Friday, February 28, 2014

Faves Friday!

Hello lovelies! As my stash gets smaller and smaller, I feel like I have less to show you on Faves Friday. I'm not trying too many new products nor am I adventurous with makeup, so I've decided to do these posts twice a month only. Hopefully nobody minds!
For the last two weeks, I have been loving...

Ilia Lip Conditioner in Arabian Knights - review here - I've been obsessed with this berry shade since the day I got it. It's beautiful and goes with just about any makeup look, or lack there of. This has been my daily go-to lip colour.

OhSudz Concealer in Warm - There have been a lot of great reviews on this concealer. I contacted Gail, asking for which shade has a salmon/pink tone to it without being too salmon/pink. She was kind enough to send me samples of three shades and warm has worked the best. It is creamy without being too thick, helps conceal the blue veins under my eyes, and brighten the inner corners. I do need to set it with a powder though and think it applies best with fingers (rather than brushes). 

Keys Luminos Hydrating Moisturizer & Solar Rx Moisturizer - These were sent to me by the beautiful Cori, at Well Beauty Blog. They are AMAZING! Luminos leaves my skin dry patch free, glowing, and works as an amazing primer for makeup. Solar Rx doesn't give me quite as nice of a finish but doesn't ball up like some natural sunscreens. Both help my makeup last all day long. Obsessed!

Shamanuti Face Oil - review here - This has been my eye cream for weeks. It works so well at moisturizing my under eyes and helps my concealer apply much better. I just put the tiniest amount on my fingers and pat it in all around my eyes. Love.

S.W. Basics Cream - review here - This bad boy has helped keep my skin super soft and moisturized during this crazy cold weather.

What have you been loving? See any faves of yours here?

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Going Green Tag

Image courtesy of Mary, Makeup by Mary B
You know how much I love tags, so of course I was excited when the lovely Sarah, from Sugarpuffish, tagged me to do the "Going Green Tag". This tag was created by the equally lovely Rachel, from All Natural Aspirations, out of her interest for discovering how/why others went green.

What started it all off for you? 

One of my best friends actually got me into the world of natural products. We were roaming the streets of Toronto together and she took me to a natural/organic market that she frequents. As we looked around the skin care aisles, we got talking about ingredients and how they can be harmful. I did a little research and was shocked at what I discovered. That was the day I began changing over my products.

What was the first thing to go? (Ingredient or product)

SLS in toothpaste. I actually use to get canker sores all the time and once I switched to SLS free toothpaste, they went away. True story.

What are you/did you struggle to let go of?

I struggled with letting go of shampoo. The Aveeno and Pantene ranges worked really well for me and they were my go-to, it was hard to begin experimenting with shampoos again. While I'm constantly trying out new shampoos now, I absolutely hate it and wish I could find one that worked for me all the time. Damn you dermatitis!

What has been your best find or change? (i.e a green product or a tip that you're really glad you've found/learnt)

Clays! Mixing my own clay masks based on my skin's needs has been amazing. What a damn life skin changer! I just love how simple they are to make and how many options are available in terms of customizations.

What has been the worst thing about going green? What has been the hardest to transition or find an adequate green replacement of?

The worst thing about going green has been the endless articles on ingredients to avoid. It never ends and it's so annoying. My journey began as a learning process, one I was excited about, but quickly became cumbersome.

I've had the hardest time finding an adequate green replacement of the Origins Quick, Hide Concealer. It just worked so well for circles and blemishes, and I'd usually just use that with a bit of powder for a flawless finish. I've been trying natural alternatives and just can't seem to find anything that I like better. Well, I kinda found something that's been working well but am still testing it out. Also, perfume because they're such a personal thing. I haven't fallen head over heels in love with any natural fragrances that I've tried/smelled. They're all way too floral for me.

Anything else to add? Any tips or tricks to pass on?

Have fun with it. Try different products and learn about ingredients as you go along. There will always be things to avoid and conflicting reports but, you can't stop living your life or let it consume you :)

I tag:
Heather of Eco Diva Blog
Jen of Dear Diary, Love Jen
and whoever else hasn't already been tagged.

Leave me a link to your blog or YouTube video once you've done the tag :)

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On A Branch Soap: Monday Morning Review

Hi lovelies! Sorry that I've been MIA. My internet has been up and down, friggen technology, and I haven't had the patience to deal with it. Going to try and write a bunch of posts now so that I can just upload them should it go down again :). Now for the review!

I love soap. While there's almost always a body wash in my shower rotation, soap is where my heart and addiction lays. During my visit to Anise Apothecary, On A Branch Soaps suckered me in with it's beautiful and creative packaging (just look below), and scent selection. My boyfriend was sweet enough to pick me up Monday Morning.

Image from the Anise Apothecary Facebook Page
On A Branch Soaps is a Canadian brand, made in Burlington, Ontario. Tara Patey, owner/creator/artisan, is very passionate about the products that she creates and makes each one with love and care. She's constantly playing with different soap ideas, scents, designs, and even willing to make one unique to your business/event.

Monday Morning is scented with cinnamon and blood orange, and while it does contain coffee grinds, it doesn't smell of it (sadly). The scent that comes through most is the cinnamon, which I absolutely adore. I will say that the scent isn't as strong in my shower (during use) as it is when I smell the bar directly or even packaging. Speaking of packaging, how effen cute? She hand wraps each one in beautiful decorative paper, which is both eco friendly and pretty to look at, and stamps them with her logo. Her logo, the bird, was actually created by her. See what I mean, a whole lotta love goes into each soap! Back to Monday Morning. While this soap is lovely, I find the coffee grinds to be a little too sharp and harsh on my body. I did mention that to Tara, and she quickly apologized and made a note to grind them up a little more in the future. Aside from that, I have nothing bad to say about the brand. The ingredients are fantastic, the soaps affordable, and Tara is a pleasure to deal with (should you purchase from her and not a retailer).

Retails for $6 CAN for a 4.5 - 5 oz bar. Can be purchased through Etsy and Anise Apothecary. I believe that Tara takes down whatever scents are not currently available on her etsy store, so you may need to contact her (through etsy) if you're interested in this (or any) specific scent to find out what they will be available.

Ingredients - no palm oil, just sayin!
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

This recipe comes straight from Mama Earth Organics on Facebook. These cookie dough bites are damn delicious and I literally eat the batter as I'm making them....and then...the cookies once they're baked. I've attempted to bake them for longer than 10 minutes, but they just don't taste as good. You want them to be moist and literally like a cookie dough texture. 

1 1/4 cups canned* chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (165 grams) natural peanut butter (can use PB2 from gym to make healthier, check your labels)
1/4 cup (80 grams) honey (agave would be amazing too!)
1 teaspoon baking powder**
a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
1/2 cup (90 grams) chocolate chips

* My can was a 400 gram can, 240 grams without the water, and I used all but a few tablespoons

** If you need grain-free baking powder, you can use 1 part cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda + 2 parts arrowroot.




Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C.

Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.

Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.

With wet hands (you must wet hands or it'll be a disaster which you can eat either way lol), form into 1 1/2″ balls. Place onto a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Yields about fourteen 1 1/2″ cookie dough balls.

*** Don't even try with regular peanut butter! They'll come out oily. You MUST use natural peanut butter (preferably organic).

NOM, NOM, NOM!!! I love how the peanut butter pretty much masks the taste of the chick peas, I doubt kids would be able to tell the difference. Let me know if you try these and any substitutions that you make.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Faves Friday!

Hello lovelies and Happy Valentine's Day! While I don't partake in the fluff of this day, I realize that some of you might and I hope that it's a wonderful a day for you.

Last week I got super busy at work and by the time Monday came, I figured it made the most sense to just wait for today and combine the faves in one post. My skin has been really shitty lately, I've been breaking out and was even getting cystic acne (which isn't the norm for me). I simplified by skin care routine and took to these few items to help clear up my skin.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser Sample (not pictured) - Mayah, one half of Call it Vanity, was kind enough to send me a sample...after I begged and threatened her. Kidding, I just begged. The cleanser was fantastic and I saw a reduction in redness and spots within two uses!!!! I've since run out and my skin just doesn't look as good. I need it in my life asap. 

*Shamanuti Pumpkin Enzyme Masque (not pictured) - review here - I've been using this mask on my face, neck, and chest to help clear up any break outs. My skin hasn't been nearly as sensitive as it was in January, so I've been able to use it more often. I love that it exfoliates without having to use my hands, as to not spread bacteria around.

Pretty Ginger & Cypress Soothing Mud - review here - I've been mixing this mask with Wedderspoon 100% Raw Manuka Honey and Graydon Face Food Mist for an acne busting treatment every third day. Pretty draws out impurities with clay, manuka softens and aids in killing acne bacteria, and Graydon helps to soothe and heal acne/scars. It's a straight up dream team!  

Lastly, I've been loving this Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Amarone, which is described as a raisin berry. It's definitely a berry and I find it looks a little more purple on my lips than it may seem in the tube. It's just so pretty and easy to wear. It feels like a moisturizing gloss but has the staying power of a stain and the pigmentation of any amazing lip product. I love it so much (even though it's not the most natural). Makes me feel sassy!

What have you been reaching for lately?
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pai Fragonia & Sea Buckthorn Instant Hand Therapy Cream Review

Pai is a brand that has been well received and loved by many green and non-green beauties around the world. What I love most about this brand, is that all of their products are created for highly reactive and sensitive skin types. You won't find any nasty ingredients like synthetic preservatives, fragrances or colours and there is certainly no animal testing that goes on.
Sarah Brown, founder, suffered from a severe skin allergy. Of course, doctors prescribed pills as a band-aid solution instead of trying to figure out the root of the problem. She began researching possible causes of her skin flare ups and was shocked with her discovery. In 2007, Pai was born. Sarah's goal "was to create the cleanest plant-based skin care on the market". I think she's succeeded, no?

Description: Our Instant Hand Therapy Cream incorporates the latest in bio-active ingredients that soothe and regenerate dry skin. Rich in Pro-Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Omega 3, 6 & 7, it aids cell renewal and smoothes the skin. Simply apply and instantly get on with your day - this hand cream absorbs fast without leaving greasy residues. Suitable for all skin types and particularly effective for dry, chapped and sensitive skin.

When I attended a Clementine Fields event late last year, I received this Pai Fragonia & Sea Buckthorn Instant Hand Therapy Cream in my gift bag. I had been eyeing this hand cream for ages, but the price tag held me back. I am so glad that I finally got to try it because it's amazing! It absorbs extremely fast, yet still leaves my hands uber soft and nourished, and a little goes a very, very long way. Fragonia has been known to have anti-inflammatory properties, while sea buckthorn and rosehip aid in cell regeneration. I've noticed that whenever I apply this hand cream, it immediately calms down any itching and/or redness on my hands. My only beef is the packaging. I love the fabulous pump and air tight packaging but, it's too bulky to keep in my small daily bag. Regardless, my hands love it and I sense that it'll be a staple on my nightstand.

Retails for approx. $27 CAN for 50 ml. Can be purchased through Pai (you can change the country and search stockists in your area) and Clementine Fields

Have you ever tried this indulgent hand cream? Thoughts?

Ingredients: purified water, grape seed oil*, vegetable glycerine*, avocado oil*, coconut derived emulsifier, rosehip oil*, macadamia oil*, shea butter*, plum kernel oil, sea buckthorn oil*, fragonia oil, palmarosa oil*, castor oil*, natural vitamin e, grapefruit oil*, basil extract, corn extract, coconut oil extract, sustainable palm oil extract, lactic acid (from sugar beet)
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Rave Review: Pure Anada Mascara in Black

Mascara is a daily staple for me. I just love how it darkens my lashes and makes me look a little more put together and awake, even if I don't wear much else. With long lashes and oily lids, it's important for me to find one that doesn't smudge, transfer, and/or flake. I also want my mascara to lengthen and thicken, giving me that falsies effect. Pure Anada's doesn't disappoint...entirely.

Spoiler Alert: Pure Anada sent me their mascara to try, however, pictured below is a fresh tube that I've purchased with my own money from The Big Carrot. I also didn't bother snapping a picture with and without it on because of the fact that my lashes are long and somewhat full already.  

Description: Finally, a natural mascara you can feel good about putting on your lashes!It is naturally paraben-free, gluten-free, and mercury-free.You will be amazed at how well this mascara builds volume and length to your lashes. We trust that this will be the natural mascara you’ve been waiting for!

I have to admit, I didn't like this mascara at first. It lengthens and separates, but doesn't thicken. I think that's due to the wet formula because once it dries up, it totally performs to my liking. Mind you, I don't like any mascara at first. It wears all day long, 10+ hours with absolutely no flaking. By the end of a very long day, there is minimal smudging and/or transfer. The natural bristle wand is curved and so easy and comfortable to use. It helps give lashes a little more oomph, but I don't find it holds a curl well (at least on my lashes). A possible deal breaker for some is that it contains phenoxyethanol. I don't apply the mascara directly at the roots, so I'm not entirely turned off by it. However, I know that there are many green beauties that like to avoid that ingredient. The last thing to note is that when this stuff gets in my eyes, it burns like hell. My eyes are super sensitive and this mascara doesn't irritate them on a regular basis. It only burns if my eyes water and a little mascara drips in from the tears. Know what I mean? It's happened less than a handful of times, that's why I've repurchased. OH, OH and it doesn't dry out to the point that it can't be used within a month or two. I used my previous tube for a solid 3 months and probably could have used it longer, if it weren't for the fact that I shouldn't because of bacteria and all that stuff. Based on performance, price, and availability, this is definitely my current favourite and holy grail mascara.

Retails for approx. $14 CAN and is available in black and brown. Can be purchased through Pure Anada and any of their online or retail stores.

What's your favourite and most purchased mascara?

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Oryza Sativa Wax (Rice Bran Wax), Olea Europea fruit oil (Olive Oil), Vegetable Source Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut), Coernica Cerifera (Carnauba Wax), Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla Wax), Vegetable Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Acacia Gum, Black Iron oxide (CI 77499), Aminomethyl Popandiol (Ph Adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative).

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Rave Review: One Love Organics - Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover

During my visit to Anise Apothecary, my (amazing) boyfriend bought me a couple of things as part of my Christmas gift. I'm super picky to shop for and always change my mind, so I'm more than happy to pick things out myself on occasion. One of the items he got for me was the One Love Organics Cleansing Oil. I had purchased a sample from Fresh Faced and fell in love with it.
As written on Fresh Faced,Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover is part the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics collection. Dehn, the beauty enthusiast behind Beauty Bets, paired with One Love's Suzanne LeRoux to create the ultimate in natural, plant based moisture, focused on the idea that prevention through proper hydration is key for anti-aging. Pure plant oils are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that are vital to well being, health, and beauty and offer the skin perfect moisture when used sparingly. These products are rich and luxurious and are meant to be savored drop by drop. 

Description: The ultimate in multitasking luxury, One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover effortlessly lifts away impurities and makeup while restoring skin's natural moisture and pH balance. The unique creamy formula features papain, a fruit enzyme that helps to exfoliate and soften skin, and a natural vitamin B complex to detoxify and tone. Concentrated yet gentle enough for all skin types.

Man oh man, this cleanser is It removes all of my makeup without any effort, rinses off beautifully with water, and leaves my skin super soft. What more could you ask for? That it smell like a tropical paradise? No problem, it does! Whenever I cleanse my face, the scent of pineapple instantly transports me to paradise. I close my eyes and pretend I'm sipping a pina colada on the beach....

I love that this dispenses as an oil and you can massage it on your skin as such, but once water joins the party it turns into a milky fiesta. It literally melts the day off your face, all makeup and dirt is gone. I like to double cleanse with an oil first and cream cleanser after, but on lazy nights I can rest peacefully knowing that the OLO Cleansing Oil did it's job well with just one cleanse.

With all the singing praise that I'm giving this cleanser, there are a couple of negatives to mention. The biggest one is the pump. It needs to be pulled up before each and every use, such a pain in my behind. Luckily, I've been told that there are new pumps and we shouldn't be experiencing this problem going forward. Unless you happen to buy a bottle with the old one, then you'll just have to deal with the agonizing pain of lifting the pump before using it. Life is so cruel isn't it? I apologize for my dramatic moment. The second thing to note is the ingredients, specifically the "di-ppg-2myreth-10 adipate". Jade, the beauty behind Nephriticus, addressed this in her review as well and I've taken the below directly from her post:
Hi Jade,  
di-ppg-2myreth-10 adipate is an ingredient that helps the oils rinse clean with water. The ingredient does not have harmful PEGs and is rated a zero by the Cosmetic Safety Data Base: See
It is a hybrid between a skin emollient and a surfactant so it helps to clean and condition the skin simultaneously. We wanted our cleansing oil to rinse off completely with water so we chose this ingredient to help us with that function. 
Please do let us know if you have any other questions. 
While EWG gave it a rating of 0, it also states that there is no data available. Take that as you will people. I'm still on the fence about it but, at the end of the day, it's a fantastic cleanser and I see myself repurchasing it.

Retails for approx. $38 USD/$39 CAN for 120ml. Can be purchased through One Love Organics or any of their other retrailers.

Ingredients: helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, di-ppg-2myreth-10 adipate, polyglycerol-3 beeswax, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil* (and) lecithin* (and) cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil* (and) papain*, carica papaya (papaya) seed oil, tocopherol (natural non-gmo vitamin e), proprietary natural & organic fragrance

*indicates organic
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Monday, February 03, 2014

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe

If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have already seen my salad pictures. I've been obsessed with this homemade salad dressing and therefore have been eating more salad than usual, not that that's a bad thing. Plus, I don't have a microwave at work so that limits me a tad. This is not my recipe, I actually got it from the Nature's Emporium Youtube Chanel, which you must follow because they have some amazing recipes on there!

Here's what you'll need:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard 
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
I haven't tried switching out olive oil for a different oil or apple cider vinegar for lemon juice, I'm sure you could though. I also don't always measure when making this dressing. Sometimes I'll add more maple syrup, sometimes more acv or dijon, play with it.

You basically combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar, or whatever other container you have, and shake it up. Difficult huh? ;)

TA-DA! So easy. Serve over greens, quinoa, pasta, whatever you like. I love how this dressing is sweet and tangy all at the same time. For the record, I've also tried the sweet potato recipe (minus the cheese curds), from the video, and it was spectacular.

Let me know what your favourite homemade salad dressing recipes are below and/or if you give this one a try.
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