2014 beauty favourites

It's time for our beauty favourites of the year! It's been a year of honing in on our signature looks by playing with a lot of different products. Gabi has always experimented with makeup (oh, if only I could share some of her photos), but this was really my first time playing around with products. Keep on reading to find out what our favorite makeup, skincare, body, and hair products were this year.

2014 Beauty Favorites

S: I'm a long time wearer of bold lipstick, but this year lips took the back burner in exchange for eyes. More subdued eyes mind you, but my Urban Decay Naked2 palette got some major use. I got it for my birthday in April, and haven't purchased any other shadows since. It's that good. I'm pretty miserable at applying mascara. For as much as I love big bold lashes, I have a tendency to get it all over my lids and under my eyes. In comes Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara which has been my saviour for the bottom lashes. For upper, I've been playing around with drugstore mascaras this year and am really into L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara and Covergirl Lashblast Fusion. Other favourites in the makeup department are Anastasia Brow Wiz in Soft Brown and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly.

G: Like Sam said, I have always experimented with makeup, but all through university my products and makeup looks have stayed pretty constant. Part of it was lack of funds to buy or try new items, and part of it was due to sheer laziness and contentment with what I was wearing. Since graduating and starting full time work, I've had a little more money to play around with and a lot of it has gone to makeup. I've been putting emphasis on trying mascaras—I have very sparse lashes and have been trying to find the right combo of volume and length with what I've got. I've been loving Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum as primer, and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. This year I also tried a handful of different tinted moisturizers and foundations, and have settled on Tarte's Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer and Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder.  My skin is typically quite acne prone, and has finally evened out and cleared up since moving back to Alberta so I am quite happy with my foundation choices! Other favs for me include the Anastasia Brow Wiz and Benefit's Push Up Liner.

S: Skincare has been my big thing. I have always had clear skin, right up until mid-2014. All hell broke loose for the better part of the rest of the year, and I spent a lot of time and more importantly, money, on products desperately trying to figure out how to clear up my complexion. All is well now, though I'm not sure what I should attribute it to. The big perk though is that I got to try out a lot of really great products. Some favs include Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping FacialOrigins GinZing Energy-Boosting MoisturizerPeter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. The biggest surprise was my makeup remover favourite. I tried out Bioderma, Clarins, Body Shop, and Origins, all that had been touted as THE BEST by beauty bloggers and beauty editors alike. My favorite comes from the drugstore, and it is Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. It's a fraction of the price of any of the others listed, and in my opinion is a zillion times better.

G: I have always had issues with my skin. All through junior high and high school I struggled with acne. After many courses of antibiotics and Accutane, I was finally rid of my whole face covered in acne, but still struggled with lots of breakouts. This year for cleansers I tried a few different products, including Korres Wild Rose Daily Brightening & Refining Buff Cleanser which I liked but didn't love; and have since switched to using Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser which I much prefer. I also received a Clarisonic Mia2 for Christmas which I am really loving. I haven't seen any drastic results yet, but it has been improving the texture of my skin as well the visibility of my pores. 

2014 Beauty Favorites

S: Last year around the holidays I tried out LUSH Rose Jam Shower Gel, and then I spent all of 2014 trying to find a dupe for it. I didn't succeed, so I was stoked when they released it again for 2014 holidays. Another body wash that I was just gifted and already love is Saje Tingle Mint Invigorating Body Wash, which like the lotion, makes your skin minty fresh and tingly. My hands are notoriously dry in the winter, and I haven't had to get prescription hand cream this year because of Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm. It smells way better (not even in the same ballpark) than the prescription stuff, is light, but still does the trick. All hail Aesop.

G: I am the laziest in this department. For body wash I either just use plain old Dove ivory soap, or the bar of soap I purchased at Rocky Mountain Soap Company a little while ago. Sometimes I use the Sephora birthday gift size (from a few years ago) of the body cleanser by Purity that smells like cake. I use unscented Lubriderm to moisturize my body and hands. That's it! 

S: Admittedly, I'm not great at doing my hair. I wash it too much to be able to do much else with it than wear it straight or up in a ponytail. Without any product, it tends to lie flat, which is a shame because I love a ton of volume. I tried out a bunch of products this year, but kept coming back to Aveda Volumizing TonicAveda Air Control Hair Spray, and Bumble & Bumble Dryspun Finish. They do the trick.

G: I gave up the flat iron this year in exchange for a curling iron. This curling iron in specific. Since making the switch my hair has looked SO much nicer and healthier. Reason being is that not only do I only wash my hair about once or twice a week, and I like to wear my hair sort of wavy (it is naturally pretty straight). So I wash it, dry it, curl it, and leave it for days. Less heat and better curls have resulted in much nicer hair for me overall. I use a little bit of Dove hairspray as well as Bumble & Bumble's Dryspun Finish after curling. Admittedly, I don't really like the Dryspun Finish and find it doesn't do too much for me. I prefer their Surf Spray for texture, and would extra prefer Oribe's Texturizing Spray which I refuse to buy again because of the price.

toronto, on/life update

This post is quite overdue. I’ve been trying to sit down and write about the experiences I’ve had this summer—from graduation, a short trip to Toronto with my family, driving across the country to move back in with my family, and now, starting to work full-time in something that could potentially become a career. There has just been SO much! So I’m going to start from the beginning.

Once the school term was finished, I spent my time working full time and volunteering. A lot of time spent with friends, enjoying the weather and the patios, as well as keeping a pretty full schedule with my usual commitments. In June, my parents flew out to Ottawa to attend my convocation. I graduated!!! I received my Bachelor’s degree and damn… it felt good. 5 years of hard work and a piece of paper with my name on it. Overall though, it felt good to have what is essentially a closing ceremony of my time at uOttawa and undergrad. My degree is now in a giant frame hanging on the wall. While some of this stuff may be cheesy for some (and trust me, the wall of my certificates and what not in my parents basement is sorta cheesy and hilarious to me!), I feel immensely proud for getting this degree and finishing school. It feels good.

During my parents visit to Ottawa, we decided to extend their visit and spent a week in Toronto. A short little trip that included walking around the city, going to the Royal Ontario Museum, eating, drinking and my favourite part—going to the Toronto Zoo! While there is a zoo in Calgary that I have been to many times in my life, the highlight of the Toronto Zoo was the pandas! Pandas are one of my favourite animals, and it felt pretty surreal to get to see them in real life. It seemed like they could just be people walking around in panda suits. I was so stoked to see them, and it felt like that could have been more of a highlight than walking the stage… ha!

After I returned to Ottawa, it was more of the same summer for me. Although it felt more as if I was tying up loose ends—seeing friends, and prepping for my big move. Well, that’s all for now! It was nice to write up a little update, and next time I’ll be sharing more about my cross country drive.


seattle, wa

I've got a major crush on the Pacific Northwest. I went to Seattle for the first time in 2011 with my mama on a little weekend expedition when I was still living in Victoria, BC. I've been back three times now, and I still can not get enough. This summer, my boyfriend and I headed out on a road trip to both Seattle and Portland in late August, and we were not disappointed.
Percy's & Co Space Needle
^^^ We brunched at Percy's and Co., and had the most amazing rum sticky bun.
The Negroni Experiment at Canon
^^^ Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium. This is the Negroni Experiment, which is three variations on the negroni. The boyfriend went with a Skull and Blackberries, which was made at the table and super cool.
Pike Place MarketAnalog Coffee
^^^ Obligatory Pike Place photo, plus Analog Coffee.
Skillet Diner, Take 1 Slate Coffee
^^^ We made two breakfast stops at Skillet Diner, and I got the same thing both times. That place is damn good. This is also my second time visiting Slate, albeit a year apart. It's my favourite stop for coffee in Seattle.
Bandera Mountain
Bandera Mountain Hot Cakes
^^^ Bandera Mountain. We were not prepared for this hike at all, but it was well worth it for the views. We had dessert and a drink at Hot Cakes after dinner at Delancey. We opted for the smoked chocolate whiskey cake, which was quite possibly one of the best things I've ever had in my mouth. I've gotta learn how to recreate that one.
Pike Place Market
EMP Museum The London Plane
^^^ The EMP Museum for a visit to the Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix exhibits, plus breakfast pre-hike at The London Plane. We both went with the biscuit and friend egg with bacon, mustard greens, and salt, as seen below.
The London Plane The London Plane
A few of our food favourites:

Revel. My second time back and still quite possibly my favourite meal of all time. Last year I got to experience it as a vegetarian and it was amazing, but the meat dishes are even better. Get one from every category and don't stinch on dessert.

Slate Coffee. The staff are knowledgeable as hell and also so friendly. We had the best iced coffee there, and I took a bag of the stuff home that I've been enjoying for weeks.

The Whale Wins. If the interiors of this place doesn't win your heart, the food certainly will. We had some pretty unreal roasted carrots here.

Skillet Diner. Like I said, we went back twice in the span of five days. Check out their Instagram for some major food porn.

Canon Whiskey & Bitters Emporium. If fancy ass drinks are your thing, Canon is the place for you. All we could keep saying is, "I wish we had a place like this in Calgary!"

- s

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