a canadian beauty, travel, and cosplay blog


OOTD - Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Do you have any plans for Halloween? I'll be at home eating candy and watching Friends (like every other night, hahaha). No Halloween plans for me! My friends all quite far now, or they're at school. Such is the life a new graduate...

I'll be sitting here playing the TF2 Halloween event! I've been getting back into the game after taking a break for about a year. I forgot how fun it was!


Avalai For Her - Monthly Subscription Box

Hello lovelies!

Today's post is for the ladies! We all know about (and dread)... shark week. (Not the discovery channel one.) It's an unpleasant experience that most ladies have got to go through. Fortunately, there's Avalai For Her! Avalai For Her is a monthly subscription box to help us get through that week. Imagine you never had to go to your local drug store to pick up tampons or pads late at night or in the middle of your workday!  Imagine you could get a box delivered on a monthly basis that included not only your essentials but also spa products to help you get through that time of the month.

I recent received a box courtesy of Avalai to try out (at a pretty convenient time too). And lemme tell you, there's some good stuff in there. You can custom select your box based on the length of your period, the flow, the type of essentials you would like to receive and when you would like to receive them.  Boxes start at $19.99 a month.

Let's take a look inside!

WOOO period essentials! My Avalai box was packed with all the way to the top with lots of goodies. Inside, you'll find an assortment of sweets, snacks, teas, and lady products!

First, let's take a look at the snacky bits! There were two mini backs of chocolate - one from Lindor (yesss), and Godiva (double yess!!!!) Chocolate is a definite essential. Next, a bag of pretzel sticks, a few packets of tea, and a bar of maple syrup scented soap! I can definitely say that my cravings for sweets goes through the roof so it's nice to know that I now have some at arms length. (I may or may not be eating the pretzel sticks right now...)

And THIS. Ok, after doing the beanboozled challenge a few weeks ago with mle [watch the video here], I've been a bit traumatized by jelly beans. I have now been shocked into associating vomit with orange flavoured jelly bellies... But these... cocktail flavoured jelly beans? That's more like it!

You also receive a pack of pads and tampons. You can choose your preferred brand, how heavy your flow is, and whether you prefer pads, tampons, or both! It's handy to have an assortment of sizes and lengths on hand because you're know for sure you're going to use them all, haha...

One of my favourite elements of the bag is the pink and white striped pad pouch. You can tuck everything inside to hold your pads/ tampons. It can be a bit embarrassing to try to slip a pad or tampon out of your purse/bag if you need to pop to the toilet - It's one of those uncomfortable things that we shouldn't be ashamed about, but it can't be helped. With this cute case, nobody is going to bat and eye, and all if your lady items are in one place.

Overall, I really enjoyed this box! It includes a nice assortment of items, and it's something that you can look forward to every month. :)

You can check out Avalai For Her on their website.
Also - if you order between now and November 8th, 2015, you can receive 20% off your first order with the code "JUSTFORYOU"!!

Thanks for reading!



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*PR sample provided


Acne Free with Clean & Clear

Hello lovelies!

My battle against acne has spanned over the past ten years. I've tried almost every acne-fighting cleanser, scrub, astringent, pad, or cream in the drug store. Fortunately, I've found what works for me, and my acne has been at an all time low! You can find out what's in my current skincare regime by checking out my skincare tag.

I recently had the opportunity to try out Clean & Clear's three step cleansing system! I remember using these products when I was a teen, so it's a real throwback. The three step system includes a cleanser, a deep cleaning astringent, and a moisturizer. If I remember correctly, It retails about $14 - $15 at most drugstores (like Walmart!)

The products target dull skin and acne, in order to hydrate and even skin tones. There are three simple steps: cleanse, tone, and moisturize...

The Essentials Foaming Facial Cleanser has a gel formulation with Vitamin C and ginseng. It has a light citrus scent which is really nice to use in the mornings. It also contains soft bursting beads that work to gently exfoliate the skin. After cleansing, it did make my face feel quite dry. I have combination skin at the moment, but I imagine this would work well for those that have oily skin types or suffer from excess sebum.

The cleanser is meant to be followed by the Essentials Deep Cleaning Astringent. This toner targets the additional dirt or makeup that is left behind after cleansing. Acne fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid treat and prevent blackheads, pimples, and breakouts.

Again, this product is quite drying. You're supposed to take a cotton pad and wipe it over areas such as your T-zone, or any other places where you make have excess oil. I would only recommend using it once a day, and make sure to moisturize right after!

And finally, the Dual Action Moisturizer. The oil-free formula helps to moisturize and provide additional acne treatment to the skin. I really like this moisturizer! It absorbs and dries quickly on the skin without feeling sticky or oily. It feels cool and tingly on the skin at first which is great.

Overall, I don't think this set is for me as oily skin and acne protection aren't my primary skin concerns at the moment. If you're suffering from excess oil or frequent bursts of facial acne, I would highly recommend for you to check this out!

Have you tried Clean and Clear products before? What are some of your favourite acne-preventing products?

Thanks for reading!



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*PR sample provided by Johnson & Johnson Inc for consideration! 

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The Thanksgiving Food Diary

Hello lovelies!

I just finished watching the food reviewer episode of South Park, which reminded me that I have quite a few foodie photos to share with you! Canadian Thanksgiving was about a week and a half ago, which means lots of yummy dishes.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, my family and I visited St Jacobs, Ontario. I was about 10 years old the last time we visited, so we took a little day trip out to the countryside. St Jacobs is a Mennonite town, which means the town itself is quite tiny. There are lots of woodworking and home hardware shops, art galleries, and souvenir shops. Unfortunately, the economy seems to have hit this area quite hard as many of the stores have closed down...

Anyway, after a wander around, we decided to grab lunch at DH Food and Lodging - a little restaurant and lodge on King St, right by the Conestogo River. 

 Started off with a warm bread basket with whipped butter. The bread is from a local bakery down the street, and tasted super savory and fresh!

The soup of the day was a curried chicken and vegetable soup, followed by a creamy caesar salad topped with assorted rye and white croutons. ($10)

The special of the day was a turkey and stuffing sandwich on top of a bun. I think it was just for Thanksgiving, but it was really good! The portion sizes were quite big - my mom and I split one so only half a portion is pictured above. The soup and sandwich special was $15.

Overall. the meal and service was great. The Lodge itself has a very comfortable atmosphere with aged wood detailing, as it has been in business since 1852! The only issue we encountered was that washrooms were located upstairs, which was a bit of a struggle for my 84yr old grandma... But if you've got spry young legs, it shouldn't be a problem.

Anyway, continuing on with the drool-worthy photos... Thanksgiving dinner! We didn't do a big dinner or anything this year. In previous years, some of my mom's friends have come over for a little party, but this year we just decided to chill out.

Cranberry sauce, yes yes yes! I love the sauce that my mom makes - it's sweet and tart and goes very well with turkey. On the opposite scale, I hate sweet potatoes. The sweetness tastes weird to me and I don't like to texture...

Started off with some tomato soup - pureed tomatos, other vegetables, and various spices for that little kick!

The more colourful a meal is, the better it must be for your body, right? We had the typical Thanksgiving meal - roast vegetables, potatoes, brussel sprouts (gross), sweet potato (double gross), beans, cranberry sauce, and turkey! Instead of getting a massive turkey, we bought a pre-stuffed breast from M&M. There were only four of us so it wouldn't make sense to get a massive turkey...

Do you have any favourite Thanksgiving traditions, or favourite meals? I know we only really celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada / the US, so I hope you'll enjoy this food diary regardless!

Thanks for reading!



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How to Prevent Candle Tunneling!

Hello lovelies!

Autumn is essentially synonymous with candle burning season. There's something about getting all cosied up and burning a nice scented candle! Sometimes candles tend to tunnel, especially if it's a single wick and doesn't burn as well as others. I had this problem with a few mini candles that I bought from Bath and Body Works - the mini candles have itty-bitty wicks and the wax sides tend to stick to the glass.

I figured out a way to prevent the tunneling!

You only need one thing: aluminum foil, or kitchen foil!

First, cut a strip of foil that is long and wide enough to wrap around your candle.

Wrap up the candle with the foil and curve it over the edge to create a dome with a little hole for the flame to poke through. This works as an insulator for the candle - the foil helps to retain heat, which then warms the glass sides. This softens and melts the wax that is stuck along the sides. Let the candle burn like that for a few minutes.  I usually leave it on the mini ones for about 5 minutes, but your wait time will depend on how large your container is.

Voila! No more tunneling, and you can get the most out of your candles!

Do you have any tips/tricks? Make sure to leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!



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Bioderma - Hydration and Purifying Trial Kits

Hello lovelies!

Bioderma is a brand I discovered, and subsequently fell in love with, whilst I was studying abroad in England. During that time, I was very into the English youtube community (especially the beauty gurus). They would constantly praise the French brand, discussing it's gentle cleansing and skin-enhancing qualities. I picked up a double pack of their famous micellar cleansing water 2 years ago, and I'm still working my way through my second bottle!

Shoppers Drug Mart recently released these Bioderma trial size kits. For only $6.95, you get about $23 - 33 worth of Bioderma products! This is great if you travel a lot, or if you're looking to discover the brand for yourself.

It took 3 Shoppers Drug Marts before I found one that had them in stock. If you see them, impulse buy them! It's great value for Bioderma products. I bought both kits - the original one and the purifying kit. I haven't tested the purifying products before but I was excited to try it!

Each of the kits include a cleansing water mini, a serum, and a moisturizer. It also includes a $5 coupon for Bioderma purchases over $25!

The purifying kit (green) targets acne prone skin, and focuses on tightening and refining pores. The cleansing micellar water removes makeup and prevents the appearance of blemishes.The serum mattifies skin and controls sebum to reduce oiliness and acne. Finally, the moisturizer targets acne and blackheads, and absorbs quickly into the skin. The products have a soft, light fresh floral scent.

When I first bought these, I expected the sizes to be a little bit bigger haha. I didn't realize the moisturizer was so puny! It's only 5ml, which is essentially what, like two uses? Either way it has a very nice formula, and is great when you're travelling. The small sizes are carry-on approved. I'm going to take this with me when I go travelling this weekend!

Next is the original kit. The micellar water that I currently have has the pink cap. This kit has a higher value than the purifying kit ($33 for $6.95). This kit targets hydration and moisturization of the skin to look more youthful!

As with the other kit, this original kit includes 3 items. The original micellar water removes makeup and soothes skin! It's great to use right after exfoliating as it doesn't sting like other toners. The serum is light and absorbs very quickly! It gives a radiant boost to the skin. It dispenses in a cream/gel form. The moisturizer evens out skin, and can be used as a primer for makeup!

You get decently sized mini products of the cleansing water and serum, but again the moisturizer is only 5ml haha!! But for $7, I can't really complain. This kit also includes a $5 coupon for your next Bioderma purchase of over $25!

I can't wait to test these out some more! I'm particularly interested in the purifying kit as my skin has been breaking out a bit more. My skin is very sensitive and I have to be careful with the types of products I apply but I've had great experiences with Bioderma in the past.

Have you tried Bioderma products before? Do you have any favourites?

Thanks for reading!



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H&M Beauty Preview!

Hello lovelies! H&M kindly sent over some goodies from their new beauty line for me to play around with. For those of you who didn't already know, H&M has opened a new beauty department, located in Toronto's Eatons Centre. You can read all about it when I stopped by last week!

Let's start with the eyes.

Smoky Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

H&M has released a series of eyeshadow palettes. I received the Smoky Nudes palette, composed of 9 neutral shades. These include matte, satin, and shimmer finishes.

From left to right. 
A is a creamy matte white. B is a satin finish pink toned cream. C is a mattem purple-toned taupe.
D is a satin finish dark chocolate brown. E is a peach-champagne glitter. F is a matte cool ton-ed tape.
G is basically a satin finish version of F. H is a satin finish, cool toned grey-brown. I is a matte brown-black.

The consistency of these eyeshadows are quite powdering and very finely milled. I primed my wrist with Maybelline's Baby Skin primer for these swatches and the colour wasn't quite opaque, but had a pretty good colour payoff. I'm sure the colour would show up truer with a proper eyeshadow base underneath.

Pure Radiance Powder Blusher

Probably one of my favourite items that I received! It's a powder blush in the shade Apricot. It's a beautiful peachy shade. When worn, it gives a lovely, naturally sheer wash of colour on the cheeks.

The packaging does not include a puff or mirror, and the case is plastic, which makes it quite prone to scratching. However, the case is a lovely glossy black and the colour inside is beautiful!

True Matte Finishing Powder

This finishing powder is aimed towards shine control, and offers a natural matte, cashmere finish. I received the shade Warm Beige, which was unfortunately too dark for my skin tone. It was, however, the perfect shade for my mom! The powder itself is quite finely milled and feels light on the skin. She struggles from oiliness on her face, and liked how the powder naturally absorbed the shine.

The packaging is glossy and black, just like the blush. This compact comes with a mirror, but does not include a puff or brush.

Cream Lipstick

Next up, the lipstick. Candy Apple is a glossy, warm toned orange-red that would be flattering on almost all skintones! I was a bit apprehensive at first because I don't typically do bright reds, but the orange tones won me over.

The formula is soft and extremely creamy - it feels as though its melting onto your lips!  The result is a bright, high shine orange-red. It also leaves behind a very pretty stain, which looks quite natural when a little bit is dabbed onto the lips!

I absolutely love this shade! It's a nice dramatic red lip which suits my skin tone very well. I can see myself wearing this quite often in the holiday months, as well as during the summer! It's a year-round classic red lip.

Nail Polish

Finally, the nail polish. This is an iridescent white colour called December Dawn. In different lights, it appears to have a pink and green sheen. It's more like a glittery top coat and would take many different layers in order to build up opacity, so I layered two coats over two coats of Essie's Vanity Fairest (a milky pink polish with glitter, topped with Sally Hansen's Diamond Top Coat.

Which item was your favourite?  Have you tried any of the H&M Beauty items? You can read more about the H&M Beauty department in my previous blog post. 

Thanks for reading!



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