Beauty Trash: July 2016

Empty Products 2016

Another quarter, another round of my beauty trash!  I’ve changed the name of this re-occuring post to Beauty Trash from Used & Abused because it didn’t really click with me how inappropriate that could be perceived.  Eek.  Call me naive.   Anyway  I’ll get my repeats out of the way first thing, and then it’s on to new products I used up!


Batiste Dry Shampoo

Batiste Dry Shampoo: Only 3 bottles this time – however I’m really loving the new Ella Henderson scent!  I’m hoping this isn’t limited edition and it sticks around permanently!

Repurchase?: Yes

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: One of the only hand creams that I regularly repurchase and always have to have on hand.  I go through a lot of these in the Winter because when my hands get really dry, my eczema tends to flare up but this keeps it in check.  I absolutely love this stuff!

Repurchase: Yes

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water: My favourite micellar water, hands down.  Full review here.

Repurchase?: Yes

Delectable Super Smoothing Body Polish

be Delectable Super Smoothing Body Polish (Strawberries & Cream): This is my second “tube” of this scrub but the Strawberries & Cream scent is divine.  It reminds me of a Strawberry Shortcake doll (do you remember those?) More details on why I like it here.

Repurchase?: Yes


CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion - PM

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion – PM: I really enjoyed this night-time moisturizer and it lasted me a long time – almost a year!  I appreciated that it included active ingredients such as Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid and I actually found I experienced similar results to one of my favourite moisturizers – Peter Thomas Roth’s 10% Glycolic Acid moisturizer.  It left my skin feeling moisturized and seemed to decrease the amount of redness I’d experience after washing my face.  The only drawback is that this does include parabens, which I’m not crazy about.  I haven’t repurchased it yet but I expect to at some point.

Repurchase?: Yes

Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Lotion: I’ve had this for a while and barely used it but unfortunately it’s expired so I chucked it.  I didn’t mind this but I don’t think I’d repurchase it – while it did its job as a sunscreen, it took a really long time to absorb and left my skin feeling a little greasy.  I had a really hard time trying to make this work under foundation so I wouldn’t repurchase it.

Repurchase?: No

Sephora Total Purity & Cleanse Gel

Sephora Total Purify & Cleanse Gel: I loved this extra gentle face wash – my only gripe is that it didn’t remove my eye makeup very well.  My skin always felt so soft, yet clean after using this and my sensitive skin was just in love with it.  It had a light green tea scent that I found calming and soothing when used before bed.  I’m currently using some other cleansers but I wouldn’t hesitate to re-purchase this in the future.

Repurchase: Yes

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser: This was just okay for me; it was gentle and I had no issues with irritation but I wasn’t crazy about the light cucumber fragrance (I hate cucumbers and anything cucumber-scented).

Repurchase: No

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (Mild – Dry/Combination): Another cleanser sample that I was just ‘meh’ about; it did the job but it didn’t do anything special and I found my face felt a little tight after using it.

Repurchase: No

Purlisse pur-delicate Gentle Soy Milk Cleanser:  This was a sample I received in a previous Luxe box; the first few times I used this I actually quite liked it – it seemed to take all of my makeup off easily, even eye makeup.  Then I stopped using it and went back to a few weeks later and it didn’t seem to work as well.  So I’m not sure what changed?  Regardless, it appears to be discontinued, not that I could see myself paying $36 for it anyway.

Repurchase: No

The Face Shop Character Mask

The Face Shop Character Mask – Moisturizing (not available online): This was also included in a previous Luxe Box and I was excited to use it because it looked hilarious.  And it was, but I didn’t really feel like it did anything but I haven’t found a sheet mask that has.  My skin felt moisturized for about an hour after and that was about it.

Repurchase?: No

Kirkland Daily Facial Towelettes

Kirkland Daily Facial Towelettes (available in-store): I use these to remove swatches and clean my countertops and makeup vanity.  I do not put these anywhere near my face because these are beyond irritating to my skin.  Read more about it here.

Repurchase?: No


Frilly Lilly Shea Butter Creme

Frilly Lilly Shea Butter Creme (Argentinian Lemon): I picked this up at a local esthetics salon by the same name and at first I wasn’t sure about the lemon scent but it totally grew on me and I find it perfect for summer!  I also loved how it didn’t leave my hands feeling greasy or slick – it just moisturized them nicely.

Repurchase: Yes

L’Occitane Hand Gel Creme (Citrus Verbena):  Another hand cream that smells absolutely amazing!  This smells so fresh and clean and the gel formula is cooling and refreshing.  I’ve already bought another tube of this but I’m not going to lie, the $12 for 1 oz price tag kind of hurts given that this only lasts me a couple of weeks.  But L’Occitane has sucked me in so I’ll probably still keep buying them!

Repurchase: Yes

St. Ives Fresh Hydration Lotion

St.Ives Fresh Hydration Lotion (Naturally Energizing): I’m not sure if St.Ives is no longer carrying this particular scent as it’s not showing up on their website (just on Amazon) but if that’s the case I’m kind of disappointed because I really liked it.  I prefer body lotions that aren’t too thick but still really moisturizing and that describes this perfectly – except it’s in a handy-dandy spray format.  I’m using up some other body lotions right now but I will be picking up another one of these at some point.

Repurchase: Yes

Hawaiian Blend Aloe After Sun Lotion: I’ve had this for years and finally used it up – and I’m pretty sad about it.  This is such a great product to apply after you’ve spent a day in the sun, or if you’ve had a burn and need something to soothe your skin and prevent peeling.  I find that applying aloe vera gel helps cool your skin but doesn’t do much to moisturize it, which if you’re burnt, you really need.  I’ll definitely be picking up another bottle of this the next time I’m in Hawaii!

Repurchase: Yes

Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint Body Lotion (no longer available): Another oldie, I don’t even want to know how many years I’ve had this lying around for.  I finally decided to use it up and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.  This actually provides a pretty good amount of moisture!  Plus the cooling peppermint sensation was kind of nice too.

Repurchase: Yes

Cake Supremely Rich Bath & Shower Foam

Ombra Aromatic Foam Bath (Eucalyptus): One of the first things I do when cold weather or the flu hits is go out and pick up this bubble bath.  It’s fantastic for soothing sore and aching muscles and the eucalyptus oil helps you breathe easier.

Repurchase: Yes

Cake Milk Made Supremely Rich Bath & Shower Froth:  I’ve gotten to the point now where I literally cannot live without this stuff – I always have a bottle on hand to replace the one I’ve just finished up.  I use this mostly as a bubble bath, but it works really well as a shower gel too.  They have various scents but this one might be my favourite because it’s so unique – it smells like whipped cream tastes, with a hint of raspberry.  Plus it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth.

Repurchase: Yes

Rocky Mountain Soap Bubble Bath – Vanilla Ginger (no longer available): Can you tell I like bubble bath?  This was a Christmas gift and I enjoyed it I felt like I was bathing in gingerale.  The only drawback was that this was pretty liquidy so I used it pretty fast.  I wouldn’t purchase this regularly but it’s nice as a treat once and a while.

Repurchase: Yes

Mitchum Unscented Gel Anti-Perspirant

Mitchum Gel Anti-Perspirant (Unscented): This is the only anti-perspirant/deodorant that I’ve found that works for me; TMI – I tend to sweat a lot but I can actually wear this every other day and get away with it.  I’ve tried others and they just don’t compare.

Repurchase: Yes

Britney Spears Fantasy Perfume

Britney Spears Fantasy Perfume: Yes it’s Britney Spears perfume but it’s awesome.  Plus it’s super affordable and lasts all day.

Repurchase: Yes


Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Smashbox Photofinish Primer (Blemish Control): I was a little afraid to use this because I expected it to be drying given that it contains salicylic acid; it wasn’t but I didn’t find it did anything to keep my oily t-zone under control.  If you have blemishes and dry skin, this might work okay for you but I have other primers that work much better for me.

Repurchase?: No

CoverGirl Oh Sugar! Lip Balm (Cupcake): My initial thoughts on this really haven’t changed much – you can read them here.

Repurchase?: No

Better Than Sex Mascara: I still really like this mascara but I might be falling slightly out of love with it.  While it checks every box (lengthening, thickening, volumizing, separating) the flaking and smudging are starting to drive me nuts.  I’m tempted to try the waterproof version to see if it’s any better.  I’m currently using up another sample size of this so I’m going to finish that one up before I decide if I should purchase it again.

Repurchase?: Undecided

LipSmackers Lip balm (Strawberry Coconut / Dr. Pepper): Technically these should fall under Repeats but I forgot to split them out in the photo, so they’re down here.  Full review on Dr. Pepper here. Strawberry Coconut performed the same but it didn’t have the tint that Dr. Pepper has.

Repurchase?: Yes


Beauty Blender

Beauty Blender: I’ve said before how I didn’t expect to love my Beauty Blender as much as I do.  I bought it because of the hype but I truly feel it does live it up to it.  I’ve tried other versions and I find that they work fine for the most part, but they’re just not quite as good as this. This one lasted me a whole year; make note that I didn’t use it every single day but I took good care of it and cleaned it regularly and thoroughly.  I know they recommend to replace it every 3 months but out of pure curiosity I cut my open before I threw it out and it literally looked brand new inside.  My personal opinion is that if you take good care of it, one can last you way past the 3 month mark.

Repurchase?: Yes

Sephora Eyelash Curler: I’ve been wanting to get rid of this eyelash curler for a while and it sealed its fate one day a few weeks ago.  I went to curl my lashes with it and one of the silicone covers flew off, causing my hand to slip and resulting in a handful of lashes being ripped out.  #ouch  That’s my biggest complaint about this curler – the silicone covers were always coming off.  I’ve since purchased a replacement (Tarte’s version) and I haven’t looked back.

Repurchase?: No

Wow that took a while, I think I need to do these more often.  What products have you finished using lately?

Review: Furkid – May 2016 Box

Furkid May 2016 Box Review

Happy Tuesday!

Today I’m reviewing another Furkid (aka Paws & Play by Furkid Subscription Box); I had actually planned for the April box to be the last we received but thanks to their auto-renewal service, I was subscribed for another 3 whole months at a cost of $133.95 CAD. Originally I signed up for a  3 month subscription that began in February and ended in April – or so I thought.  I failed to read the (very) fine print that stated that the subscription would auto-renew on the 1st of the month following the end of my original subscription, unless I cancelled prior to.  This irked me given that I had only received our April box on April 28.  So I was given 2 whole days to decide if I wanted to renew my subscription?   Plus, the fact that it renewed not only for 1 month but for 3 was a bit shocking to me, especially given that I received no notification whatsoever that it was auto-renewing!  Unfortunately this seems to be a common practice amongst many subscription boxes, so take my advice and read the fine print before signing up so you know exactly what you’re getting into.  I did share my concerns with the owner but I was basically told I was out of luck and offered some additional items in my May box. I debated sharing my review given how unhappy I am but I felt I could still be objective, plus I have two more of them coming and it means I get to gratuitously share pics of Maggie, so I figured I might as well.  😉 So let’s get into it:

Furkid May 2016 Review

First up, the product Card; the value of this month’s “box” is equal to $50.98 CAD.  Keep in mind that my subscription for 3 months cost me $133.95 CAD which equates to $44.65 CAD per box, so the value of this box is just slightly over what I paid for it.DIGZ Peanut Butter Smash Cookie

DIGZ Peanut Butter Smash Cookie:  As I’ve stated before, one of the reasons why I signed up for this subscription was due to the fact that it was supposed to be customizable; Maggie doesn’t like hard/crunchy cookies (#princess) so our profile states soft cookies only.  Yet we still continue to receive hard cookies.  This wasn’t included in the product card so I’m not sure if everyone received this or if this was one of our “bonus” items.  Regardless, we’ll be passing this on to one of our doggy friends.

Caru Soft & Tasty Venison Recipe Baked Bites

Caru Soft & Tasty Venison Recipe Baked Bites:  These are soft and chewy and Maggie was pretty happy with them.  I really liked that they’re all natural, do not contain any wheat, gluten, corn, soy or animal by-products AND they contain no ingredients from China.  These appear to retail for about $7-8 US; again, this is not listed on the product card so I’m assuming this was another bonus item.  Overall we were pleased with them.

Earth Rated Leash Dispenser

Earth Rated Leash Dispenser with Bags: We actually buy these bags regularly, but I’m not crazy about the dispenser (too bulky) so we’ll likely give this away too.

Etta Says Beef Liver Treat

Etta Says Beef Liver Treat – This was a small little individual treat (assuming it’s a sample which is why it wasn’t included in the product card). Maggie gobbled it up.  No complaints.

N/A Nothing Added 100% Canadian Atlantic Pollock

N/A Nothing Added 100% Canadian Atlantic Pollock:  Maggie loves anything fish and these are no exception.  They stink to high heaven though, I hold my breath when I give her one.  Love that these are 100% Canadian.  Happy with this addition to the box.

Digz Prime Lung Steaks

Digz Prime Lung Beef Steaks: I always struggle with giving Maggie various animal body parts/organs but of course, like most dogs, she absolutely loves them.  These are actually pretty hard and crunchy but if I break them into smaller pieces, she eats them.  We’ll take the good with the bad on these.

Kong Bendeez Toy

Kong Bendeez Toy: Kong toys are expensive and are generally good quality however ours appears to be broken.  The instructions state that it should squeak when you bend/twist or shake it but it does nothing of the sort.  As a result Maggie doesn’t have a lot of interest in it.

So overall, I’m slightly happier with May’s box when compared to April’s but that’s only because of the bag of chewy treats that was our bonus item. Otherwise the only item that we would have been happy with would have been the Pollock.  One down, two to go!

Until next time!


Read our previous Furkid/Paws & Play box reviews below:

February 2016 Box

March 2016 Box

April 2015 Box

Pick 3: Essential Summer Beauty Products

Essential Summer Beauty Products

When summer hits the last thing I want to be doing is wasting my day inside doing a full face of makeup – only to have it sweat off my face a few hours later.  I like to keep my makeup routine simple and quick most days, especially if it’s hot outside.  In the second installment of my Pick 3 series, I’m sharing with you my 3 essential beauty products for summer!

  1. Facial sunscreen: Before my trip for Mexico in May, I was on the hunt for a good facial sunscreen.  I ended up with Clinique’s City Block Sheer Oil Free Daily Face Protector.  I wore it everyday while in Mexico and I love it!  It has a light tint to it, so I feel comfortable skipping foundation if I so choose – but it also works fantastic as a primer under foundation.  It’s also NOT GREASY which can be really hard to come by in sunscreens, specifically ones for your face.  Another bonus – it’s safe for sensitive skin (that would be me!) as it contains only physical sunscreens (not chemical); I haven’t experienced any breakouts or irritation from using this which for me, is extremely rare.  Highly recommend this!
  2. Mascara: It’s a rare day when I don’t leave the house wearing mascara – even if I’m heading to the beach/pool.  I’m naturally fair so my lashes are almost invisible without it.  One of my new favourites is Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes mascara. This is another product I brought with me to Mexico and I was so happy with it!  I’d wear this during the day when we were at the beach and believe me when I was say it was HOT and extremely humid (like 40+ degrees Celsius).  I usually bring a waterproof mascara primer with me for beach days but I forgot it this trip and figured I’d end up with racoon eyes by the end of the day.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that was not the case at all – my mascara stayed put all day!  Now I wasn’t dunking my face in water or anything but I think that given that this is not a waterproof mascara, that’s pretty impressive.  In addition it gives my lashes some amazing length and a good amount of volume, although I would prefer that it thickens them a bit more.  I did find this to clump a little in the beginning but now that it’s dried out, that problem seems to have disappeared.  Given all it’s benefits, this has become my go-to summer mascara.
  3. Blush: I really struggled with this 3rd one – blush or lip gloss?  In the end I went with blush because if I’m being honest I can’t always be bothered with applying lip gloss every couple of hours, but blush is usually a once a day type of thing.  Or at least it should be – which is why NARS Orgasm blush made my list.  I’ve worn this blush for years and I know that many aren’t fond of its glittery-ness (#notaword) but on me, it just looks shimmery and glowy.  Plus the longevity of this cannot be beat – it’s the longest-wearing blush I own, which is important for those hot summer days.  And the peachy pink shade looks great on my naturally pale skin or when I’m lucky enough to be sporting a hint of colour.  There’s a reason this is a cult classic.

What products would make your top 3 list for the Summer months?  Let me know below!

Thanks for stopping by!

DIY Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe

We don’t visit the Olive Garden very often, but when we do, I make sure to load up on their salad and breadsticks.  I honestly could drink their salad dressing straight from the bottle – it’s so good! I’ve been trying for years to dupe their dressing recipe and never really been successful.  Until now!  I found this recipe on and thought I’d give it a try.  It was close, but I made a few small modifications and I personally think this as close as I’m going to get to the real thing.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar (or Cider Vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon of White Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of Mayonaise
  • 1 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Pepperonicini juice
  • 2 tablespoons of Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Garlic Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning

Combine ingredients into a blender, or a salad dressing shaker and mix until fully blended.  I personally use this salad dressing shaker and I love it because I can just throw all the ingredients in and give it a good shake, and I’m good to go.

I like to double the recipe and I find that the dressing lasts me a week of salads for lunch; I tend to keep it simple for myself, but if I was making it for a group and I wanted an authentic Olive Garden salad experience, I’d pour this over a mix of iceberg and romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers, black olives, red onion, matchstick carrots, chopped purple cabbage, and croutons.  Top with freshly shredded Romano cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.  And maybe add some warm breadsticks too…;)

Adapted from  

Enjoy! 🙂

This & That – June 26

this &

So have you ever scheduled a post for the wrong date?  Because that’s what I did – I swore I had posted this last Sunday…turns out I had scheduled it for July 18 instead of June 18.  Groan…

What’s been going on with me:

A bit of a change this week – I’m posting my This & That post on Sunday instead of Friday.  At some point I’m going to get this “scheduling posts’ things figured out…

I really thought that I was going to skip allergy season this year…how optimistic of me.  They’ve kicked in this week, albeit slightly – but I absolutely hate the itchy ears and throat and dry eyes.  😦

Have you seen?

This is a fun quiz to discover your personal decorating style; I got Glam Girl which is actually really accurate.

Chrissy P’s Finding Dory Tutorial...just amazing!

Pioneer Woman’s French Dip Sandwiches – I’ve gotta try these!

Did you hear?

I’ve always wondered what happened to gum if/when you swallow it…

Big Brother Season 18 started June 22 – my summer guilty pleasure.  Did you watch?

Recent purchases…

Ikea Oftast Dinnerwear – I’ve been wanting some plain white dinner wear for a while now and I came across an open stock collection at Superstore that I really liked.  The price was more than reasonable ($3.00 per plate or something) but for whatever reason, I didn’t pull the trigger.  Then when I was at Ikea a few weeks ago, I saw the exact same plates for $0.79.  So I picked up a 4 piece place setting and I’ve been using them and I’m sold – they’re awesome!  I will be picking up another set for sure.

Glasholm/Finnvard Table: I also puchased this table/desk from Ikea on my recent trip; I’ve been looking for a desk for a while and at first I wasn’t sure about the lack of storage on this one – but so far, it’s been working really well!  I love the patterned glass top!

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil: I referred to this in my most recent Loves & Letdown post; I finished up my sample size bottle and I absolutely needed the full size.  This stuff is amazing – bonus that they sell refills and they are actually less than re-purchasing the bottle again #whataconcept.

Currently coveting…

Gap Tencel Embroidered Romper: I’m kind of obsessed with rompers lately; love the embroidered detail on this one.

Sam Edelman Georgiana Leather Band Sandals: I typically stick with black or brown sandals but really like this combo of ivory and rose gold.

The Secret Life of Pets: I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for months – July 8 can’t come fast enough!

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Father’s Day Gift Guide (Last Minute!)


Father's Day Gift Guide

You guys, Father’s Day is THIS Sunday?  Are you prepared?  Did you get your Dad a fantastic gift?  If you didn’t and need to,  I’ve got a few last minute gift ideas for you:

  1. Rocky Mountain Soap Men’s Stuff Gift Set – $38.25 CAD: Because Rocky Mountain Soap products are natural and toxin free!
  2. Fossil 65mm Wraparound Gradient Sunglasses – $70 CAD: Because Fossil makes the best sunglasses and there’s no better time to gift sunglasses than the present!
  3. Cufflinks Inc. Iron Man Cufflinks – $69.50 CAD: Because how cool are Ironman cufflinks?
  4. The Tie Bar Dot Silk Tie & Cotton Pocket Square Style Box – $40.37 CAD: Because a tie is a classic Father’s Day gift – bonus that this one comes with a matching pocket square!
  5. HS Soda Pop Crew Socks – Sale! $10 CAD:  Because fun and funky socks are such a fun way to add some personality to a dull suit.
  6. Titlelist Personalized Pro V1 Double Digit Golf Balls – $62.99: Because my Dad is golf lover and how neat would it be to present him with an entire box of personalized golfballs with his initials on them?
  7. Corkcicle Wine Chiller – SALE! $20.99: Because who wants to wait around for wine to chill?
  8. Picnic Time Fiero BBQ Tool Set –  Because it’s BBQ season!
  9. Home Studio Dream Hammock ChairSale! $449 CAD: Because…okay, this is expensive but OMG does this not look like the most amazing chair ever?  If you have a big budget or lots of siblings I feel like this would be the best Father’s Day present ever!
  10. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye – price varies ($35 – $45 CAD): Because if your Dad likes rye/whisky, this is apparently one of the best (my husband and Dad agree).  It’s not easy to find so if you see some, scoop it up!  Bonus points for it being Canadian!
  11. Godiva 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate with Almonds: Because you can’t go wrong with chocolate and Godiva is some of the best out there!
  12. NESPRESSO Nespresso VertuoLine Black – SALE! $187.49 CAD: Because how convenient is this if Dad’s a coffee drinker?  I don’t drink coffee but if I did I’d be all over one of these!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend and a Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

Loves & Letdowns – May 2016

Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe; The Rosie Project; Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick Airy Fairy; Tarte Tartetist Lash Paint; L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil; L'Occitane Hand Cream Gel

I haven’t done a Loves & Letdowns post for a while and decided it was time.   I find that doing them on a monthly basis was a bit of a struggle for me – I don’t always have a long list of things that I loved (or let me down) so every couple of months seems to work better.  Without further adieu, here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil: My mom passed a sample size of this shower oil on to me a while back and I decided to break it out back in April.  I’ve been using it several times a week and I LOVE it.  I put a drop or two directly on my skin and rub it in and it produces a light lather.  It leaves my skin feeling smooth and moisturized but not greasy; I particularly like using it to shave my legs as it leaves them feeling so silky.  I much prefer this over the Almond Supple Skin Oil that I purchased at the Sephora sale, and I most definitely plan on purchasing the full size.

Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara: I received this sample at the Sephora sale and I’ve been using it off and on since (you can read my first impressions review here).  Honestly, my opinion hasn’t changed, I still really like this mascara, although the packaging isn’t the best.  I thought for sure it would dry out quickly given the design of the tube, but surprisingly it’s still going strong!  Therefore I’ve added this to my purchase list, which is big considering I rarely splurge on non-drugstore mascaras.

Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe: I just did a full review on this so I bother repeating myself.  It’s awesome and I highly recommend it.  I’ve been using it non-stop for the last 2 months so it definitely deserves a spot on here.

L’Occitane Citrus Verbena Hand Cream Gel: I go through hand cream more than any other product and I love trying new ones.  This smells amazing; it’s so fresh and clean and refreshing.  The fact that it’s a gel means it isn’t intensely moisturizing but it works great for me in the summer months when my hands aren’t quite so dry.  Plus the gel leaves behind a nice cooling effect.

brow stylist

L’Oreal Brow Plumper by Brow Stylist (Transparent): I was in need of a new brow gel and given how impressed I was with the Brow Stylist Definer, I thought this would also be worth a try.  And it is great!  The small brush makes it super easy to get a precise application, while the formula keeps my brows in place without leaving them crunchy or sticky.

Swatch of Rimmel’s Airy Fairy

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick (Airy Fairy): I picked this up after hearing Young Wild & Polished says its one of her favourite drugstore lipsticks, and I can see why.  It’s a great pinkish nude shade with a maeuve undertone and the slightest hint of gold shimmer.  I find the formula kind of drying so I do make sure to coat my lips with balm before wearing this and before re-applying.  Despite that I really like how this looks on me – often nudes can wash me out but I think this one works!

Blaze Pizza: Pizza is the one thing that I feel like I could eat every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of.  I LOVE thin crust pizza but it can be hard to find places that make it right!  Enter Blaze Pizza!  This is a chain restaurant that has just started to expand into Canada.  I’ve eaten here a few times and the pizza is delicious!  The best part is you can customize your pizza and put whatever toppings you want on it for only $10.45 CAD.  I only wish the location was closer so I could eat here more often.

The Rosie Project: I read this book while on vacation and it was the perfect beach read!  It’s a hilarious account of a socially awkward genetics professor on his quest to find love.  I couldn’t help but picture Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory as Don here – way too many similarities!  If you just want to sit back and read something easy yet enjoyable, I’d recommend this.

And a few letdowns….

Monthly Letdowns - May 2016

China Glaze Let’s Jam: I need help, I cannot stop buying nail polish!  I really need to start wearing ones I already own before I buy more, but when I saw this collection swatched on various Youtube channels, I knew had to try at least one.  By the time I found the collection, there weren’t many colours left – not that I was disappointed about scoring this one – it looked gorgeous.  Unfortunately it was a huge disappointment.  It’s a lilac purple shade with a blue shift but the blue shift is barely noticeable, except in certain light.  And I think I got a wonky formula – this took FOREVER to dry, no matter how long I let it set.  I literally applied this and 5 hours later my nails nicked and smudged, even though it felt completely dry to the touch.  I’ve tried applying it numerous times with the same result.  I have zero patience for formulas like this!

Mitchum SensitiveSkin Soft Solid Deodorant: I typically wear Mitchum deodorant because it’s the only one that is effective enough to wear every other day.  I really don’t like wearing deodorants with aluminum in them but I’m a big-time sweater and I just can’t go the natural route.  Because I have super sensitive skin, I couldn’t resist giving this a try.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work anywhere near as well as my regular Mitchum Gel.  I have to put several thick layers on for it to work, and if it’s a hot day out, it only lasts for a few hours max.  I also have to apply it daily, I can’t skip a day like I can with the gel.  I also hate that it’s a white solid; it doesn’t dry completely so I end up with white marks all over my clothes.  Fail!

L’Occitane Verbena Icy Lip Balm: This was an impulse buy when I was picking up the Verbena hand gel; unfortunately I just don’t find this moisturizes my lips at all.  It has a super thin and lightweight formula and it just kind of sinks into my lips and leaves no benefit behind.  In addition, the scent is almost non-existent.  Wouldn’t recommend this.

What made your favourites list this month? Let me know below!

Have a great day!

Travel Diary: Secrets Maroma Beach

Secrets Maroma Beach

This post is a lot overdue…mainly because I forgot how much time and effort goes into putting together a travel post.  I like to put a lot of detail and photos into my travel blogs so I guess I have no one to blame but myself.  If you appreciate detail, be prepared for an extra-long post.  If you just want the coles notes version, you can scroll to the bottom and read my bullet list of the pro’s, con’s and in-betweens.  Enjoy!

A little over a week ago we returned from a one week stay at Secrets Maroma Beach (SMB); this was our third time staying at a Secrets Resort.  Last year we stayed at Secrets Playa Mujeres (SPM) in Mexico and quite a few years before that, at Secrets St. James in Jamaica.  If you read my review, you’re aware that I was not impressed with SPM so I wasn’t too keen to visit another Secrets resort, especially not long after our poor experience.  However, when we started looking at resorts a few months ago, we found a great deal via Expedia on SMB and because this is a resort we’ve wanted to visit for a while, we couldn’t resist booking it.

We flew out early on Saturday morning via WestJet and our flight was uneventful.  Unfortunately we arrived 20 minutes behind schedule and multiple other flights had just landed as well.  Which meant we spent 40 minutes in the immigration line; it was hot and humid with what felt like zero air conditioning.  The joys of traveling!  Eventually we did make it through the line and out to the transportation area.

We had pre-booked private transportation with Canada Transfers prior to our trip; when we arrived, a representative was standing with our names on a sign and directed us to our vehicle, which was a Chevy Suburban.  They provided us each with a bottle of water and then we were on our way.  Our driver was fine – not the friendliest and he pulled out his cell phone a few times while driving which always rubs me the wrong way.  On the way back our driver was much more personable and friendly.  At the end of the day they got us from point A to B and back safely and comfortably so it worked.

Checking in:

Fountain at the Front Desk - Secrets Maroma Beach
Fountain at the Front Desk – Secrets Maroma Beach

We arrived at the resort, were greeted by name and began the check in process in the front desk area.  Similar to other Secrets resorts, we were offered cool towels and glasses of champagne.  The lobby was really pretty – it had a large sculptural water fountain in the centre and large wall foundations that flanked the check-in and concierge areas.  Check-in was fairly simple but I knew what was coming – the Secrets Vacation Club (aka “timeshare pitch).  Last time, we sat through it begrudgingly, but this time I wasn’t going to let that happen.  We had just spent almost our entire day traveling and I had zero patience spending another 1/2 hour of my time listening to sales pitch for something a) I’m not remotely interested in, and b) cannot afford (I’ve heard rumours that this program costs up to $80K).  So when our check-in agent introduced us to our “VIP Concierge”, I somewhat bluntly and firmly stated that we had gone through the timeshare pitch last year and were not interested, and just wanted to get to our room.  I think I caught the agent off guard a bit (he made sure to correct me that this was not a timeshare program….ok?) and stated that we had to sign off on not wanting to participate in the “pitch”.  This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me but we did it anyway and we left to find out room.  Secrets really needs to remove this as part of their check-in process!

Rating: Poor (based on timeshare pitch)

Our room:

We were in building 14 which was a short 5 minute walk from the main building (which housed most of the restaurants, a lobby bar, night club, etc.)  When we booked, a swimout suite was the only room type available.  We had always wanted to give a swim-out suite a try so we were excited to see what it was like.

Our room was beautiful!  The bathroom consisted of a separate shower, jacuzzi tub, water closet and vanity with two sinks.  Further inside was a stocked mini bar (stocked with pop and Coronas), a four-poster King bed, armoire with a flat screen tv, and beyond that, a desk and chair and small, built-in sofa and coffee table.  A set of patio doors led to a small patio area with another built-in sofa and lounge chair and a long pool that was shared with approximately 11 other guest rooms.  We were very impressed with the room.  It was very clean, well-appointed and luxurious.

Our concierge stopped by and quickly showed us the various features of the room.  We noticed that our safe was locked from the previous guest so he stated he would arrange to have someone come by and fix that for us asap.  We waited for 20 minutes after he left, but no one showed up so we called the front desk.  Thankfully within 5 minutes we had someone at our room who was able to fix this for us.  Phew, now vacation could officially begin!

Rating: Excellent


Secrets Maroma Beach - Teppanyaki restaurant
Dragon made of rice at the Teppanyaki restaurant

Food in Mexico can really be hit and miss but you can’t go expecting 5 star gourmet meals every night.  However, I must say that their buffet breakfast is fantastic and contains pretty much everything and anything you could ever want, including an omelette bar, crepe bar, smoothie and juice bar, fresh fruit, cereal, pastries, pancakes, waffles, hashbrowns, etc. If you can’t find something to eat there, you won’t be happy anywhere.  I was very impressed with their breakfast, especially compared to SPM’s last year.

For lunch there were a few options including the buffet, the Seaside Grill which offered pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and the like, and the pool grill which featured a different cuisine every day. Sometimes it was Italian with pizzas and pastas, other times it was BBQ with burgers and hotdogs.  It was nice to have more than one option for lunch for sure.  We ate mostly at the pool grill, just because it was was most convenient to the beach.  We both had some decent burgers at the Seaside Grill and really enjoyed the nachos at the pool grill.  We ate at the buffet once and it was good as well but it was a bit of a hike across the resort to it and we were lazy so we stuck the options that were closer to the beach.

The restaurants that stood out the most for dinner were the French, Mexican and Asian Teppanyaki.  We shared a delicious cheese fondue at the French restaurant and I really enjoyed my beef tenderloin.  Service was a bit slow but it’s not like we had anywhere to go, so no big deal.  At the Mexican restaurant we were very impressed with our chicken enchiladas and fajitas and the service was fantastic – prompt and so friendly.  The Italian restaurant wasn’t so great – both my tagliatalle pasta and D’s chicken parmesan lacked flavour.  We also made a decision to eat outside which I wouldn’t recommend as the mosquitos were really bad in that particular area.  Thankfully they had cans of mosquito repellent available for use.

We were able to get reservations for the Teppanyaki option at the Asian restaurant on our last night.  We sat at a table with 5 other couples and enjoyed a 4 course meal, with the main course cooked in front of us by a dedicated Tepanyaki chef.  The food was good, although it was more about the experience as there’s lots of theatrics involved with the cooking process.  We also visited the non-Teppanyaki side of the Asian restaurant and the food there was decent as well, although not our favourite.

We found that the alcoholic drinks were slightly watered down, although nowhere near the levels that we experienced at SPM.  The problem with the high levels of humidity is that any frozen drinks or ice in drinks began melting in a matter of minutes, so drinks were diluted pretty quickly.  At the end of the day it did take quite a few more drinks before D or I started feeling any affects from them, so I think there’s probably something going on here.

Rating: Good

The Beach: 

As mentioned, we spent the majority of our days lounging by the beach, reading books and relaxing.  The beach itself was one of the best we’ve ever been on – powder soft white sand with brilliant blue, super clear water that was literally the temperature of bathwater. During the first part of our trip, there was a bit of seaweed that washed up on the sand that was raked up quickly by hotel staff; on the last few days, the seaweed was much worse, to the point where going in the water freaked me out a bit.  I felt we were pretty lucky to have clear water for the majority of our trip, as I’ve read other’s reviews that state they had the seaweed highly present in the water for their entire stay.

We never had problems finding chairs at the beach as we were there early in the morning.  There were attendants at the beach that would actually come by and lay our towels for us which was a nice touch for sure!  They were also great in finding chairs for guests that came along later in the day when the beach was more populated. Drink service at the beach was usually pretty good, although on our last day it was a little slow (again, not a big deal)

Rating: Excellent

The Pools: 

There were two decent sized pools at SMB; an infinity pool that overlooked the beach and a second that contained the swim-up bar.  The second pool was more lively and was where activities like pool volleyball, bingo, etc. would take place.  One day they actually had a foam party there, accompanied by a DJ.  People seemed to really enjoy it – at least until the novelty wore off.   Not really our thing so we watched from afar (too much like a large bubble bath with strangers for me).  So there was definitely no shortage of activities for those who wanted to participate but you could find a quiet spaces if you wanted to too.  I felt like the pools were a bit smaller than other resorts we had visited previously and while it didn’t feel packed while we were there, I don’t know what capacity was at during our trip.

Rating: Very Good

The Resort/Layout:

We really enjoyed the layout of this resort; as mentioned the main building at the back of the property was where  several restaurants, the nightclub, front desk/conceirge, and lobby bar were located.  The middle of the resort consisted of the Sugar Reef Bar which was kind of like a sports-bar with tv’s, a pool and pingpong table.  They had these cool swings around the bar that were fun to sit at (although not so much with a drink in your hand).  They also had a pingpong table out in a shallow pool which was refreshing to play in given the heat.  I question their judgement in painting the bottom of the shallow pools beige/brown though – not really the best look.   The mini golf course was next to the Sugar Reef bar.  Further on were the pools, 2 more restaurants, another bar and then the beach. There were plenty of lounge chairs, umbrellas and beach beds around the pool and at the beach, and we never had problems finding a place to sit.

Rating: Very Good

Our daily routine:

I’ll spare you the play-by-play of what each day consisted of but here’s a quick summary of our daily routine; we’d get up, head to breakfast and then make our way to the beach.  We’d sit at the beach until about mid-afternoon, after which we’d head up to the pool and hang out there for an hour or two.  Then we’d engage in a competitive round of mini-golf and/or ping-pong (for the record, I lost every game! #zeroathleticability).  Following that we’d pick up a few drinks and go back to our room and enjoy our swim-out suite.  Late afternoon was the perfect time to do so as the sun was already past our building but with temperatures in the low to mid 30’s (celcius), it was still plenty warm.  A few hours later we’d get ready and head out for dinner.  Then it was a drink or two in the lobby lounge and then time for bed.  Repeat x 6.

We weren’t interested in going on any excursions outside of the resort as we just wanted to sit, relax and not do anything but read books at the beach, so that was what we did and it was great. 🙂  I do kind of regret that we never attended any of the nightly shows or at least see what the nightclub was like, but we were just so tired at the end of the night that we just didn’t have the energy.

Some unwanted visitors…

Secrets Maroma Beach

A bit of an amusing story to share – on our last night, we decided to just order room service and enjoy our swim-out suite to the fullest.  Our food arrived pretty quick and I thought it’d be a brilliant idea to eat our meals outside.  A few minutes later we had a visit from a pretty bold and hungry racoon.  The thing was not afraid of people and at one point was literally two feet away from me, on it’s hind legs and I swore it was going to catapult itself at me for my plate of carbonara.  That’s when we decided to finish our meal inside.  Then the next morning D discovered a sizeable, albeit dead cockroach on the floor of our room, near the patio doors.  I have no idea where it came from and I kind of don’t want to think about it.  At least it was dead?  I was very happy that it was our last day in that room – I would have struggled to sleep in there after that.   I get that  bugs are a given in a tropical climate, but finding one in our room freaked me out a bit.


The good:

  • We received service with a smile 99.9% of the time; all of the staff were very friendly and helpful
  • We greatly enjoyed our swimout suite
  • The beach is one of the nicest we’ve seen (pre-seaweed)
  • Pools were a good size and offered options for those who like to be social and those who prefer peace and quiet
  • Lots of activities available including those arranged by their entertainment crew (beach and pool volleyball, dart tournaments, etc.) in addition to a mini golf course, ping pong tables, badminton and other lawn games
  • Great layout of the resort meant it never felt crowded
  • Buffet breakfast was extensive, fresh and delicious

The in-between:

  • Lunch and dinner at the restaurants varied from good to poor
  • Alcoholic drinks still seemed slightly watered down at times

The not-so-good

  • Timeshare pitch needs to be scrapped
  • Wifi was spotty at best
  • Uninvited guests in/near our room

Overall rating: Very Good

We really enjoyed our stay at SMB and had a lovely, relaxing time.  I would definitely recommend this resort if you’re looking for a couples-only all-inclusive resort in Mexico.  That said, I’m kind of feeling Secreted-out.  I’d like to try a different area of Mexico (Cabo potentially?) and most definitely another hotel brand next time we decide to visit an all-inclusive.

Where’s the best all-inclusive resort you’ve stayed at?

pick 3: Nail Polishes for Spring

Top Nail Polishes for Spring

I’m starting a new series on my blog called Pick 3; in this series I’ll be picking my top 3 favourite things in a variety of categories and share with you why I’ve chosen them.  Note this won’t be limited to just Beauty – I plan on doing Top 3 in Travel, Fashion, Recipes, etc.  The opportunities are endless and I’m pretty excited about it.  So I hope you enjoy!

I’ve been doing my nails more often now that the weather is getting warmer, so I thought I’d kick this series off with sharing my top 3 nail polishes for Spring.  I expected this to be a fairly easy one but then I started going through my polish collection and I realized otherwise.  It was a bit tough but I finally narrowed it down to these three:

Essie Play Date Nail Polish

Essie Play Date:  Described as a soft, yet bright purple, this might be one of my favourite polishes EVER.  It has a fantastic formula; you could potentially get away with one coat but to get the true colour you really need two coats.  I always get so many compliments when I wear this shade and it’s been my go-to Spring polish for years now.

Deborah Lippmann She Bop Nail Polish

Deborah Lippmann She Bop: I don’t own many Deborah Lippmann polishes but the ones I do own are highly regarded.  This is described as a fresh, flirty pink cream; I would describe it more as a cool-toned pink with a hint of a purple undertone.  The formula on this polish is stellar, easily buildable but fully opaque with two coats.  This is a great everyday shade that is subdued enough to wear to the office but a nice step up from a neutral colour.

classic maggie (68)

Essie Lounge Lover: This is a new addition to my collection and its fast-becoming one of my favourites, particularly for my toes!  Corals are pretty much a no-brainer for the warmer months but what I like about this one is the fact that its slightly more muted and leans more to the pink side, which is really nice for Spring.  The formula is pretty good, although at times I can find it slightly patchy so there’s a two-coat minimum requirement with this one.

Notable mentions include Essie’s Mint Candy Apple (although the formula can be a tad frustrating) and Peach Daiquiri (another one of my favourites but I use it more in the Summer months);

If you had to pick your top 3 polishes for Spring, what would they be?  Let me know below!

What I’m Wearing: Spring 2016

Spring 2016 Fashion

I’ll admit it – I’m no fashionista.  I’m not one to be sporting the newest fashion trends, in fact by the time I’ve warmed up to what could be considered a trend, it’s usually no longer in style.  I love things that are comfortable and casual and I tend to stick to tried and true basics like jeans and t-shirts.  But I also like prints and colour so I’m not totally boring. 😉

I thought it might be fun to go through some of the more popular trends for the season and share with you what I will and will not be embracing.  And then show you what I actually have been wearing (and loving!).

Trends for Spring

Culottes: Okay, I have to be honest – I’ve NEVER liked these and I don’t think I EVER will.  I don’t find them the least bit flattering. Kudos to those who can pull them off but they’re definitely not for me.

Bodysuits: Been here, done this and not re-visiting.  If only for the avoidance of unnecessary wedgies.

Cold Shoulder Shirts: Again, these were in style when I was in Junior High.  I didn’t have one back then and I’m undecided if it’s something that should be repeated. I will admit that this one is kinda cute.

Denim:  This I can get behind.  I’ve seen lots of chambray dresses and rompers. I keep reading that skinnies are no longer in style but I won’t be ditching them anytime soon.

Lace-up Flats: I think these are adorable but I’m not sure they’re for me.  I’m concerned about the comfort factor – I feel like the laces might cut into my skin. These look like they could potentially be comfortable.

What I’ve Been Wearing

Spring has been unseasonably warm here but lately it’s been alternating between a week of super warm weather (i.e. mid-to high 20’s Celcius) and a week of windy, chilly weather (highs below 10 degrees Celcius).  As a result I’ve had to keep some warmer/thicker clothing on hand.

one: One of my favourite tops lately has been this Melange sweater from Joe Fresh; this works so well with leggings as its a bit longer in the back and it’s just loose and comfortable.

two: I own one of these linen tees in a bright coral shade from Gap and I want more.  They’re nice and light for warmer days but be warned they are thin and a little see-through.

three: I’ve had my fitted denim jacket (similar) for years and it’s still going strong.  I throw mine over dresses, t-shirts, and tanks and it takes me everywhere.  It’s a wardrobe staple.

four: I spotted these Keds a few weekends ago and they’re on my purchase list.  I need a new pair of lightweight sneakers to pair with shorts and jeans and I love the soft grey colour on these.  Plus they’re super comfy!

five: I’ve done it, I’ve found the most comfortable pants in the world!  They’re jeggings from Joe Fresh and unfortunately I can’t seem to find the exact link on their website, although these look very similar.  They literally feel like sweatpants but look like denim; in-store they had them in navy, olive green, tan and off-white.  Going back to pick up the olive green and off-white pairs stat and if you see them, I’d highly recommend you at least try them on!  Note: They retail for $29.99 CAD.

sixThis tote was included in my 2015 Non-Beauty Favourites and I’m still loving it in 2016.  I can throw multiple things in here and because it’s so light it doesn’t weigh my shoulders down.  Plus the blue and white stripes are classic and go with anything.

seven: I broke out my pink cropped jeans weeks ago and while mine aren’t quite as vibrant as these, I feel like nothing says Spring more than a pair of pink pants!

eight: I picked this ballet dress up in the clearance section of Gap about a month ago and the style is beyond flattering. They’ve brought it back for Summer in pink and blue, both of which are gorgeous.

nine: I always feel weird wearing a black belt in Spring/Summer.  I know that’s weird but I just do.  Which is why I typically swap my black belt out for my brown one (similar).

ten: I like wearing my pink floral scarf (similar) with my denim jacket to add a pop of colour to my outfit.  Just make sure you pick up a lightweight one or you’ll likely sweat to death.

eleven: I can’t live without my white jeans (similar).  I always find they look so fresh, crisp and chic.  For a few hours at least! 😉

twelve: I bought this romper in solid black at the Gap Factory Store and while I don’t expect it to last me more than one season, I could care less because it’s so comfortable and I paid $14 for it.  The only PITA is trying to get it off when using the bathroom (there’s no buttons or zipper on it anywhere).

thirteen: I walked through Europe for 3 weeks straight in a pair of Tom’s Espadrilles and I’ve never been more happy with a pair of shoes.  I find that it can be difficult to find the Espadrille styles in-stores, so I’m ordering these off (bonus – they’re on sale!)

What are you wearing this Spring and what trends have you adopted?  Share with me below!