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.