Some Must-Have Beauty items!

Do you ever say to yourself, “I wish I had known about this sooner?”  I definitely have.  These are some must-have beauty items I absolutely love and I thought I should share with you!

First on the list are “Tweezerman” tweezers!  They are by far one of the best tweezers I own.  I always have that one stubborn hair when I’m plucking my eyebrows that is impossible to pull out.  In the past, it would take forever to pluck those stubborn strands out with my cheap tweezers.  But with Tweezerman tweezers, you’ll never run into that problem because it gets them all:)
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One of my girlfriends had a destination wedding in Cuba, and I had left my Tweezerman tweezers in my carry-on.  When the lugguage got scanned, the custom’s agent said they had to toss them.  I remember thinking, “Oh no…not my Tweezerman tweezers!”  It was too late to put them into my check in 🙁  The reason why they are so amazing is because they have an award winning slant which doesn’t break my hair and gets right to the roots which makes plucking effortless!

Whoever invented dry shampoo…I could kiss you!  Unlike every gal in my household who was  born with straight silky hair, I was born with frizzy wavy hair.  I learned recently that my dad use to have wavy hair and grew it out in his early 20s.  I’m only now learning to embrace it, but growing up it was sometimes difficult to tame this mane;)

I use to wash my hair every evening.  To my dismay in the morning, my hair would be out of control because I had showered the night before.  It was frustrating  because I had taken all that time to straighten my hair, only to enjoy straight hair for one day.  My hair would get greasy if I didn’t wash it everyday.  Now, instead of washing my hair, I just spray dry shampoo into my hair.  I can wash my hair every two or three days rather than everyday.  When I use it, it feels like my hair is freshly washed:)

The two products I use are Joico Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo and a Swedish brand “Edge Natural Haircare” dry shampoo in “Dark Haze.”  Sorry you may have to hit “Translate” to be able to read the information on the website.  I find that I get the best advice from my girlfriends and my favourite hair salons/hair stylists.  If I had to choose between the two,  Joico gets my vote:)  I gave you the amazon.com link to look at the reviews because there are at least 20 reviews giving the product an overall score of 3.5 stars.  Amazon.ca only had one review of only one star.  I completely disagree, I love this product.  I just wished it cost $12.99 like it does in the U.S. and not $30.00 CAN.

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My girlfriends who are blonde swear by “Batiste Dry Shampoo“.  You can get a can under $10 at Shoppers Drug Mart.  Or you can click on the tab “Where to buy” on the link I provided:)  I’ve tried it, but it left my dark hair looking like there were faint white streaks in it.  I recently found out that Batiste created a product for dark and deep brown hair for $15.  I’m not sure why the list price is $79…crazy!  I’m excited to try it out!

Now that I’m embracing my wavy hair more, I sometimes leave it au-naturel.  I just mist a little water on my hair and scrunch a little bit of mousse into it and ta-da!  However, I still prefer my hair straight, even though I get compliments when my hair is wavy or curly.  The grass is always greener on the other side right;)

I love this eyelash curler by Shu Uemura!  I won it at my cousin Becky’s shower (best Sephora prize table ever!)  Everyone had been raving about it and when I tried it, I loved it!  I don’t have many eyelashes to begin with, but when I use this eyelash curler, it curls it to perfection.  Unlike other eyelash curlers, it very easy to use and the silicone pads do not stick to your lashes.  With a little bit of mascara, I end up with pretty curled eyelashes.   You can also purchase it at Hudson’s Bay.  It’s award winning for a reason…good job lash curler engineering team!

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Crazy enough though, I found a decent eyelash curler at Forever 21 for $5.90.  I initially bought it because it was in a pretty rose gold colour and I thought I could use one in my back up makeup case.  I wasn’t sure if it would work very well, but it’s actually not bad for an inexpensive purchase:)

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Last but not least, are my favourite base coat and top coat polish: Seche Vite and Seche Clear.IMG_3128

If you want a fast drying, top quality base coat and top coat for your nail polish, these babies are for you.  I don’t always get a chance to get manis and pedis as often as I would like, so when I need to do my nails at home, these are my go-to products.  Not only are they fast drying, but I find that my nail polish will stay on longer and not chip as quickly when I use them!  Last year, my best friend bought all the girls a bottle for Christmas and we all started squealing in delight!  That’s how much we love this item 😉

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Do you have any must-have beauty products that you can’t live without?  Let me know in the comments below:)

Love of Laundry…not!

I have a husband who is rather particular about how laundry is done!  When it was just my sister and I living in our apartment, I had one hamper which I threw all my clothes into.  Half of the time I would roll my jeans up and pretend I was shooting hoops, which said a lot about my athletic ability since the clothes would end up around the basket.  I would eventually collect all my random clothes and throw them back in my basket.  When it was time to do my laundry, I would sort my clothes into various piles, darks, whites, colours etc.  My husband was away at school at the time so I was pretty set in my ways.  However, when he returned he was appalled about how I did my laundry.  I would never admit this to him, but his system makes a lot more sense than mine 😉  First, he went and purchased laundry dividers/sorters that he got from Walmart.  He looked at other stores, but only found 3-bag laundry sorters, but Walmart had 4.  Online I could only find ones with 3 dividers, hopefully they still have the 4-bag sorters.

Now when we do laundry, we divide our clothes into 4 categories: Whites, Darks, Colours, & Delicates.  It is important to always wash your clothes in the appropriate water temperature:  Hot water for whites to keep them bright, and cold water for darks to prevent them from fading.  I used to wash everything in warm water, but then my whites didn’t look too bright.

When he’s not looking, sometimes the little thrill seeker in me would roll up my clothes into a ball, shoot, and just hope for the best!  Especially when I am tired, I don’t always follow the sorting rules but this gets me in trouble with the laundry drill sergeant and he’s constantly shaking his head but I still see a little smile hidden there.  He knows that even though my quirks drive him crazy, he’s kind of stuck with me 😉

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We also use a completely different laundry basket for our clean clothes that we take out of the dryer.  This one folds flat so we can hang it on the inside of our closet door.  Love how it says “CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.”  Another great HomeSense buy!
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Lastly, I’m loving this rolley basket that I leave in the guest room.  After their stay, visitors throw their towels in there and I can take it directly to our laundry room in the basement.

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Do you have a laundry method/system?  Or are you more of a free spirit like me and prefer to play bball with your clothes? 😉  Do you have any great tips for laundry organization?  Let me know in the comments below!

A Healthier New Me

One resolution that keeps reappearing on my New Year’s resolution list is to be healthier (eat cleaner & get active).  I always start the New Year with a bang and I’m gung ho about making big changes but then I tend to fall off the bandwagon.  I’ve gained quite a bit of weight since being married and even though I would love to blame my husband’s amazing cooking for it, it simply boils down to the fact that I eat out often and I’m not as active as I should be.  I understand it’s not all about your size but I’m finding that even when I’m going up two flights of stairs, sometimes I feel winded.  When I lived in Japan in my mid 20’s I climbed 3333 stone steps with the people in my town.  I don’t think I could go up even 33 of those steps now without feeling lightheaded and out of breath.  Not to mention that some of my favourite jeans no longer fit.   This was definitely an indicator that I needed to get more active and change not only my eating habits but my lifestyle as a whole.

I had never been a fitness enthusiast.  I would always prefer to read under a tree engrossed in a novel while my dad and sister played sports such as volleyball, soccer or badminton.  My mom was the ever supportive cheerleader on the sidelines but I had no interest whatsoever in being a spectator nor a participant .  My sister was the more athletic one and played all the sports in the family.  My ideal type of workout was riding my bike or rollerblading along the river front.  I don’t really enjoy competitive sports and I recall my dad encouraging me to play soccer when I was around 12 or 13 and while I was playing defense, half the time the ball would wiz by me because I was completely bored or lost in thought thinking about what  I would do after the game.

After many years, I don’t think much has changed.  I love non-competitive activities such as yoga, and you couldn’t pay me to play on my sister’s beach volleyball team or my friends’ Dodgeball team. Just not my cup of tea.

I know many people’s workout regimens spans all sorts of activities from step classes to intense weight training, but even when I had a personal trainer I couldn’t get into those types of activities.  My trainer encouraged me to try it all  but I would much prefer to take a Zumba class or a dance class instead. Up until December,  I wasn’t even doing any of those classes.  I kept using the holidays as an excuse for my unhealthy eating and unhealthy habits.

Which brings me to my lifestyle challenge.  A few of our best friends invited my husband and I to enter a new lifestyle challenge.  It is a competition based on weight and overall look/improvement and the incentive is a large sum of money.   It really isn’t about the money, but we felt that there had to be some sort of penalty so that we don’t slack.  I have until May to present my results.  I’m not sure my Zumba or yoga classes are going to cut it but I’ll throw in some gym workouts and hopefully even if I don’t win I’ll be healthier and more active in the process.

To help kick start my new game plan, I got a few things for preparation.

  1. A Fitbit: It’s a rubber bracelet with a chip in it that syncs to your phone.  I still forget to put it on from time to time.  However, when I do wear it, I love it!  It tracks how many steps you accumulate each day.  You can also invite friends into mini challenges which motivates you to work out!

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    I love a little bit of arm bling  when I ‘m not at the gym, so I love accessorizing around my Fitbit!

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2. A Vitamix: Love this bad boy!  Makes the greatest shakes ever and I love having a meal out of a cup!   The big selling point for me was that it can make hot soups and will pulverize chia seeds or flax seeds.  My mom uses the NutriBullet, and is very satisfied with her shakes.  So if you have a blender you love, you can always go to the Vitamix website for cool recipes too.

3. A gym membership: I have to be honest.  I have been paying for this membership for years and most years, I just pay for it and don’t use it as much as I should.  I’m going to try to not let that happen this year!
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4.  Cute gym clothes:  I know this sounds crazy but I find that if I feel good and look good in my gym clothes I’ll put more effort into my workout.  It makes me motivated to want to eventually get to the point where I can wear crop tops…not quite there yet!  My workout attire is from Lululemon.  Love the flowy outer shirt top.  I like how it goes over the sports bra (comes attached) and it conceals my tummy bulge;)  I also love shopping their:  “We Made Too Much” section…great deals to be found!

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Please excuse my husband shoes, I forgot to move them for the pic!  This pic was taken for friends in our healthy challenge chat room but I thought I’d share it with you all too!  Even though it’s a challenge, we are all so supportive and encouraging!

5. A Fitbook: Helps me keep a journal of what I’m eating and record what  workout regimens I’ve been doing.  I started using the Fitbook at the end of last year.  Many love their Fitbook because they find that when you physically write things down you’ll have a better chance of getting it done.   Decided that this method was a little too time consuming for me so I’ve replaced it with the Calorie Counting App below.
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6. Calorie Counter App:  Download the “My Fitness Pal” app…I love it!  It’s also able to sync with my Fitbit which is awesome!  I always said I wouldn’t be one of those people who would count calories but I realize how important it is now.  Plus this app makes it fun and enjoyable.  You can even scan the bar code of items you eat and then it will help you gauge how many calories you have consumed as well as how much more you can afford to eat that day.  You don’t need a Fitbit to use this app and to have this app work for you!
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7. Yoga Studio: I have joined a yoga studio with a couple of girlfriends.  One of my friends is a yoga instructor there…so it’s great because she always pushes us to do our best!

I worked out 4 times this week!  That’s a record for me….I hope I can keep up with it!  To everyone who also has a health and fitness resolution, I wish you the best of luck!  New year… new us! 🙂

Starbucks Online Sale

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48 k-cup pods for $15.57 plus tax. Came in packages of 12

If you love Starbucks and enjoy their Christmas blend, then I have an online special for you.  If you have a Keurig machine, the K-cups are on sale for $15.57 (reg. $25.95) for 24 pods. Use promo code BIG1XMASKCUP for buy one, get one free.  I got 48 k-cups for $15.57…amazing!  However, there is a standard shipping fee of $7.95 that applies if your order is under $75.  I ordered it online and within two days, the shipment arrived at my doorstep.  Enjoy the deal!

 

 

Proud to be Canadian!

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Love being Canadian!

Happy New Year everyone!  Mother Nature sprinkled some white love for us and has given us a white New Year!  I was contemplating staying in my Pj’s all day but then I decided to throw on a sweater that’s just as comfortable…my Roots Cabin Cardigan!   It comes in Birch White as well.  It’s the perfect sweater for lounging around in and if I need to dash somewhere quickly, it’s not frumpy and it’s acceptable to be seen in public in.  In fact, it’s both cute and comfortable…my kind of sweater!  I know that Roots is now an international brand but I love how it has Canadian roots;)

As a gift to congratulate me for launching my blog, Tiffany from “The Paper Suitcase“, bought me a signature Hudson’s Bay Blanket…I love everything that’s a part of the HBC collection.  Not only is it sold at Hudson’s Bay, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this collection on sale in Canadian airports.  If you are not familiar with it, it’s a signature collection inspired by over 300 years of Canadian history!  I have been coveting this blanket forever…thank you so much sis!!

If you want to shop my Roots look for less, Bluenotes carries some very cute Canadian sweaters.  I actually got this Canadian sweater below in Stratford when we went to watch a production at the Stratford Festival.  The quality is comparable to Roots and just as warm and comfy.  I purchased my sweater for $39.99 and I was able to take advantage of their buy one get one 1/2 off promotion.  The sweater pairs well with skinny jeans and Hunter boots!

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Happy first Day of 2o16!!