March 11, 2015

Beauty - 3 Questions with A Makeup Artist

Meet Dallas! She's a professional photographer, and makeup artist with an inspiring website and blog. She's also the one who took these fun confetti photos of me last year. With a new season around the corner, I asked her for some tips for a spring makeup and beauty transition. Enjoy!

credit: Andria Lindquist
Winter leaves skin drab, what are some beauty tips for switching up a routine for spring?

Start by drinking as much water as possible. I use the Waterbalance app to remind myself to take breaks from working to grab a big glass of water and stay hydrated. The next thing I'd suggest would be finding some kind of exfoliating product that works for your skin. My two favourites are Lush Ocean Salt and Aveda's Exfoliant from their Botanical Kinetics line. The main point of both products is to help remove the buildup of dead skin cells and dry patches that winter seems to create. Follow this up with your favourite moisturizer immediately afterwards to avoid drying out your skin. My final tip would be to amp up the SPF of your sunscreen with the arrival of spring, since you'll be spending more time outdoors in the glorious sunshine.

What is your top pick for a seasonal blush swap?

During winter I favour cream blushes or cheek tints in rosy or wine shades. The cream formula tends to blend better with heavier, winter moisturizers I layer on. When spring arrives, I like to use classic pink or coral shades for a brighter, more cheerful look. I also switch to a powder format as soon as the weather gets warmer to help avoid shine. My all-time favourite springtime blush is NARS Gaiety.

What is your number one makeup tip to look awake?

Any kind of luminizing product that can be used to add dimension to your skin and highlight your features. Benefit makes several shades, such as High Beam, Moon Beam and Sun Beam. Choose the one that complements your skin tone and apply it to your cheekbones, cupid's bow and chin. I use either Benefit's line or I mix MAC Strobe Cream with my foundation to look upbeat and bright on even the earliest (or most hungover) of mornings.

March 10, 2015

Weekly Mantra - Let certain things go..

This week's mantra is about being brave enough to turn over the sheets. Wait, maybe even throwing them out the window. As our North American cities thaw, ain't no thang like spring cleaning one's life!

“That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don't expect to get anything back, don't expect recognition for your efforts, don't expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust."― Paulo Coelho via Goodreads

March 9, 2015

Life Changers: Boxing

I was nervous to attend my first boxing class.

I’d never punched anything before, except maybe a time sheet at a part-time job.

I'm anti-violence at all costs, so I didn't know how much I'd enjoy hitting a heavy bag. I was also a bit insecure about not knowing how to properly throw a punch.

When I arrived at class, I was relived to see the equal mix of men and women, and was glad that I wasn’t alone in my fight. I initially thought taking boxing classes would be good to add to my fitness routine. I'd read how top supermodels like Gigi Hadid, or Adriana Lima have been using it as their main form of fitness. What I didn't anticipate was the mental clarity I'd receive after every class.

Boxing causes you to confront what you’re hiding. 

It forces you to concentrate, and let out any form of stress, or even surprisingly, joy. I assumed that boxing would be something that is beneficial only I'm feeling angry, or aggressive, instead, I can hit the bag, and think of my goals and aspirations. I can release any anxiousness I have over things I can’t control. By hitting something that doesn't hit back, I am able to let go.

As long as the bag is there, I can fight.

When I box, I look my worst. My curly hair frizzes into a halo from the sweat, and I get splotches on my cheeks from the in-between cardio and weight training. But when I’m done, I leave feeling two inches taller, healthier and more like myself than during any other workout.

I become a bit more of the woman that I imagine myself to be. Someone who is fearless, and in-tune with her body and mind. After I take a shower, I’m more compassionate to my reflection.

I know that I did something good for myself, and it makes all the difference.

This post was sponsored by Clarisonic 

March 4, 2015

The List - Baby Models, Floral Prints & The New Potato

Apartment therapy - While studying in Florence last summer, I met Ashleigh from Perth, Australia while she was backpacking alone for six months around Europe. Since then, she's become an artist, creating the prettiest hand-drawn floral prints and quotes. Check out her Etsy shop for a spring art refresh.

Babies on the runways - Dolce & Gabbana featured model moms and their babies on the runway in Milan last week. Cue the awwwwws.

Men and Coffee - another Instagram guilty pleasure of my two favourite things combined.

Life Coach - Need a boost? My friend Jac recently launched her life coaching business. Need to set some goals, and get to where you want to be? Jac's your girl.

No sap songs -  I'm on a strict musical diet of overly confident, in your face, rap music. On repeat: Drake's If You're Reading This, You're Too Late, and Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise.

George Clooney's Op-ed - Clooney writes an opinion piece in The New York Times on how the world mustn't forget about places like Darfur, even though the international attention on a newsworthy crisis is gone

The New Potato - My favourite online food destination features interviews with famous foodies (actors, chefs, celebrities) about their favourite restaurants, and other routines.

March 2, 2015

The Month of March

Emily Dickinson's poem, Part Five: The Single Hound, starts like this:

MARCH is the month of expectation,
The things we do not know

While March can be a month of hope, there is a sense that it will always be this way.

The salted slush comfortable on the ground; cold wind that nips on ears like a puppy that will never be trained; a profound darkness that trails us home at 5 p.m. But soon, light will flood our evenings and stretch out like a baby waking from slumber. We will smile at strangers on city streets, and all that is rotting will bloom green.

Winter will fold its cards, because it no longer has the winning hand. I say goodbye to February; a month of shallow breathing and hibernation. I fling my arm back, wave my floppy hand, but I do not turn my head. No, I keep my eyes forward.

One step at a time, until I feel sunshine.

February 26, 2015

Beauty: The Return of Lip Gloss

I have adult braces.

Although they are Invisalign, which means the trays are clear and plastic, I can't really wear lipstick anymore. Since I got my braces in October, I found that whenever I leave the house with lipstick on, my trays get smeared with colour by the time I get to a party or event.

It's not that big of a deal, but I do feel a bit self-conscious at times, in turn opting out of painting my mouth red, or any colour for that matter.

I've now switched to gloss.

I remember in high school when gloss was "cool" and everyone had different sticky, sparkly shades. Somewhere along the line, we all got sick of getting our hair stuck to our mouths, and swapped it out.

I've managed to find what I deem, adult gloss. Non-sticky versions that hydrate lips, and still give my mouth some shiny attention. It's the upgraded version of your high school crush, who now has a real job, and doesn't wear baggy golf shirts anymore.

Below are my favourite glosses (even if you're not going through a regression, and rocking plastic braces)

1. Fresh Sugar Shine Lip Treatment - This was my first foray into adult lipgloss. This treatment claims to moisturize and protect lips for 6 hours. It comes in a variety of shades, but I prefer clear. ($21)

2. Tarte Lipsurgence Skintuitive Lip Gloss - I got this gloss as a sample at Sephora with my beauty points and became obsessed. It's a universal shade that changes to the natural pink pigment of your own lips. It also has Vitamin E, jojoba seed oil, and smells amazing. ($19)

3. Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil - This gloss glides on smooth with its over sized spongy applicator. Lips are wrapped in a sweet shine, and it usually draws attention when I take it out of my purse. Try the honey shade with plum oil. ($23)

February 24, 2015

New Weekly Mantra - The Crawl

Lately, I've been thinking about crawling.

Baby Kate has recently learned. I watch her zip around the room, and then swivel and sit around in her new location. We're all careful that she doesn't get hurt, or bump her head on coffee table poles, or couch ends. 

Although I learned to crawl many years ago, this month, I had to learn again. There was no one to protect me from the bumps, except that perhaps I needed to slam into a few things before getting to my destination. (And I'm still not there).  

These days, I use my apartment sliding doors to write notes, quotes, To-Do lists, and other things I find inspiring, so when I wake up, I see where I need to be. I've been reading Nymag's "Ask Polly" advice column for awhile now, and this week's mantra comes from it. 

Here it is, as scribbled on my walls. For more Polly, visit Enjoy! x

February 11, 2015

My Top Five Books About Love

Reading about love or heartbreak can be cathartic.

It's validating to know that a fictional character, or a real person has experienced the same pain, or uplifting joy that we feel when we open ourselves up to another person. Just ask my new favourite Instagram account, Hot Dudes Reading.

Whether it's heartache, commitment, marriage, or self-exploration, it's hard to find a novel that doesn't focus on these themes in one way or another. I constantly read about love in all of its capacities, whether I'm in a relationship, newly single, heartbroken, or playing the field. It's a constant learning game, and I find it fascinating.

I don't have many views on Valentine's Day; I can take it or leave it depending on my romantic situation. However, February seems to be the month of love, hence this post.

Below are my top five books for whatever you're feeling!

1. This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage - Author Ann Patchett's collection of essays focuses on her writing career, love for her dog, divorce, and new marriage. My favourite essay, the title of the book, has the simplest advice when it comes to relationships: "Does he make you a better person?"

2. Us: A Novel - For those who loved Nicholls' One Day, his second novel Us, introduces readers to Douglas and Connie, a middle-aged couple who's marriage is on the verge of ending. Connie wants it to end, Douglas does not. They go on a European adventure with their teenage son, Albie hoping to save it.

3. On Love - Alain de Botton's novel is written in short blurbs and describes a relationship from first glance, and idealization to skepticism and intimacy. It's a roller coaster ride, but aren't all relationships?

4. Americanah - This novel, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is my absolute favourite. While it has more important themes like racial politics, the love story between the main characters, Nigerian students Ifemelu and Obinze will break your heart in the best way possible. My favourite line, "She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: a self-affection. He made her like herself."

5. Love Poems - Pablo Neruda's mini book of poems, will have you seduced. Apparently he wrote them on the island of Capri for his lover Matilde. I carry this with me when I fly.