies and Foiled Eye Shadow in Faerie Fayre (which ended up being perhaps my most-worn shadow of the year!).
Original post, here.

David Bowie
Wait a second- David Bowie isn't a month! But really, it should be. Last January marked the passing of one of my greatest music loves and I had to commemorate the creative genius and style icon that was David Bowie with a bold makeup look. I created an alien-inspired makeup blending the looks of Ziggy Stardust and the ethereal Life on Mars music video. 
Original post, here.

When I think of Valentine's Day makeup, I drift towards bold, but romantic shades of pink and red. I was inspired by just those colours last February to create this Valentine's inspired look! I used Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour on the lips and the Kat von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette (another frequently used gem of the year) for the eyes. Who says pink and red clash!?
Original post, here.

My pick from March is a recreation of Reese Witherspoon's Oscars look, which totally captured my heart due to the fresh, beautiful, flushed lips and cheeks. I splurged on two products used in the original look- Chantecaille Cheek Shade in Flair and Cheek Gelee in Love (both completely stunning) and reached for my much-loved Chantecaille Lip Chic in Amaryllis to finish the look. 
Original post, here.

I totally fell for fiery shades of orange, rust, and cranberry this year and the Violet Voss Holy Grail Pro Eye Shadow Palette (which I purchased at IMATS NYC) helped me reach for these tones on the regular. Seriously, that palette is to die for and the look below is a good demonstration of its beauty! Here, I paired the Holy Grail with another gem of an IMATS purchase- Besame Carmine Classic Colour Lipstick (the most perfect coral red) for a super warm, but wearable party look. 
Original post, here.

At IMATS NYC, I also caved and purchased the Natasha Denona Eye Shadow Palette 5 #10. It's a unique mix of shimmery neutrals and rich, warm violets and this look shows it off quite well! To contrast the bold eyes, I finished the look with MAC Satin Lipstick in Brave, one of the most worn and ultra versatile lipsticks I bought this year. 
Original post, here.

In June I was lucky to receive several goodies from Essence and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this accessible budget brand. I found quite a few faves among the bunch! In this Essence-heavy look, I'm wearing Mosaic Blush in All You Need is Pink, Pure Nude Highlighter in Be My Highlight, The Velvets Eye Shadows in You Better Mauve and Mr. Mocca-Bean, Forbidden Volume Mascara, and Prettifying Lip Oil in SOS, My Heart.
Original post, here.

Toronto Pride is an event I look forward to every year. It's such a fun, colourful, meaningful party! For this year's Pride, I created a rainbow-inspired makeup look not for the faint of heart. Again, the star of the show was the Kat von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette (rainbow eye shadow heaven), which I paired with one of my favourite red lipsticks, Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Royal
Original post, here.

Clearly summertime brings out my love of rainbow makeup! This month's look was a bit more subtle, though- I really need to re-create it asap! Surprise, surprise- I used the Kat von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette on the eyes. And for the lips, I patted on the unique and beautiful MAC Satin Lipstick in Sushi Kiss
Original post, here.

September marked the release of the MAC Star Trek collection, which totally spoke to my burgeoning inner Trekkie. This look was bold and alien-inspired and something I wish I could wear more often. I felt totally fierce! I used MAC Pressed Pigment in Bird of Prey on the eyes, Trip the Light Fantastic Powders in Luna Lustre and Highly Illogical to add glow to the complexion, and Lipglass in Twerkquoise from the Good Luck Trolls collection for an out of this world touch of blue on the lips. 
Original post, here.

October is my favourite for makeup because it brings Halloween along with it! This year I decided to create an ice queen-inspired look that left me feeling properly frosty. I used a mix of green and blue eye shadows and liners to create dimension and definition, Chanel Imitable Waterproof Mascara in Lime Light on lashes, and Illamasqua Precision Ink in Scribe for icy white details. 
Original post, here.

November's look is much more subtle (hard not to be), but it'll always be a fave. I was lucky to be able to try some brand new goodies from the Maison Jacynthe makeup collection and they turned out to be natural beauty gems! I'm wearing Lipstick in Cherry/Cerise, Blush in Romeo, and Eye Shadow in Irish.
Original post, here.

And, as always, I had to finish the year with a festive look! I used some faves from Inglot to create some sultry eyes and bold red lips, perfect for any Christmas party or New Years Eve festivities. I reached for HD Lip Tint Matte #12, AMC Eyeliner Gel #77, Eye Shadow Pearl #397, and Eye Shadow Matte #329, and Kohl Pencil 01. I might just re-create this look tonight! 
Original post, here.

I hope you enjoyed the trip down makeup memory lane! It's always fun taking a peek back and starting to consider how I may experiment in the New Year. 

However you're spending the next couple of days, I hope you all have a fun and safe New Years! Here's to amazing things in 2017 :)


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Stocking Stuffers Your Lips Will Love

Hi, everyone! If you're like me, you're doing a bit of scrambling to finish off your holiday shopping. If you're in need of some inspiration, consider my motto: you can't go wrong with a gift of happy lips! Guy or gal, everyone can use a bit of lip love during the harsh winter months and there are so many lovely, festive options out right now! 

Burt's Bees is such a staple of the lip care world and they've really stepped up their holiday stocking suffer game this year. Not only does the packaging feature an adorable Christmas sweater motif, but they're really offering a pre-made set for everyone!

The A Bit of Burt's Bees** set ($5.49 CAD) comes with a mini Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (so necessary this time of year- my hands get so parched) and a full-sized Vanilla Bean Lip Balm. All you need to keep lips and hands happy! And yes, this is a set I'm keeping for myself ;)

The Beeswax Bounty Assorted Mix** set ($12.99 CAD) features four of the brand's most popular lip balms- classic Beeswax, Vanilla Bean, Pomegranate, and Mango. It looks so cute in the box and includes enough balm to keep the lips hydrated all winter long. My husband is properly obsessed with Burt's Bees balms, so this one is ending up in his stocking :)

The Burt's Bees Kissable Colour Cool Collection** ($9.99 CAD) includes a trio of the brand's Lip Shimmers, hydrating balms with a tint of colour. The cool-toned set includes Apricot, Grapefruit, and Watermelon for a full range of hues from peach to deeper berry. This is such a great value set for those who want a hint of colour with their hydration! My little sis will be scoring this set :)

eos is another brand offering lip products that are both affordable and free from nasties like parabens and phthlalates. Their cult sphere-shaped lip balms are still quite the range, but, to be honest, have never been my faves. Their new additions- the Shimmer Lip Balm Spheres** ($7.36 CAD)-, however, are really quite lovely! 

The Shimmer Lip Balm Spheres come in two shades- Pearl (a classic frosty white) and Sheer Pink (a cotton candy) and promise to hydrate and condition the lips while adding a wash of colour and dimensional shimmer. I find the formula to be incredibly soft and creamy (much more so than the original balms) and the glisten really makes my lips look full and healthy. The shimmer is also super festive! 

Finally, it wouldn't be Christmas without a mention of Lush! Their lip products are truly fab and are also wonderfully affordable and packed with natural hydrators. 

A limited edition offering and true gem is the Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub ($8.95 CAD)- a charming purply-blue sugar-based scrub that features a festive blackcurrant and citrus scent. It is such a pleasure to use, truly exfoliating my chapped lips while leaving a light layer of hydration and a yummy sweet taste. Yes, you can lick off the excess- it's natural and good enough to eat! ;)

Also brand new to Lush is the Rose Lollipop Lip Balm ($9.95 CAD), which is a wonderfully luxe balm rich with rose oil and shea butter for some ultra moisture and a light floral lemony scent that's both relaxing and uplifting. It's been keeping my lips so happy and smooth and at merely a fraction of the cost of other high-end rosy lip balms. Seriously, this stuff is beautiful! 

So if you're scrambling to wrap up your shopping (you're not alone!), why not opt for the gift of affordable lip love packed with natural ingredients? You'll probably want to pick up one for yourself too :)

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


**Products marked with these asterisks were sent along as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own! 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

On Weddings and Body Image

Hi, everyone! There's nothing like an upcoming wedding to amplify any feelings of body dissatisfaction. A terribly unfortunate truth, but a serious reality for so many brides and grooms to be. Whether it be pressures from friends and family (and not always malicious; sometimes in the form of benign (not so benign) comments like "what will you be doing to get in shape before the big day?"), unrealistic portrayals in bridal or health magazines, or a ramping up of existing insecurities, the expectations to lose weight and be "the best version of yourself" on your wedding day is omnipresent. 

So in a burst of honesty and an attempt to shatter these expectations, I'll drop a truth bomb: I weighed 200 pounds on my wedding day. Being completely transparent, I've totally been procrastinating on writing this post, because I knew I wanted to share this fact, but the lingering internalized shame and embarrassment around that number still makes it an incredibly intimidating thing to disclose. But in an amazing personal breakthrough, I have another reality to share: I weighed 200 lbs on my wedding day and I felt beautiful

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

I have struggled with my weight since childhood, yo-yoing here and there, but with a consistent theme that losing weight is not easy for me. I'd envy those who would give up cream in their coffee and suddenly lose 10 pounds, while I was there working out several times per week and feeling hungry half the time to the tune of a one pound drop. To be honest, that still drives me crazy. 

Throughout my teens and early twenties, my being overweight was a core part of my identity. I was convinced it was the first thing that people noticed about me, and that skewed belief prevented me from dating, from being confident at work and school, and, to be honest, from fully being able to like myself. My self-worth was so entangled with the number on the scale or the size tag in my dress.  I was never one to crash diet  (for which my body likely thanks me), as I knew that wasn't a healthy option and, more selfishly, that I feel so sick when I'm hungry that it was never worth it for me. I knew that severely restricting calories was so unsafe, but I did still hold resentment for those who were "brave" enough or had bodies less sensitive than mine that would allow them to do so. 

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

I am in no way saying that I'm now free of body insecurity, but I can say that over the past several years I have experienced a meaningful shift. Perhaps it was when I realized that the reason I hadn't been dating was my shyness and self-loathing, rather than my weight. I hate to admit my confidence was boosted by the reaction of boyfriends, but it was such an eye-opening experience to finally delve into the world of dating (without waiting to lose 50 pounds first) and to never be criticized for my body, not once. It was through these experiences that my perception started to shift. My thinking became less black and white. Would some people's first impression of me be "she's pretty for a fat girl"? Sure. Would I be too heavy for some people to want to date me? Certainly. But who cares? Those aren't my people. Those aren't all people. And those perceptions have nothing to do with my self-worth.

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

I'm pretty sure the shift was gradual, but about 5-6 years ago I started to move through the world regarding myself as a person. Not a fat person. My confidence, though still far from perfect (who's is?) began to build and for the first time, I was being approached and asked out by men spontaneously. Again, I hate to use attractiveness to men as any sort of benchmark, but perhaps it's one many of us can relate to. But the most surprising thing? I was at my very heaviest when this started to happen. The idea that weight and attractiveness were fully correlated (at least for myself; how we are able to be gentler with others) was totally shattered. I think I was being approached because I was carrying myself differently. As someone who recognized themselves at dateable, likeable. And I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't a bit satisfying to tell these potential suitors that I already had a boyfriend ;)

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

So all of this isn't to say that fat shaming and sizeism are things of the past. They are unfortunately alive and well. Discrimination in these areas happens to people daily, with often devastating consequences.The message instead, I suppose, is that once someone learns to love and accept themself despite the numbers on the scale or size of their clothing, not only will you feel so much lighter (pardon the pun) day to day, but good things will start coming your way because you know believe you deserve them. At least that was my experience. 

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

  So  back to the topic of my wedding. When I got engaged last March, one of the first tasks on my radar was getting in better shape. Because I'd already come to a more solid place of acceptance with my body, I had no grand illusions of losing 50 lbs or getting totally ripped. But I did have loose goals of whittling down my waist and toning my arms. That societal pressure to look amazing (i.e., thin and toned) in my wedding dress did not go unnoticed by me. Because I'd developed a deep love of yoga over the past couple of years, I definitely did have goals of practicing daily, developing lean muscle in my arms, and shaping the tiniest waistline I could. 

As the wedding approached, however, this did not come to pass. In fact, in the month leading up to the wedding, I did not work out once. Do I regret this? Yes, but mainly because a regular yoga practice might have helped me better manage pre-wedding stress and perhaps have been a sign that I was devoting more time to self-care during those months. 

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

 So  as I look through my wedding photos, do I have thoughts of regret regarding my shape and size? I'd be lying if I said no. In a most human way, I definitely have passing thoughts of "ah, you can really see my belly there" and "I wish my arms didn't look so wobbly in this one". But the predominant thoughts when I click through my wedding pictures? I look damn pretty. I love the way my dress hugged my curves. And even more importantly, I look so happy. And I was! And isn't that the most important thing as a bride?

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

If  someone would have asked me ten years ago (or even a year ago) how I would feel about being 200 lbs on my wedding day, I would have responded with a variety of negative emotions, ranging from disappointed to horrified. It feels like such an accomplishment that that is not how I felt the day of my wedding. That there is nothing inherently horrifying about a number, aside from the unfortunate stigma attached to it. 

And by accepting my body on my wedding day, it does not mean that I don't have ongoing goals of improving my fitness (i.e., not fearing that a medic will be needed when I go for a jog), building strength, achieving a yoga handstand, or hey, even shedding a few pounds. What it does mean is that I allowed myself the basic right to feel beautiful on my wedding day. And I also believe that any health-related goals must be driven by self-love to successful. When we try to change our bodies because of self-loathing, it is so hard to treat our bodies well when we're in that state of mind. 

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

I'm sure this topic will breed varying reactions, and that's to be expected. I'm sure there are some of you thinking (no matter how much you like or love me or how accepting you are of others) "geez, I would not be ok with weighing that much on  my wedding day, or ever. Not acceptable". I get you, I've been there. And there may be some others of you thinking "ok, I could love my body at 200 pounds, but what about at the 300 I currently weigh?" or "at 200 pounds you don't fully understand or experience the plight of fat shaming". All of those opinions have aspects of truth to them, and I respect them. 

I do not claim to speak for all overweight people, overweight women, or those who have been at the 200 lb mark. But I hope that my story might resonate with you. Or help you to understand me better. Or to let you off the hook if you don't want to crash diet or hate your body leading up to your wedding or any other special occasion when the pressure is on. You can just be you and you are beautiful.

And with that, I leave you with a few more of my favourite wedding photos that really capture the spirit of the day and the smile of a happy bride. 

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani
Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

Photo Credit: Photography by Shivani

Also, I would be remiss not to hugely thank our wedding photographer for the day, Shivani. She really brought out our smiles and personality so well! All photos in this post are credited to Photography by Shivani

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you so much for stopping by! 


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A Mini MAC Haul (ft. Strobe Cream, a Back2MAC, and more)!

Hi, everyone! There is definitely no shortage of MAC in my makeup stash, and yet discovering new-to-me shades and products from the brand never ceases to excite me. I recently made a little haul at one of my local MAC shops and I'm so happy with what I chose, I thought I'd give you guys a peek! 

The haul was a win on a couple levels- first, it was during MAC's 25% off sale for MAC Select members (the brand's loyalty program). It's only been quite recently that MAC has been putting select items on sale (let alone store-wide discounts), so I had to seize the opportunity! Second, I'd accumulated six empties, which meant it was time for a free lipstick! If you haven't heard of MAC's Back2MAC program, it allows you to recycle empty packaging and receive a free product (Lipstick, Lipglass, or Eye Shadow). Eco-friendly and cost-effective! 

Here are the three goodies I picked up, two at the 25% discount, and one totally gratis thanks to Back2MAC:

MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Relentlessly Red ($21 CAD)
This is one stunner of a lipstick that I've been stalking for months. Not only is it totally my kind of shade, but I'd heard endless raves about it from my blogger bud Chelle from Makeup Your Mind. MAC describes it as a "bright pinkish coral matte", which is a pretty apt description. I'd call it a warm, coral-tinged rosy red that's beautifully bright but not at all jarring or garish against my fair complexion. In fact, it brightens my face up so nicely! Its Retro Matte formula makes for a truly matte, ultra long wearing colour- it can be a tad drying, but is still quite smooth and comfortable on my lips. 

MAC Matte Lipstick in Mehr ($21 CAD; I got mine free via the Back 2 MAC Program)
To balance out the boldness of Relentlessly Red, I wanted to also pick a lipstick with a more subtle, everyday hue. I'd first heard of Mehr via Lily Pebbles, who touted it as a super wearable version of the 90s lipstick trend that struck it huge a couple years ago. MAC describes Mehr as a "dirty blue pink"- my translation is that it's a neutral-to cool-toned mid-tone pink with very subtle brown undertones (which is where the "dirty" comes from, I guess). It comes in the brand's Matte formula, which might be my favourite matte option in the lipstick world- their Matte lipsticks are smooth, creamy, and long-wearing and are fully pigmented without being drying on the lips. And Mehr is no exception! 

MAC Strobe Cream Sized to Go ($14 CAD for 30mL)
Finally, I snagged one of  MAC's most iconic cult products, Strobe CreamMAC describes it as "The ultimate quick fix for the skin. Super-powered with potent botanicals; de-snoozes, de-stresses, moistens, freshens and boosts the look of dull, flat or tired-looking skin with a fully loaded vitamin zap and a mega dose of green tea. Brightens and clarifies with iridescent particles and antioxidants. Enhances the effects of light on all skin and in all lighting conditions from sunlight to spotlight" (from

My skin always needs an extra brightness boost in wintertime and I love that Strobe Cream not only has iridescence, as other cream highlighters do, but is also packed with skin-loving antioxidants and vitamins that make skin glow from within, rather than just superficially. I've worn it a few times already and I have to say that I'm smitten! It gives my skin the most amazing glow and has not broken out or clogged my skin one bit. My complexion is so finicky, that this is quite miraculous for me! Can't believe it took me this long to finally give this gem a go. 

Here are swatches of the two lipsticks on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Relentlessly Red and Matte Lipstick in Mehr

And now the lipstick swatches beside the Strobe Cream (first applied heavily, then blended out):

(L-R): MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Relentlessly Red, Matte Lipstick in Mehr, Strobe Cream applied heavily, then blended out

And now the lipsticks in the context of a completed makeup look!

Relentlessly Red:


And now some before and after shots to demonstrate the effect of Strobe Cream!

Before the cream (with a bit of glow due to my skin care):

Wearing Strobe Cream- as you can see, my skin looks even more luminous and dewy! It has also evened out my skin tone slightly: 

This haul makes me super happy, not only because I saved about $30 in the process, but also because I am completely smitten with all three of the items! Mehr is such a perfect everyday pink and Relentlessly Red is a beyond gorgeous bold colour that I'm sure I'll be wearing tons during the holidays. And it seems as though Strobe Cream is one of those "where have you been all my life?" sort of products- it feels so nice on my skin and I'm obsessed with the glow it gives! 

Have you purchased anything from MAC recently? Did you snag anything from the MAC Select sale or have you done a Back2MAC lately?

Hope you're having a wonderful week! xo