MY NIGHT TIME SKINCARE ROUTINE | HYDRATION & NOURISHING


Happy Sunday friends! Today I wanted to share my night time skincare routine because since I've last shared it, there have been quite a few changes. I would describe my skin as normal-oily, leaning more on the oily side, although that has definitely gotten better through my many years of trying different skincare routines.

At the moment, I would say that what I am most concerned about is hydration and nourishing my skin, especially at night. During the day, I keep my skincare routine quite simple, but I like to take the opportunity at night to use the skincare products that are just a bit too much for the daytime. Additionally, I feel like because at night all I do is go to sleep, I can reap the full benefits of my skincare products because I'm not wearing makeup or going outside, etc.

THE PRODUCTS

TREATMENT - On two or three nights out of the week, I'll put on a sheet mask before I go to bed. My favourite sheet mask brand is The Face Shop, and lately I've been using their The Solution Sheet Masks. There's a huge range to choose from for your specific skin concerns, but I just love adding that extra element before diving into my normal routine.
TONE - To tone, I'll spray two to three spritzes of Dr. Hauschka's Facial Toner to calm my skin and prep it for the rest of the products. This toner contains a blend of anthyllis and witch hazel so it smells absolutely divine!
SERUM - For my serum, I've been using Pixi's Rose Caviar Essence. This has encapsulated flower oils that melt into the skin when the serum is rubbed in. This serum feels soooo refreshing to apply, and it's meant to hydrate and restore the skin's brightness for a radiant look.


MOISTURIZE - I always add a face oil into my night time skincare routine, and the one I've been loving lately is Dermalogica's Barrier Defence Booster. This oil booster nourishes the skin, relieves dryness, and prevents future skin irritation. 
MOISTURIZE - To seal in everything, I've been using Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. This moisturizer is lightweight, watery, and it also has a slightly cooling affect on the skin. It's definitely a cult classic, and after using samples of it for months, I bit the bullet purchased a full size!
LIPS - To finish off, for my lips I've been using Fresh's Sugar Advanced Therapy lip balm. It has anti-aging ingredients which helps to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and is the perfect way to end my routine.

I love reading about other people's skincare routines so if you have one up, please let me know in the comments down below!

xoxo,
Nancy

MATCHA GREEN TEA LATTE | RECIPE


Happy Monday! What better way to start the week than with a hot cup of matcha?! You know how much I love lattes (evident through my Instagram posts and real life), and lately I've been making matcha lattes for my morning kick of antioxidants and caffeine. I can go on and on about the health benefits associated with matcha, but to just name a few... it boosts metabolism, is a natural detoxifier, is rich is fiber, vitamins C, zinc, and magnesium, prevents cancer, ageing, and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. At the end of the day, it's just good for you!

INGREDIENTS

for one serving
1 cup of almond milk
1 1/2 tsp of matcha powder
a pinch of black pepper
honey/agave to taste

This recipe is pretty straightforward, but this is how I make my lattes: I pour the almond milk into a small saucepan and once it starts simmering, I will put the matcha powder in and whisk it until everything is combined. For a kick of spice, I like to add a pinch of black pepper, and then I'll pour it into a mug and stir in about a teaspoon of honey.


For a really great latte, I recommend finding a milk that works for you. You can use soy, almond, regular milk, but whatever you use, make sure it is unsweetened and especially if you are using a nut milk, use one that has a high ratio of nuts to water, because I've used different types of almond milk in the past, and they never taste as rich. My favourite almond milk is the PC Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk. A lot of the times matcha powder used in cafes contains sweetener powder already milled into it, so it's best to buy it yourself and adjust the level of sweetness that suits your taste. 

Have a great week everyone! I hope you give this latte a try, and if you do, tag me in a photo!

- Nancy

PIXI MATTELAST LIQUID LIP | REVIEW & SWATCHES


Over the past few weeks, I've seen the Pixi MatteLast Liquid Lipsticks all over Instagram, and I could not wait to try them out myself. I'm also very excited that my very first beauty blog post of 2018 will be about these liquid lipsticks, because they have been so fun to wear and try out over the past few days since I've gotten them.

There are six shades in the range, and I got to try out five of them in the shades: Pastel Petal, Matte Beige, Really Rose, Evening Rose, and Au Naturelle. The shade I didn't try was Prettiest Pink. According to the website, these lipsticks are extremely longwearing and comfortable. They set to a matte finish, and the colours are "universally flattering and wearable".

L-R: Au Naturelle, Matte Beige, Pastel Petal, Really Rose, Evening Rose

Each liquid lipstick comes housed in thick plastic tubes with 6.9g/0.24 oz of product. Even though the packaging is small and compact, this is actually very similar to, if not more product than most drugstore liquid lipsticks. In terms of the applicator, it is a pointed applicator, which I really liked because it provides pretty precise application which can be difficult with a liquid lip product.


SHADE RANGE

Overall, I like the shade range that these liquid lipsticks come in, but they are also all very similar. The six shades are very pinky and nude, and even though they look different on the website, in real life, I don't think they are all that different. It would be nice to see a wider range, but they are definitely perfect MLBBs (My Lips But Better!). My favourite shades were Matte Beige, Really Rose, and Evening Rose.


APPLICATION

In terms of application, these liquid lipsticks are not the typical thick formula, but rather, quite thin and almost watery. If these lipsticks were offered in darker shades, I can see how they would be difficult to apply precisely, but since the shade range is very similar to natural lips, application is quite easy. They dry to a matte finish, and don't feel drying or flaky or all. I like how the finish feels velvety, lightweight and not cakey on the lips.


Each MatteLast Liquid Lip retails for $20.00 CAD which is on the steep end for a drugstore brand, but I do think if you want to try a liquid lipstick that is non-drying and highly pigmented, you might want to give one of these a try! You can find them online and at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada. 

Which shade would you like to try? Let me know in the comments down below!

- Nancy

Disclaimer: This post contains PR samples sent to me for review. All opinions are truthful and my own.

HOW I EDIT BLOG PHOTOS | BLOG TIPS SERIES #1


I recently asked on Instagram if any of you would like to see how I edit my blog/Instagram photos, and I got an overwhelming response of "yes" so I'm super excited to share this with you today. While I was thinking about how I would tackle this post, I realized that there is just too much information to put in an entire blog post. So instead, I'm going to create a Blog Tips Series, each one focusing on some different aspect of blogging, with an emphasis on photography, editing, and styling. In this first installment, I'll be going through the editing software I use and my three main tips for editing a photo.



THE SOFTWARE | PHOTOSCAPE v3.7


I think that people tend to think that I use a really fancy camera and Photoshop to edit my photos, but I actually own a really old digital camera (more on this later in the series) and although I dabbled in Photoshop in university, I actually have about 1% of an idea of how to use it. The program I have used since 2008 for any photo editing is Photoscape. I like to think of it as a simplified form of Photoshop, and it's also free! As you'll see down below, I keep things quite simple when it comes to adjusting a product shot, and Photoscape makes it really easy and fast for me to do so because everything is laid out very cleanly. Even if you don't know the correct "terms" of photo editing, I recommend taking a photo, and playing around with each feature to learn what they do.


TIP # 1| BRIGHTNESS

In the [Bright, Color] tab of Photoscape, I will always boost the brightness of my photo, even if I took it in good lighting. You'll find that all of the whites in the photo will brighten up, and the photo itself will look less dull. I always brighten more than I think the photo needs, because brightening paired with the next step will almost always guarantee a good edit.


TIP # 2 | CONTRAST

In the same tab, after adjusting the brightness of the photo, I always raise the contrast of the photo. This deepens any colours/shadows, and makes the colours look richer overall. I never raise the contrast more than about 20-30 because then the photo may look over-edited and for beauty bloggers especially, swatches can be skewed and look different in the photo from real life.


TIP # 3 | SHARPNESS

As a last step in my editing process, I like to adjust the sharpness of my photos up to levels 7-9. What this does is it makes all of the edges in the photo slightly sharper, and even though it's so minuscule, I really think that it's the small details like that makes the biggest difference. Adjusting the sharpness often fixes any blurring and especially if you don't have a great camera, this is something I'd definitely try to make the quality of a photo better.

I'm sure that if you're a blogger reading, these are things you are probably already doing on the editing program you use, but if you aren't, I hope you'll try these tips out! Every single photo you've seen on this blog has been edited using the three step method of brightness, contrast, and sharpness. In addition to editing photos though, I do think lighting and styling have a lot to do with the quality of photo you put out. I plan on talking about these topics in future blog posts.

In the meantime, below you'll find some before and after shots of photos you've seen on this blog. Hopefully they inspire you to create some pretty flatlays and experiment with different edits!




Thank you for reading! I'd love to hear what you do when editing blog photos/programs that you use. Let me know in a comment and also let me know if there's anything specific you want me to writ about when it comes to blog photos.

- Nancy

CHEESY BRIE & JAM BITES | RECIPE


A couple weeks ago, I baked up these brie and jam bites for our housewarming party! They were such a hit with our guests and I've been asked for the recipe a few times, so I thought I'd share it with you guys too. These only use a couple ingredients, and are super easy and fast to make, so they're perfect to whip up as an appetizer for a little dinner party or something simple just to snack on (I totally ate like, 10 of these after the photos were taken).

INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED

(For 24 Brie Bites!)
A sheet of puff pastry
Brie cheese
Fresh Rosemary
Jam (I used strawberry, but cranberry is amazing!)
Salt & pepper


1. Preheat your oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cooking oil into each individual mould of a mini cupcake pan. 
2. Cut up the wheel of brie into at least 24 individual cubes. Chop up about two sprigs of Rosemary, and leave some extra aside for a garnish at the end.
3. Using defrosted puff pastry, unroll a sheet and divide the sheet into 24 squares. Fit each square into the moulds, creating little cups for the cheesy filling.
4. Fill each cup with a cube of brie, half a teaspoon of jam, a sprinkle of the Rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
5. Place the tray in the oven, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

To finish, sprinkle the Rosemary that was put aside from the beginning, and allow them to cool slightly. These bites are best served warm, and go great with a glass of wine too ;)





If you try out this recipe, I'd love to see it! Feel free to tag me on Instagram or Twitter and let me know if you'd like to see more recipe ideas. I'm trying something new out this year and incorporating different content into this blog, and I'm really excited to see where it'll go.

xx,
Nancy

GOODBYE 2017 | A YEAR OF MEMORIES

Another year has passed! Like any year, 2017 was a year full of new opportunities, challenges, adventures, and big milestones. One of my biggest milestones this year was consistently being able to attend at least one blogging related event every month, sometimes attending up to two or three. I do have a full-time and a secondary part-time job, so at times I struggled between trying to find the right balance, however, some of my favourite events this year included Joiy's sparkling wine launch, Toronto's Light Fest, and Wet N Wild product launches! This year, I was able to connect and form friendships with so many more Toronto bloggers work with different brands to create much more content than I could have ever done on my own.

A big goal I had going into 2017 was attending Generation Beauty as a Creator, and if you remember from a few months back, I got to do just that! I got to attend the cocktail party, meet some wonderful people, meet Michelle Phan, and attended the convention with some of the loveliest blogger girls ever. That was definitely one of the big highlights of my year and I'm looking forward to more events like that in 2018.

Some other things I did in 2017 was travel to California for a few days, which was super fun considering the most travelling I've done the past few years is fly back and forth between Toronto and Calgary. My favourite places were seeing an amazing view of San Francisco at the top of Twin Peaks, relaxing on the Santa Monica beach, and visiting the Griffith Observatory. 

Lastly, to end on a few more things I did this year... supporting one of my dearest friends through the Cashmere fashion show/challenge, moving back downtown to an area I love with a person I love even more, continuing to improve and learn with this digital content creating age, and of course, seeing my family in Calgary!

I'm publishing this post a little earlier as come New Years Eve, I'm going to be on a plane flying back to Toronto from Calgary. So, feel free to scroll on and see some of my favourite memories of 2017 in black and white form. I hope you all have a wonderful New Years, stay safe and don't drink and drive! 

All the best,
Nancy xx






































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