Home tour & design – my living room gallery wall

So today I wanted to talk about something different. As you guys may have heard, I bought my first home late last year, and I’ve been busy furnishing it. If you own a home you will know that all of the expenses associated with buying the home will leave you pretty dry in terms of money, so home décor usually takes place either over a long period of time, or the realistic thing is you end up forgoing your dream design and just going for cheap / simple.

I moved around a lot growing up, both with my family and then on my own when I was going to school on the other side of the country and abroad. Even when I was living with my parents, they were really strict about the type of décor that we could put up around the house, specifically no drilling holes in the walls, no painting the walls, basically leaving the walls as bare and “unharmed” as possible. When I lived on my own, I always knew that wherever I lived would be temporary so I didn’t put much effort into decorating the place, especially because I would have to take everything down in the summer for the subletter.

When I finally purchased this home, it took me the longest time to wrap my head around the fact that now I had complete autonomy over how I wanted to decorate, and that I can now actually put stuff up on the walls so the apartment looked less like a hotel and more like a home. One of the first things I really wanted to do was put up a gallery wall. I looked up inspirations for gallery walls on Pinterest and on interior design blogs, Instagram, and other sources. I wanted something very simple, but that reflected me and my interests. I’m not the most creative/ artsy person, so I didn’t really know how to design a wall. In the end though, I mixed up a few elements of things that I loved. Even though it’s not the most Pin-able wall, it’s a wall that is very me.

My gallery wall includes art by my favourite artist (four pieces, to be exact), prints of cute pop culture and nerdy things, and also little figurines. Oh yeah, and shoes. The Storm Trooper Funko Pop was a limited edition Funko Pop gifted from attending the live taping of Conan at Comc-Con San Diego last year. Yes, I know it is valuable and I shouldn’t take it out of the box, but I think it looks so adorable on the wall so why not.

In the end I’m super happy with my wall. I think I could have done a better job at planning where the frames go, but for the meantime it looks good. I might do-plan the layout if I ever decide to change up the prints.

In terms of other wall décor, I also have miscellaneous paintings by Dana Mooney hanging around the rest of my apartment, as well as other sentimental things. I’ll be sharing a post on my bedroom décor soon, as well as some tips on how to style your bedroom (without going Pinterest overboard!).

Summer wedding makeup tips to keep your makeup from lasting longer in the heat, featuring For Beloved One, La Prairie, Tatcha, and Charlotte Tilbury

You know you’re in your late 20s when your summers are spent attending various weddings. Thankfully I’m not one with too many close friends, so I don’t have THAT many to go to, and my boyfriend’s friends also aren’t really at the marrying stage yet, so I haven’t been entirely crushed my wedding season yet. I do enjoy the few weddings a year that I go to though.

My personal philosophy for doing any kind of makeup is that you still want to look like you – this is especially true for wedding photos (either yours or someone else’s) because you don’t want to look like someone else. Looking back at these photos, you want to be able to recognize you!

In general, don’t use any new products a month before the wedding, or any big event, in case your skin reacts poorly to it. As a beauty blogger, this was harder than ever since I am constantly testing out new products, but I did my best!

To prep my skin, a few days before the wedding I like to exfoliate my skin, then apply a hydrating mask the night before. The reason I exfoliate 2-3 days before the wedding is that exfoliation causes skin sensitivity, and oftentimes summer weddings are outdoors so I don’t want to make it easier for my skin to get hyperpigmentation from sun exposure. I exfoliated my skin with Miracle 10 Enzyme Face Scrub, an exfoliator that combines both physical and chemical exfoliation. It’s quite gentle but gets the job done. I used the For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid GHK-Cu Moisturizing Bio-Cellulose Mask, which is extremely hydrating to help keep my skin looking supple and ready for a long day of makeup. I then follow up with my normal routine at night, and go to sleep.

The morning of the wedding, I like to make sure that, again, my skin is properly hydrating. I have dehydrated skin, so any dryness will show through my foundation and create a cakey look, which is what I want to avoid. I will always use a hydrating serum, and then to create an extra bit of glow, I use my La Prairie Cellular Radiance Perfecting Fluide Pure Gold. Sun protection is important, particularly if the ceremony is going to be outdoors, but you also want to avoid having that awful white cast in flash photography. Choose a sunscreen that doesn’t use titanium dioxide as its key ingredient – I like the TATCHA Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 35. This sunscreen has high enough SPF protection to protect you even in the harshest of sunlight, but it’s still lightweight, making it ideal for a hot day. Bonus, it also doubles as a makeup primer because of its pore smoothing properties.

In terms of foundation, I try to go for something that is lightweight, but still has medium to full coverage. I’m not generally a fan of concealer because I don’t want that full mask coverage effect, but I use some in my under eye area to brighten any dark circles. I’ve been using the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer + Foundation, which is exactly what I like in a convenient package. The top cover flips up to reveal a high coverage brightening concealer, and the bottom is a medium to full coverage foundation that is super light but still offers that nice coverage. The shade I use is Warm Linen and it’s a good match for my light medium skin tone. The La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer + Foundation is the most expensive foundation I’ve ever used, and I believe it is also marketed as being the most expensive foundation on the market. Despite it being a makeup product, it contains heavy doses of La Prairie’s signature Cellular Complex, as well as the famous Caviar Extracts, so it doubles as a skincare product. As foundation covers your entire face for often longer than 12 hours a day, you want to make sure that you’re giving your skin only the best ingredients.

This foundation sets down to a satin finish, so I like to set it with some powder. I’ve been using my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder a lot, and it’s also the first powder I ever hit pan on. The finely milled powder is perfect for setting foundation without leaving any cakeyness behind. I will definitely repurchase this.

In terms of my eyes, I’ve been reaching for my Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette a lot. It’s easy to apply, blends out nicely, wears for a long time, and also is crease-proof and fade-proof throughout the day. I also love using my Amaterasu Liquid Liner for a crisp, kitten flick, and then Lancome Grandiose Mascara Extreme for fluttery lashes.

What are your tips for keeping your wedding face looking fresh throughout the day?

Shop for your summer vacation stuff and save money at the same time with Groupon!

Groupon is my favourite website to go to when I want to look for an exciting new activity or restaurant experience without breaking the bank. The boyfriend and I have found several new go-to spots through Groupon. Did you know that not only do they sell discounted coupons for activities and restaurants, they also can help you save money when you shop online at other stores?

I love shopping online, and before I place any order, I always Google the retailer with a keyword “coupon” or “discount,” so that I can save more money in case there’s a discount code out there. Groupon actually posts a lot of these discount codes too through the Groupon Coupon feature. It’s absolutely free to use, and you can save on things like 10-20% off your total, get free shipping, or make yourself eligible for other promotions. With resort season coming up (I just booked a week trip to Mexico, wooot), you’ll want to save some money on the swimsuits and coverrups you buy… so that you can buy yourself a new hat or sunglasses!

Some of my favourite online retailers that work with Groupon include Nordstrom, Amazon US, ASOS, Saks Fifth Avenue (as well as Saks Off 5th), Kate Spade, and Forever 21. There are a ton more, other than the ones I’ve listed. If you haven’t checked out the Groupon Coupon feature, it’s definitely worth a look.

This post was sponsored by Groupon Coupon.

What You Need to Know Before You Get BOTOX®

It’s officially safe to say that BOTOX is the most popular non-surgical treatment on the market. While neither Health Canada nor the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons release statistics, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ 2016 statistics show that BOTOX was the most widely used injectable in the U.S., with 7 million procedures performed last year.

If you’ve been interested in BOTOX, you’re in luck. Below you’ll find exactly what you need to know before your first BOTOX treatment.

1. You have options

BOTOX is one of several injectable treatments that helps restore a younger-looking appearance. Products such as XEOMIN® and Dysport® work in a similar way by preventing facial muscle movements, but they have different price points and may require different dose amounts to be effective. Dermal fillers are another wrinkle-smoothing option that help plump up deeper lines and add volume to the face. These products often work well in combination, so be sure to talk to your provider about the best treatment plan for your concerns.

2. Do your homework

Not all BOTOX injectors are created equal. Before you commit to a BOTOX provider, do your research. Find out their credentials and ask to see before-and-after photos. A good starting point is to look for a Royal College certified plastic surgeon or cosmetic nurse who specializes in injectable treatments. Experience matters, so ask how long they have been using the product and what their complication rate is. A good place to start is the plastic surgery website and forum RealSelf.com, which lets you read reviews of doctors in your area.

3. It’s not just for wrinkles

There’s no question that BOTOX helps smooth facial lines and creases, but it can do much more. According to the website of Vancouver Laser and Skin Care Centre, a medical spa offering BOTOX in Vancouver, BOTOX provides many additional benefits. It can be used to:

  • Reduce a gummy smile (meaning you have an unbalanced teeth-to-gum ratio)
  • Soften the look of a wide jawline
  • Reduce excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • Resolve migraine headaches

4. Results take time

Don’t expect to see instant results. The average time for BOTOX to take full effect is about 7 to 10 days. However, you may start to notice improvements within the first 48 hours. Results usually last about 3 to 4 months before a touch-up treatment is needed.

5. There’s no downtime, but there are side effects

BOTOX injections can be performed in a matter of minutes and you can go back to work or home immediately, but there are signs of treatment. Redness, swelling, and bruising at the injection site are common, and some people experience a headache afterward. Luckily, these symptoms are minor and usually resolve within a few days. You can also help minimize side effects by avoiding alcohol and blood thinners for 2 weeks before your procedure.

6. If you don’t like it, wait it out

There is no way to reverse BOTOX, but it’s also not permanent. You simply have to wait 3 to 4 months for the effects to wear off. This is why it’s so important to pick a provider you trust and who understands your cosmetic concerns and goals. If you do have a bad experience, don’t panic. There are thousands of skilled providers who can help you achieve the look you want.

This article was written and sponsored by Vancouver Laser & Skin Care Centre.

Summer with President’s Choice at Real Canadian Superstore

In addition to beauty, my other big passion in life is interior decor and home goods, which is why I was so excited to be invited to the summer preview event by President’s Choice, available at Loblaw’s and Real Canadian Superstore. I wanted to share some of my personal favourites and highlights from the event with you. In addition to the products featured here, there are a plethora of other products available in store.

For this summer, President’s Choice is introducing three different themes of products that are mix-and-matchable. The first, and my favourite, is a blue Caribbean underwater theme of patio products (photo above), including melamine dishware, utensils, and serveware. The teal, turquoise, and blue themed collection is right up my alley, and definitely something I can see on my own patio.

The next theme is a tropical rainforest set that mixes corals, greens, as well as wood grain prints on melamine. Lastly, there’s also a Morocco tile theme in both blue and coral tones that can be used alongside either the Caribbean underwater theme, or the tropical rainforest theme.

All of these patio tableware themes are also available in coordinating throw pillows, beach towels, as well as patio rugs.

In addition to the beautiful patio accessories, there’s also a collection of new patio furniture. My absolute favourite product in the entire collection is the blue patio table (above). I absolutely love the pop of colour, and I also love that the patio table is covered in a layer of glass so that things don’t fall through, and it also makes it easier to clean. I need patio furniture right now for my condo balcony, and I can seriously see myself getting this set. If you look closely at all of the photos, you can notice that pineapple tableware accessories are very in-style this summer. I love pineapples so this is a trend that I’d like to participate in!

Take a look at a few of the other products available for this summer:

On the left, bamboo fibre plates that are biodegradable in a landfill! On the right, really cute colour coordinated cooking pans and stackable mixing bowls.

Below, bed in a bag with mix-and-match throw pillows, as well as coordinating accessories, and brightly coloured bathroom accessories.


All of these President’s Choice products are available now at Loblaw’s and Real Canadian Superstore. The best part is that all of these products are crazy affordable, the dishware starts at $2.49, the bed in a bag is $80 (and often on promo), and other accessories range in price in between. The only pricier item is the blue patio set, which is $229. I gotta stalk this in store to see if it goes on sale because it’s just too cute.

GIVEAWAY – Inlight Organic Skincare Try Me Collection, Indulgence Collection, and Body Beauty Collection

Today, I am giving away three travel gift sets from Inlight Organic Skincare. Inlight was created when Lucy searched for a company that produced 100% organic skincare.

The products are certified organic and contain high concentrations of essential oils. In addition to face products, there are also products for the body, children, pregnant women, and even vegan products. Today I’m working with Inlight to give away three travel sized sets containing some of their most popular products, in convenient sizes that are perfect for tossing in your carry-on or in your gym bag.

The Try Me Collection contains: Face Cleanser 0.17 fl. oz., Floral Face Tonic 0.17 fl. oz., and Daily Face Oil 0.17 fl. oz.

The Indulgence Collection contains Face Cleanser 0.17 fl. oz., Floral Face Tonic 0.17 fl. oz., Daily Face Oil 0.17 fl. oz., and Line Softener 0.17 fl. oz.

The Body Beautiful Collection contains: Body Oil with Arnica 0.17 fl. oz., Body Butter 0.17 fl. oz., Foot & Leg Balm 0.17 fl. oz. and Firm & Tone Oil 0.17 fl. oz.

To enter:

  1. Follow @maddylovesblog on Twitter and retweet – for one (1) entry
  2. Comment on this post about which product you are most interested in trying – one (1) entry

Contest ends January 14, 2017, open to readers in U.S. and Canada. Good luck!

This post and giveaway were sponsored by Inlight Organic Skincare.

Local artist spotlight – Jessica of Leroy Brown Furnishings

 

As I was looking for pretty pieces of furniture to furnish my new place, I stumbled upon Leroy Brown Furnishings. Jessica specializes in repurposing and repainting gorgeous pieces of furniture, to give it new life in a new home. I purchased my vanity from Jessica, which I am super in love with. I took this opportunity to interview her and learn more about her style.

 

ML: How long have you been refinishing furniture, and how did you discover this passion?

I have been refinishing furniture full time for almost one year and I really can’t believe it. Time does fly when you’re having fun! In early 2015 I was let go from a job. I spent a few months wallowing on the couch with my puppy before my sister told me about a program run through EI and Douglas College. Long story short (kinda haha), I ended up being accepted into The Self Employment Program at Douglas. The basis of the course is to guide you through starting a business but not in the figurative sense. You actually had to develop a business over the 2 month in class course. I’ve always been a very creative person and dabbled in painted furniture with my mom over the years. We had actually talked about starting a business years ago but as it goes, something came up and we put it on the back burner. SO, it was a no brainer to choose furniture refinishing as my new business venture. The course was hard, it was hard before it even started. It’s a government funded program so there is a rigorous application and interview process just to get approved. It was full time in class work for 2 months. Halfway through, each student had to present to judges like a mini Dragons Den and get approved to move on in the course. That was so nerve wracking, and honestly I’ve never been more nervous in my life! The rest of the course is jam packed with an insane amount of information and then you’re out in the field with monthly check-ins and reports to hand in. I just officially finished the program last month which feels AMAZING! It’s been a pretty crazy ride and I am so proud of myself for sticking it through till the end.

ML: What do you love most about your job?

Having the creative freedom! Many moons ago I was a hairstylist, I loved it & I hated it. I ended up leaving the profession due to an injury which lead me to be uninterested in the job. Since leaving the salon I have always craved more creativity in my life. Using my hands, getting dirty, having freedom to do whatever I wanted. And I’ve definitely found all of the above in furniture.

 

ML: How did you come up with the name “Leroy Brown”?

Ah, the million dollar question! Well, Leroy was a family pet, a cat. It’s kinda weird to write that he was a cat, I mean he was in the physical sense a cat but in every other way he was my brother. If you’ve never owned a pet, I’m 100% sure you think I’m crazy but its true. He had white fluffy fur and was overweight which made him the best lap warmer. We grew up together, I cried to him about boys, my friends knew him, friends of friends knew him. He was bad badLeroy Brown. The day he passed away was tough. I was an adult, about 4 years ago, but that didn’t make it any easier. It felt like my bother had passed, it was hard for my family for a long time. When talking about starting a business, my sister was the one who said “Leroy Brown” and it just kinda stuck. I didn’t want a name with a play on words about refinishing or painting. I wanted something unique, something people would remember and something that fit me personally. My Grama says often, “it’s so nice that leroy will live on forever.” And I think she’s right. 🙂

ML: What does your typical day look like?

I’m bad…I sleep in sometimes! Being an entrepreneur is hard, there is no one to yell at you when you’re late! But i make up for it by working later. I’m usually up around 8 and I’m out the door with my dog Dante, to the dog park or we go for a long walk along the water in New West. Then its back home for breakfast & emails and then I’m off to work! Right now I am working out of a space in Port Coquitlam, so I usually hit Starbucks on my way 🙂 I’m pretty much painting furniture all day after that, sometimes a run to Home Depot for supplies or to grab lunch. If i have pieces finished, my day is filled with staging, photographing, and editing. There is so much more to this business then what the eye sees! I usually end up getting home anywhere between 6-8pm where my boyfriend and I eat dinner together and watch countless episodes of Suits (such a good show!)

ML: How would you describe your personal design style?

That’s a tough one. Not to say anything bad about others in my profession (everyone is so amazing at what they do!) BUT, I don’t want to be known for painting everything white and distressing it, you know, the typical farmhouse/shabby chic/painted furniture style. I want to stand out but in a soft, modern, vintage kind of way. I like clean lines, soft colours, (i use a lot of grey), and I try to keep at least one part of every piece original. I honestly don’t know what to call my style but I know what I’m doing is working. At one of the last markets, I forgot my business sign. Multiple people approached me and said they knew this booth was mine by the style of pieces I had in it.

Maybe one day I’ll have a name for it 😉

 

ML: What are some favourite pieces of furniture you have on display in your own home?

To be honest, I only have 2 painted pieces in my home! My in-laws purchased a new dining room table last year so we decided to take their old one. I completely refinished it, a white base with a dark red/brown top and we love it! Its a classic oak dining table I think every family had when I was growing up. It’s pretty crazy the transformation a little bit of paint can do. The other piece is a dresser that never sold! It’s a really pretty peachy/tangerine colour. It’s so beautiful in person but didn’t photograph well so I decided to take it home and it fits perfectly.

ML: Do you have any tips for those looking to refresh/refurbish their own furniture?

Buy quality pieces! I find that most people bite off more then they can chew when it comes to the repair part of refinishing. I hardly ever take pieces that need extensive repair. Everyday people, including me, don’t own the type of equipment that makes extensive repairs easier and less time consuming. By taking your time and finding quality pieces, you’re halfway done! At the end of the day, you’re just painting a dresser. You can always paint it again if it doesn’t work out the first time 😉

Check out Jessica’s Instagram for all of her recent updates, as well as her Facebook page, and website for all of her available pieces.

Life updates! New apartment, moving, travelling

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Hiiii! So I haven’t done one of these life updates in a while but I think this is the perfect time to do one. I have to say that 2016 has been my most fruitful year so far. There have been so many new changes happening in my life, I’m so excited to share them with you!

1. First apartment

That’s right, I bought an apartment in my hometown of Richmond, BC, where I grew up as a child, and where I’ve been living since I returned from school. As you may have heard, real estate is pretty crazy in Vancouver so I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to own my own place. It’s a two bedroom, two bathroom condo in a relatively central part of the city, so it is very exciting for me as that means my commute to work will now be shortened.

Home ownership is so different from renting, I’m responsible for my own maintenance and upkeep, and also I need to make sure I have enough insurance to cover any damages caused to the unit by my neighbours as well. Trying to figure all of this out has been extremely stressful for me, which is why for a while I was relying on multiple coffees a day to get through my work, a bad cold, and the home-buying process. I’ve really been loving Second Cup coffee during this time (disclaimer: I received a gift card from them but even before getting the gift card, I was going to Second Cup more than Starbucks, which used to be my go-to), because I find that their coffee and espresso taste richer than Starbucks, without the high acidity or bitterness of Starbucks coffee. That means I can lessen the sugar and milk, which makes the coffee healthier to drink as well. My favourite Second Cup drink is the Maple Latte, but recently I’ve fallen in love with their version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte as well, which is less deathly sweet (thank God).

2. Travelling

I am travelling to Japan and China for nearly a month this fall. It’s my first time going to Japan so I’m super excited. We’re going to be in Tokyo for 5 days, and then we’ll be staying at a ryokan near Hakone for a day and a half. Hopefully the weather is nice so we’ll be able to see Mount Fuji! I have a very long list of stuff that I want to buy in Japan (Laduree makeup anyone?). I also plan on picking up some Japanese lacquerware and ceramics to use at home. As an added bonus, we managed to score tickets to the Ghibli Museum; I’m incredibly excited to be playing in the Cat Bus for adults! It will also be the first time in six years since I’ve been back in China. The last time I was in China, I blogged extensively about my time there. I hope to have more photos to share with you once I get back.

In terms of my packing, I’ve been trying to pack super light because we’ll have access to laundry machines wherever we go. One thing that I am super excited to bring with me on my trip is the Lusomé Ava V-Neck sleep shirt. I received this a few weeks ago, and it’s been really cold in Vancouver so I never got a chance to properly try it out (I’ve mostly been wearing it lounging around my house, but with pants on). Lusomé’s products were created to help resolve the issue with nightsweats, something that a lot of women encounter, especially going into menopause, or if you are undergoing any treatment for cancer or other illnesses. The products are made with Xirotex, a fabric which pulls perspiration away from the body 10 times more effectively than its nearest moisture-wicking competitor. Since it’s been pretty cold here, I haven’t been sweating much, but it’s supposed to be pretty warm in Japan so I will get to properly try it out! Did I mention that this fabric is crazy soft, even my boyfriend was commenting about how soft and comfy it looked.

3. Hiatus

As with all of these updates and life happenings, I would like to also notify everyone that I will be going on a short break for the next few weeks. I will still be posting off and on, but I don’t expect to be able continue on a regular blogging schedule. I hope to be back by late November, but with all of the moving, house stuff, and travelling, I simply don’t have time to blog on a regular basis. Hopefully by the time I get back, there will be lots of holiday collections to share with everyone. Holiday collections are my favourite of the whole year!

This post is not sponsored or endorsed by any brand, but I did receive the Lusome Ava sleep shirt and the Second Cup gift card from their respective brand reps. All opinions are my own.

My life changing barre experience at The Bar Method in Vancouver!

View More: http://melissagidneyphoto.pass.us/bar-method

So if you know me, I’m not the most athletic person in the world. Actually I’m not athletic at all. My longest stint of regular exercise was when Jo and I were doing our interval exercises twice a week for a few months, but that was about it. In the past I’ve done spin class, which I am quite fond of, but I never returned on a regular basis, as I feel like you really need the right atmosphere in order to get me pumped up enough for exercise, ya know? So anyways, I was recently introduced to The Bar Method when they were celebrating their 15th anniversary. I was offered the opportunity for a one-month unlimited pass to try out their classes and studio, and I was completely blown away by my experience.

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It was my first time doing barre, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. After signing up for my first class, I was asked to arrive 15 minutes in advance of the class for a studio tour and also to fill out a client card. After trying out several different exercise studios when I was still on Classpass, I could easily say that I’ve never been to a friendlier studio than The Bar Method.

When I went to other studios, I would awkwardly show up and not know where to go, so I’d need to figure everything out myself, and maybe I would step on a few toes. By contrast, the ladies at The Bar Method were SO NICE!!! I can’t emphasize that enough. I showed up and was greeted by name – I guess they could tell it was my first time. They immediately asked me to fill out a client card, and then Kristel, one of the instructors, gave me a tour of the studio, introducing me to all of the amenities of the studio. Of course I didn’t do much research and I showed up in running shorts, but the studio had spare tights that they were able to lend me for the class, otherwise it would have been really awkward since there’s a lot of leg lifting and bending.

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Going into the class, I was also showed where I can get my weights, and a quick overview of how the class is going to go. Kristel gave me a head’s up that the instructor will be calling my name out often to help adjust my position so that I can get the most out of the class and also to prevent injury.

Corinne was my instructor for my first class, and she was seriously the sweetest person ever. Even though she called me out by name, I didn’t feel singled out at all or embarrassed, which can happen depending on the tone of the instructor (this happened to me in another class by another instructor, which was really awkward for me and I made a mental note not to go back to that instructor’s class). Each comment Corinne made helped improve my form, which is what I was looking for. I was blown away by my first experience, that I went back several more times. In addition to Corinne’s class, I also had class with Kristel, who was equally friendly and just an overall awesome instructor.

I’m hoping that this will become a habit, as I’m thoroughly enjoying the classes. I’m not too fond of cardio exercises as my heart beats too fast and my breathing can’t catch up fast enough, but these types of interval exercises I can work with. Since going to barre regularly twice a week, I’ve noticed that my core is noticeably stronger, and I also feel like I have better endurance.

Lastly, as a nice bonus, the bathrooms and changing areas are seriously so friggin clean. It’s a small detail, but something I really appreciate.

After my month of unlimited classes end, I will likely be returning. If you’re new to The Bar Method, you can get your first month of unlimited classes for just $80, which is a complete steal!

The Bar Method Vancouver (between Stadium and Yaletown skytrain stations)
837 Beatty St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 2M1
604.681.6188

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The one-month pass provided was complimentary of The Bar Method; all opinions are my own.

Summer travels – top packing tips for short trips!

Ila Spa travel set review

I’m off to San Diego Comic Con in a week and I am incredibly stoked for it. We’ll also be spending a day at Harry Potter World in Hollywood, which recently opened last April. The trip is about a week long, and I prefer to pack super light when travelling because I really dislike waiting for my luggage at the carousel, so here I have some tips for how to pack light when travelling. It’s all about planning in advance, preparing for contingencies, and making sure that you’re properly hydrated and comfortable!

1. Design your outfits in advance

Like most girls, my closet at home is just bursting with clothing options. When I’m travelling though, I really like to pack light so I try to design my outfits in advance and just pack the exact outfits I plan on wearing.

Some additional tips include packing shoes that are comfortable but go with most of your outfits. For summer trips, I usually pack a pair of sandals and a pair of walking sneakers, both in neutral colours so that they go with most outfits. I recently purchased a pair of Adidas Pure Boost X runners that are super comfortable for walking. Not only were they designed especially to fit the curvature of a woman’s feet, they are also super light, which makes them great for packing on the go.

2. Bring travel sized skincare

I use a TON of skincare products at home, but when I’m travelling I prefer to keep it practical by simplifying my skincare routine by reducing the number of steps in my routine, as well as packing travel-sized skincare. I love to hoard travel-sized skincare for this purpose because it just saves so much space in my luggage.

This travel set by Ila Spa has everything I need to keep my skin looking and feeling great while travelling. It contains a face oil for night time, a face cream for daytime, cleansing milk, hydrating toning essence, and a mask for that desperate after-flight skin perk-up. The only things I would pack in addition to this kit are makeup remover and sunscreen. Ila Spa is a newly discovered skincare brand that I am already in love with. The Face Mask for Revitalizing Skin is one of the best face masks I’ve ever used – it’s a clay based face mask but also contains essential oils and leaves my skin feeling so soft, supple, detoxed yet incredibly hydrated.

3. Bring a fold-up bag

I am very guilty of buying too much while on vacation, so I almost always bring my Longchamp large Le Pliage bag with me so that I can pack my overflow products in it. And yes, I always end up using it – when I came back from Hawaii, I used my Longchamp to carry a bag of chips I wanted to bring back. Because the Longchamp is so lightweight, it takes up no room in my suitcase and I can also use it when I’m out as a beach bag, or to use as a shopping bag on the trip.

4. Pack an insulated water bottle

For trips like San Diego Comic Con where I’ll be spending a lot of time walking around, waiting in lines, and generally being busy doing something, it’s important to stay hydrated. I recently acquired a S’well water bottle that has absolutely changed my life. I’m constantly dehydrated, but I am also pretty terrible at remembering to drink water (or am too lazy to go refill my water bottle), so this huge 25oz/750mL water bottle is perfect for me.

Not only is the size great for travelling because you don’t need to refill so often, the best thing about this S’well bottle is that it keeps your cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and your hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. In the hot summer heat of Southern California in July, this is a much-needed attribute.

What are some tips you have for light travel packing?