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If there’s one thing no one can ever agree on, it is which mascara is the holy grail. All we can really do is try to give our two cents to help one another from suffering the despair that comes with a bad purchase, or better yet, inspire the purchase of a new fav product. We all grew up experimenting with Covergirl Lashblast and Maybelline GreatLash but at a certain point they stop feeling like enough. That’s why if your standards are high for volume and length, and your budget allows for it, I recommend you look into some of the following mascaras. Following the review are some added tips for how to keep your mascara fresh and how to get the perfect look – every time.

Dior Diorshow Blackout Mascara – C$36

Not to start off on a bad note but this was truly one of the worst mascara I’ve ever tired. Do not buy this under persuasion from anyone! I spent many a days, with many different techniques, trying to make this work after asking my mom to buy it at duty free. (Instead she mistakenly bought it in Spain for €40, which only adds to guilt level for having to throw this one out). It was wet but at the same time had dry clumps. The brush was a horrible mess and was much too big, even with my large eyes. In fact, it clumped my lashes together if I tried to add more than one coat. No length could be achieved and on top of that, it smudged heavily onto my eyelid/brow bone.

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Babydoll – C$37

_igp4211This was a big hit for me in terms of lengthening and keeping your lashes curled (as in absolutely vertical) all day. Does a great job at separating lashes and adding length without clumping. Brush is super easy to work with and there’s absolutely no fuss in coating every lash. No smudging and not bad to remove either. I’ve repurchased this for years and think it’s absolutely worth the money if you’re not necessarily looking for volume and rather length.

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils – C$37

_igp4215One of my mother’s favourites but I personally did not fall in love with it. Found that the curl fell mid-day a bit and the volume wasn’t outstanding. Would be curious to try to the “Shocking” (newer) version of this mascara, as I’ve heard they’ve improved the formula to have it last all day and not dry up as quickly.

Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes – C$38

_igp4204I bought this on a whim after falling victim to Youtube marketing (Wayne Goss is just too persuasive). Based on online reviews, I was one of the few who seemed to not be disappointed with this product, despite its major flaw. I immediately fell in love with the formula, since it was ultra dark and didn’t clump whatsoever (which is a bold claim for any mascara). It builds up very well, separates lashes and on top of making them truly thick and voluminous, this mascara also gives wonderful length. Hands down the best effect from any mascara and I think partial praise should be attributed to the brush’s bristles.

Now, as much as I can praise this mascara, this baby SMUDGES. Boy do you not want to be wearing this on a hot summer day (nor a first date where you’re laughing a lot and turn into a panda – trust me). It doesn’t last longer than an hour or so after which you’ll start to notice black in the far right corners of the eyes or on your brow bone area (which can somewhat be mitigated if you powder those areas well prior). I will still be repurchasing as I think it layers extremely well with the…

Chanel Le Volume Ultra-Noir de Chanel – C$41

I’ve been using this for several weeks and have concluded that it’s extremely similar to the Legendary Lashes. In fact, I’d say they are close twins in terms of volume and lengthening effect, brush design and buildability. However, with the Chanel mascara I found it does not smudge nearly as much (very faint black marks appear on my brow bone about half way through the day), but it has a downside of not holding a curl. For the best results, I apply one layer of the Legendary Lashes right after my eyelash curler, and proceed to apply two layers of Le Volume, so that the bottom base holds my curl and the other coats add the volume and length. This is hands down an unbeatable combination and I highly recommend this mascara if you pair it with any other mascara that holds a curl well.

_igp4220Overall, I have to say Chanel Le Volume deserves the best rating in terms of giving the best effect – both dark, bold, thick, long and separated eyelashes with great all day wear. If you were to go for any of the mascaras mentioned above, I would say this one has the best of both worlds and may be my holy grail product.

There are obviously great mascaras that are a fraction of the price of luxury mascaras but I find often the effect of even the best ones, is a fraction of what you will get with higher range. There is always a similar look you can achieve with a cheaper alternative, but if you have the budget for it, investing in a reliable mascara will up your confidence more than expected.

Ultimate Mascara Tips:

As much as the perfect eye has to do with the right mascara, it also has to do with the right application and mascara maintenance.

  1. Use a drop or two of contact lense solution when your mascara is getting dry. I first discovered this (entirely safe) tip after struggling with the dryness of the YSL mascaras, after only a couple weeks of use. This has worked for nearly all of my mascaras since then. That being said, don’t be gross and keep mascaras that are expired and need to be thrown out. This is just a tip for always getting the right consistency everyday, without having to repurchase new tubes every few weeks. You’ll want to play around with this tip until you learn how wet is too wet, or being able to catch when your mascara to the point where you’ll want to use saline solution.
  2. Coat both sides of your lashes, as well as adding an extra coat on your outer lashes (ensuring you’re getting the whole lash from base to tip). This one may seem straightforward, but not that many people do this. With the right mascara, coating both from the bottom and over the top of your lashes adds much more volume. Adding an extra coat to the few lashes on the outer edge of your eyes both lifts them and gives the cat eye effect.
  3. Mascara smudges on your eyelid? Don’t use a q-tip, and definitely not a wet one since it will wipe away any other makeup you may have on your eye. Wait for the smudge to dry and then go in with a mascara spoolie (you can get disposable ones on Amazon for $2.50). Lightly brush over the area and the mascara will flake away without ruining the integrity of your makeup.
  4. Lastly, always close your mascara until you hear the click or it doesn’t tighten any further. An easy tip, with high payoff for not being lazy.

Let me know if you try any of mascaras or tips out and how you like them!

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If you grew up anywhere where the sun shines bright for only a few months, you probably have a few fond memories of eating meals spread out on a patch of shaded grass, all whilst soaking in the fresh summer air.

Now you’re an adult and you have the day off from school or work. It’s not raining so as you’re planning your day, you suddenly get the urge to leave the city for a day in nature. Since every perfectionist out there loves lists, here’s a comprehensive list one of all that you’ll need for your perfect summery adventure…

A Far

  1. Blanket/Basket/Chairs/Tableware: Bring the basics that you’ll need for setting up camp. Bring an ice bucket and a cooler if you’re planning for a long day. You can get some decent picnic-ware at Canadian Tire, Wayfair, Amazon, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Pier One, or even Walmart.

  2. Charcuterie Board: Meats and cheeses are definitely at the heart of a good charcuterie platter but without additions like nuts (walnuts, pecans, pine nuts and hazelnuts), fresh or dried figs, grapes, grilled fruit (peaches, pears, apples etc.), and honey comb, your picnic hasn’t quite hit perfection. As for the cheeses, you can go for goat cheese topped with fresh herbs and chopped almonds, brie, gruyere, gouda, etc. For meats, you can pick cooked or air-dried varieties such as bresaola, prosciutto, salami, or if you’re feeling adventurous throw in some fresh salmon with dill. Grab some pickles or olives on the side if you’re feeling it. Serve the board with sliced baguette, croissant or crackers.

  3. The Meal: Mini paninis or your pre-packed sandwiches are what you’ll probably be looking forward to the most in the day. Ciabatta bread or brioche for the exterior are some selected favourites of mine, spread with pesto on the interior, (grilled) tomato slices, arugula, goat cheese or softened brie, and lastly a meat of choice (which for me would be prosciutto). By picking sandwiches instead of prepared foods, you’re cutting down on a) cooking time, b) containers and tupperware you’ll have to carry since you can simply  just paper bag your sandwiches.

  4. The Sides: Salsa and chips (there are some incredible recipes online, but some of the better flavoured ones are with jalapeño powder or minced fresh jalapeño; watermelon salsa; or the go-to for many: a simple salsa but coupled with guacamole and sour cream making for a great trifecta). Home-made kale chips, sweet potato chips or just veggies & dip are superb alternatives too.

  5. Dessert: Ice cream or anything frozen is ambitious as in all likelihood it will melt. Of course, this all depends on how long your trip is, where you’re headed to and how the weather is. Baked goods are much too heavy to consume on hot days, especially when you’ve already eaten a whole feast-worth of food. The simplest option: sliced watermelon or a fresh fruit platter since there’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day. If you’re staying late and can set up a small, but safe, fire – pack for s’mores.

  6. Drinks: Beers and ciders are obvious options when you’re up against smouldering heat. A solid Pinou Blanc, Pinou Grigio, and Prosecco would pair nicely with the charcuterie; even a rosé. However, for a red-wine enthusiast, the best choice would be to prepare a pitcher of sangria. Put together one bottle of light-bodied red wine, one to two cans of frozen berry punch, ice, fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, limes, watermelon slices and mint. Together, the flavours are divine.

Since picnics are all about finger food and minimizing prep/cooking-time, the list is rather inclusive of all of the better pickings for grabbing on the go. Personally, my picnic was for two, so a small variety of the list above covered all the bases and was more than enough food. Of course the more people – the more possibilities for a creative array!

upclose

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With the start of the new year, makeup gurus were buzzing about this tried and true trend resurfacing once again: glowy, dewy skin. I coincidently hopped on the dewy skin bandwagon a bit before the hype began, just due to the fact that I was a victim of the mid December dry, dull skin. Turns out that no amount of water consumed or piles of moisturizer applied can battle a Canadian winter. By the time I was off to Maui for vacation, I was set into a routine that helped me get the ultimate dewy look:

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  1. Sunscreen – I can honestly say until I hit 20 I couldn’t care less about wrinkles but now its a growing concern and should be a no brainer in everyday routine. Olay’s sunscreen is inexpensive, superb for sensitive skin, doesn’t feel heavy nor does it break me out. It also layers very well underneath makeup products.IMG_4110
  2. Primer – I use Hourglass Veil which is super light weight for the summer, and also has SPF in it. If pores are a big issue for you, use Dr. Jart+ Pore Minish or the Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer. Alternatively, if you want more glow in your primer Becca Backlight Primer or Laura Mercier Primer in Radiance are great options.IMG_4107IMG_4108
  3. Glow enhancing oil mixed with Foundation/or/BB Cream – Elcie has a great one oil to mix into foundations, but Sephora’s shelves are endlessly stacked with face oils. Just take your pick. I don’t bother with oil, I just grab my summer shade in my fav foundation, Loreal True Match Lumi W6 applied with a wet beauty blender. I can’t fathom going into Sephora and splurging on foundations anymore after finding this foundation. If you haven’t tried it yet, its a must. However, if you want to be truly dedicated to dewy skin, you’ll find the best results come from just skipping foundation altogether (if your complexion allows for it). Foundations are not formulated to be dewy and natural in appearance, despite what some brands market their products to be. Foundations are meant to blur and smooth out surfaces so the end result will always be a more flattened, unnatural appearance to skin. It may be more flawless but it’s not natural or youthful which is what we want so opt for a very light weight foundation, BB cream, or skip it all together.
  4. Liquid highlighter – Liquid will look more natural than a pressed highlight which tends to give a crisper, heavier highlight. Some solid options are the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter (pictured: Opal) or Loreal True Match Lumi Illuminator Liquid Glow Illuminator (pictured: Golden). Both brands carry various hues and shades of the liquid illuminators so you can choose to splurge or save. Both wear similarly, but Becca’s consistency is thinner and easier to blend in.IMG_4102IMG_4101IMG_4103IMG_4105
  5. Pressed powder – powder the T-zone or areas of the face you don’t want to get oily. Also, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders (particularly Dim Light) are nice as an overall setting powder option on areas you don’t want highlighted.IMG_4109
  6. Cream bronzer – Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel is a good choice for those with a light hand and doubles as both a primer (back to step 2) and a light bronzer. Personally, I use a Chanel pressed foundation powder as bronzer everyday as I haven’t had the opportunity to grab another container of Soleil. I really recommend going to a local Chanel counter to swatch a few of the darkest shades in their face powders (Chanel carries several formulations, some with SPF, fuller coverage, some setting and some simply touch up). I’ve tried out a few and the formulas run very similar in effect. Currently, I am using the Double Perfection Lumiere, which contains SPF and is a long-wearing powder, in shade 80 Beige. The pigmentation goes a long way, blends better than anything else I have tried, and the product lasts an incredibly long time (upwards of a year even with everyday use) so you’re making a proper makeup investment. I’ve not had a problem with being too heavy handed with Chanel’s powders, and no problem with the hues being too orange or muddy grey as they’re carefully tailored to match darker skin tones well.IMG_4099
  7. *Optional: Pressed Highlight: I don’t think it’s necessary if you have a liquid
    highlight but you could opt for even more of a pop. MAC mineralized skin finish in Gold Deposit gives a very glittery JLo glow, Soft & Gentle is more for lighter skin tones and has pinker hues. IMG_4100
  8. Setting spray – Tachta Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, MAC Fix+ or Urban Decay Chill Mist both are great options for this. I recommend splurging for setting spray as the cheaper alternatives are never up to par.

So months down the road, and the hype has died down. The question is: Is this trend headed out the door? Personally, I don’t believe it can die down entirely, it just will never gain the popularity of the full-coverage foundation, baked with powder and set with contour and highlight for a number of reasons, the key being 1. it’s hard to perfect and 2. difficult to maintain throughout the day. Matte is perfect for everyone who loves a face with full coverage and contour. This can’t be achieved on dewy skin without running into some issues (unless you choose to use all cream products which even then can run streaky and wear off in less than desirable ways). Also, those who have acne/problematic skin or get very oily tend to shy away from this look.

Nonetheless, there’s always a time and place for everything and I think that summer is a perfect opportunity to play around with products that will create a healthy, real-looking glow, instead of those camera ready, full-face makeup looks.  Personally, I found myself falling back into a pattern of baking on the powder at times in the spring but now that summer has began, not only does a slight tan suits the look much better, but I’m finding my skin is more cooperative in terms of breakouts and oil-control. Summer  just calls for a beautiful glow, so when done right, you can truly look effortlessly youthful and gorgeous.

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The flavour combinations in this salad are to die for and will make prepping for bikini season not so miserable. I usually split this salad up into 2 meals (lunch and dinner) as the chicken breast makes enough for 2 servings. Hope you love it as much as me and let me know if you try it out!

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Ingredients:

Chicken:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast (skinned, w/o bones)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 whole-wheat tortilla (toasted, crushed into bread crumbs)

Salad:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 5-10 raspberries
  • 5-10 blackberries
  • Chopped green onion

Dressing:

  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the egg, honey, soy sauce, flax seed, salt, pepper, and crumbled tortilla. Slice the chicken breast and roll in the mixture.
  2. On a medium-high heat skillet, pour olive oil and place the chicken breast on, cooking until golden-brown (place any remainder of the breaded-egg mixture on each slice).
  3. While keeping an eye on the chicken, combine the spinach, avocado, berries and green onion in a bowl. Add chicken once cooked.
  4. Combine all dressing ingredients together (lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper, cayenne pepper and honey), drizzle over the salad and enjoy!

xx

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