07 October 2019

Better Beauty Gift Guide - Holiday 2019

It's hard to believe that it's early September and I'm starting a gift guide, but the reality is that most people are finished their holiday shopping BEFORE December. I am one of those people. I like to go into the holiday season without any stress, and I don't dare go near a mall during the month of December.

Another reality is that many people are moving to online shopping to complete their holiday shopping. Probably because time has become so valuable, they don't want to be spending time battling crowds and circling parking lots for an empty spot. I feel ya. I used to work in retail and December was my nightmare!

That's why I created a one-stop-shop this year with better beauty essentials for EVERYONE on your shopping list. Seriously, this year's holiday products are AMAZING, and so many of my favourites are available in AMAZING, limited edition sets at GREAT prices.

For the Mom-to-be
Body Butter Trio or Fresh Faced Trio
I don't know from experience, but from what I hear pregnancy can be pretty hard on a woman's body and self-esteem. So some nicely scented body butters (combat dry skin and stretch marks!) and fresh face essentials seem like a no brainer when it comes to shopping for a Mom-to-be.
The Fresh Faced Trio comes with three amazing clean beauty products for an easy flawless look. Brilliant Brow Gel, Lengthening Mascara and a Jelly Lip Gloss in "Sorbet."

For the New Mom
Bright Eyes Treatment Set and Baby Bundle
Let's be honest, new momma's have two things they worry about ... sleep deprivation and the well-being of their newly born child. Kill two birds with one stone this Christmas and get every new mom you know both the Bright Eyes Treatment Set AND the Baby Bundle so both of their worries are taken care of. New Dad's TAKE NOTE!

For your Mom and Mother-in-law
CounterTime Regimen, Glow + Go Mini Oils or Rosewood Lip Trio
The CounterTime Regimen has been the most sought after product since it's launch in the summer. After a few weeks of using it, I know why. Its Retinatural complex (it's Retinol-free) uses two of the most powerful plant-derived ingredients to provide skincare results that compare to Retinol, but without the harmful effects.
If you're looking for something a little less expensive for your Mom or Mother-in-law, I recommend the Glow + Go Mini Oils set, it's a hit with pretty much everyone I gift it to. Pair this with some lip products (I love the Rosewood Lip Trio) and Mom will be GLOWING!

For your Sister or Bestie
Pout Perfector Lip Care Set or Bright Eyes Treatment Set
For this, I thought about the two products that I really wanted when I was first introduced to Holiday 2019 and these two products came to mind. First of all I was obsessed with the under eye masks last year so I was very excited to see these products return for 2019, and with the CounterTime Eye Cream, this set is a STEAL. The Pout Perfector Lip Care Set stood out to me because it has one of my favourite products (Lip Conditioner) but in a stick format, as well as a lip polish -- something I've been dying for Beautycounter to make!
So basically what I am saying is, because I want these, it's likely your sister, sister-in-law or best friend also wants it!

For Colleagues, Teachers or Caregivers
Hand Cream Trios and Mini Lip Gloss Vault
I recommend buying a few sets of hand cream trios, as well as the mini lip gloss vault (or the Jellies), and creating adorable gift sets tied together with twine (similar to the photo below). They have been my go-to gift for the past two years, and I am not about to stop this year. They've been such a hit with my colleagues, and I am sure anyone you need to buy for (work friends, boss, teachers, etc.) will love them as well!

For the Men in your life
Counterman Carry-on and Peppermint Lip Conditioner
This carry-on set is a great way to introduce men to safer, better beauty. This travel-sized set is perfect for travel, a gym bag or just as a way to make the men in your life fall in love with these incredible products. Need a clean swap of Blistex Lip Medex? I love introducing Blistex fans to the Peppermint Lip Conditioner; Infused with Peppermint Essential Oil, this toxin-free lip balm hydrates and smoothes lips for all day comfort.

For the Travel Addict
Travel Companion Set
Where was this set before I left on my 3-week honeymoon with JUST a carry-on? I honestly think this set should be available year-round, but since it's not I always stock up every Holiday season AND be sure to gift it to all of my travel-addicted friends. It contains four of the most deliciously-scented bath products (Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash and Body Lotion) in TSA-approved sizes perfect for anyone on-the-go!

Stocking Stuffers for Teens and Tweens
The Jellies and Starlight Eyeshadow Palette
Remember Lancome Juicy Tubes? When I was a teen (and in my 20s) they were all the rage. I was delighted to see the Jellies this holiday season because they give me a little sense of nostalgia, but I also love that Beautycounter is making products that are great for Teens and Tweens, because clean beauty education should start early.
The Starlight Eyeshadow Palette is also amazing for anyone just getting into make-up because it's got a wide variety of shades for a natural, or evening look. But let's be honest, this palette is amazing an I will definitely be buying it for myself, so really it's great for just about anyone who likes makeup!

Stocking Stuffers for Kids
Splashtime Kids Set
This set is valued at $128 so it's an incredible value to buy it in this sweet gift box. Similarly, you could buy the products individually, but WHY when the set is this great of a deal? Kids love this no-tears duo, and the towel is super soft. It's a great way to introduce clean beauty at a young age!

Is that everyone? If not, message me and I can help you find something for whomever I missed. I promise you I have something for everyone.

Please note: Since I am writing this prior to the official public Holiday 2019 launch, because I will be on my Honeymoon on launch day, links will not be embedded until I return. Until then please shop via my personal website here.

31 July 2019

My Favourite Aluminum-free Deodorants

By now you all know I’m on the hunt to find the best natural deodorant. Everyone knows this struggle, and even new brands on the market have been approaching me to try their deodorant and review their product on my Instagram. Deodorant is a serious thing! No one wants to be known as the smelly kid.

In January of 2017, after doing a lot of research, I decided to never use deodorant containing Aluminum again. Aluminum in personal care items is proven to be toxic to the human body and has been linked to cancer and Alzheimers. Besides that, I truly believe that anti-perspirants are unhealthy and unnatural -- you should be sweating out toxins, not stopping yourself from sweating. So for the past year and a half I tried all kinds of aluminum-free, natural deodorants, and here is how I rank the best of the best:

Native was one of the first brands and I tried and to my surprise worked very well. But about 2 weeks in I developed a horrible rash and had to stop using it. Tyler used the Eucalyptus Mint scent and LOVED it and keeps asking me to buy him more. So I definitely suggest this brand especially for men, and anyone without sensitive skin.

Mabrook and Co.
Mabrook and Co. scents were some of my favourite. The Lemon and Rose scent was so good. I liked the way it went on smooth and you didn't need a lot, and it worked throughout even the hottest of 2018's summer days! Definitely a WIN!

Type A
Type A gifted me their "dreamer" deodorant, and while I was obsessed with the applicator and how the product went on, it unfortunately also gave me a really bad rash after just one use. I passed this product onto my sister-in-law, who really likes it. Another win for those without sensitive skin. Also, they have an unscented one that I may try because I really did like the tube applicator!

Live Clean
I really liked the scent-free Live Clean deodorant, and after having so many issues with scented deodorants giving me a rash, this one was a welcome break for my skin. I do find scent-free deodorants can sometimes leave you feeling a little self-conscious but I haven't had any issues with that while using this product.

Green Beaver
I was intrigued by the natural anti-perspirant that Green Beaver was claiming with this product, so I absolutely had to try it. To be honest, I stank within the hour BUT the anti-perspirant action did work. That being said, I'd rather smell good and sweat, than stink and not sweat.

Kaia Naturals
This was one of the first charcoal deodorants I used, and what I love so much about Kaia Naturals is how they educate their clients on the stages of detox that comes with switching to natural deodorant, especially one as strong as the Takesumi Detox Charcoal Deodorant. It's so important to know that when you first make the switch to non-aluminum deodorants, the pores under your arms will need to detox so for the first 4 weeks you could have highs and lows of smelling really rotten, and not smelling at all. That's all part of the process, so if I had to recommend one product to start your natural deodorant journey with, it would be this one!

And finally, the BEST of the best (in my opinion):

This was the only deodorant I tried that I had to put on with my fingers, and to be honest, other than that I have no complaints. Besides the fact that K'Pure is currently my favourite brand and I am OBSESSED with everything I have tried from them so far, the fact that they are Canadian AND their deodorant worked held this product to a high standard in my eyes ... so, let's just say you NEED to try it. The deodorant is super affordable, and I love that you can get a mini first for only $5.50, so you don't have to break the bank and commit to a full-sized product before you now if it will perform. That said, it performed, and I am never turning back from this deodorant (unless it turns its back on me -- and hopefully it doesn't because I have the largest jar!). Hurry up and order some!

04 July 2019

Our Muskoka Wedding: Tyler + Sera - 06.17.2019

I just got our wedding photos back and I can't wait to share them with you. Instead of the typical Facebook album, I thought I'd work them into my blog somehow so I can share the whole wedding planning experience with you.

To start, we got engaged in November in Tulum. For our Tulum engagement story, click here. But Tyler and I met years ago and here's our story:

I was single. He was single. And to be honest I think we were both very happy being single... In fact, a year prior to meeting Tyler one of my best friends was dating one of his room mates and suggested I come meet Tyler, and my answer was NO. I liked being single, I was living it up in the city and establishing myself in my career. Fast forward a few months and some coworkers convinced me to download the Tinder app, and the rest is history. I met Tyler in October (not knowing he was the same Tyler my friend wanted me to meet a year earlier) and by April of 2015 we were "official". Not that romantic, eh? But romance is not really our style...

Wedding Planning

When we got engaged I knew I wanted to get married in June. It's peony season, that's why. When I chose the date, only 7 months from the day we got engaged, my mom told me it was my Grandparents anniversary (65th!). My grandmother passed away 7 years ago, but she would have LOVED Tyler -- everyone does! So it's nice to share that day with them and now I'll always have that reminder.

But yes, you heard right. We had a short engagement so it was a race to the finish line getting everything arranged. The first thing I did though, was book the venue.

The Venue

We talked about having a backyard wedding, but I really wanted a day with ZERO worries, so we decided to book The Northridge Inn for our very small, very intimate, family-only wedding. We had stayed at The Northridge Inn a few years prior and fell in love with its rustic, yet luxe vibe. I wanted our wedding to feel more like an elopement than a formal wedding, so we made sure everything was very chill -- like us!

Guest Count

There were 19 of us (plus Colby!) in attendance, and I can't imagine having any more than that. It was the perfect amount where we could still spend time with guests, and not feel overwhelmed.

The Dress

My dress. It's literally my favourite thing about the wedding. Well, that and my bouquet. How pretty, right? The beaded details, low back and short train were EVERYTHING I dreamed of and more. I saw it on a website a few years ago and had it bookmarked until the day we got engaged. Would you believe it only cost $274 USD. Add in duties, shipping and the alterations, and the total dress cost was still only $800. Which reminds me -- a huge shoutout to Tanis Emmett Wedding Style for taking such good care of my dress during the fittings and alterations stage!

Vision and Theme

I didn't really have a vision or a theme. I knew I wanted a rustic wedding with lots of greenery, which is why I chose this venue. I wanted to do as little as possible when it came to decor, so I figured why not just choose somewhere that already has everything you want. I was obsessed with the dining room at The Northridge Inn, and knew I needed to incorporate their outdoor canoe fixture into the wedding somehow, so I decided on doing hor d'oeuvres outside under the canoe, and dinner inside under the giant antler fixture. Nate, from The Northridge, went above and beyond and surprised me with my table decor.

Table Layout and Decor

I was supposed to call a few weeks prior to the wedding to tell the venue which colours and types of flowers I wanted, but I didn't get around to it. I thought about sending a quick email, but to be honest I have never seen them host an ugly wedding, so I just went with the flow. Nate basically read my mind, because he hit the nail on the head with the white and green florals, and the wooden plate risers were a perfect addition. For place settings, I had the same girl who made my wedding cake make personalized cookies so that guests knew where to sit. I liked the idea of a cookie also being their takeaway as I don't like to create waste, so this way we got to eat it!

The Cake

My cake ended up being much more than I imagined. My initial idea was a plain carrot cake with cream cheese buttermilk icing and a simple cake topper. Another surprise! Nate took apart a floral arrangement from the lobby at The Northridge Inn and glammed up my very plain cake. I was very happy with how it turned out. Sometimes my idea that less is more, is not always a great idea.

The First Look

Because we weren't having a formal ceremony, and I wasn't walking down the aisle, we had a first look photo shoot instead. I loved doing a first look, because it made me less nervous about the ceremony. The Northridge Inn has so many great places for photo backdrops, so we took a walk around the property to get all of these shots. I really love the ones on the dock, they seem so natural and innocent. Plus, our favourite place to be is on the water!

The Ceremony

Our ceremony was short and sweet. I really liked our officiant Wendy. I now know why she had such good Google ratings - ya I shopped for an officiant like I shop for electronics, and reviews mean everything! My favourite part of our ceremony was my nephew running up to bring us the rings. Our photographers captured his energy perfectly! At the end of the ceremony, my mom thought of the idea to have everyone blowing bubbles as we walked by.... super cute!


Photographer @erinleydon // Venue The Northridge Inn // Decor @nate_francesco // Dress @lulusweddings // Shoes @hm // Hair @rhea_sunshine // Makeup MOI! // Bouquet @incarnations // Cake @isabella_sweet_cakes // Invitations @alwaysbyamber // Officiant Muskoka Weddings - Wendy Oke // Cake Topper @wood_be_lovely


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