Final Empties from 2014

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I’ve been thinking about my empties posts lately. I know some people are less than enamoured with these kinds of posts, while others absolutely adore them. Personally, I don’t have much interest in empties posts except to see just how much stuff people are using up – I use the evidence as motivation to continue diligently using my beauty products, rather than buying them just for hoarding’s sake. I’m most impressed by makeup empties, and as such, I feel pretty badass when I myself have used up a handful of makeup products, so of course I still need a medium for which to show it off at times.

Therefore, moving forward my empties posts will be wordless wonders – express posts mainly to show what I’ve used up / tossed every few months. If there are questions about a particular product, please – ask away! I’ll answer in the comments. Otherwise, consider these posts a reprieve from my usual chattiness :)

The first half of the photos are empties that were tossed back in the summer…yea, I’m MAJORLY delinquent in posting these, but as I said, empties posts aren’t really all that exciting, so I never got around to it. There wasn’t that much to showcase anyway – see for yourself (also, pre-emptive apologies for the dusty-looking photos and wonky lighting!):

IMG_3120Body and hair care

IMG_3122Facial skincare

IMG_3124Handful of samples

IMG_3125Makeup empties. KABLOW!! Almost all full-size products :)

Since that time, I’ve been storing up products and my empties bag was getting close to overflowing. Not only do I find empties posts kind of boring to read/write, but good grief taking PHOTOS of used-up products is AWFUL. However, these shots I took today of the next batch of empties was considerably more enjoyable, because last week I bought new camera :D :D :D I wanted a DSLR that could take fabulous photos once the baby arrives (and it doesn’t hurt that it’ll improve my shots on the blog, too :)), and Best Buy had a great Boxing Week deal on so I purchased the newest Canon Rebel, the T5. Now I just need to get my lighting set up down and I’ll be cookin’ with gas, as my family would say ;)  I took most of these shots outside in the snow, because it just seemed like the perfect backdrop, and I’m having fun figuring out how it works and what it can do!

IMG_0153Yüli empties…I am definitely purchasing a large size of the Cocoon Elixir (a facial mist)! So lovely.

IMG_0161Other skincare empties. On my second jar of the F.A.B. Facial Radiance Pads :)

IMG_0159Hair and body care empties. 

IMG_0169Deluxe samples…I really liked the Indie Lee ones (a cleanser and facial oil), and the amala serum (though it’s like, $300 for the full size…uh, NO), but I HATED the GlamGlow mask. Full of weird seaweed-y bits or something and thus was a major pain to apply. PASS, PASS, PASS. 

IMG_0171Random samples of hair & skin care, and foundations/concealers. Nothing to write home about except the Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum – that was quite nice and I’m thinking of buying the full-size when I’m in the market for an eye treatment (I have like, a billion samples to get through first). 

IMG_0167…and BOOM! More makeup empties!! There’s a ton of mascara empties – as I mentioned in my 2014 makeup purchases post, I went through a slew of different kinds this year, mostly all disappointing – but there are two full-size foundations and two full-size blush. Oh YEA, baby! The MAC blush is one I’d dropped a couple years ago and was really left with only scraps left, to be fair – the other is a Milani blush/bronzer duo I’ve had for 5 years which I figured should be tossed now. Also, see how I finished the Burberry illuminator?? Not too shabby, methinks!

And so, my final roundup of empties from 2014. I can now start fresh, woohoo! I feel lighter already. My goals for 2015 are to see more lippie empties (so I can achieve part of my resolutions) and maybe even a blush or an eyeshadow. The latter is a TALL order, but I’ll see what I can do!

Did you make any significant headway in finishing products this year? Do makeup empties make you as happy as they do for me? What are your thoughts on empties posts overall?

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I’m Resolute: My goals for 2015

So.  Resolutions.  I got ‘em.  Somehow I missed sharing them with you the past couple years (or at least I’m just stunned and can’t find the posts – it’s possible), but this year I’m on the ball and excited to share them with you!

There seems to be two camps when it comes to resolutions – those who do them religiously, and those who never do.  I totally get the school of thought that one just strives to improve themselves throughout the year and hence has no need to set goals specifically after the New Year.  However, when you are someone who loves lists as much as I do, any excuse to make a new one is always welcome! :)  I am always working toward the best version of myself, but I also love the idea of starting fresh, so these factors are why every year I look forward to laying down my goals as a way to start the year off on the best foot.  This year, as an extra incentive to stay on track, I plan on writing an update post each month to share with you my progress (or any setbacks).

IMG_0179My fab new notebook in my fave shade :)

And so.  Witness my top resolutions for 2015!!


1. Streamline and reduce makeup collection.

But of course this is a goal. As per my cosmetics tally noted on ‘My Beauty Stash’ page, I am above my comfort level in several areas of my makeup and nail polish collections.  The ‘max’ quota numbers are somewhat arbitrary, but I wanted to choose within each category an ideal number of products to which I can aim toward and feel at ease with what I own, instead of stressed out that I’ll never use it all (which will still undoubtably happen, but I can dream!).  In some cases, I just felt like a larger number of products in a category seemed just plain silly (how many foundations do you really NEED?); in other areas, I felt like I would never make good use out of the shades I DO love if I have more than I can reasonably wear regularly (i.e. lipsticks/lipgloss/nail polish).  In truth, I just really want to feel excited and guilt-free about buying a new pretty now and again!

IMG_0181Just a small portion of my current collection – my current rotation :)

You’ll notice below I didn’t give a goal number for eyeshadow……..dudes, I have like a billion, and I’m never gonna use ‘em all up ever in life, so there’s no point setting an impossible standard! Mainly I just want to ensure that the shades I’m keeping are getting used, so that’s my true goal there. Blush is a similar conundrum – if I ever finished one I think I would call myself the ULTIMATE BLUSH CHAMPION – but I think 30 is a reasonable number (in makeup fiend terms, anyway) and I still have a couple spots left!!  Also, I hope to continuously weed them out as I determine shades or formulas not well-suited to my skin tone / type.  To make way for new ones.  OF COURSE.

And so, here are my goals in the makeup reduction effort:

– Primers: 3 + 1 sample, 1 eye primer / Goal: 2 + 1 eye primer
– Concealers: 5 / Goal: 2
– Foundation: 4 + 1 travel size / Goal: 2
– Highlighters: 3 + 1 deluxe sample / Goal: 2
– Bronzers: 3 + 1 deluxe sample / Goal: 2
– Mascara: 4 / Goal: 2
– Eyeliner: 24 / Goal: 15
– Lip Color: 51 / Goal: 30
– Nail Polish: 103 / Goal: 75

I’ve actually made considerable headway with most of these categories since last year…the tough ones are going to be eyeliners, lippies and nail polish. Erm…wish me luck??

2. Spend more time enjoying things I own and less time seeking out newer, ‘better’ things.

I think we all come up against this challenge one time or another, especially as beauty bloggers. I’ve been improving with this over the past year, but sometimes I still get caught up in the trap of needing something new just because it’s NEW, and not because I need to have it. It’s like our attention spans keep getting shorter and shorter…and it can get quite ridiculous, really. My biggest saving grace is that I hate clutter and I get anxious with too much STUFF kicking around, so I purge relatively often. But I still own items that I felt like I just HAD to have, but yet I haven’t even used all that much, and that’s a damn shame. This year, I vow to give things I acquire a fair shake before rushing off to buy something else that catches my eye.

3. On that note…spend less time thinking and more time doing.

Oh man, I’m really bad for this. And not in the way you might think – I don’t get too wrapped up in thinking about doing something but never getting around to doing it; moreso, I just spend a lot of time thinking, period. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I need to get out of my own head (it can betray me sometimes), and just enjoy a moment, or let things go and stop analyzing every damn thing. This is the reason I did my degree in Psychology – I love to understand how people’s brain’s work, and why we do what we do…I want to understand so that I can continuously open my mind, refrain from judgement and be as accepting of people as possible. Probably I do this too because I want that behaviour and thought process to be reciprocated to me; everyone wants to be understood, I think on some level. But DANG if I don’t do it a bit too much, is what I’m sayin’ lol. So, this year, I’m going to try and be accepting without overthinking it too much…it’s like thought OCD, I keep thinking the same things over and over and it’s just kind of silly at times {now maybe ya’ll can see why I ramble so damn much all the time lol}.

4. Take at least 30 minutes a day to do something good for my body.

Since I’ve still got around 3 months left of the pregnancy, and I don’t know what things will be like once the baby comes, I don’t want to give myself a seriously structured fitness and health regime (I don’t really do that, anyway – I’m too into moderation for that) – but I do always like striving to be my healthiest self. I wanted to get out for a walk every single day since becoming pregnant, but that hasn’t happened and I don’t want to set myself up for failure – sometimes I’m honestly just too busy/tired/whatever to get it done. But I DO have 30 minutes every day to do SOMETHING good for myself – be it a walk, taking the time to make a healthy meal, or sitting down and writing in my journal for 30 minutes. So I’m committing to that and I know I will stick to it. There’s just no room for excuses!

IMG_0176Two books I received at Christmas….my family knows me well.

5. Relax with uncertainty. 

This is something else I struggle with a lot. It’s funny, because in many ways I’m very cavalier and unconcerned with the future – I haven’t been reading countless books on how to raise a child (in fact, I haven’t read any), and my general outlook on life is that things usually work out for the best, so why worry? My issues with uncertainty aren’t situational, but rather interpersonal – I’m always wondering if I’m doing the ‘best’ thing in my relationships (romantic, friendly and familial) and worrying that if they aren’t perfect, they’ll fail. I’m always thinking about how we can improve, how we can relate better and be better to one another. This all sounds well and good, but it tends to leave little room for error – any perceived failures on my part or the person involved and I start to question our relationship and it’s tenacity. You start to see the problem now…it’s like I want to control every interaction so that it only involves positivity – differences in opinion, disagreements, and conflicting behaviours leave me feeling unsure about the relationship as a whole. An unrealistic view, yes, but a hard habit to break. This year, I am determined to relax in my relationships and see any difficulties (within reason) as an opportunity for growth. I’ve only recently come to this realization, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but one that I think will benefit me significantly.


And that, my friends, is my resolution list for 2015! I feel quite good about it, and like these goals are both challenging yet achievable. I always love a fresh start, so I’m keen to get cracking!

Have you made any goals/resolutions for the New Year? Can you relate to any of mine?

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Makeup Roundup: Purchases in 2014

Hello and a happy last day of 2014 to you all!! I sincerely hope everyone has been having a lovely holiday and enjoying family (as much or as little as you like), fun, and delicious food! As always, it flew by for me this year, but I took time off from the 19th and don’t return to work until the 6th, so if nothing else I’ve been relishing my sleep-in time and some laid-back days!

I thought I’d do a little something different this time around in wrapping up the year. Since I’ve spent much of 2014 trying to rein in my beauty spending, I was curious to see just how well I did and how much I purchased in the end. I thought perhaps you might be curious too! Some of the numbers are surprising to me, mostly due to what I DIDN’T buy *pats self on back* – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t go a bit crazy in other areas ;)  Let’s get to it, shall we?

*Note that the numbers below represent the total number of products I own in my current stash (some items have been given away/tossed/etc.), and the number that I have purchased in 2014 – not overall.

PRIMERS (Own: 3 full size, 1 sample, 1 eye. Purchased: 0)

OK, OK, so while I didn’t purchased any primers myself this year, I did receive 2 via PR samples (Make Up For Ever HD Primer in 6 Yellow, and Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray), so this is a bit of a cheat. But still, I personally haven’t bought a primer of any kind in over 3 years (NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base in July 2011), so that’s pretty impressive. I’m not a huge primer person though, so there’s that – but lately I’ve been reading a lot about the Chanel Le Blanc Light Revealing Brightening Makeup Base, and it sounds right up my alley –  all I’m ever trying to achieve is a lit-from-within glow to my skin, and this might be the ticket to getting it!

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FOUNDATION (Own: 4 full size, 1 travel-size. Purchased: 1 travel-size)

Until very recently, I hadn’t bought a foundation in almost 3 years (Hourglass Immaculate in Mar 2012); all others have been received either via PR samples, or through my Clinique gratis (though this year I only snagged 1 new product, Clinique’s Stay-Matte). But a couple weeks ago, when I was in Sephora trolling the aisles for things to buy to utilize my $20 off a $50+ purchase coupon, I snagged a travel size of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Mortiz. I’d been hemming and hawing over the product for ages, and when I saw the smaller sizes (the other shade offered in travel size is Alaska), I figured it was a great opportunity to give it a shot. St. Mortiz is a shade too light for me (but Cuba, the next shade up, is too dark), but I’ve been mixing this with my deeper-toned summer foundations and I’m quite liking the result. I’ve been wearing some form of base makeup almost every day lately (again trying to work that pregnancy glow) so I’m hoping I might have a couple products for the empties bin by the time the warm weather hits – I’d love to try out some of the new offerings, but I can’t justify a purchase till I get through some of the ones I already own.

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CONCEALER (Own: 5 full size. Purchased: 1)

In my Sephora VIB {Rouge} sale haul, I showed you that I picked up Lancome’s Effacernes to try – but unfortunately I had to return it, as I found it didn’t meet my expectations at all (though it’s nice and lightweight, it was somewhat dry looking under the eye, and the tone was a bit greyish). I exchanged it for Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, which I’d sampled before but wasn’t super keen on. While it still doesn’t give me true FULL coverage that I need to hide my ever-present dark circles, I like that it’s a bit dewy-looking, so at least my undereye looks hydrated, and it even seems to reflect the light a bit. I look tired but youthful I guess…I’ll take it! lol

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The other concealers I have are all on their way out – I’m scraping out the last bits of my two NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers (purchased in 2013), my Clinique Airbrushed Concealer is almost finished (which I did add to my collection this year, but which I received via my gratis), and my Benefit Boi-ing (purchased in 2012 or 2013, I can’t remember) is my leave-at-work shade and has major pan showing. So the 5 that I currently have will very shortly become a small number of 1-2. Just the way I like it.

POWDER (Own: 2 full size. Purchased: 1)

Powder isn’t all that exciting, so it’s no surprise I only have two. I bought MAC’s Blot last year and I rarely use it, mainly only for travel as it’s a compact – to be honest, it doesn’t wow me much. What I did buy this year however, was Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which I’d read good things about over the years. I do like it, and it doesn’t even leave me looking too powdery, but I still find I have shine peeking through by mid-day without fail. However, I suspect no powder will ever be able to leave me both shine-free yet still luminous, so my expectations are low.

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I’ve been thinking about trying the Secret Brightening Powder from the brand however, to use under my eye area to give it some more brightness and help set my concealer. However, every time I swatch it in store it looks SO GLITTERY. Has anyone tried it?? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

HIGHLIGHTER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

While going through my stash, I was surprised to find that I hadn’t bought ANY highlighters this year – I think because the year before, I picked up 3, so I was still feeling a bit overdone. Though I wear highlighter almost every day (usually opting for Chanel’s Poudre Signée de Chanel), it seems to last ages, so I really have no need to buy any more at the moment. Aside from the Chanel, my most cherished is my deluxe sample of Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal – when that runs out, I will be buying a full size, STAT. However, though I love highlighters and how they look, I’m fairly content with just owning a small handful – perhaps if I hit pan or use one up over the next year I’ll pick up a holiday one (they tend to be SO GORGEOUS, ahhh MY EYES burn from the BEAUTY), but I think that every year and then every year I don’t bother…so we’ll see.

BRONZER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

Bronzer has been on my ‘to buy’ list for two years but I keep putting it off – I can never fully convince myself that I really need one! Aside from the NARS Illuminator in Laguna, which I bought back in 2011 (!!), I’ve never really bought a bronzer. The others I have were swap items (a deluxe sample of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, and a full size of Too Faced Sun Bunny), and the last isn’t truly a bronzer, but I use it as such (Estee Lauder’s Shimmering Sands Illuminating Gelee, which I use to achieve a ‘sunburnt bronze’ look). Maybe this will be the year…

BLUSH (Own: 28 full size, 1 palette size. Purchased: 2)

Dudes. I only bought 2 BLUSHES this year!!! Seriously, do I deserve a pat on the back or what!? Last year I bought 7, and the year before, 6…so I consider this a HUGE WIN. The first purchase, Benefit’s Lollitint, is still a fave, and Chanel’s Malice, while a slight disappointment, is nevertheless a wearable shade of which I get use. Again, I did receive a bunch of great new shades via PR samples (MUFE HD Blush) and my Clinique gratis (Cheek Pops and a Chubby Stick Cheek Color) though, so that helped keep my own spending in check.

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My goal is to keep my blush number at 30 or less, so it’s nice feeling like I still have a bit of wiggle room if new shades catch my eye next year. After I hit that 30 mark though…some lesser loved shades will have to go, it’s as simple as that!

MASCARA (Own: 4. Purchased: 4)

I blew through a bunch of mascara samples this year (4), some drugstore offerings (L’Oreal, Maybelline, CoverGirl), and a couple PR samples (Benefit, Arbonne), but nothing truly wowed me. I picked up Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Intensifying Mascara while in Ottawa though, the first time I’d spent money on a department store mascara since fall 2012, and I quite like it (separates the lashes nicely, subtle but pretty). Never completely satisfied however, I then grabbed CoverGirl’s Clump Crusher Extensions Mascara a few weeks ago, and it’s great. Maybe not HG, but I would definitely repurchase again, especially for the price – it gives good volume, decent length, and best of all you can add coat after coat and it never gets clumpy!

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BROW PRODUCTS (Own: 3. Purchased: 3)

I’ve always been pretty lackadaisical when it comes to brows – I guess since mine are decent I haven’t cared to fuss much with them. But since becoming pregnant, for some reason I got it in my head that I needed bigger, bolder brows! I’ve been letting them grow out somewhat, and on top of that I’ve been investing in a few products to achieve this goal as well. However, don’t get me wrong – I’m still resistant to spending much on my brows, and even the $16 I paid for Sephora’s Waterproof Brow Liner was kind of pricey for me. Most recently, I picked up a couple cost-effective drugstore options: Revlon’s Super Liner Brow Artist pencil and Maybelline’s new Brow Drama brow gel, and both have been doing the trick for me. Brow-wise, I guess I’m easy to please ;)

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EYELINER (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I feel like I bought a lot of eyeliners this year, though I only picked up 4, two of which were black. I generally only wear liquid or cream eyeliner as I prefer to wear it in the ‘flick’ style – I think it’s most flattering / impactful on me, so that’s mainly the formula I picked up (a MAC Fluidline, Kat Von D’s Ink Liner, and a NARS Eye Paint). I did pick up one pencil though – Giorgio Armani’s Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in 1 (black), and so far so good. I recently received Make Up For Ever’s Graphic Liner, another black liquid liner iteration, to try, and it also seems up to the task. I’m a bit inundated with black liner now though! For someone who doesn’t even really wear eyeliner much as a whole, 24 is kind of a lot. I’m going to try this year to reduce that number by half – wish me luck!

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EYESHADOW (Own: 72 shades [not including ones still in palettes]. Purchased: 5 plus 4 samples)

Though I got rid of a ton of eyeshadows from palettes this year (18 shades!), I also picked up a handful of new shades (oops) – most which I purchased myself (though I did receive 3 new shades from MUFE PR). I seemed to be on a cream shadow kick (a Bobbi Brown Long-Wearing Cream Shadow, the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Quartet, a MAC Paint Pot, and a Maybelline Color Tattoo), with only one powder shade purchased (MAC Soul Serenade). Just before the holidays however, I got it in my head that I *NEEDED* a sparkly, glittery shadow to up my festive game, and I grabbed an Urban Decay Moondust Shadow in Space Cowboy. It’s been the perfect way to glitz up my holiday looks!

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I still plan to get rid of more shadows, as my original goal of owning less than 100 shades total (singles and palette shades) has been reached; now I’m aiming to have less than 75. Here goes nothing!

PALETTES (Own: 3 [21 shades]. Purchased: 0)

This probably comes as no surprise to any of you who’ve been with me for a while. Palettes = BAD in my world. Too much choice all in once place! Gah, the anxiety. Having said that, I’m very happy with my palette stash, and unsurprisingly I didn’t buy any this year (nor did I last year…I’ve actually only ever bought two in my life, once in 2010 [the Urban Decay one, now since completely deconstructed] and a small 5 pan in 2012 in New Zealand [the Kate palette]). Nor am I likely to buy any next year, either! This, my friends, is OK by me :)

LIP LINER (Own: 3. Purchased: 0)

Lip liners, meh. Boring category. As such, I only own 3 total, and had no need to even look at them this year. I picked up a translucent shade last year which pretty much covers my needs entirely. However, I was seduced by a MAC shade last year (Fashion Boost), and I’ve owned MAC’s Subculture (procured via a swap) for a couple years, only to have used it maybe once or twice on myself (I use it more frequently on others when doing wedding makeups due to it’s neutral tone). If I were smart, I’d toss Subculture in my kit and pick up a great neutral red liner just to round things out.

LIPSTICK/LIP STAIN (Own: 28 lipsticks, 6 lipstains, and 5 samples. Purchased: 11)

Lipsticks and lip stains clearly came out on top this year, with me purchasing almost 1/3 of my stash in this year alone (yikes!). I’m trying REALLY hard to get the total number down to under 30, but DAMN it’s hard. I have slowed considerably on my purchasing in the past few months though, so I just *might* achieve my goal. The problem is lately I keep getting lured in by drugstore brands (Revlon’s Color Burst Matte Balms, and more recently Maybelline’s Color Sensational Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet), which are just too easy grab when you’re looking for a cheap pick-me-up. There are some great options out there for anyone on a budget, no doubt, but this is one reason I try and keep to the higher-end brands – it curbs my shopping habits better!

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LIPGLOSS (Own: 12. Purchased: 4)

I had a strange, mild love affair with lip gloss this year, even though I generally like my lips either bold and mostly matte, or nude (as in, nothing on my lips but balm). I picked up 4 new shades on my own, nonetheless, and I’m on the fence about most of them – I love the YSL Gloss Volupte I got during the Sephora sale, and the Ilia Lipgloss I snagged is a great neutral, but both my Dior Addict Gloss in Exquisse, and the NARS’ newly formulated lipgloss in Istria I picked up, I hardly wear (for no good reason!). Silly rabbit. I’m hoping because the two latter shades are cooler-toned, that it’s just been a matter of not reaching for those kinds of shades in the summer and fall months. Hopefully they’ll get some love in the New Year!

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BRUSHES (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I mentioned in my Summer Recap post that I’d picked up some Hakuhodo brushes in August. I’d been keen to try the brand for quite some time, and I have been very pleased with each brush I selected. I tried to choose brushes that both filled a gap in my collection but also would be useful on a frequent basis – no specialty brushes here! If you’re curious, after a LOT of research, I chose the J142 Eye Shadow Brush (a lovely crease brush), the G5520BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a pencil brush, great for detail or for the lower lash line), the G5512BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a teeny tiny liner brush that is perfect for tightlining) and a Medium Pointed Yachiyo Brush (which helps me blend out my cheek products beautifully – especially as I can be heavy-handed at times [MOAR BLUSH!]). I don’t have my sights set on any new brushes or brands for the New Year….but we all know that could change in a heartbeat :)

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BONUS CATEGORY: NAIL POLISH (Own: 103 Purchased: ~18)

I bought less nail polish this year than usual, around 17-18 shades (as opposed to my average of about 25+) – in part due to my efforts to keep the number at 100 or lower, and also due to the fact that since being pregnant I’ve not been as crazy about polish as normal – it takes effort to put it on all the time lol! That being said, the total number is at 103, plus 3 shades I consider base staples (white, black, and sheer nude), and I’d still like to bring that number down even lower before the baby comes. But dudes, it’s HARD. I’ve pulled my favourite shades out and that hits around the 50 mark, but then the majority of the other shades are still ones I enjoy…GAH. The reason I’m making the big CHOP is because I figure, when baby comes – if I can manage to paint my nails once a week I will be a superstar.

IMG_3720So. much. POLISH!

Considering I’ve been hovering around the 100 mark for a couple years now, it’s clear I do well at getting rid of ‘meh’ shades regularly, but now that I’m much more particular about any new shades I pick up (as in, I must LOVE them to give them a go), the remaining shades are well, DARN PRETTY, you guys! Maybe I should just go on a purchasing ban for a while, see if I can use up a few shades and bring the number down that way. ~sigh~ Rough life, eh?


So 2014 wasn’t a record-breaking year, either in purchasing or restraint, but I feel pretty good about it nonetheless. I plan to kick-off 2015 with a similar mentality, keeping my purchases to only those that really excite me, and trying to weed out the ‘ho-hum’ products that I only use because they’re there and I should. It may seem like the same old, but you know – I love these perpetual challenges I hold for myself! :)

What are your New Years’ goals, if you have any? How did you fare in terms of purchasing/restraint in 2014?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!

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Holiday 2014 Wish List

 Hoilday 2014 Wish List

Even though this is the time for giving, you can’t help but be pulled in by all the fabulous gift sets and beautiful holiday products gracing the shelves of your favorite stores – at least, THIS HERE GIRL can’t help but be tempted! While I’ve done well not buying too much for me this month (except for my EPIC DevaCurl haul that I indulged in earlier this week – details on my first professional haircut in over 5 years [I KNOW] plus the whole DevaCurl experience so far are forthcoming!), I have done a fair bit of ogling. All the pretty things!

There are always hoards of items on my ‘to buy’ list, but I feel like a holiday wishlist should be a bit more special, with items that might otherwise be completely out of the question (you never know who might be reading this post to get ideas! *hinthint*). I picked out four products that particularly have caught my eye and given me something to dream about (aside from sugarplum fairies, and the myriad of WHACK-A-DOO dreams you have when you’re pregnant!).

Tarte Dream Come Hue 12 Piece Collectors Set ($210 CAD)

Normally sets like this are a little intimidating to me – so many of one (or two) things! – but ever since the collectable Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes launched years ago I wanted to try them out. Unfortunately, they contain lanolin, which is not my friend, but so do NARS blush, and I wear them fine without issue. I think if I were wearing them every day it might be more of a problem (like I found when I was using a Laura Mercier concealer with lanolin for my undereye area), but I rotate my blush ever day, so… Since I’m way behind in trying these babies out, wouldn’t it make the most sense to just try SIX AT ONCE? And while I’m at it, I can try six of the brand’s Lipsurgence Lip Tints too….I mean, it’s just the most logical solution. Right?

YSL Volupté Tint-In-Oil ($35CAD)

Though I only own two YSL products (both lippies), I am always intrigued by their newest launches. The Tint-In-Oil is a lip color/stain + conditioner that boasts a handful of nourishing oils to keep lips looking youthful and hydrated. Even though the matte lipstick movement is still going strong, as much as I love the way it looks it doesn’t always work out for me in the drier winter months. After seeing a few swatches online, I found myself really coveting the juicy, glossy yet bright shades of these – in particular I’m lemming Pink About Me, a medium purple-tinged pink. Cool-toned pinks will get me every time!

Urban Decay Naked Vault ($336 CAD)

This is another kind of obscene collectors set, but since I don’t own any of the Naked palettes, its like it was made for someone like me, no? Zero to sixty, that’s how I roll. Truth be told, I have no interest in the Flushed blush/bronzer/highlight trios that come in this set, so it might not be the best value for me – as I’m really angling for the 3 Naked palettes, which ring in at $64CAD each, I’d be better off to just buy the three and call it a day at $192. But where’s the fun in that??

In any case, it’s showing as sold out online at Sephora, so THIS particular item really was just a dream…

Fresh Sugar Face Polish ($68CAD)

I snagged a deluxe sample of this when I shopped Sephora during the VIB [Rouge] sale, and I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I love it. It’s got the perfect consistency – gentle yet effectively scrubby, without feeling harsh in the least (likely due to the inclusion of seed oils like meadowfoam, grape, strawberry, and macadamia). My skin feels stupidly soft and smooth after using this, and has a major glow – it would be ideal to use before a party or other special event. I thought it might cause problems because fragrance is kind of high on the ingredient list, but I haven’t experienced any issues so far using it once a week for the past month. I think for me, as long as my daily products don’t contain fragrance, I’m mostly safe. The price is steeper than I’d normally pay for a scrub, but honestly I think I might cave in the New Year – it’s that lovely.

Interestingly enough, though my ongoing wishlist is crazy-long, the number of items I’d actually want to receive (at one time) is fairly low – I like to space out my beauty acquisitions so it gives me time to use stuff up, and also doesn’t get too overwhelming. I think this list would give me a lot to play with – probably more than is sensible, given that there are two collectors sets lol – but what the heck – it IS the holidays, after all!

What’s on your wishlist this year?

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La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Seed Oil {A Review}

That’s kind of a dull title, true, but honestly what I wanted to write I didn’t think would reel you guys in (“La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Seed Oil….smells bad but it works!“). Was I right? ;)

To put it plainly, yes, this oil doesn’t smell the best – I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I want to say it’s like stinky feet LOL. Not quite that, but its one of those smells that isn’t nice, but that isn’t so bad that you’d run screaming, you know? Tolerable, I guess. Anyway, my point is, I don’t want that to sway you from trying it out (at least a sample!), as it’s a nice oil and it’s particularly ideal for this time of year when the weather turns cool and you need a little something extra to comfort and hydrate your skin.

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Here are some reasons why LBF’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil ($99CAD for 1oz) is lovely:

1) It contains only pure organic barbary fig seed oil (also known as prickly pear seed oil) – no essential oils or other ingredients that can cause irritation to sensitive skin

2) It’s high in vitamin E (protects against free radicals – is particularly great to use pre- and post-sun exposure!) and linoleic acid (remember my previous post on fatty acids?)

3) It helps stimulate new cell growth, calms inflammation, and helps gently treat hyperpigmentation and aging or wrinkle-prone skin

4) Wonderful for hormonal skin types

What sold me on this oil when I bought it back in late winter last year was the fact that it had no essential oils in it (oils that have a ton of EOs freak me out a bit) and that it was high in linoleic acid, which seems to agree well with my skin type. Later, I was also thankful to have this in my arsenal, as it’s claim to be great for hormonal skin came in handy when I had my miscarriage, and my skin completely went bat-shit (evidenced here). Though it didn’t ‘fix’ my skin, it seemed to minimize further breakouts, which at that point was all I could ask for.

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Since my skin has calmed down, I’ve found a new appreciation for this oil, as it has a medium viscosity and feels slightly heavy going on, but sinks into skin really nicely without being too greasy. Though I could only use this sparingly during the summer, I think it will be perfect now that the temperatures have dropped and my skin isn’t an oil factory as much (though that ‘pregnancy glow’ seems to persist, so I still need to be careful).

I find the best way to use this is to apply to slightly damp skin, by either not patting skin dry fully after washing, or by using a facial mist (my preference) and then applying a few drops straight-away. It glides over the skin so silkily this way, and leaves my skin perfectly hydrated and protected.

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Oh, and about the smell? While I don’t wear this much when Ryan is home (lol), I do find that the scent dissipates quickly and it doesn’t linger at all on my skin. ENTIRELY bearable, for anyone who is put off from trying it for that reason (I completely understand, but give it a shot via a sample at least!).  Though the price is quite high, I purchased this when Clementine Fields had a promotion to ease the blow – I would suggest holding out for something like that too (they often do promos for LBF products), if you try it and love it!

Have you tried La Bella Figura products before? Would you consider using a product that didn’t smell great, but that worked?

PS: I know there haven’t been any holiday posts around here, and for that I apologize – but honestly, I haven’t had the time! I had this and the Yüli post in the works for ages, and I’d rather get *something* up than just have radio silence. I had all these grand plans for themed posts and the like, but it seems I’m in a weird nesting phase where I just keep doing crazy things like mailing out 50 Christmas cards (no joke), and spending all day baking for a dessert party I had last week, and essentially just being like Super Mom without actually being a mom yet LOL. I’m in training, I guess! It’s too bad, because I’ve done some really fun makeup and nail looks for the season – I made a promise to myself to wear some form of shimmer/ glitter every single day this month, and I have :) Plus, I’ve even been doing some minor nail art! Ryan gets home tomorrow for the holiday, so it’s unlikely I’m suddenly going to find MORE time to put up a few fun posts, but I will try my best before Christmas! I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday to the max!

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Yüli Skincare: An introduction and review {plus a story}

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I’m going to preface this post first with a disclaimer – it’s going to be a review, yes, of some wonderful products from Yüli, an organic brand that I’ve fallen head over heels for. But I am going to share a little story with you first that is personal and a bit sad, and I don’t want anyone to feel duped or like I lured them in with a promise of review only to drag you into something else entirely. These products have a close link to my story, and I can’t share one without the other. I hope you don’t mind! (if you do, that’s completely OK – just scroll down till you start seeing pictures to get the scoop on the products!)

Back around Christmastime in 2013, Ryan and I made a huge decision to start trying to have a baby. We had been talking about it for some time, but were trying to wait until ‘the time was right.’ Of course, most of you know that there never really is a right time for these things, so one day I told him that I thought we should just go for it, and of course he was 100% on board (I think he was just waiting for me to make the call lol). I went off the pill right away, mid-pack (stupid!) and off we went. We figured it would take some time before anything happened, and so we weren’t feeling any pressure or stress, which was great. It was just exciting to know that we were taking this next step in our lives together.

To our complete surprise, in early February I started feeling a bit different leading up to my period that month. I was having some cramping, which never happened to me pre-period, and I was dead tired every night, falling asleep by 9pm. When the date my period should have started came and went, I had Ryan grab a pregnancy test from the nearest pharmacy, and with a bit of trepidation I took the test the next morning alone before he got out of bed. I was nervous because I was hoping hard for a positive result, but felt that it was too good to be true. Amazingly, it was positive. I bounded into the bedroom, woke him up, and cried ‘We’re pregnant!’ Sleepy and stunned, Ryan took a second to recover, before he broke into a huge smile. It truly was one of the best days both of us had ever had.

Over the next couple weeks, we shared the news with our families and reveled in our future. We planned, we chose names (seriously!), we basked in the excitement. I would ride the bus home and daydream about how I was going to be a mother soon. It was a time of bliss and contentment.

Two weeks into the pregnancy (which seemed like ages, especially when most people didn’t know our secret), I started having some mild spotting. Immediately I was googling what that could mean and hoping that it was nothing. The second time it happened, Ryan called the Nova Scotia nurses line, and they walked us through some questions. Naturally, they didn’t default to panic mode, but they suggested I see a doctor or go to the hospital in the next couple days to be sure.

The next day, a Monday, I went to work feeling fine. After about an hour, I went to the bathroom, and was stunned to see blood streaming out into the toilet. In shock, I left work without speaking to anyone, and called Ryan and my mom in a tearful panic, saying I was heading to the hospital Emergency unit, where they met me a short while later. After waiting hours to be seen, and having my hope rise when one doctor told me after her preliminary examination that things seemed fine, only to have it plummet when I had an internal ultrasound, after which I started bleeding profusely, the crushing results were that I had had a miscarriage.

If any of you have had bad shit happen to you in your life (which is likely all of you), you can imagine our heartbreak. Without going on and on about it, it was a tough time, made especially tough because you’re falling from such a high. But, life throws you a curveball sometimes. Ryan was extremely supportive, and we got through it, as you do. I’m not trying to minimize it, because it was one of the hardest things I’ve endured in my life, but miscarriages are common – probably more common than some realize – and of course now being pregnant again and with things progressing nicely at 25 weeks, it all seems hazy and the pain has dulled considerably. However, I know that its not as easy to move past for some, and to you my heart truly feels for your pain. I hope if you’re in the early days of that experience, that you feel hope that things usually work out eventually.

So. The REASON I’m telling you all this is because after the miscarriage, my skin went completely whack, and I had to pull out the big guns to do some damage control. First, let me show you what happened after my hormone levels spiked and then came crashing down in such a short time frame:

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I know that for anyone who has struggled with acne, this may seem like small potatoes. First, let me say that it was worse in person – and also understand that when you go from having essentially unblemished skin your entire life, to this, the frustration and dismay is considerable. This occurred one month after the miscarriage, almost overnight. For about 6 weeks afterward, nothing I did to my skin seemed to work on these breakouts – though I was very gentle with my skin (I don’t think bringing out heavy artillery when your skin is reacting like this is helpful), I was diligent in cleaning and hydrating with a simple moisturizer, and wore little makeup, to no avail. And my skin was just a small piece of the body breakdown – my hair fell out in copious amounts, my periods were different (I have always been a 28 day gal to a T), and my mental state was off (I felt angry a lot). For someone who is quite healthy, I found the physical ramifications almost more difficult to deal with than the loss itself.

After about 2 months, my body started to come back to normal – or at least, a new ‘normal’, for me – but I was left with some ‘souvenirs’ of the experience:

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The scarring was almost more noticeable than the acne, as it was much darker in color and required a lot of work to conceal. IT SUCKED. As you do when you’re a beauty blogger (or an aficionado of beauty in general), I did a bunch of research to see what I could use against these unsightly remnants of my hormone roller coaster. Somehow, I came across the brand Yüli, an exceptional skincare line based on the use of cutting-edge green biotechnology. I’d seen a few posts particularly on a product called Cell Perfecto PM, a corrective serum designed to “fade hyperpigmentation, correct dark spots and discoloration, and heal acne scars and sun damage for a brighter, smoother, more even complexion,” where the user seemed to achieve great success – I was sold.

Yüli

Yüli products are not cheap. The Cell Perfecto PM set me back $98US for 1oz. But at this stage, I was desperate for anything to work. As the brand offers a shipping discount ($8 off) when you purchase $150 or more, I also picked up one of their Elixirs, Panacea ($68 for 3.4oz), a rebalancing, clarifying and hydrating toner mist suitable for normal, combination, oily or blemish-prone skin.

Yüli Cell Perfecto PM Yüli Cell PerfectoI’m not sure if you can see, but there are little bits of sediment in the serum, which is just some of the time-released actives – this does not feel gritty on the skin AT ALL.

As Yüli mixes their product fresh to order, it took about a month for my products to arrive – at the beginning of May, right before our trip to Florida. I was so eager to get cracking, I brought both with me, packing the beautiful miron glass bottles with care. Immediately, I could tell that these products were special – my skin was crazy-soft overnight, and felt supple and hydrated. As there were no essential oils used in either product (a rarity in the organic/green beauty world), I experienced zero irritation from either, and it gave me peace of mind every time I used them. The serum is of slightly medium density – it doesn’t feel heavy, but you only need a few drops to cover your face. I apply it especially sparingly to my forehead as if I use too much I can wake up with a slightly greasy feeling there.

Ingredient list for Cell Perfecto PM: Bioregenerating Botanical Infusion (Botanical Glycosides, Sea Minerals Complex), S. chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, M. integrifolia (Macadamia) oil*, O. ficus-indica (Indian Fig) seed oil*, C. inophyllum (Tamanu) oil*, H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oil*, A. uva-ursi (Bearberry) extract*, H. italicum (Helichrysum)* extract, G. glabra (Liquorice) extract*, C. asiatica (Gotu Kola) extract*, Renew Minerals Complex (Methysulfonylmethane (MSM)* Derived from Pine Lignin, Phytosterols derived from Flax), A. linearis (Rooibos) extract*, B. carterii (Frankincense) extract*, D. carota (Carrot) seed extract^^, G. lucidum (Reishi) extract*, L-arginine, L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), L-Gluconic Acid (Derived from Kombucha Tea Ferment).

After using the two products for a month, I saw a visible difference in my skin. While the Panacea Elixir was refreshing and helped keep any new breakouts from forming (and quite honestly it just feels lovely), it was the Cell Perfecto that truly won my allegiance to the brand. After that mere month, my acne scars had faded CONSIDERABLY – so much so that using just a foundation covered them easily. After two months, my acne scars were completely healed without a trace. I know that acne scars do fade over time, but with darker skin like mine it usually takes about six months or so. The speediness in which I experienced this fading in unheard of for me! I wish I had taken photos of the evidence, but unfortunately (VERY fortunately), I got pregnant again at which point my brain kind of ~blipped~ and I completely dropped the ball. But if you look at some of my posts from that time [such as this one (six weeks after starting the product), or this one (two months after)], you’ll notice that there’s no scarring to be seen (and I’m fairly certain I’m foundation-less in both). HOO-RICKIN’-RAY.

Ingredient list for Panacea Elixir: D-Aloe barbadenis, R. damascena (rose) hydrolat*, H. italicum (helichrysum) hydrolat*, L. angustifolia (lavender) hydrolat*, H. virginiana (witch hazel) hydrolat^, H. italicum/L. angustifolia (helichrysum/lavender) hydrolat*, frequency enhanced water, vegetable glycerine, C. sativus (cucumber) extract, N. officinale(watercress) extract*, biodynamic fruit enzymes, trace minerals complex, colloidal silver.

To say that I’m a Yüli convert is probably an understatement. Since trying those two products, I’ve picked up a few more from the brand – a replenishment of the Panacea Elixir, plus a 1.7oz of the Cocoon Elixir ($36US) and a jar of the Pure Treatment Mask ($65US). The Cocoon Elixir is just as lovely as the Panacea, and perfect for winter with it’s soothing, healing and hydrating qualities. The Pure mask is your typical powdered clay mask which requires you to add water or your medium of choice to activate it’s detoxifying and repairing properties. I use this every couple of weeks to really clarify and refresh my skin, and it’s quite lovely. As it’s so finely milled, you need only the smallest amount to cover your whole face, so this will last me ages I’m sure.

Yüli Pure MaskYüli Pure MaskClose-up shot of the Pure mask – yikes, look at the gunk coming out of the pores on my nose!

I’ve already got my next purchases planned from the brand – a full-size of the Cocoon Elixir (I’m in love!) and their Halcyon Facial Cleanser, as I’m in need of a new face wash. I’d also like to try another serum – I’m *just* finishing up the bottle of Cell Perfecto after using it almost every single night for the past 7 months (!!!) – and I’m considering buying Liquid Courage, a concentrated antioxidant serum (though the price is a little terrifying at $125 for 1oz). I’m fully committed to trying every single product from the brand, which is entirely possible given it’s perfectly-sized capsule collection.

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Yup, I definitely have an addiction.

Have you tried anything from Yüli? Have you ever experienced a severe hormonal breakout?

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Pampering rituals for mommas-to-be

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but er…it’s been busy. Story of my life! All I want for Christmas is some downtime before the baby comes – guess I’ll have to make that my New Years resolution :)  I’ve been feeling fairly energetic so right now being busy isn’t a huge problem, but because the pregnancy has been pretty easy so far, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop – in my mind thats feeling bone tired, swelling up like a balloon, and having a bitch of a time getting off the couch. It’s coming for me, I just know it O_o

IMG_1347If you were curious…this is me today, at 25 weeks along :)  No face shot or full body shot because a) I’m not great at taking these, and my face is always blocked by the camera anyway, and b) I don’t have pants on, because EFFORT.

There are a lot of things that I wanted to do throughout my whole pregnancy – walk every day for 30-60 minutes, do exercises for my back to strengthen it and my for my hips to stretch them out and prepare me for labour, etc. etc. etc. – that I haven’t been diligent with at all, sadly. However, unsurprisingly I have been pretty good at looking after my skin (face & body), and I enjoy a good pampering session every week in some way or another. These rituals haven’t changed drastically from what I did before I was pregnant, but I do luxuriate in them a bit more and really try to relax and indulge myself more than usual.

1) Give good face

Ever since watching this video by Lisa Eldridge, I’ve been trying to do a longer facial massage once or twice weekly when removing my makeup. I use organic grape seed or pumpkin seed oil to take off my makeup daily, and both of these are awesome for giving my facial skin a really good pamper.

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When I do these longer ones, I usually pop on a TV show or a youtube vid (I use to really hate these videos – never could take the time to sit down and watch them – but now that I always seem to have only moments at home, I often throw a video on and do the dishes, or wash my face/brush my teeth, whatever – multitasking at it’s best :)), and gently rub the oil into every nook and cranny in my face, relieving any tension in my forehead, jaw and around my mouth, and just really ‘get in there’ for about 10-15 minutes. Just as I do with my daily oil cleanse, I remove everything with a microfiber cloth that I’ve soaked in hot water, and do this several times (tip: I bought a few giant-sized microfiber cloths from the Dollar Store that were designed for cleaning around the house, and just cut them up into smaller sizes. Super-cheap and super-effective!).

Next, I use my regular cleanser (which right now is still the Refresh Foaming Cleanser – still really loving it’s simple and gentle formula!) to ensure there is no trace of oil left, and then I apply a mask. Right now I have a multitude of masks in my arsenal, so I have to assess what my skin needs and go from there. I’ve been trialing the Peter Thomas Roth masks I picked up during the Sephora sale, and so far I like them – one is for soothing and hydrating dry skin (green), one is for revitalizing and antiaging (pink), and one is exfoliating (burnt orange). If I’m feeling really keen, I’ll do an exfoliating mask first (I also have a sample of Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish) and then apply one of the more hydrating/soothing ones. I also still have two powder masks which I use every couple of weeks (Yüli’s Pure Treatment Mask and Purple Urchin’s Chocolate Facial Mask).

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After all that masking, I spritz my face with Yüli’s Cocoon Facial Elixir, which is soothing and smells lovely, and then apply an eye cream (trying to use up all my samples…I finished a Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream deluxe sample, and now I’m onto Clinique’s Repairwear Eye) first, then follow up with a facial oil. I only have two right now in rotation – Yüli’s Cell Perfecto PM, and La Bella Figura’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil (reviews on both to come) and they’re both almost finished (eep!).

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Happily, my skin hasn’t caused me any grief at all this whole pregnancy – whether it be this routine, or luck, or both, I couldn’t say, but I certainly feel like keeping on top of things can only be a good thing!

2) Maximize the Good Hair Days

Though I haven’t been looking after my hair as well as I should have since getting pregnant (ughhh, effort), recently I’ve been trying to put in that extra work, because it takes my hair from ‘good’ to ‘GREAT!’ with just a bit more dedication. For many pregnant women, your hair falls out slower than normal so it often appears fuller. My hair in particular sheds a lot on a normal day because it catches and breaks easily with all those curls to contend with, but in the past month or two I seem to hardly be losing any at all and I’m LOVING it.

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As such, I’ve been giving it that much more TLC, and my once-weekly routine starts with a good rinse, followed by a liberal coating of coconut oil from root to tip. I know for oily-prone hair types this is probably a no-go, as when I shampoo it 12 hours later (or the next day if I’ve left it overnight), it doesn’t all completely rinse out – but for my chronically dry hair, it’s a perfect way to retain a bit more moisture than normal. And on top of all that, after the wash I put in a deep conditioning masque (right now I’m using Kerastase Oleo-Relax, as it was on sale at a local salon for 50% off!!), which I leave for about 30 minutes or so before rinsing out. Et voila! Beautifully soft, hydrated hair that is super-touchable, with ends that don’t feel rough and knotted like they usually do by the end of the week. <– Hopefully this ‘ratty ends’  business will be rectified tomorrow after I get my hair cut – first time in like, 5-6 years! 

3) Take a nice bath

I hesitate to say ‘take a long bath’ because with my eczema, soaking in a bath for ages probably isn’t the best idea. But I do take a couple baths a week for about 20 minutes at a time, and it really helps me relax and sort of connect with the baby – can’t ignore a growing bump when lying prone like that! I always throw in a pile of Epsom salts and aim to have the water quite warm but not hot, so that it really gets into the bones and lets me feel quite tranquil. It’s especially good in assisting in a good night’s sleep, which can sometimes be hard to come by – sometimes I just can’t get comfortable (whether due to back pain, my hands ‘falling asleep’/going numb – a common symptom in pregnancy – or just general discomfort), other times my mind is just filled with too many thoughts (and not all about baby, just a stream of random stuff), and still other times there’s no rhyme or reason, I just can’t sleep. It comes and goes in phases, and the past week has been a crappy one. Let’s hope it goes away again soon! Anyway, the bath definitely helps to chill me out and encourages a better sleep overall.

IMG_4008My mini oasis (and I do mean mini…I desperately need a bigger tub :S)

4) Moisturize like crazy

I’ve always been huge into hydrating my skin, since it’s an absolute necessity with eczema, but since I’ve gotten pregnant I’ve really taken the time to work in my moisturizer of choice (for the past few years now, it’s been coconut oil) and give my body a good massage after every shower or bath (I also add a touch of my fave Lina Hanson Global Body Serum to the mix after one of my bath sessions). In particular, I make sure to give my legs a good rub to help prevent too much fluid retention (thankfully something I haven’t experienced much of yet) and ease any extra strain due to weight gain (which has been slow and steady, to my surprise and pleasure). Obviously, I also dedicate some time to my abdomen – though I’m not terribly worried about stretch marks, I figure there’s no harm in putting in a little extra effort to avoid them, and I just picked up a neat little massage bar from Lush in ‘Therapy‘ yesterday to assist in my endeavours. Its composed of Cocoa and Shea butters, as well as Sweet Orange, Lavender, and Neroli essential oils, and I’m quite enjoying it so far! (Side note though: the Lush sales asssociates are terrifying! They’re so ON IT, it’s really kind of off-putting. YIKES.)

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5) Get regular monthly massages

This was something I was determined to do once I got pregnant, and I’ve really stuck to my guns. I have a fantastic massage therapist at Spirit Spa (where I get all of my spa treatments in Halifax) who specializes in prenatal massage, and it’s such a treat that I look forward to every month. My work covers $300 worth of massage therapy in a calendar year at 80% a shot, so it’s not been as hard on the bank account as it could be. Honestly, I don’t even care anyway because I figure – I’m growing a damn human, the least I can do is treat my hard-working body to a little something special here and there.

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BONUS RITUAL: Get my yoga on

I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking prenatal yoga classes but I haven’t really elaborated on them, and I love them so much so I want to highlight them properly. I consider these classes in the ‘pampering’ category because quite honestly, they are a retreat from the daily grind of life, and I look forward to them every single week. Aside from helping me look after my body in a gentle way, and helping to prepare myself for labour through controlled breathing and hip- and pelvic-stretching postures (the yogic squat is effing HARD, dudes…I hate it but love it at the same time), it’s also an awesome opportunity to connect with other soon-to-be-momma’s and air our fears, our excitements, and our milestones – good (“We’re having a ‘X’!”) or bad (“I’ve been constipated for two weeks!”) *That last one’s no joke…totally, totally shitty part of pregnancy (or…you know, NOT shitty. AHEM.)  I 100% recommend taking prenatal yoga if/when you get pregnant – honestly one of the best things ever. If you’re in the area, I go to Breathing Space Yoga, which has locations all over Nova Scotia. SO GOOD.


I haven’t really done much in the way of updating you all on my pregnancy journey – partially that’s because this is a beauty blog, and though a blog by nature is just a composition of one’s personal thoughts and experiences, if I want to talk babies I’ll just write a pregnancy/mommy blog; but also, the experience is really only relevant to me, Ryan and our families, ya know? I don’t share belly photos on Facebook for example, because I just don’t know if anyone really cares (haha) ~shrugs~ That’s OK, because I prefer to talk about it with other people who are just as excited about the news as we are :)  But, if you ARE curious, or want to hear more about it, let me know – I am not shy about talking about it at all, just don’t want to fill up this space with details no one is really interested in. But correct me if I’m wrong!

IMG_4012Rumparooz Cloth Diaper – is this not the cutest friggin’ thing you’ve ever seen?!?!

The short story about everything is: I love being pregnant, I’m so damn happy all the time I can’t stand it, and I’m super-excited to meet our little one in less than four months! I’ll be entering my third trimester next week and it’s all sorts of crazy how fast time has gone by. I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the whole ‘birthing’ thing – less about the actual labour itself, and more about my recovery after the fact – but I figure women do it all the time and survive (literally), and then go on to have more than one baby, so I’m sure I don’t have anything really to worry about (and please, moms – feel free to reassure me and not tell me just how traumatic/horrible/scarring it is – only nice stories, please! LOL).

So now, consider yourself updated (even if you didn’t want to be haha).

What kind of pampering rituals do you have (in general – not just soon-to-be-moms!)?

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