SKINCARE | Blush and navy wedding skincare featuring Suqqu, La Prairie, Laneige, Halo Beauty, and Nivea

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Ever since we picked blush and navy to be our wedding colours, I’ve been subconsciously drawn to skincare products packaged in these colours. Today I wanted to share with you some of the products that I’ve been (still) enjoying in my skincare routine as I prepare my skin for our big day!

The first is Suqqu Moisture Repair Essence N. This product I added to my routine in early September as the weather was just starting to turn cold in Vancouver. My skin isn’t perpetually dry and dehydrated and I needed an extra moisture serum step to help boost my skins hydration level. I purchased this in London when I was there last summer, and so far I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s such a lightweight hydrating serum that works perfectly over my retinol. I love this under my La Prairie moisturizer too. With my dry skin I’ve been expecting it to peel once I restarted using retinol, but I haven’t had any redness or peeling.

I previously wrote about the La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer, and I’m still loving it. While with the colder weather, it’s not quite enough hydration for my dry skin (hence the layering with the Suqqu serum), I love how it absorbs so quickly into my skin leaving no residue behind. While I love a rich moisturizer, some of them do leave behind a residue, but thankfully this does not. My skin feels firmer and smoother with every week of using this cream, featuring the new Caviar Premier which launched earlier this year.

I have perpetually dry lips but when I was in Vegas earlier this year, I picked up this mini size of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. I LOVE THIS STUFF! It’s been absolutely amazing for my dry lips. My lips used to peel and crack regularly but with this lip mask applied every night, I haven’t had any issues at all with dryness. I also bought the day gloss / balm and while it’s great for on-the-go, I still prefer this one since it works the best on me.

In terms of general skin, nail and hair health, I started using Halo Beauty Hair, Skin and Nails Booster this year. I was using it off and on (which you’re not supposed to do since it won’t maximize the benefits), but when I am using it, I definitely see and feel a difference. I was on the keto diet earlier this year and I had been experiencing some hair fallout. While I feel like this didn’t stop the fallout, this did make my hair grow back at an alarmingly fast rate. I also noticed the random dry patches on my skin have been disappearing. Recently I’m back on HSN Booster on a regular basis because I’ve been really stressed out from work so my scalp has been really dry and flakey.  I’m hoping that this will help.

Lastly, an oldie but goodie is the Nivea Firming Body Oil. I’ve taken FOREVER to use up this entire bottle, and sometimes I do forgo this in favour of other, more interesting body lotions, but I always come back to this one eventually because it works. I love how fast it dries on my skin, how it doesn’t leave a residue, the amazing and comforting smell, and how it’s great for the colder months. I wanted to pick up another bottle but I don’t think they sell this anymore… so sad!

As I continue further into my wedding prep and get closer to the big day, I’ll be sharing more skincare prep ideas and product reviews with you! I’m so happy to be back writing skincare reviews, it really does bring me the most joy and I hope you enjoy reading them too!

La Prairie and Nivea were PR samples. Everything else was purchased with my own money or received as a retail gift with purchase. All opinions are my own.

MAKEUP | Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

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I wasn’t intending on reviewing this foundation, but I’ve been seeing nothing but raves about it (mostly from girls who received this in their Influenster box or as PR samples) so I felt it was only right to share my views. I’m talking about the recently(ish) released Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE CHARLOTTE TILBURY. I have to yell that at the top of my lungs because it is true. Her products have quickly become an absolute staple in my makeup kit, for example her pressed powder is the first pressed powder I ever finished. I also use several of her other complexion products because most of them are AMAZING. That being said, the Airbrush Flawless Foundation has failed me in many many ways.

The TL;DR version of it is that it oxidizes poorly, sinks into pores, and doesn’t sit well on my dry skin.

The shade I have, which I received from Sephora as a deluxe sample with purchase, is 4 Neutral. When it goes on my face, it is way too light, as if I’m wearing a mask, but 20-30 minutes later, the shade has oxidized to the point of it being perfectly suited for my skin. A foundation should not oxidize that much, especially since I have dry skin so it’s not like it’s mixing with the oils on my skin to create something else. The brand says this is the foundation ‘adjusting’ to you skin, but really it’s just oxidizing. I don’t own any other foundations that oxidize like this, which is several shades deeper than what it looks like out of the bottle.

The first thing I noticed wasn’t even the oxidization, but rather how much this stuff sinks into pores. Again I reiterate I have dry skin, and I generally have pretty poreless skin. I’ve never owned a foundation like this that accentuated all of my pores, especially on my nose and cheek area. Thankfully I wear glasses so that area is a bit harder to see, but I know it’s there, and it’s not pretty. Charlotte Tilbury says to use this over the Magic Cream, which I haven’t tried yet and don’t plan on trying. I don’t need to use a specific skincare routine to make my foundation work – it shouldn’t be like that. I did try this over the Wonder Glow, which is Charlotte’s primer, and even then it sunk deep into my pores.

Charlotte advertises this as a hydrating foundation for those with dry skin. Unfortunately I didn’t find this to be the case at all. My skin felt dry and tight when I used this, and not skin relieving or hydrating. Even the long-wearing foundations I have that aren’t supposed to be hydrating feel more comfortable on my skin than this one. I didn’t change up my skincare routine at all when I used this, and even added a hydrating serum at night (which was washed off in the morning) to help my skin feel more comfortable. Unfortunately my skin was still dry feeling.

I’m not really sure how Charlotte got it so wrong this time. I have the Hollywood Flawless Filter and I love it. I also have the Light Wonder foundation and I also use that once in a while; it’s not my go-to foundation but it fills a need in my foundation collection.

If you’re looking for a foundation, stay far away from this one. I rarely write about a product with no redeeming qualities, but unfortunately this is one of them.

FASHION | Top styles trending this season per Holt Renfrew, Aimee Song and Coveteur

With fall officially in full swing, I was invited to a fall trends report presentation at Holt Renfrew Vancouver where fashion blogger Aimee Song discussed the latest trends for the season with Coveteur Co-founder Stephanie Mark. They touched on several trends but I wanted to share my personal favourites with you.

1. Warm neutrals

Warm neutrals such as warm beiges, leopard print, burgundies are my ultimate go-to when it comes to fall dressing. This appears to be in consensus with Aimee, Stephanie, and Holt’s fall trend report too. These colours just make me feel super cosy, and are also reflective of the beautiful fall tones that are bestowed upon us at this time of year. While I don’t rock leopard print that much apart from my footwear, burgundy is my favourite colour to wear.

This season we’re also seeing a continuation of the monotone look where your entire outfit is a variation of the same colour. I absolutely love this trend, as it is easy to put together but still look very trendy.

2. Power dressing

I purchased my first Balmain blazer earlier this year, and I love a good blazer to wear over top any outfit to make me look more polished and put together. One of Aimee’s favourite things to wear is an oversized blazer. She suggested sizing up (she normally takes a large) if you’re looking for a more relaxed casual vibe but still look polished. I personally prefer something more tailored, or even fitted, as I find an oversized blazer can look overwhelming on me. In recent years, I’ve seen blazers created with more unique features, such as a peplum detail, a ruffle back, or a waterfall front.

Power dressing doesn’t have to mean sticking to the classic blazer. You can achieve this look by incorporating other tailored items in your wardrobe. I recently discovered culottes by Max Mara which are super comfortable yet polished. One point that Aimee and Stephanie touched on, which I agree with, is power dressing is all about wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and powerful in your own skin. As long as you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing, you’ll give off that positive energy which will make you look and feel powerful.

3. Flushed cheeks

As a beauty blogger, of course I’m loving the fresh skin, flushed cheeks trend. Cream blushes are great at this time of year because skin tends to be dryer so you want to use something more emollient. Aimee suggested that a good cream blush will also act as a great all-in-one helper when you’re short on purse space or when you’re travelling, as it can be applied on your cheeks, lips, and eyelids. Something like the La Prairie Radiance Cream Blush, available at Holts, comes with a super high quality mirror in the compact so you can touch up wherever you go.

Which of these trends are you going to incorporate in your own style?

Photos courtesy of Holt Renfrew. Thanks to Holts for inviting me to this event.

GIVEAWAY | Live Clean body wash and hand soap gift set

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Live Clean makes my absolute favourite hand wash formula ever. I’ve been using this stuff for over 5 years and I stock every bathroom in my house with it. I wash my hands very vigorously and regularly so I need something that is effective on dirt yet gentle on my skin. In addition for being super sudsy, Live Clean hand soaps are also very soothing and nourishing on my perpetually dry hands.

Live Clean body washes are also a staple in my house, not only are they inexpensive and offer great value for money, unlike other drugstore body washes, they offer a great cleanse without stripping the skin. I keep the Coconut Milk formula in my guest shower (along with bottles of the Live Clean shampoo and conditioner) as the scent is warming and great for a pre-bedtime shower.

I’m so excited that Live Clean is offering this generous giveaway to Maddy Loves readers where you can win a set of three body washes and three hand soaps. The formulas I’ve picked are all amazing for keeping your skin beautifully hydrated and nourished for the upcoming winter season.

You can win these products

  • Rich and creamy, Live Clean Coconut Milk Moisturizing Body Wash gently cleanses while restoring moisture balance and renewed vitality to the skin. The natural oils found in Coconut Milk as well as Apricot oil and Vitamins C, E and B deeply care for skin and improve its overall softness and beauty. 500 mL. Suggested retail $7.49 – $7.99.
  • Live Clean Vanilla Oatmeal Soothing Body Wash is formulated to gently – but oh so effectively – cleanse and soothe dry skin, leaving it silky smooth and moisturized.  In addition to Oatmeal, with its antioxidant, natural healing properties, certified organic botanicals of Vanilla and Chamomile nourish the skin.  The fragrance?  Heavenly. 500 mL. Suggested retail $7.49 – $7.99.
  • Famed for its moisturizing qualities, Monoi Oil of Tahiti hydrates and nourishes the skin. Live Clean Exotic Vitality Monoi Oil Calming Body Wash has certified organic Jojoba Oil and fair trade Bamboo extract that penetrate deeply, softening and nourishing the skin. The result – skin that’s both cleansed and protected.  500 mL. Suggested retail $7.49 – $7.99.
  • Rich, creamy and lightly scented, Live Clean Coconut Milk Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap is not just an effective cleanser, it hydrates and restores moisture balance. It’s enriched with Vitamins C, E and B to deeply care for hands and improve their natural beauty. 500 mL. Suggested retail: $4.99 – $5.99.
  • A light vanilla scent and the soothing powers of oatmeal come to life in Live Clean Vanilla Oatmeal Soothing Liquid Hand Soap. We’ve blended Vitamin E, Panthenol and certified organic botanicals of Vanilla and Chamomile in this richly lathering, hydrating liquid hand soap that gently cleanses and delivers superior softening and moisturizing, leavings hands feeling soft and silky smooth. 500 mL. Suggested retail: $4.99 – $5.99.
  • In Live Clean Exotic Vitality Monoi Oil Liquid Hand Soap, we’ve harnessed Monoi Oil, a natural blend of rich coconut oil infused with Tahiti’s native Tiaré flower, to hydrate your hands while you’re cleansing. Certified organic Jojoba Oil and Bamboo extract deeply penetrate to soften your hands.  500 mL. Suggested retail: $4.99 – $5.99.

All you do to enter is by going to this Instagram post and follow the instructions:

  1. Follow @maddylovesblog and @livecleancan on Instagram
  2. Tag as many friends as you want for multiple entries

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🎉🎉🎉GIVEAWAY🎉🎉🎉!! . . I am giving away a set of @livecleancan Body Washes and Liquid Hand Soaps. I love Live Clean hand and body products, I keep them in every bathroom in my house. I can’t wait to share my love for these products with you! . . TO ENTER: 1️⃣ FOLLOW @maddylovesblog and @livecleancan 2️⃣ LIKE this post 3️⃣ TAG a friend! You can tag as many people as you want for multiple entries . . Contest is open to residents of Canada. Contest will close October 11 at 9PM. Once I confirm the winner, I’ll tag him or her. . . GOOD LUCK! 🥳 . . . . . #giveaway #giveaways #contest #liveclean #freebie #giveawaycontest #bbloggers #bbloggersca #vancouver #yvr #handsoap #blogger #bloggers #beautybloggers #lifestylebloggers #livecleancan #downtownvancouver #canadianblogger #canada

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The giveaway will run until October 11 at which time I’ll contact the winner. It’s that easy! Good luck!

NAILS | CND Treasured Moments collection

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that CND makes my favourite nail polish formula – the Vinylux. I’ve spoken about them countless times in the past on the blog. I love how long wearing the formula is (they usually can last up to 2 weeks without chipping), the seamless and flawless application, as well as its lack of a strong nail polish scent. Once in a while I would go try out another nail polish brand and it would literally stink up my entire house, so I’m thankful that CND can deliver such a beautiful formula without the pungent scent.

Now that we’re in the swing of fall, CND has released a fall-appropriate Treasured Moments collection, featuring five gorgeous shades that were inspired by the memories of childhood and growing up.

The shades are:

  • Baby Smile – the most perfect peachy nude shade
  • Secret Diary – a rich violet
  • First Love – a creamy raspberry red
  • Cap & Gown – an olive green
  • B-Day Candle – a rich orange

I had the absolute pleasure of getting my nails done at Onyx Aesthetics Studio in Gastown, which not only is a CND salon, meaning that they use exclusively CND products, but is also the only nail salon I go to for special occasions where I need to absolutely trust the esthetician (for example for my engagement photos!). Whenever I get nail art done on my hands, I generally let the artist have free reign on the design. I’m absolutely in love with the Picasso-inspired art that the artist created on my nails. She used Baby Smile as the base, and accented with First Love and B-Day Candle. It was such a treat and I couldn’t stop staring at my nails.

You can purchase CND products at Onyx if you’re in Vancouver. Alternatively they can be purchased at your local salon, Chatters salons, and Trade Secrets stores.

Product received for review consideration. Manicure service and nail art were provided complimentary of CND and Onyx. All opinions are my own.

SKINCARE | Recent product hits and duds featuring Herbivore Botanicals, Apothekari Skincare, Caudalie, May Coop and Elemis

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I haven’t written about skincare in a while but I wanted to share some quick thoughts on a few products I’ve been using lately.

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Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Serum

I got a free deluxe mini bottle of this when I placed an Herbivore order during their 30% off sale. I used this every night for a few weeks and I didn’t see any major benefits to my skin at all. It was lightly hydrating, and the texture was soothing, but other than that I wouldn’t say it’s a very effective anti-aging serum. I personally feel like if you are pregnant or are majorly adverse to using stronger ingredients such as actual retinol, or you have very sensitive skin, or you just want all of your skincare to be 100% clean, then you might enjoy this because you can feel like you’re using an effective anti-aging ingredient. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get this over something else that’s more potent.

Repurchase? Nope.

Herbivore Botanicals Pink Cloud Moisturizer

Another dud from Herbivore Botanicals is their Pink Cloud Moisturizer. I purchased this last November during the Sephora VIB sale, and started using it at the beginning of July, and by then the jar had already mostly dried up to a point of it being a thick cream instead of a more whipped texture. In addition to not being moisturizing on me at all, it also broke me out. I loved the subtle rose scent, which was the only thing it had going for it.

Repurchase? Heck no.

Herbivore Botanicals Prism Serum

I ordered this because I love chemical exfoliants and this one contains a blend of fruit acids. Well similar to the Pink Cloud Moisturizer, it sat in the box for 8 months (unopened) and turned a weird brown murky colour. I still used it for a few days (according to the Herbivore Instagram account, the product is still good to use, and the colour change is just cosmetic) but I literally felt nothing from this. Maybe if you’re just starting out with acid exfoliators, you could give this one a go, but the fact that it turned bad before even the one year mark, combined with how it didn’t do anything for my skin at all, dissuades me from recommending this to anyone.

Repurchase? No

Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Spray

The only item from Herbivore that I seem to be getting along with is the Rose Hibiscus Coconut Spray. It smells subtly rosy, which I am enjoying. It’s not super hydrating, which is a bummer, but it does feel really refreshing on the skin. It sinks in completely with no residue, making it a good candidate as a post-makeup setting spray too.

Repurchase? Maybe, but probably not because there are other products out there that can do better.

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Apothekari Skincare Bespoke Vitamin C 10% Serum

I received this from the Apothekari brand. I’ve known about this local Vancouver brand for years but it was my first time trying their products. The founder is a pharmacist and created this brand for people who are looking for active ingredients without certain harmful ingredients. The Bespoke Vitamin C 10% serum was custom mixed for me once it was confirmed that I wanted to try this product. With this product, they don’t mix everything together until it is confirmed that a client is ordering it, which means everything is ultra fresh.

I’ve tested several Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid combo serums in the last few years, including the very famous CE Ferulic by Skinceuticals, and I honestly have to say this one is my favourite. The texture is funny, almost goopy like aloe gel, but it feels super soothing and hydrating on the skin. As a vitamin C serum, I apply this on my face pretty much every morning and it doesn’t feel sticky or leave my skin with an orange tinge. I would highly recommend that you check this out if you are in the market for a Vitamin C serum, especially if you’ve been interested in the Skinceuticals one for a while. This is $95 which is a lot more affordable than the Skinceuticals version.

Repurchase? Absolutely yes.

Apothekari Skincare A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum

Retinal is Retinaldehyde, a derivative of retinol. Per Apothekari, retinal is the “ultimate retinoid because it is the direct precursor to Retinoic Acid, the form of Vitamin A.” I haven’t looked too much into the science of it, but this is supposed to be a gentler version of retinol. In addition to retinal, it also includes one of my favourite skincare ingredients Niacinamide at a 5% concentration.

This serum is an interesting yellow, creamy texture. It goes on smooth underneath my moisturizer without giving me a yellow tinge. I love that it absorbs super quickly, and is not as drying as regular retinol. The effects aren’t as immediate as regular retinol either, which is good and bad depending on what your skincare preference is. I personally like instant gratification, which is why I’m obsessed with regular retinol. I do see that my skin is smoother and brighter over time, but it’s just not an immediate benefit.

Repurchase? Maybe. At this point in my skincare life, I personally prefer something stronger like retinol because my skin can take it right now, but I definitely will repurchase if my skin becomes sensitive later on and I need something gentler.

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Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Glycolic Essence

I received this from Caudalie PR and I love it so much, I have it saved on my Sephora Loves list. This is such a great lightweight essence lotion / toner for the summer months! I love the thinner texture which makes it great as a toner but also as a gently brightening essence. The scent is super subtle and very refreshing. I use this primarily in the morning but I also use it at night if I feel like my skin can use a bit of a kick. This is probably the most comparable essence lotion to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence that I have found, which is amazing because this is a fraction of the price of SK-II.

Repurchase? Already on my list!

May Coop Raw Sauce

I love essence lotions and when I saw a promotion on May Coop’s popular Raw Sauce, I ordered myself a bottle to use in the mornings. This has a really thick serum-y texture which absorbs quickly. The trick is not to use a lot, otherwise you end up feeling sticky. I noticed an immediate boost in hydrating in just 1-2 days of use, and then my skin also feels way more comfortable and even. I had a pimple on my chin that was taking a while to heel but for some reason this really helped heel that as well. I haven’t used this enough to see the long term benefits, but in just the few short weeks I’ve had it, I’m already starting to be a believer.

Repurchase? Yes! It’s so affordable too.

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream

This full size jar came in the Elemis advent calendar I ordered last year. I’ve been using this as a daytime moisturizer and I’m a big fan. It has such a nice lightweight gel cream texture, soaks in immediately, is super hydrating, layers well with other products, and creates a good base for foundation. While this is advertised as a day cream (there’s a separate night cream that’s supposed to be thicker), you can absolutely use this as a night cream as well. I don’t think I’ve noticed significant anti-aging benefits, but I do feel like my skin is nicely hydrated all the time and more plump. The only thing I don’t love about it is the jar – I feel like the formula is light enough to be in a pump or squeeze bottle. That being said, you can easily get every last drop of this cream from the jar.

Repurchase? Very likely.

PR products include Caudalie and Apothekari, everything else was purchased with my own money. I do not use affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

WEDDING | Engagement photo shoot in False Creek, Downtown Vancouver

Sheila & Barrie

We recently had the absolute pleasure of having my dream photographer (who I also happened to go to university with) take our engagement photos. Cari was an absolute delight to work with, and we are also super happy with how the photos turned out.

If you’re looking for a lifestyle photographer, whether its for your wedding, engagement, or even home photo shoot, I highly recommend Cari. She’s so patient with us, and was great at keeping us on track. We’re naturally super silly people (especially Barrie) and we kept trying to joke around, but Cari was great at steering us back to a more romantic and relaxed vibe. Cari also went out of her way to make sure that we were able to get the shots we were looking for. We are honestly so thrilled with all of the photos.

Credits
Photography: Cari Zhu Photo (on Instagram)
Locations: David Lam Park, Yaletown Marinaside, False Creek (north side), all Downtown Vancouver

On me
Hair & makeup: Meagan at Paragon Makeup
Nails: CND Shellac in Cashmere Wrap, courtesy of CND and Onyx Aesthetics Studio
Blouse: Aritzia
Skirt: Club Monaco
Shoes: Valentino
Bag: Chanel
Engagement ring: Luksus Diamond
Right hand ring: Tiffany & Co.
Left hand bracelet: Cartier

On him
Shirt and trousers: lululemon athletica
Shoes: Adidas

Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie
Sheila & Barrie

We paid out of pocket for the engagement photo shoot. This post is not sponsored. All photo credits go to Cari Zhu.

FASHION | Five best luxury purchases

I’ve been seeing these videos floating around Youtube and I absolutely love watching them. Since I don’t have a Youtube channel, I figured I can share some of my thoughts here with you on my five best luxury purchases so far!

I hope to be back with regular beauty content once I have my life sorted out. Hopefully that should be very soon because I have so many products I want to share with you. I’ve also been trying out new home products so I hope to also write about those. In the meantime, please follow me on Instagram for some mini-reviews and also just general life updates.

5. Chanel Classic Jumbo Flap in Black Caviar

My absolute favourite handbag ever, my Chanel Classic Jumbo is included on this list not because of how much I use it (I don’t actually use it THAT much), but because of how it makes me feel every time I do use it. My heart sings, butterflies dance in my stomach, and I just feel pure euphoria when I touch the leather on this bag, and sling it over my shoulder. It is an expensive bag for sure, but the fact that I feel so happy whenever I use this, I think it’s a worthy investment.

4. Burberry Kensington Trench Coat

My first designer clothing item, I’ve had my classic Burberry trench since 2012. I absolutely LOVE this style – it’s a gorgeous, timeless style, with fantastic tailoring and quality. Mine is Made in England, which is what you want when it comes to a Burberry trench. Mine came with a removable quilted vest lining which I can put in when it gets too cold, making this piece even more versatile than a regular trench. I love my Burberry outerwear and have so far accumulated 3 coats.

In the first photo above, I’m wearing my beloved Burberry Kensington Trench Coat and my Chanel 2.55 Mini Reissue.

3. Chanel 2.55 Mini Reissue (single flap)

My newest bag acquisition which I’ve been wearing a ton. For Chanel, it’s quite a “cheap” bag at just US$3500 / C$4025. It comes in the ultra classic reissue design with the bijoux chain and mademoiselle turnlock. I love that it’s very low-key for a Chanel bag, you can’t really tell that it’s Chanel unless you know Chanel. The distressed calfskin is wonderful – super durable, and any scratches are buffed out easily. It’s a fantastic bag for cross-border, or worn on the shoulder.

2. Gucci Soho Disco

Before I got my Chanel 2.55 Reissue Mini, my Gucci Soho Disco was my go-to every day bag. I have it in the red colour which is a beautiful muted red. The leather is extremely durable – I throw this bag around and there aren’t many scrapes or scratches, just some minor rubbing along the corners. I’ve been caught in the rain with this, and even though the water gets absorbed into the leather, it dries completely fine without a single mark. It fits a ton, and is super lightweight, so it’s great for travelling.

1. Salvatore Ferragamo Vara pumps

I have four pairs of these shoes, and with the exception of the one that I purchased most recently, every single one of them have been worn to death. They are the perfect heel height, with a simple 1 inch block heel, almond toe, and come in so many different colours and leather options. I love the beautiful bow detail at the front, it makes it look elegant and luxurious but not flashy. They are extremely comfortable, and I can wear them for the entire day without too much pain. If you’re looking for a high end shoe, I highly recommend these. The best thing is that they also go on sale pretty often so you don’t have to spend a pretty penny on a luxury shoe.

Which are some of your favourite luxury purchases?

SKINCARE | Don’t buy products from Herbivore Botanicals

You know me and my obsession with natural skincare products. I started to be interested in Herbivore Botanical‘s products after finding out about their Blue Tansy mask. This was at the height of my blogging days, and I had enough skincare for up to eight lifetimes, but I still bought a jar to try. I love blue tansy as an ingredient, and May Lindstrom’s the Blue Cocoon is one of my saviour products. A few months later, I noticed that my Blue Tansy mask, which used to be a beautiful ocean blue colour, is now grey, smelled weird, and also much thicker in texture. This is example #1.

I didn’t think much of it, and I continued being obsessed with their products, ordering a skincare kit which contained travel sizes of the Pink Cloud cream, Prism exfoliating serum, and the Rose Hibiscus spray. As a skincare hoarder, I bought it and never opened it, leaving it in the box, sealed tight, for a few months. I ordered it in November 2018, and come July 2019 when I was finally ready to use it, I opened the box to find that my Prism serum, which is supposed to be transparent, is now a weird brown murky colour, and Pink Cloud cream had essentially dried up in the jar.

I reached out to Herbivore on Instagram asking about this, and they said that their products are all natural so colour discolouration is normal. However it doesn’t explain why Pink Cloud essentially dried up in the jar. While Pink Cloud was still usable, it is no longer that whipped texture, and is instead slightly hard and needs a few spritzes of the Rose Hibiscus Spray to become spreadable.

Now, right before I discovered the mess of NEW products I had from Herbivore, silly me made another order, this time because they were offering a 30% discount and a free mini of the Bakuchiol Serum. I love retinol, and any products that claims to have retinol-like benefits, I latch onto and won’t let go. So I ordered some products for the promo. While I haven’t received it in the mail yet, I see a post by Chemist Confessions on Instagram talking about the lack of protective packaging used by Herbivore.

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Bakuchiol hails to be a natural alternative to retinol. For us, it's definitely an interesting little guy that has some eye catching studies out there… so this won't be going anywhere anytime soon. We're seeing a flurry of brands coming out with their interpretation of this product! One of them is Herbivore's newly launched bakuchiol serum. So let's #decodethatIL 1. The good: Bakuchiol studies use 0.5% of the ingredient. Now Herbivore doesn't disclose the exact bakuchiol %, but it's reasonably high enough on the ingredient list that we think it should at least be close to the 0.5% mark 2. The gimmick: the product includes another hot ingredient on the market — PHA gluconolactone. Now based on the data, this should be used at fairly high levels. Think upwards of 14%. So there's no way it'll hit that here. Really at this level, it's more of a formula support. 3. The questionable: bakuchiol is a retinol alternative that doesn't have nearly the same level of stability issues that retinol does… but it's still suggested to store it in a cool dark place. So we're still feeling a bit meh about the clear dropper bottle. Final thoughts? We think this is worth a go for those who want to try out a bakuchiol product since it's most likely used at the right levels. Just keep it in vampire settings (cool and dark) just to be on the safe side. #retinolalternatives

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This really made me think that YES! Despite Herbivore’s products all containing some kind of active ingredient, coupled by the lack of preservatives, means that they should be trying HARDER to put their products in airtight containers which will prevent oxidization, right? But no, they do not. Their products are clearly drying out in the bottle, and are turning bad earlier than they should be. This is a sign that the ingredients contained within the products are not as effective as they should be, and may even be completely ineffective.

Oh, and don’t forget this Reddit post about contaminated products made by Herbivore… Do you want to be putting mold on your face?

If you’ve noticed that I haven’t linked a single product here, it was done deliberately because I really don’t want you to buy their products. There are SO many products and brands out there that are equally, if not more amazing, and you really shouldn’t have to waste money on Herbivore’s products with the selection we’re faced with today.

Just another disclaimer that I’m not a scientist, I’m just some girl on the internet who loves skincare and who works hard at her day job so she can go and buy skincare products. Just based on that alone, I wouldn’t recommend buying Herbivore. Spend your hard-earned money somewhere else!

I purchased everything mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own, and based on my personal use and experience of the products.

HOME DECOR | Our new king size tufted bed

Candace and Basil Santa Fe bed in ivory linen made in Canada custom bed review

Introducing our new KING BED from Candace & Basil. This is the Santa Fe bed in ivory linen. It was built-to-order, and custom made for us – the nails on the wings were removed and replaced with more tufting (you know how much I love tufting). It was my first time ordering from Candace and Basil and I am pretty happy with how everything turned out in the end. Read on for my initial thoughts on this bed!

This bed is MADE IN CANADA, and is incredibly well built. You can seriously tell the difference in quality between this and another off-the-shelf piece of furniture. It was shipped to us from Mississauga in three separate parcels, and it was very easy to assemble. While the colour is not a true ivory, more of a cream-beige, it ended up working out really well for us because we had a white bed before and over time it would yellow a bit from general use and also being in the sun. The fabric is SUPER SOFT. I couldn’t believe how soft this is, and I just love running my hands across the fabric.

Candace and Basil Santa Fe bed in ivory linen made in Canada custom bed review

The primary issue we noticed was that our mattress is thinner than most modern mattresses because it doesn’t have that pillow top, so the mattress doesn’t quite go up to where the tufting part of the headboard. It’s not a huge issue because most people have pillow top mattresses, and we can cover the gap with pillows. If you are in the same boat as me and are interested in ordering this bed, you could ask them to reduce the amount of space on the headboard with no tufting. The other issue was that the production and shipping process took a lot longer than expected. Because this bed is built-to-order, they estimated 2 weeks for manufacturing and then another week to ship. It ended up taking over 3 weeks to build (they said they had some issues with the wing design), and nearly 2 weeks to ship across the country. As with everything house-related, we’ve learned that you need to build in a lot of time to accommodate for delays – nearly everything has been delayed.

Candace and Basil Santa Fe bed in ivory linen made in Canada custom bed review

Customer service was good to begin with – they were super nice, very informative, and I LOVE the live chat function (more companies should have live chat). But when they encountered delays after we ordered, we weren’t informed of the delays until we had contacted them to ask if they were still on track for delivery. That was when we found out that they had issues with the wing design and that the bed wouldn’t be complete. We were then told that the bed would be complete the following weekend (but it wasn’t, and there were a few other follow ups on my end). I understand that delays happen but we wished they were a bit better with communication towards the end.

Overall I’m happy with the bed itself, the quality is just amazing, especially for that price. The delays were a bit troublesome but I think partly it’s for me to adjust my expectations. They also work with Paybright to offer free financing. We knew that we will have a lot of expenses in the first few months so we opted for the payment split over 6 months, with no additional cost.

There’s another local Vancouver furniture manufacturer named after the famous painter with one ear, and they also make custom beds like this, however their prices are over 2x what Candace & Basil charges, primarily because Candace & Basil sells direct to consumers whereas the other furniture company only sells through retailers with that retailer markup.

Candace and Basil also sells furniture that they don’t make in-house. There’s quite a big selection, and the prices are reasonable. We liked that they offer free shipping and returns on all orders, except the custom-made beds. Free shipping is available on custom furniture but they are final sale. If you’re looking for some good quality furniture, I highly recommend checking them out.

Candace and Basil Santa Fe bed in ivory linen made in Canada custom bed review

This post is not sponsored, we paid for the bed ourselves.