Thursday, September 27, 2018

Solo Living - what I loved so far & others not so much

Well, it looks like my plants and I have successfully survived almost 3 whole months of living solo. While many find themselves moving out during university or even to a job in another city shortly thereafter, for those of us who leave our childhood home later on in life I think the change can still be quite profound (and perhaps even more thoughtful). Let's take a moment to ponder and chuckle at the 3 things I loved about going solo and 3 things that I'm still learning to love.

coffee shop lifestyle

+ CALM SOLITUDE: I wasn't quite so acutely aware of how much noise was around me until I had the chance to live in solitude with nothing but the atmospheric sound and my own thoughts. This switch alone had a notable impact on my mental health. As an introvert with an extroverted career choice, I craved those hours of cocooning in order to recharge because my day job can be draining. I used to take trips out after work just so I can be undisturbed and have moments to myself but now that I'm on my own, being able to truly make my home my nesting place has been a much welcomed luxury.

-- MEAL PLANNING: Here's one I'm still learning to do and had really taken for granted when my Mother made most of the kitchen decisions. I document my food journey over on my other blog CarrotsNChopsticks but in short, let's just say that I have lost many fresh produce to the lack of good planning. When cooking for one and shopping mostly once a week, being strategic about my meals not benefited my budget but also made sure I wasn't freaking out last minute and resorting to ready made foods. With breakfast, lunch and dinner on daily rotation, this is one I certainly haven't mastered yet.

coffee shop lifestyle

+ SURROUNDING MYSELF WITH JOY: While I grew up most of my life having my own room, I didn't have choices of the colour of my walls, my furniture or larger objects. My parents never indulged in decorations for aesthetic purposes and as a whole, I wasn't able to make many style choices except the colour of my bedding. The freedom to build my space and fill it with objects and choices that brought me joy gave me a way to expressive my identity that felt fulfilling and joyful. Until I get around to doing an apartment tour, you can see what DIY house projects I've been up to in my house vlogs.

-- COMPOSTING: Apartment life comes with certain conveniences and other well… new living habits to adopt. While composting it is the norm in a lot of big cities, doing so by going to the back yard of your house versus lugging it down to the basement of an apartment complex are two different things. Eating solo means I don’t necessarily make a ton of compost but the nature of what it is means I still have to take it out frequently.

+ NEW ROUTINES: New environments, new neighbourhoods and a new living style means I get to create new day to day rituals and routines. Things I previously had to do in order to accommodate others in my household now has become much more flexible. As a tinge selfish as it sounds, it's been incredibly wonderful to only have to plan for myself and having control over the daily details brings down my anxiety dramatically.

coffee shop lifestyle

-- MONEY MONEY MONEY: So paying your own rent in full really bites. Yes it's an eminent realty of growing up and flying solo but the rental market in the Vancouver lower mainland is staggering. And it's not just the roof over my head. Suddenly factoring in everything from a grocery budget to my internet bill means I'm so much more away of where every penny goes. This increased money awareness is by all means a positive thing but certainly one that still takes some practice.

+ SENSE OF SELF: Now with all complaints aside, the most important and fundamental reason for my firm decision to detach from my childhood home is to have the opportunity to be my own individual in a physical, emotional and psychological way. It's one of the best decisions I have made in life and while my bank account is poorer than it could have been, I am so much richer by investing in myself.


Chat soon,

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sephora: Charlotte Tilbury & Is VIB Rouge really worth it?

Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora
CHARLOTTE TILBURY PILLOW TALK LIPSTICK & 500PT QUAI GIFT

I grew up as a teenager lusting after the beauty wonderland that is Sephora. When the first shop opened up in downtown Vancouver, I watched on the news as people lined up down the street and around the corner to get their hands on exclusive brands. Fast forward to last year when I somehow shopped my way to VIB Rouge status and it felt like a life secret life achievement. Like breaking the high score on that video game or flying first class on the plane, I was giddy at the chance to finally be part of the elusive top tier but how did having this badge of beauty honour really pan out in my very regular everyday life?

Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora

Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora
THE ONE LIPSTICK & LINER AVAILABLE IN STORES

Last week, as part of my VIB Rouge perks, I lined up with my plus one friend at 8:30am to attend an "exclusive Charlotte Tilbury launch and holiday shopping" event. You know, the ones you had to sign up for online and be checked off of a list at the door. I had been quite excited to see Sephora adding the big name to their site (hey, the more points the merrier) but upon walking through the door we were disappointed to find only about 5 items for sale and no testers. Scouring the aisles for holiday sets came up with only a small handful scattered around the shop and none of really wow worthy things we snooped online have come in at all. One lipstick for me, a skincare set for her plus a few bite sized cupcakes later and we both wondered… what did we wake up for this morning at all?

Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora

Looking up at the Rouge benefits listed online, I realized I had hardly used any of them at all. Sure default free shipping was great but my average considered purchases usually went above the regular shipping threshold anyway. I was also never quick enough to grab the exclusive online Reward Bazzar point redemptions before they sold out. Free makeovers didn't seem that enticing unless I go to the large downtown store where they have a sectioned upstairs vanity lounge as the regular counters are situated in the middle of high traffic areas. From an average consumer perspective, the only perk I actually actively used was the larger bi-yearly shopping discount but did this warrant and reflect the $1000 spent to be part of this exclusive club?

Paying for my Pillow Talk and redeeming for a set of Quai products, I pondered this as I walked into the newly opened Uniqlo store down the other end of the mall… my Sephora app reminds me I'm $417 away from another year of Rouge.

.Chat soon,


Monday, September 17, 2018

FRESH | Coconut Lip Balm

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

FRESH Sugar Coconut Lip Balm

Lip balms. It seems that while there’s always a new variety to try, finding a lasting favourite has always been a challenge - my current experiment is the FRESH Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm. Now while the original FRESH balms in twist up tubes are much loved, I couldn’t get past the scent which eventually deterred me from keeping them in my collection.

THE BASICS
BRAND: FRESH
PRODUCT: Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm
SIZE: 6 grams
PRICE: $22 CAD
AVAILABILITY: Sephora, FRESH
WEBSITE: www.fresh.com

INGREDIENTS: Isononyl Isononanoate, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Polybutene, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Fragrance, Silica Silylate, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Bht, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Vanillin, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Trimethylolpropane Triisostearate, Water, Propyl Gallate, Phenoxyethanol.

According to Sephora online, this (along with its caramel counterpart) is listed as an limited edition release but I’ll have to get back to you on that. Marked as a hydrating treatment balm, it clams to sooth dry chapped lips, provide subtle shine and not leave a sticky after feel.

FRESH Sugar Coconut Lip Balm

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
I love how this balm is creamy yet not gooey or tacky. It falls somewhere between a balm and a cream without the waxy suffocating feel of traditional potted lip products. Now, as most people, I don’t love the idea of using my fingers for applying especially when I need a quick touch up out and about but I do think the beautiful texture can likely only work in a pot format.

COMFORT & WEAR
It feels like a good winter moisturizer on your lips. There’s no greasy slip, it’s not a thick waxy layer but it finds a good balance between being present and not intruding on your day to day activities. I can also report that even with long hair, the stick factor is pretty low. There is a subtle hint of shine but nothing that I think would deter this from being used (and loved) by men and women alike. No weird tastes either.

RESULTS
After wearing this both during the day and also as a nightly “treatment” product, I’d say it makes a good attempt at healing dry peeling lips. It’s not quite on par with something like the FRESH Lip Therapy but I can see this as a great everyday substitute. I get the best results when I leave this Coconut Balm on overnight, then do a lip scrub in the morning followed by another layer of balm. It also wears off evenly and doesn’t make your lips thirstier as some waxy products do. Reapplication is needed every 2-3 hours.

THE FINAL VERDICT
FRESH's Coconut Lip Balm is a like a moisturizing cream for weary lips that feels good to wear and wears comfortably too. Not the best primer for lipstick but for casual or no makeup days it's the perfect pairing. Think of it as your favourite sweatshirt but in a lip product form! I'll be wearing this for as long as I can stand digging into the pot every time which is still a major inconvenience for me. Will I still be looking for a solid long term steady? Yes, but I'm not in a hurry.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

How to touch up your makeup in summer

Let’s be honest, looking fresh and done up in the heat of summer only happen in TV commercials. More often than not, in between transiting to work, the dry air of the AC inside and the humidity of the outdoor heat my makeup is a mess in a few short hours - here’s a few quick fix tricks to touch up your look no matter what you’re rocking.

Summer Makeup Touch Up

MELTY FOUNDATION
I always start by blotting off whatever product has given up on my skin using either blotting papers, a single ply napkin or paper towel. Blot gently using a pressing motion - rubbing will just move your foundation around - then touch up using a semi-matte foundation. While most people would recommend powders, I find my skin is often shiny on top while dry underneath and layering powders directly over this will tend to look cakey. Cushion foundations are great for this purpose. Add a very thin layer of powder on top of this if you prefer but I do often skip this last step when touching up.

SMUDGEY EYELINER
I rock a hardcore waterproof eyeliner but even the best products will sometimes need a little help. Using a cotton bud dabbed in a little moisturizer, clean up any smudges around the eyes; I find creams to be great at this since it helps to refresh and add a little moisture at the same time while easily wiping away leftover mascara or liner. Blot the area with a napkin to remove excess moisturizer then touch up your edges with a very fine eyeliner pen - my new discovery has been this micro pointed option from Miniso!

DRY LIPS
Dry lips isn’t just a winter phenomenon and I find that I tend to forget fixing up my lip makeup in the summer but it doesn’t mean that it should be neglected. I always start by removing whatever’s left of whatever I am wearing using a moisturizing balm (waxy ones don’t work as well) and a cotton bud making sure to reach all the corners. Letting the balm sit for a minute or so while I fix up my base and eye makeup, I then top off with either a creamy lipstick or lip gloss. Though I may start the day wearing liquid lipsticks, I will almost always swap to a sheerer product because they look much more forgiving when your skin is already tired from a long day.

.Chat soon,


Sunday, August 12, 2018

FOSSIL | Rachel Satchel - the just enough bag!

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - review

A little trendy, a little sophisticated and a whole lot of fun - this Fossil handbag has snagged me more compliments than anything else I've ever carried and I definitely think you all need one in your life. Meet the Rachel Satchel, similar to the previously released Sydney and might I add distractingly akin to the the shape of the Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 in size this bag has been my steady companion on days I don't need to carry my work bag. 

FYI | I'm still trying to find the best format for a handbag post between filming a video and being able to show you detailed closeups, additionally I'm also trying to accommodate for those who have time to watch a full video versus those who just want a quick break down so, let me know if this format works out for you!

THE FULL REVIEW


FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - Review

FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - Review

FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - Review

THE QUICKIE
Size: 10" x 7" x 5" 
(LV Speedy 25: 9.8" x 7.4" x 5.9") 
Price at time of purchase: $188 CAD (tax included) 
How long I've owned it: 6 months
Materials: Coated PVC (outside), cotton twill lining
Details: Detachable crossbody strap, front and back slip pockets, interior zip pocket & 2 slip pockets

WHAT I LOVE
  • Easy to carry size that doesn't overwhelm my 5'2 frame
  • Fits my small iPad pro with keyboard cover and still have room for everything else
  • PVC outer keeps clean and is water-resistant
  • Placement of cross body D-rings is well balanced and doesn't pull on the bag body 
  • Duo tagged zipper opens all the way down yet is gusseted so things don't fall out
  • PVC version is super lightweight
  • The zipper is smooth and slides easily every time
THINGS TO NOTE
  • Carrying handles are not removable (had someone ask!)
  • Handles are not large enough to use as shoulder bag under the arm
  • There needs to be a belt loop to keep the tail of the cross body strap in place when you have it on the shortest setting
  • I would love to see a key fob in future versions

FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - Review

THE FINAL VERDICT
I would absolutely buy this bag again in a heartbeat as it's served so functionally in my life and make me smile every time I look at it. The fact that the bag was PVC didn't distract from the overall beauty of the bag which I had initially worried about but now I love it as it is - the PVC versions also gives Fossil lots of creative play with prints that is hard to do with leathers. While I did compare this to the LV Speedy 25, I wouldn't say this is a step down alternative as this absolutely has its own charm and is worth owning in multiples if it works for your lifestyle.

Chat soon,




Saturday, August 11, 2018

...and we're back!

Vision Board 2017
VISION BOARD 2017-2018

As I’m sitting on the living room sofa typing this post up on my iPad, I’ve just finish dinner and jazz music is playing in the background on a Friday night. Not a sound interrupts the stillness except for the soft lure of the saxophone and the dull ambiance of traffic passing by...and I love it.

The last few weeks has been filled with sleepless rental hunting, packing up an embarrassing amount of bobbles from my bedroom, spending too much money at Homesense and getting excited over finding the perfect food storage container. Moving out on my own has been on my goal list for years now and now suddenly everything is coming together. A new space not only mean organization and decor videos (which you can find these vlogs my Youtube channel) but also a chance for me to explore many growing personal interests and expanding the breadth of my blog. 

It’s going to be an exciting new adventure!

Chat soon,