motivation

What I’ve Been Loving Lately…

It’s been a while since my last post, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of things!  The products I’ve discovered these past few months are some of my all-time favourites, and I hope you’ll love them, too!

1. MantraBand “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly” Bracelet

I discovered MantraBand during a trip to the USA this past summer.  Being someone who loves motivational quotes, I was immediately intrigued by these bracelets, which are sleek and simple in design (available in silver, rose gold, or yellow gold), and adorn various fun, inspirational messages.  In particular, I was drawn to the saying, “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly“.  The MantraBand website describes this bracelet as a reminder to, “Remember to focus on one thing at a time and give it your all. Stay calm, look on the bright side, and keep going. Because it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”  I, like many others, often times find myself rushing to get things done, and I can easily forget to slow down and enjoy the process.  Naturally, I’m now hooked on these bracelets and have a handful of others on my wishlist: “Hakuna Matata“, “Ohana“, and “Que Sera Sera“, just to name a few!

2. L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Extraordinary Clay Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve waited a long time for an affordable shampoo and conditioner that were specially formulated for oily roots, and guess what?  It’s finally arrived! L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay line is perfect for those who have hair the equivalent to “combination skin”: an oily scalp, with ends that could use some love.  These products use the power of various clays (white, blue, and green) to cleanse, moisturize, and revitalize the hair and scalp, leaving hair balanced for up to 72 hours!  The shampoo lathers beautifully and leaves your hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed, and the conditioner is super moisturizing and lightweight.  Oh, and both products smell amazing.  Using the shampoo and conditioner, I noticed a difference in my hair within just two uses.  Next on my list to try is the Pre-Shampoo Clay Mask.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas Box o’Powder Blush

I’d always heard great things about Benefit Cosmetic’s boxed blushes, but had never actually purchased or tried one for myself.  I decided it was time to hop on the bandwagon, and chose the shade “Dallas” (described as a rosy-bronze hue).  Trust me, the shade you see in the box does not do this product justice.  Once applied, it wears as a gorgeous, warm bronze that gives you a healthy glow, and is perfect for Fall.  You can even use it as a bronzer, or to contour, and it suits nearly every skin tone.

4. Quo Effortless Curl Mascara in “Black”

I’m someone who’s lucky enough to have long lashes naturally, but if I don’t use the right mascara, they just fall flat and can end up looking sparse.  I’m therefore always on the lookout for affordable options that give volume and hold curl.  I received this particular mascara in a gift bag from a Quo event, and was hooked after trying it just once.  The formula is glossy and super pigmented, the curved silicone brush adds curl, and it apples clump-free and lasts all day.  This mascara easily compares to high-end versions, and is just a fraction of the price. Definitely recommend!

5. Michael Kors Eau de Parfum in “Sexy Amber”

This is a perfume that has been on my wishlist for a long time, but due to it’s higher-than-average price tag, I always hesitated.  When Shoppers Drug Mart hosted their recent redeem your points event, I decided to finally take the plunge.  First off, this product is an Eau de Parfum, meaning a little bit goes a long way (making it a good value for money). It comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with gold accents, and the signature Michael Kors logo.  The scent itself has notes of warm amber, sandalwood, and white flowers.  It’s warm and musky but still feminine, and it’s perfect for the colder months ahead.

6. Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar”

Surprise! Another warm, musky scent that I can’t get enough of.  Until it was recently discontinued, Bath and Body Works’ “Twilight Woods” was always one of my favourites.  However their new scent, “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar” has now replaced it as my number one.  It has notes of almond creme, Bartlett pear, brown sugar, toasted hazelnut, silken vanilla, and decadent pistachio mousse (hungry yet?).  It’s a pretty, sexy scent, but is also subtle and not overpowering.  I pair the shower gel in the same scent with the Ultra Shea Body Cream for an extra scent boost.  Note to self: stock up on this before it’s gone!

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

Gift Guide Day 5: A Gift With Meaning

GG 2015-5

I love a personalized gift: one that’s unique and has meaning. Each piece in the Speechlust collection is adorned with an uncommonly used word; one that has a much deeper meaning than it’s few syllables would lead you to believe.  One of my favourites (pictured above) is the Halcyon Necklace.  According to the Speechlust website, Halcyon is defined as: “(adj.) To be calm, peaceful and tranquil. (n.) A mythical bird said to calm the waves of the sea.”  Wearing this necklace can be a reminder, “to slow down and keep perspective. When you take the time to breathe, you’ll realize that, like the waves, this too shall pass”.

You can view a full dictionary of all words offered on the site, and can shop by collection.  Some of my other favourites are the Ikigai and the Heliophile necklaces.  All come on a 22-inch chain, and some styles are offered in beaded versions.  Each necklace also includes a card with the word’s definition (so the person you’re giving it to won’t need to Google after opening!).

I also love Speechlust’s story.  Canadian owner Courtney Chilton was inspired to create Speechlust while traveling in Southeast Asia.  She created the brand having had no background in business, learning as she went along.  I admire that she created her brand purely with passion and a love for what she was doing.  All to often, I think we sell ourselves short because we don’t think this passion is enough.  It is.  Give these necklaces to friends, family members, or significant others, and support a small business while doing so.

Missed the first 4 days of the Gift Guide? Check them out below!

Day 1 (+Giveaway!)

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

New Year, New You: 2015

New Year New You 2015

Well, it’s here: 2015!  And, a new year means that it’s time for my “New Year, New You” series (check out last year’s here), where I take a few of the top new-year’s resolutions, and match them up with fun, new products that may even inspire you to hold true to your resolution past January!

1. Eat Healthier:

Just like working out, you somehow feel that much more motivated when you have some new gear to use. These new “LunchBlox” kits from Rubbermaid allow you to customize your lunch bag in a fun way (the containers snap together), while also allowing you to be mindful of portion-sizes (the individual containers have measurements on the sides). Need to keep your lunch cool? Just add a “Blue Ice” snap-in, and you’re good to go!  You can purchase starter kits, such as the one above, or individual containers to customize your lunch any way you please. The containers are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, and have lids that seal securely.

2. Drink More Water:

So, I know, this one kind of goes along with “Eat Healthier”, but as an avid mug collector I couldn’t leave out the opportunity to include a fun water bottle! This “S’Well ‘Hers’ Shimmer Water Bottle” from Chapters/Indigo is not only adorable, it’s also made of double-walled aluminum, allowing you to keep your water nice and cool (or your tea nice and hot) for hours. It is also “virtually unbreakable”, and has a mouth-opening wide enough to add ice cubes.  Another thing I’m loving lately: adding a few squirts of Crystal Light Aloha Pineapple Coconut Liquid Drink Mix to my water (and then pretending I’m on a beach).    

3. Get More Sleep:

This resolution speaks not only to catching more hours of zzz’s, but also to getting a better quality sleep. I’ve learned from experience, that having a room lit up by 15 different electronic devices does not help your sleep situation. I’ve also learned that the blue light emitted from your phone actually tells your body to wake up, so those last-minute Twitter checks may be preventing you from falling to sleep sooner. I recently received one of these Bucky40 Blinks Sleep Masks” for Christmas, and was pleased to discover that they they block out light perfectly, and also have an adjustable strap so you can sleep comfortably (no headaches here!). Even better? They have deep eye-cups, so you don’t need to worry about messing up your eye makeup during mid-day naps (you can even use them to protect eyelash extensions)!

4. Workout More Often:

Remember what I said in the “Eat Healthier” section? New gear (a.k.a shopping)=motivation. It also helps when the gear itself has a fun motivational phrase on it, such as those from Blogilates. One of my favorites? This blueberry-coloured “Train Insane or Remain The Same” gym tank.  Other fun ones are the “Stronger Every Day” tank, and the “Sore Muscles Happy Pain” Y-tank. Don’t lie, you feel like hitting up the gym now, don’t you!?

5. Read More Books:

A simple solution to the “I don’t have time to read” excuse is Audible (because we all have time to listen, whether it’s while we’re commuting to work, while we’re cleaning the house, or while we’re lying in bed).  Audible offers a membership program, where $14.95/month gets you a credit for one audio book, plus 30% off additional books (and, should you choose to end your membership, you can keep all your audio books, no questions asked).  Sign up now to receive your first audio book free! Some of the books I’ve been loving lately? My Story by Elizabeth Smart and #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.

6. Try Something New/ Treat Yourself:

While I purchased this late in 2014, I still consider my Clairsonic Mia 2 (in the colour “Joy”) to be “something new”.  It’s also something I’d been debating treating myself to for a few years.  After learning more about it during the Spark Sessions conference, I decided to take the plunge.  I was lucky enough to have little to no “purging” (basically, where your skin breaks out over the span of a few weeks as it cleans out your pores).  I use the sensitive brush daily, and then add in the deep pore brush 1-2 times a week.  I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the smoothness of my skin, and am excited to continue seeing results as time goes on.  I highly recommend trying out the Clarisonic, and with a 90-day 100% money back guarantee, what have you got to lose? Don’t forget to sign up at Clarisonic.ca for tips, tricks, and discounts!

“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” ~Rainer Maria Rilke