NAILS | French Mani Pansies #CBBxManiMonday

Again, I really DID have my nails done on Monday, but I just didn't get a chance to edit the photos and write the post. I think the old me would have really pushed for staying up as late as possible to post #CBBxManiMonday for Monday, but I have found that even if I stay up and get it done, I feel awful the next morning and it just takes the fun out of blogging so if I've learned anything the last year, it's that if something doesn't feel fun anymore, you probably shouldn't do it. If you are tired, go rest and if you feel the need to vacuum and clean, then listen to your body and go do that!

Flower nail art
Press samples

SKINCARE | The New NENA Mineral Serum Made with Canadian Glacial Mineral Water

This post is sponsored by NENA.

I am all about supporting my local Canadians especially now as the pandemic continues to impact small businesses everywhere. I discovered NENA in 2019 and fell in love with their brand ethos, the fact that the products are made here in BC and feature Canadian glacial clay that is sourced in partnership with the Indigenous people of Northern BC. I have tried every single product they have made including their gel and spray hand sanitizer and everything has been impressive so you can imagine how much I squealed when I saw that a new member was joining the skincare family! There is now a brand spankin' new SERUM!

nena skincare collection
Press sample provided

SHEET MASK | Sephora Collection Mud, Bubbles, Charcoal and Primer!

You can tell by this packaging that I waited a long time to review these Sephora masks as the packaging has now been revamped, but these were really popular when they first launched as they were among the first generation of Sephora Collection masks when the sheet mask craze was at its peak so I am guessing that some of you have gotten a chance to try some of these over the years, but here are the OGs in a nutshell!

group shot of sephora collection sheet masks
Press samples

HAIR | Joico Defy Damage Collection

It has been forever since we have chatted about shampoos, conditioners and masks so we need to change that since I am obsessed with my hair! I would say that after skincare, I have an overwhelmingly obscene number of hair care products and I secretly think that I get my hair coloured just so I can justify the "supporting" hair products. I do enjoy being blonde and after switching my colour around for a few years, I have found a happy place with a warm balayage that lasts me around 8 months before feeling like I need a colour refresh with JT at Civello on South Granville. Yes, JT is a colour genius and knows how to blend the blonde so that it lasts, but I have to do my part when it comes to home care and that means constant heat and UV protection as well as hydrating masks. The Joico Defy Damage collection protects all hair types from heat styling, UV exposure and environmental exposure preventing frizz, breakage and dullness. Well, sign me up!

Joico Defy Damage Collection
Press samples

NAILS | Hide and Seek Easter Bunny #CBBxManiMonday

Traditionally for April we would fill the month with Easter-themed manicures, but I realized that Easter Monday is the first Monday of the month which means that doing bunny and egg manicure might not be completely appropriate. So, I decided to at least do this one Easter manicure for today and then the rest of the month will just be fun Spring stuff!  

easter egg nail art
Press samples

SHEET MASK | Etude House 0.2 Therapy Air Mask #SheetMaskSunday

When I first started on my sheet mask journey five years ago, I wanted to review EVERYTHING and to be able to have a database of some sort to query and look back on if I ever needed to remember what I liked/disliked about a sheet mask. Now, I really only want to talk about sheet masks that stand out OR have something special about them whether that be good or bad. I have an incredible backlog of sheet mask photos going back to 2018 that I am determined to get through this year as a lot of the masks I tried back then were really cool. When I first started looking for affordable, but effective sheet masks, one of the very first masks that came up when I Googled were the Etude House 0.2mm Therapy Air Masks. Hailed as being able to deliver moisture and skin-loving ingredients all from a sheet mask that is just 0.2mm thick, these masks are still some of my all-time favourites to use and today is finally the day I give them some much deserved love!  

strawberry etude house therapy air mask flatlay

Purchased by me

SKINCARE | Getting to Know Malin + Goetz

Just when I thought Influenster had shunned me, I suddenly received this Malin + Goetz Voxbox a couple of weeks ago! The last Voxbox I qualified for was actually around this time last year at the height of the pandemic and since I was off work, I remember starting my reviews right away and taking down notes every day. The brainpower and energy I had used for my day job needed to go somewhere so if you ever need an intense single product review of Ole Henrikson's Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum, definitely check out my review! Though today's review isn't quite as intense, I hope to give you all a good idea of my first real skincare experience with New York-based brand Malin + Goetz because it was quite nice!

flatlay of malin and goetz skincare products
Products provided by Influenster Canada

NAILS | Royal and Regal #CBBxManiMonday

Let me just say that these nails started out a total disaster and what you are looking at is the "cover up" which unfortunately is not on theme with our green nails for the month, but it could not be helped! The shade underneath, Picture Polish "Family" is a beautiful sea foam green though which was what I originally had planned on featuring before I messed up my nail art.  Nothing a little taping manicure couldn't save!

Some polishes are press samples

SHEET MASK | Soo'Ae Rose Masks: Revitalizing Rose Petal Sheet Mask and Rose Mask Duo Kit

I have REALLY missed sheet masking these last two weeks as I have not used any skincare products close to the eyes since my eye got infected. The good news is that my eye is a million times better and I think after this week, I should be in the clear to wear eye makeup and and get back to my beloved sheet mask babies! Luckily, for a sheet mask addict like myself, I always have way more reviews pending than I have time to write about which was convenient this week as I haven't had a chance to try out anything new. It has been a bit boring actually when it comes to the beauty front as I have kept my routine really simple to focus on my eye. 

flatlay of sooae rose sheet masks
Purchased by me

BATH | Lush Easter Collection

I think Easter has to be my second favourite time of the year (after Christmas) when it comes to bath bomb goodies from Lush! It is specifically "eggs" that I enjoy as every year there seems to be a more and more creative way of incorporating them into "tub life". Don't get me wrong, I love bunnies too, but I always feel like eggs hold the cutest surprises hehe! 

Flatlay of Lush Easter Collection

Press samples provided

NAILS | Beyond the Nail Green Thermal #CBBxManiMonday

Forgive me for the lack of nail art, but at the time of this nail painting session, my eye infection had still not subsided and even now as I type not too much has changed so all in all I have been a grumpy goose for a week. I don't know what I would have done if this infection had been in both eyes. I would have gone insane! While my vision is pretty good for large objects, any detail or fine print has been a challenge to see so I decided to keep this week's manicure really easy, but at least give you an interesting polish to look at! 

beyond the nail green thermal nail polish swatch holding bottle
Purchased by me

SHEET MASK | Mediheal Bio Capsulin Love Me Mask Set (BTS Special Edition)

The last week was probably the first time in awhile that I have written less than three blog posts mainly because of a viral infection that I have been fighting in my eye for the last seven days. It started as just my eye feeling like there was a bit of dust or some irritant in my eye on Sunday last week and then by the next morning, it was swollen and red and even with antibiotics, it progressively got more and more swollen until I ended up being referred to an ophthalmologist on Friday because my eye was so swollen that I could no longer see properly and the current antibiotics I was on were doing nothing. He gave my eyeball a look and said "Well, that's one swollen eyeball!" He gave me a new round of antibiotic eye drops that had cortisone in them to take down the swelling and after one day of use, I can already feel a bit of the pressure dying down. The doctor warned me that I might be living with this infection for as long as 10 days since viruses tend to be extremely stubborn, but I hope I heal faster because this has been incredibly irritating to deal with and I am also really weird about things going wrong with my eyes. I just get freaked out when it comes to anything involving the eyes because they seem so fragile as an organ even though I know that there are so many protective mechanisms for them! 

Flatlay of BTS Mediheal Masks
Purchased by me

LIFESTYLE | My Top 5 Favourite ASMR Channels

ASMR or "autonomous sensory meridian response" was typically something I associated with creepy whispering, eating sounds or sexual fantasies, but what this really describes is a "subjective experience of low-grade euphoria" and can be a combination of positive feelings and/or distinct tingling of the skin also known as "tingles". I feel like to some degree, many of us have experienced this on some level whether it's someone playing with our hair in elementary school (we girls did this a lot during movie time) or feeling good/jealous when witnessing someone else get a massage or their makeup done. ASMR is now a booming area on YouTube and there are a ton of different categories of ASMR to cater to anyone. I never realized that ASMR was something I had been enjoying for years in the form of watching massages, nails being done and estheticians performing facials. I would use them to relax or fall asleep before bed and now that there are so many high production value videos to watch that I have curated a selection of my favourite artists!

Shili TV

All of Shili's videos are in Mandarin, but have English subtitles although I probably have picked up some Mandarin spa terms in my time watching these videos! What I love about these videos in addition to the sound quality and spa aspects is the fact that Shili visits all of these businesses in China that offer a range of treatments from head to toe including ones that you would really only find in Asia like eye and ear cleanings, hair spas, gua sha massages and Chinese holistic medicine so I also feel like I'm getting a cultural lesson as well! There is very minimal speaking in Shili's videos with the conversation limited to hellos, thank yous and what is being done during the treatments. 

NAILS | Ikat Velvet #CBBxManiMonday

Getting on the computer to type has been at bit painful as over the last two days my left eye has suddenly decided to get all swollen. It started on Sunday night after we went for a walk and I just figured that I got something in my eye while we were outside, but when I woke up the next morning, my eye was swollen. I went to work anyway, but I was so self-conscious all day because now that half my face is covered, all you see are my eyes and eyebrows so if one of those isn't lookin' too good, it's pretty noticeable. Luckily I didn't have too many clients to deal with, but all of my coworkers noticed and were like "What's wrong with your eye?!" which made me feel a bit like a leper.

neon green ikat print nails holding nail polish bottle

Some press samples provided

LIFESTYLE | Evora Sequin Cotton Masks

It has now gotten to the point where I am matching my face masks to my work outfits AND classifying them as "dressy" vs "casual". Please tell me that I'm not the only one who is doing this now? It has been hard buying "off the rack" when it comes to face masks with most being too big for my face and not being adjustable. Last year I had turned to Asian online retailer Yesstyle for some face masks that hopefully fit a bit better and had interesting designs. I was not disappointed!

selfie wearing evora cotton face mask in black

Purchased by me

NAILS | Read Between the Lines #CBBxManiMonday

I am having a hard time focusing on "non-work" related things today. I keep thinking about what I need to deal with when I come back which is really frustrating since I can't DO anything until I AM back so my brain knows that worrying about this is pointless so I am trying to distract myself by working on my to-do list for the next two days. I did bake a new cake so that's something (an Apple Cake) that I am proud I tried and now it's just figuring out the blogging calendar which right now, I find pretty exciting. I love seeing what my month could potentially look like even if I always start off VERY ambitious and then have to remove stuff from the calendar due to time constraints. I use my Google Calendar to keep track of my blog and Instagram posts so it makes it easy to move things around if I need to. I started doing this at the beginning of the pandemic while I was off work and I have found it to be a really useful and satisfying tool to keep things organized.

photo of green and gold striped nail art holding gold polish bottle
Some polishes are press samples

SHEET MASK | A By BOM Ultra Night Leaf Mask #SheetMaskSunday

I am on a small 4-day staycation so I started it off on Sunday by sleeping for 10 hours. It was the first time I hadn't set an alarm for myself so just let my body do what it wanted to do. It felt really good to do although I always feel guilty whenever I sleep in past 9am. I feel like as we get older, we want to do more with our day and getting up earlier, makes me feel more accomplished at least mentally! So, it obviously isn't Sunday today, but I am a sucker for sticking to a routine and I have blogged about a sheet mask every Sunday since the pandemic started a year ago and have enjoyed doing this so here's to a #SheetMaskSunday on a Monday!

flatlay of the a by bom ultra night leaf mask
Purchased by me

MAKEUP | The Face Shop Rouge Powder Matte Lipsticks

When these Face Shop Rouge Powder Matte Lipsticks first launched through Avon over the summer, I was fully convinced that I would wear even MORE makeup at work because I now needed some heavy duty, long-lasting products to make sure things didn't budge under my face mask, but things changed rather quickly once Fall/Winter came around. I feel like a bit of a fraud reviewing lip products other than balms, glosses and serums now, but if I don't use lipsticks in this space, I will probably never use them again for the foreseeable future so think of my lipstick posts as an ode to what I miss about life pre-pandemic! 

flatlay of the face shop rouge powder matte lipsticks
Press samples

NAILS | It's Easy Being Green #CBBxManiMonday

Oh man was it hard to get up this morning...thankfully I had some time to breathe as it wasn't too crazy busy at work and I had a moment to catch up. I have been having a lot of fun creating content for my work Instagram and realized that I had a lot more jewelry Instagram reels than beauty ones so I decided to change that for today's #CBBxManiMonday!

green polka dot nail art holding green nail polish bottle
Some press samples

SHEET MASK | Merbliss Wedding Dress Ruby Ultra Vitalizing Micro Fiber Mask

I had high hopes for having more posts of Asian brands for Lunar February, but the last two weeks at work have been kicking my ass and I ended up opting for sleep in place of blog posts which I've realized is ALWAYS a good idea. I had voiced on my Instagram yesterday my frustrations with working in retail as people often feel they can say whatever they want to complete strangers without considering the fact that they are real people or my favourite from yesterday was when a woman thought she could lie her way into receiving a discount and eventually got caught for "embellishing" a few things. She ended up leaving and then coming back and buying at full price so ha. Anyway, despite all that has been keeping me busy, I have continued on with my sheet masking and I *think* I'm going to do something crazy that I have wanted to for awhile and that is to attempt to sheet mask for 365 DAYS straight! We shall see what happens!

flatlay of merbliss wedding dress ruby sheet mask
Purchased by me

NAILS | Leopard Print Hearts #CBBxManiMonday

I feel like I am cheating a bit here as I did leopard print nails on one nail for last week, but I loved it so much I wanted to do it again! We are in the last week of February before we start with our March green manicures for St. Patrick's Day and I think I might even extend the "green theme" to sheet masking and use all of sheet masks with green packaging! Though I would love to do this with makeup, I don't think I can handle green eyeshadow every day! Maybe I can aim for once a week and give my green shadows some love!

Press samples

SHEET MASK | Dr. Belmeur Cica Peptide Intensive Face Mask #LunarFebruary

Has your skin been super dry lately? I couldn't tell at first if it was the retinol I started using over a month ago, but my hands and the inside of my nose have been dry to the point of getting nosebleeds which I NEVER get so I have been trying to amp up my moisture levels on all fronts! I'm just going to  come right out and say it - this Dr.Belmeur Cica Peptide Mask is AWESOME and now I get to tell you why!

Dr. Belmeur Cica Peptide Intensive Face Mask
Press sample

MAKEUP | VDL x Pantone Classic Blue Collection 2020

Yes, I know that we have now moved on to two new Pantone colours, but I much prefer Classic Blue to Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. I also may have lost track of time and thought it was still 2020 when I took all of my photos for this launch, but the VDL x Pantone collaboration for 2020 was just too pretty to not talk about. Blue is one of my favourite colours especially in this particular shade! 
VDL x Pantone Classic Blue Collection 2020
Press samples 

NAILS | Valentine's Day 2021 #CBBxManiMonday

Yes, I know it's February 15th and Valentine's Day is over, but it seemed a shame to not have done any Valentine's Day-themed nails so here they are! I came across a screenshot of a Cutepolish tutorial in my Google search for some ideas as she often "borrows" from other nail polish bloggers without giving credit so I won't bother linking her video. I think in this particular video she has her collaborators doing the design so it's not her specifically anymore, but I have read enough about her in my early blogging days taking ideas from smaller bloggers, having those smaller bloggers fight back only to be attacked by her followers. I don't think it's hard to give credit to where you originally saw a design and though it's hard to call anything original now, I think you should do your best so if you Google "Valentine's Day Nail Art", a screenshot of her video will pop up should you wish to use it. The only thing I changed is making the pinky nail a leopard print nail. 

Valentine's Day Nail Art
Press samples 

SHEET MASK | The Face Shop Real Nature Masks: Lotus, Red Ginger, Green Tea, Potato and Aloe

The Face Shop Real Nature Sheet Masks have been serious Korean skincare staples for what feels like all of my skincare journey so for anyone starting out with sheet masking, these masks are super affordable and easy to find online and in person to purchase. There are 24 sheet masks in the Real Nature series each with a different plant extract being featured to target specific skin concerns like hydration, soothing and firming. Though I would like to eventually try all 24 of these masks, I have five to share with you today that are a great summary of what the collection is all about!

Real Nature: Lotus, Red Ginger, Green Tea, Potato and Aloe Mask Review
Press samples

SKINCARE | 23 Years Old Aqua Bab Modeling Mask #LunarFebruary

Now, that I sheet mask every day, I have been massively neglecting my other potted masks, but #LunarFebruary has forced me to re-evaluate my stash (something I try to do once a month) and discover gems that had been hiding...behind other skincare gems...starting with the renowned Korean skincare brand 23 Years Old! After trying a couple of their sheet masks, I starting reading some REALLY good things about their Aqua Bab Modeling Mask and picked up a package of 4 when I saw them on sale at T&T!

23 Years Old Aqua Bab Modeling Mask
Purchased by me

HAIR | Raincry Advanced Hair Mists

It's the last day of my 3-day weekend and it has been pretty glorious to have this time to myself. I managed to get a whackload of chores done yesterday like the dreaded handwashing of ultra delicates, make Japanese curry and then muffins for breakfast last night. I also finally got the chance to go to the library, the bank and UPS to pick up some packages. I even squeezed in a makeup look for a future post which trust me, I was close to not doing at all and just taking a nap instead, but I knew I wouldn't have the time later this week. I feel like while I am good at multi-tasking, it can only be in a specific area so if I'm off, I focus on either house or blog things. If I'm at work, I focus solely on clients, staff, sales and whatever else needs to be done there and leave the house and blog things to a minimum as I have realized that I'm not as efficient at the latter if I'm on a work day stretch. My creativity is much lower, blog posts get really hard to write, pictures seem more difficult to take and writing captions on Instagram feels like pulling teeth!  

Raincry Advanced Hair Mists
Press samples

NAILS | Inspired by Shiseido #CBBxManiMonday

I am writing this post from the comfort of my own home as I inadvertently got a long weekend due to some scheduling changes. The END of the week is going to be a bit of a gong show, but then my work is closing on Family Day (the first time ever) so I will have a bit of a break! Keeping on theme with #LunarFebruary, today's design was inspired by the iconic Japanese brand - Shiseido! Most well-known for their skincare, they also have some fantastic makeup! I have it on my list to do a little makeup look and blog post with some of their stuff but we shall see how I feel! Makeup seems to be a bit of a hassle now, but once I have it on it always makes me feel really good so hopefully I muster up the willpower on one of my days off! 

Shiseido Nail Art

Sheet Mask | A by Bom Ultra Royal Leaf Mask #LunarFebruary

I am back with another wonderful mask from Korean skincare brand A by Bom, a brand I feel deserves more attention than it gets! There is an elegance to their sheet masks and I always feel like I'm doing something EXTRA special when I use one of their masks. When it comes to multi-step masks, they are one of the ones I look forward most to using and believe it or not, when it comes to the world of printed sheet masks, I feel like I look like a million bucks when I wear one of theirs!

A by Bom Ultra Royal Leaf Mask
Purchased by me

HAIR | Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Cap System

I was first introduced to Briogeo in 2014 through my Ipsy subscription with the Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask and really enjoyed it! Back then, Briogeo was near impossible to find in Canada, but now that the brand is readily available at Sephora, a large chunk of my haircare is from this brand and with good reason! I love the instant results of hair masks because my colour-treated hair is so dry and I used to try to avoid using silicones, which made Briogeo a great option, but now I am more relaxed about it so whether a product has silicones or not does not matter to me as long as my hair feels and looks good! I go through hair masks quite quickly as I use one 2-3x a week and though I have my favourites, I also like mixing it up like with this conditioning hair cap system!  

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Cap System
Purchased by me

BATH | Lush Valentine's Day Collection 2021

It's what we've been waiting for! Well, I don't know about you, but I always look forward to what Lush has in store for their Valentine's Day collection and this year is just as sweet as every other year. I am a little sad that I didn't get one of the new releases (the Blow Me a Kiss Bubble Blower) as it was sold out when I went to my local Lush store to pick one up, but if you do happen to get one, it looks like a lot of fun! 

Lush Valentine's Day Collection 2021
Press samples

NAILS | JINsoon Red and Pink Dotticure #CBBxManiMonday

For the month of February, our CBBxManiMonday theme will be red and pink, BUT I will also try my hardest to incorporate my month-long theme of #LunarFebruary! This is the third year I have done this and I quite enjoy it! I've never been a huge Valentine's Day person, though bath bombs are my weakness for this occasion so I make an exception with my annual Lush posts, but for those of you who don't know, #LunarFebruary is in celebration of the Lunar New Year. This is where I focus on Asian brands and products and I have a great time with it because Asian products can be quite different from North American ones! Usually my posts end up being very skincare focused because Asians LOVE their skincare, but the technology and skintertainment value is WAY UP from what you can find in the North American market.  For today's post, I wanted to find an Asian nail polish brand and I actually don't have very many until I started going through my drawers and found some untrieds from Korean, vegan, 10-free nail polish brand JINsoon! 

Jinsoon Red and Pink Dotticure
JINSoon polish purchased by me. Sally Hansen polishes are press samples.

SHEET MASK | Skin7Teen 3-Step Americano Mask

Look at us! Already on the last day of January 2021! I have no comment really on my week because it has been a blur and I swear, I use my Instagram stories more than I should to figure out what I have been up to any given week! I used to use the blog for that, but it has been challenging to write my goal of 20 posts a month. I think the last time I did it was back when I wasn't working during the lockdown and even that took loads of planning, but hopefully you have been enjoying my Instagram content as I have been mixing it up with posts from my job as well!

Skin7Teen 3-Step Americano Mask
Received in my FaceTory Subscription Box (paid for)

MAKEUP | YSL Holiday 2020 Collection

When it comes to timing, 2020 and probably most of 2021 is going to be a bit of a mess with delays and closures being the norm now so continue to treat those of us in the retail sector with kindness because it's not our fault that we cannot get you what you want or even guarantee a delivery date like pre-COVID times. When it comes to blogging and social media, I haven't adhered very closely to a time for things because like many people, I am taking things day by day and even though I look at a calendar every day, I don't think my brain truly registers the passage of time because every weekend sort of surprises me! When it came to posting about Christmas and holiday releases, I only did three posts because I just wasn't sure what December would be like. Because of this, and the delays with Canada Post, I also did not want to request any additional PR as there would have been no guarantee that I would even get a chance to share holiday releases before the holidays which is why it was a delightful relief when the YSL Holiday 2020 Collection was sent to me in early January. All of the items are still available online so everything here is still relevant and thankfully so because the packaging is just so damn pretty!

YSL Holiday 2020 Collection Review
Press samples

NAILS | Inspired by Kerastase Serum Cicanuit #CBBxManiMonday

I had mentioned before that I was having a hard time finding inspiration for nail art which means I am looking EVERYWHERE for it now and I have been amazed at how pretty beauty product packaging is! I even looked at my Nespresso pod the other day and thought "Wow, this would make an incredible piece of nail art!" Today's package inspo comes from the bottle of Kerastase hair serum that I received in my November L'Oreal Luxe Box! When I saw the bottle, I instantly saw this gradient on my nails and I even think I may have done it for a past manicure! 

Purple Gradient Nail Art
Press samples provided

SHEET MASK | 7th Heaven 24 Hour Hydration Range

7th Heaven masks always give me warm fuzzies because they were around during my teenage and university days when I didn't have much of a disposable income, but when I would take a stroll through London Drugs and needed a bit of retail therapy, their mud and clay masks always came to my rescue at no more than $3 a pop and I would walk out of there with my 3-4 masks feeling a little spoiled. Even 20 years later, I still love picking up a few 7th Heaven masks just to have around because their clay masks are one of the nicest smelling (chocolate and raspberries!) and are always solid on ingredients. So far, I have enjoyed everything I have tried from 7th Heaven and when they started doing sheet masks, I enjoyed those as well! The latest addition to their sheet mask family is the 24 Hour Hydration Range consisting of four biodegradable bamboo masks each targeting a specific skin concern. Packaging is super cut and the marketing lingo sounds promising so, how did they do?

7th Heaven 24 Hour Hydration Range
Press samples

SKINCARE | An Entirely "Made in Vancouver" Skincare Routine

I never thought the day would come where I would have a full skincare routine with products not just from Canada, but specifically MADE in Vancouver! Natural or plant-based beauty has come a long way from the days of having to purchase products of Etsy that didn't have any sort of preservation system and came in packaging that, let's face it, truly felt homemade. Now, I'm fine with getting some bath salts or even a bath bomb, but when it comes to skincare I frankly want more than just shea butter and some oils. I want acids and products that generate results! Formulations are more sophisticated thanks to the help of technology and science and smaller brands can now save on traditional advertising and use social media to get their product into the hands of consumers which hopefully means being able to invest more into their products! Almost every single brand featured today was discovered through social media - specifically Instagram (I hate it and love it at the same time) and I couldn't be happier with them!

Vancouver Skincare Routine Review
The NENA Clay Mask, Woodlot Cleansing Balm and East 29th Vital Serum are press samples. Everything else is purchased by me!

NAILS | Who Wants Glitter? Meeeee! #CBBxManiMonday

I can't believe my 10 day staycation is down to the last 24 hours! I managed to get quite a bit done though which was good. Harper got her FVRCP vaccine, I got the O2 sensor on my car replaced and went to the dentist for a cleaning (no cavities, yay!). I also taught myself how to use Instagram Reels because I refuse to believe that someone approaching 40 can't learn a few new tricks (even though there was a point while editing a video where I wanted to shoot someone). I don't get large chunks of time off like this often and after the first few days of just catching up with household things like vacuuming, laundry and meal planning, my brain gets creative in terms of what it wants to do for the blog and content. If you are a stay at home mom who also blogs, more power to you! If I had to do the house stuff every day and try to find time to photograph product, film and edit a reel and write a blog post, I would be exhausted 24-7 which is what I gather moms feel like!

OPI Less is Norse with Ciate Ginger Snap Glitter Gradient
OPI polish was a press sample. Ciate polish was purchased by me.

SHEET MASK | The Creme Shop Bad Badtz Maru Detox Rocks

When I first started on this sheet mask journey in 2016, it was more to use up sheet masks that I had sitting in my stash which at the time was probably around 30 masks. Then around the time that I started really enjoying them, the North American beauty world also picked up on the joy of sheet masking and though I have long since finished my expiring stash of masks, I picked up WAY more in my gusto to review ALL OF THE SHEET MASKS. I have never thought of myself as a "go hard or go home" gal, but I can't deny that in recent years that when it has come to hobbies like nail art, sheet masks, bath bombs or most recently the banjolele, I have gone "full Boyle" (for those who watch Brooklyn 99)! 

The Creme Shop Bad Badtz Maru Detox Rocks

Purchased by me

MAKEUP | Phytosurgence Flash Fluorescence Cream Eyeshadows with Swatches and Look

My love affair for Canadian products and shopping local has grown ever deeper and I have the pandemic to partially "thank" (I always feel a bit weird using the words "pandemic" and "thankful" in the same sentence) for my exuberance in trying to "keep it in the family" this year. I don't want to be one of those people who get sad when local places or businesses close having invested zero effort into keeping them afloat. Now, food is one thing since we all get hungry and need to eat, but beauty is next level for me because I need absolutely NOTHING so I'm seriously investing not just money, but space in my already overflowing drawers so the products need to hit a certain level of bougieness that I have become accustomed to.

Hi, Phytosurgence...

Phytosurgence Flash Fluorescence Cream Eyeshadows with Swatches

Purchased by me

NAILS | Here Kitty, Kitty #CBBxManiMonday

Whenever I go on a staycation, I am SUPER productive the first few days as I have all of these fantasies of getting everything done that I had been putting off like cooking new things and in my case, learning a new instrument! I became obsessed with the song "Wagon Wheel" sung by Darius Rucker on Saturday night and then my husband and I started talking about banjos which then led to an Amazon Prime order of a banjolele (fusion of a banjo and ukelele) that arrived at 2pm this afternoon! It was so spontaneous and spur of the moment, but I was so incredibly excited to have a new instrument to play! One that I could also not bother our neighbors with as violin is so incredibly loud to practice on! I learned my first song today ("You are My Sunshine") and shared it on Instagram Stories almost as a way to hold myself accountable to keep practicing! By the time I was done playing with my banjolele, it was time for us to start making dinner hence the delay in nails! I better treasure the length of my nails here because as of this afternoon, they are nubbins because I couldn't do any of the chords with the length they were at. So sad!

Cat Nail Art
Press samples

SHEET MASK | Bix Beauty Skin Diary Weekly Mask Routine

I was about to start this off by saying "Remember last year when..." referring to 2019 and had to do a double take because 2019 is now TWO years ago! The pandemic has really messed with my sense of time as if we were all holding our breath in 2020 and trying to go on. I look at the calendar and write down dates all the time for clients, but my brain still can't comprehend that 2020 is gone! 

Bix Beauty Skin Diary Weekly Mask Routine
Press samples

MAKEUP | MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Lipsticks

I miss you lipstick...while I have been saving quite a bit of money on lipsticks, I have been longingly looking at my precious babies over the last few months wondering when I will be able to wear them again. I did the whole full face makeup thing when I first went back to work, but it is tough trying to remove makeup from the inside of cloth masks! I have conical cloth masks so I don't want to throw them in the wash for fear of losing their shape which means hand-washing! Something I hate doing, but must be done! While I rarely wear lipstick now, I think I still remember a good formula when I see one and MAKE UP FOR EVER has always delighted in this area! Last fall, they launched their new Rouge Artist Lipsticks, an ultra-pigmented, satin finish with smoothing, blurring and hydrating effects all in one errrrr...interestingly shaped package!

MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Lipsticks
Press samples 

NAILS | Going in Circles #CBBxManiMonday

The first #CBBxManiMonday of 2021 and the three of us were having some trouble coming up with a theme and after a bit of discussion, we realized that we were all wanting to go through some untrieds and things we hadn't had a chance to get to in 2020 so in a way our "no theme" is more like "doing things we didn't get to do last year" which is fine by me! I am still enjoying my holiday themed nail polishes, but done with holiday designs so this worked out perfectly! Also, am I the only who despises this first week back? What I hate about it is that OTHER people feel the need to get things done and put that pressure on us when really the only thing has changed is them not us! Everything that people put off last month now suddenly becomes of utmost importance come January because of whatever resolutions people have set out to accomplish. February is ok too! Or heck even Spring!

Swirl Nail Art
PR samples

SHEET MASK | Keep Cool and Soothe, Ocean and Shine Masks

Remember when we kept seeing all of those "Keep Calm and Carry On" slogans everywhere years ago? I didn't know the origin of it until researching kbeauty brand Keep Cool and it was actually a motivational/PR initiative in 1939 on the part of the British government to keep people's morale up in preparation for WWII. The original poster resurfaced in 2000 which is when we started to see themes of this initiative in everything from coffee cups to t-shirts and now to sheet masks. The concept behind the brand is "to boost consumer morale through happy skin" by keeping it "cool" at an optimal temperature. Seems like a bit of a stretch considering this slogan was put in place because of "The Blitz", but then again, I didn't know the origin of the slogan until recently.

Keep Cool and Soothe, Ocean and Shine Mask Review
Purchased by me

LIFESTYLE | Let's Have a Look Back at 2020, Shall We?

I almost want to laugh in a sad way at this reflection post because I think many of us are finding a certain camaraderie in 2020. We are both relieved and in disbelief that it's over and 2021 is here and it's supposed to be better, right? Shit happens every year, but this year that same shit hits a little bit harder because you can't see your family, friends or escape for a vacation or do anything outside your bubble. Well, you COULD do all of those things, but then you would be a huge dick since the rest of us are trying to keep COVID at bay and protect those who are most vulnerable, including my asthmatic husband. While I had a bit of a tough time at the beginning of the lockdown being off work, there came a point where I felt like I had mentally let much of the financial worry go and just decided to "ride it out" which has sort of been the motto in the back of my mind for the last 7 months. I am grateful every day that my husband and I have a job to go to as I know others have not been as fortunate and so even though I have my days where I struggle to wake up and go to work, I am happy to be there and I am also happy to be home safe and healthy with my little family. Hugo's grumpy face sums up a lot of what 2020 has been like and he is also annoyed that my husband is now home 24/7. He shows up looking like this on all his Zoom calls and stares everyone down.