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 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.

FASHION | Derby style ideas for the Deighton Cup

I’m so excited to be attending the Deighton Cup in Vancouver this Saturday, July 20, 2019. The Deighton Cup is an annual Vancouver tradition, now in it’s 11th year. Not only is this a derby, it’s also one of Vancouver’s favourite style events. The event usually happens around my birthday, and despite being invited each year, this year will be the first that I’ll be around to attend. I’m looking forward to take in the atmosphere, and also dress up in my derby best.

I wanted to share some of my style inspirations with you so that if you are attending a similar type of event, hopefully this can give you some ideas for what to wear. Many of these outfits are wedding appropriate as well!

Dresses

1. I love Self-Portrait dresses, and every season I find a few that really inspire me. I love the idea of a sexy but still demure lace dress for formal daytime events such as the Deighton Cup, or a wedding. This one you can find at Moda Operandi.

2. I’ve been obsessed with jumpsuits lately. With the Royal Ascot now allowing jumpsuits in its extremely strict dress code, why not try a modern jumpsuit outfit at the Deighton Cup this summer. A good flattering jumpsuit is also extremely comfortable, so you can look put together while still feeling like yourself. This one you can find at Le Chateau.

3. Floral dresses are always in, especially in the spring summer season. I love ones that don’t have a small print, which makes the dress look busy. This high-low pleated dress has a classic floral pattern, with a fun pleated bottom which makes it flow beautifully as you walk. You can find this at Ted Baker.

4. Last but not least, if you’re short on budget and always want to look classy, a little black dress is your best bet. These dresses are great for all occasions, and you can rewear them to any event, which makes them the best bang for your buck. You can spice up the classic black dress by adding a ruffle or off-the-shoulder detail, or both! This one you can find at Aritzia.

Hat

No derby event is complete without a fancy hat. I ordered mine off of Amazon – it was affordable and arrived on time. I don’t think you really need to splurge on a hat since we rarely find the right occasion to wear them, however once-in-a-while they are extremely fun to dress up with.

I’ll be sharing my final Deighton Cup outfit with you on Instagram, so make sure to follow along on my posts and Instagram Stories. Tickets for the Deighton Cup are still available for purchase, and this year lunch isn’t included which means you have more flexibility if you don’t want to eat on-site… and ticket prices are cheaper because of it too. If you are wanting to eat on-site, lunch is catered by Earl’s and there are plenty of different options to satisfy everyone’s tastes.

If you’re also attending this event, I look forward to seeing you there!

I was invited as media to the Deighton Cup and my ticket was complimentary. I do not use affiliate links.

WEDDING | Paragon Makeup did the hair and makeup for my engagement photos!

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Hello! I am back for a review today. So sorry for being MIA the last few months but it has been absolute insanity with the house move, doing renovations, dealing with contractors, and then still wedding planning. Of course the world loves to throw curveballs at you, and the apartment I still own and am renting out had a pipe burst in the hallway right in front of my unit, which severely damaged the inside of my unit. The condo’s general insurance doesn’t cover things like upgraded flooring inside a unit, so I have to get my own insurance to pay for it, which has been another huge pain, not to mention very costly out of pocket due to the extent of the damage. It’s just been a ton of ups and downs lately.

Anyways, I am back with a wedding-related makeup post! Specifically, I am featuring a local Greater Vancouver-based hair and makeup company who recently did my engagement shoot with me. I really wanted to write this review of Paragon Makeup because I am incredibly thankful to Meagan, the owner. Due to forecasted rain (thanks Vancouver!), our engagement shoot ended up getting rescheduled just a few days before the shoot to a date that was earlier than the original date. With only two days to the new shoot date, my original hair and makeup artist wasn’t available at such short notice, so I reached out to Meagan. Not only was Meagan incredibly responsive and super accommodating despite the short notice, she did an amazing job on my makeup and hair.

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Hair

I sent Meagan a photo of the hair I wanted (braided side crown with the rest of it down in soft curls), and she gave me exactly what I was looking for. I have dry ends so she used hair oil on it before curling, which made it look super soft and luscious. I’m writing this the next day and the curls and braid are still in-tact. My fiance usually isn’t a fan of super elaborate looks but even he really loved my hair. He said he was watching our photographer take portrait photos of me and said I looked amazing.

What sent her and what i got (she asked if I wanted the braid to start right at my hairline and I said no):

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Makeup

I rarely get my makeup done by professionals but since I’m pretty good at doing my own makeup (and makeup for friends), I can confidently say that Meagan’s technique is incredible. I basically told her that I wanted to look like a polished version of myself, and that’s exactly what she delivered. I’m usually wary about using professional makeup artists because in my past experience, they tend to go a bit overboard with makeup, but I didn’t want that at all for my engagement shoot. Meagan made me skin look smooth and glowy, with my redness and discolouration covered, but my freckles still peeking through so that it still looks like real skin. This was exactly what I got in the end.

I have hooded eyelids, and the makeup artists I’ve encountered in the past have been confused about what to do with them. If you apply too little eye makeup, it disappears under the hood, if you apply too much, then it looks like I got punched in the eye. Meagan did a fantastic job with my hooded eyelids, with just the right amount of eyeshadow, which resulted in my eyes looking bigger and brighter.

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Last but not least… eyebrows! I’m obsessed with a fluffy but natural brow look. I really don’t like that Instagram painted brow. Meagan used a liquid brow pen (if you’ve never tried this, I high recommend you get one, MAC and Stila both sell them) to draw on individual brows to give me that fluffy but still natural brow look. Meagan used the MAC one and I’m obsessed.

In terms of other products, my foundation was FaceATELIER, a Canadian pro makeup brand. Meagan also used Too Faced, MAC, and other pro products on me. The false lashes were by KISS (which you already know I love).

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

The only thing that came up that wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, was that Meagan went a bit over time in terms of what we had budgeted for. We had anticipated spending 1.5 hours on hair and makeup but it ended up taking a little less than 2 hours. I did build in about 30 minutes of buffer time in between the hair and makeup and the time we needed to leave for our photos, so it worked out really well. A tip to future brides is to definitely leave buffer time in between each event (if possible) so that you won’t go over time.

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Why you should hire her

In addition to being such a gifted artist, the reason why you should hire Meagan is because she owns her own beauty truck. Yes, you read that right, a beauty truck! Think food truck but instead of serving food, you get a beautifully decorated space to relax with your friends and get your hair and makeup done at the same time. The interior is super cute, with lots of beauty lights, comfortable seating, and if you’re lucky, you might even encounter her chihuahua Louie.

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Meagan said she came up with this concept because a lot of people now opt to do elopements, or have their wedding closer to nature, and there are a lack of facilities where the bride and her girls can get ready in when you are not in the city. Because of this, Meagan launched this one-of-a-kind beauty truck so that she can take her studio with her to wherever you are, and you are guaranteed to get a gorgeous look that suits all kinds of settings.

In addition to doing wedding or engagement makeup, Meagan also specializes in boudoir shoots and editorial shoots. You can check out her Instagram here.

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

You can book Meagan at Paragon Makeup via this link. She can also visit her studio at:

Paragon Makeup
17 Creekstone Pl
Port Moody, BC Canada
hello@paragonmakeup.com
(604) 839-4770

Not only was I super happy with the hair and makeup, I am incredibly thankful that Meagan made the time to come and help me in a crunch. It was super last minute but she made it work. Thank you Meagan for being there for me and helping me in a pinch. At the end of the evening, I didn’t want to wash my face off because I loved that makeup so much. Unfortunately a few months before this, I had already paid a nonrefundable deposit for a hair and makeup artist for my wedding, otherwise I would absolutely hire Meagan to work on my big day.

We just did the shoot very recently but once I get the engagement photos back, I will be sure to share those as well so you can see Meagan’s work shot by a professional photographer!

Paragon Makeup Beauty En Route beauty truck engagement photoshoot in Vancouver hair and makeup review

Thank you to Paragon Makeup for offering the complimentary service, even on such short notice. All opinions are my own, as usual.

BAG REVIEW | Saint Laurent Large Kate in the black leather with gold hardware

I love reading / watching bag reviews, so I’m going to slowly go through my handbag collection and review some of my favourite bags for you! I’m starting off with the Saint Laurent Kate bag in the size Large in grained leather and gold hardware. The Saint Laurent Kate has been around for a while now, and it has a pretty popular following. It comes in two styles – one with tassel and one without. Its available in multiple sizes, from small, medium, and large, as well as in variety of leathers, such as smooth calfskin, this type of caviar-like grained calfskin, lizard skin, paired with different hardwares such as silver, antique brushed metal, and gold.

The large size was newly introduced two years ago, and at the time of me purchasing mine it came in only two colours, black and grey, both in the pebbledcaviar leather. Over time and in certain seasons, more colours and leather variations were introduced. The calfskin is also treated to give it a tiny bit of shine (not patent), which helps to repel water.

I’ve had mine since May 2017 and I’ve worn it a TON. I use this as an everyday bag. It is slightly too big to be an evening bag, but I’ve still carried it to weddings with me and it’s not too awkward. The gold hardware makes it look classy. With the rain in Vancouver, this bag is actually fantastic because of the coated leather. I’ve been caught in the rain several times with this and I just wipe it wipe it dry as soon as I get a chance, and there has been zero signs of wear or water damage.

In terms of size, it’s is approximately same width as a Chanel Jumbo, a little shorter in height, and a flatter in depth. It is also significantly lighter, because it doesn’t have the double flap and also because of the lighter single chain. The leather is very thick, and actually very stiff at first, but it does soften a tiny bit to allow you to put more stuff in it. The thick and stiff leather helps the bag hold its shape amazingly well, and I haven’t experienced any sagging, stretching, or issues with it so far.

I don’t carry much with me every day, just my wallet (currently the LV Victorine), LV 6-key holder, iPhone X, earbuds, transit pass, and a mini hand cream. This bag fits everything perfectly and still keeps its shape.

I’m about 5’6 and a half, and the chain length is perfect for me to wear on the shoulder and the bag hits me right at the hip. It’s a very comfortable length, and this is how I prefer to wear it. If you’re desperate, you can also wear it cross-body. It hits me very high on the waist when worn cross-body but sometimes if I’m tired and carrying groceries or something, I’d glad that this is an option even if it’s not the ideal way to wear it. I’ve seen some people double up the strap to wear in the curve of the arm, but I don’t want to do that because I’m worried that the chain will rub onto the side of the bag causing the piping to get scratched off.

In terms of wear and tear, because it has a grained caviar finish, it holds up very well to wear. I haven’t noticed a single scratch, and any marks I just wipe clean with a damp cloth. I’ve had mine for almost two years and it still looks brand new.

When I got my Chanel Jumbo in the black caviar and gold hardware, I felt a tinge of regret about the Saint Laurent because they are both very similar sizes and I would use them for similar purposes. Despite that, I still use my Kate bag more because it is a lot lighter than my Chanel, and it is also a lot more durable in the rain. I would NOT want to be caught in the rain with my Chanel because it is Chanel. The YSL is also more versatile to pair with outfits, can be worn very casually or dressed up, and even though the YSL logo is quite big at the front of the bag, it doesn’t give off that vibe that you get from a Chanel bag.

I definitely think that the Saint Laurent Kate is an easy option to carry on a day-to-day basis because it’s just the right size to fit what I want and it has also proven itself to be extremely durable.

In terms of pricing, the Saint Laurent Large Kate retailed for approximately C$3,100 when I purchased mine. I was able to get a slight discount from my friend and personal shopper Claire (Orchmelia on Instagram), so I paid around C$2,800.

Hopefully this review was helpful! I’ll have a few more coming soon.

WEDDING | My engagement and wedding rings

Luksus Diamond Vancouver custom jewelry review

I never want to be one of those people who are constantly talking about their wedding planning or hashtag #bridetobe or whatever. I don’t define myself based on my relationship status and it’s not something I like to flash around. That being said, I do find certain wedding posts helpful if they are giving technical reviews or some kind of advice, so today I am writing about my engagement ring, as well as the wedding ring we picked up for me.

My engagement ring consists of 1.00 ct brilliant round solitaire on a six-prong Tiffany-style setting. It is GIA-graded D colour, triple excellent cut, with a clarity rating of SI1. I grew up wanting a 1.00 exact carat engagement ring, so even though I toyed around with getting something bigger, it wasn’t really my thing. Despite my love for designer products, I don’t think of myself as a flashy person. I wear minimal makeup and I try to be low key when I can. I considered a 1.25 ct diamond but it was just way too flashy for me that I felt almost embarrassed to wear it out. For reference, my left hand ring finger is a size 3.5.

I am a bit of a perfectionist so it was important for me to get a 1.00 exact diamond, even though it was a little bit more expensive than a 0.99 or 1.01 ct diamond. I wanted D colour, because it’s colourless and is the most brilliant. In practice, you can’t tell the difference between a D, E or F colour diamond with the naked eye. Cut is the most important attribute for a diamond, so of course I did not want to skimp on that. The one thing I chose to overlook was the clarity. In practice, you can’t really see most inclusions with the naked eye, especially if the diamond is “only” 1.00 ct. If you picked a larger diamond, then you will probably need to get a higher clarity as it has more surface area to show inclusions.

I’ve always wanted a white metal look to my engagement ring (and not yellow gold), so I was choosing between white gold and platinum. I ultimately settled on platinum because platinum is stronger than gold, so it will hold the diamond in place more securely. Platinum is also a natural “white” metal, whereas white gold is a blended metal to make it appear white, and will require re-coating every few years to maintain that white metal look.

For my wedding band, I fell in love with the Tiffany Embrace ring when I went to try it on in store. It goes very well with the Tiffany-inspired setting, and is considered the classic Tiffany wedding set. I originally didn’t want a diamond band, and was hoping to get a plain band, but I felt like a plain band didn’t look good with the knife-edge setting. Two knife-edge rings would be too intense, so having a diamond band helped to balance the two settings. The Tiffany Embrace is a whopping $5,300 in Canada, so I had to look for alternatives.

I found this beautiful James Allen ring that was very similar to the Embrace, but set in platinum like my engagement ring. The unique thing about the Tiffany Embrace is that the diamonds don’t actually go halfway down the band, they’re more like set from 10 o’clock to 4 o’clock on the ring, instead of from 12-6, if that makes sense. The diamonds on the Embrace have a total carat weight of 0.27 spread across 9 diamonds, so that is 0.03 ct per diamond. The James Allen version has 10 diamonds with a total carat weight of 0.30, so similarly the diamonds were 0.03 ct each. James Allen often does 25% off jewelry sales, which includes wedding rings and other jewelry, just not loose diamonds. The price we paid, tax included, for the wedding band was just under C$1,300.

Overall I’m super happy with my wedding set. If I had gotten the same set from Tiffany, then it would have cost at the very least 3-4x what was actually paid for all of this. If you are into that classic look, there are other alternatives out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Our wedding isn’t until May 2020 but I’m already super excited to wear my ring set together.

Hopefully this was helpful for any brides, or even if you are thinking about buying yourself some bling!

SKINCARE | The most overhyped moisturizer of all time

Creme de la Mer review

Today I have a review of a luxury facial moisturizer that is infamous for being used by celebrities as body cream – yes I am talking about Creme de la Mer. I’ve been lusting after the original Creme de la Mer for over a year, so last fall I finally took the plunge and picked up a 30mL jar. It was C$230… an astronomical price for something with pretty basic ingredients. I fell in love with this product for two reasons – the smell, which is incredibly fresh and powdery and relaxes me completely; and the texture.

A lot of the reviews say that Creme de la Mer is so thick that it causes breakouts and congestion. It is indeed very thick, a balm-cream texture that is hard to spread around, however there is actually a right way and a wrong way to apply this. The right way is to take a pea-sized amount, warm it up on your palms, and then press into the skin. You notice a significant difference when you take the time to warm and melt the cream in your palms, which then allows it to soften into a gorgeous light balm which will then beautifully envelop your skin. I don’t always take the time to melt it (you really want to take your time to warm it), so application is iffy on most evenings. I also found that it doesn’t work well for facial massage, because you’re only really supposed to apply a tiny bit and just enough to thinly cover your skin, so when I try to massage with it, I either overapply or my hands drag on my face, which is not ideal.

Going back to the smell, it really is such a wonderful comforting scent. A lot of people might think it smells like old lady, and I can definitely understand why. It is a soft floral powder, which tends to bring a lot of people back to their grandma’s perfume. That being said though, the smell dissipates after a few minutes, and you can’t smell it anymore after.

Creme de la Mer review

In terms of efficacy, this really is just a very basic moisturizer. It’s really not that hydrating – my skin is very dehydrated so I tend to have to apply a hydrating serum before apply thing (usually a few drops of hyaluronic serum). You really have to be careful not to overapply, otherwise you will get congestion and some breakouts. I didn’t notice that my lines or wrinkles had been reduced, and I didn’t notice an increase in hydration over time or anything either. The one good thing I do like about this is that it is really good at protecting skin. The original story behind La Mer (which has since been disputed and called into question) was that it was developed by some scientist to help people with skin burns. While I didn’t have any skin burns, my skin was peeling due to the A-Passioni retinol that I was using, and I found that this was definitely helpful in helping my skin heel. While most other products stung my sensitive skin at the time, Creme de la Mer did not and was very soothing on my skin.

Would I recommend / repurchase? Definitely not. The 30mL is lasting me quite a while (I’ve been using this for over 2 months now and still around 1/4 of the 30mL jar left), so I’ll just enjoy this and then move on to something more effective. The experience was nice, and I’m glad I did try it out so I wouldn’t forever be lemming after this, but ultimately I don’t think it’s worth the price tag.