Some reflections on my year, and some favourite products of 2017!


This year was a bit odd for me because I actually took a 5 month blog hiatus where I stopped blogging regularly and instead focused on “real life” things. I’ve been life blogging since the old days of Xanga, and then I started beauty blogging in 2008, so my blogging journey has changed as I’ve grown as a person. I started this blog because I wanted to write about all the products I’ve tried, whether they were good or bad. Over the last few years, blogging has completely exploded and it’s become more methodical, where people were blogging as their full time job and PR relationships were more prominent.

While working with PR people gives me a ton of opportunity to try out different brands, some of which I never imagined that it’d ever happen, it also has some downsides in that I feel like my blog has lost a lot of authenticity. I feel more obligated to write about things I don’t necessarily care about just because I have that PR relationship. If I didn’t write about it, I’d feel bad for accepting samples. The cycle went on for probably the last few years, and it was both stressful and made me unhappy about the content I was pushing out. Another issue was that blogging became so competitive, people were getting jealous of other people for receiving things and them not getting the same things, and it became also vicious between people and fellow bloggers.

Lastly, while it has been a blessing to work with PR, it has also been a bit of a curse. Some PR people are amazing and really take the time to develop a relationship with you, others almost treat you like a beggar. It’s all too common that I’d get a press release in my email offering to work with me because of my “creativity,” or “engagement,” but then when I respond, there’s no response back from them or when I do get a response, it’s very curt like as if I was the one asking them to grace me with the blessing of working with them. I don’t think brands or PR people realize that bloggers are consumers too and that these types of actions make me think negatively of the brand they represent in a way that I would think twice about buying the products.

So this year, through my blog hiatus, I’ve decided to be more grounded in my blogging approach. I’ve stopped checking out what other bloggers are doing, and I’m also pickier about who I want to work with and what I want to cover. I write when I feel like writing, instead of when I need to get something out. I also don’t feel like I need to push myself as much when it comes to stats, or creating new PR relationships. Selling myself is stressful, and especially because I don’t depend on this for my livelihood, and I never plan on making this a full time thing. I would rather spend the energy and effort on something else that gave me fulfillment in life.

Anyways, enough rambling. Here are some of my favourite products for 2017! I did not have a very big year in terms of product discoveries, and there wasn’t much that really stood out to me as a “must-have,” but there were quite a few classics in here.

My favourite lashes of 2017 (and basically ever since I tried them) are from Kiss Lashes! I have a whole drawer at home dedicated to false lashes and these definitely dominate that drawer. I love the invisible band, the soft hairs. They are super comfortable to wear, and also very affordable.

My favourite blush for the year is Tom Ford Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal. I bought this over 2 years ago and I stopped using it for a while, favouring other blushes over this. Then I rediscovered it because I was packing a travel makeup bag and wanted something two-in-one. This gives me the most natural flush with just the right amount of glow. The downside is that it was ridiculously priced to begin with, and now it is even more ridiculously priced – I purchased it originally at $92 but I believe prices are now $100. You can pick up Tom Ford at Holt Renfrew.

My favourite serum discovery was by Cle de Peau, the Concentrated Brightening Serum. I received two small sample vials from Beauty Court, which was enough to last me around a month. I honestly saw a huge improvement in my skin’s radiance and evenness after using this for even just a few days. It’s very pricey at $230 for 40mL but it really works. It does contain a high concentration of alcohol (CdP is a Japanese brand), so a hydrating serum layered on top is recommended. You can purchase Cle de Peau from Beauty Court.

Another serum that I’ve really enjoyed using is the Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel. I was told you can actually use this as a moisturizer as well, but my skin is so dry that I need to layer more products on. I use 2 drops on my face, and another drop on my neck, and it immediately absorbs for nice, plump skin. It works wonderfully layered on top other serums and also underneath moisturizer and foundations. It’s essentially a very quick and effective drink of water for your skin. This is available at Project Skin MD.

A long-lasting favourite of mine continues to be Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser. It’s such an effective yet gentle scrub, and smells amazing! I also love the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser for a detoxing morning cleanse, or when I am off to somewhere with more pollution than home. You can pick yours up at Beautymark in Vancouver.

I feel kinda bad for saying this because it is so unaffordable for most people, but I still love the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer + Foundation. It’s a staple on my bathroom vanity and I use it whenever I need a long-wearing, flawless-looking base. It just gives my skin the most amazing soft focus glow that isn’t really replicated by anyone else. A close second is my Guerlain Parure Gold. You can pick up both La Prairie and Guerlain at Holt Renfrew.

In terms of body care products, I have two that I have been inseparable from this year. The first is the L‘Occitane en Provence Almond Shower Oil. I go through this stuff SO MUCH because I love how it nourishes my skin and does such an effective clean at the same time. I also love that it has refillable bags, making it very eco-friendly. It’s great to take with you on beach vacations because it will remove all of your body sunscreen (yes you gotta remove sunscreen like you would makeup!). The other product is Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme, which is the most luxurious body cream I’ve ever bought for myself. I picked up the holiday mini set that comes with six minis in different flavours, and then I fell in love so I had to pick up the full size one too with my Sephora VIB gift card discount in November. In addition to being super moisturizing, it also comes in the most delicious scents, and absorbs quickly so I can put on my PJs right away instead of standing around in the cold.

My favourite nail brand this year is CND, their Solar Oil and Rescue RX are staples in my manicure kit. Solar Oil I keep everywhere – on my desk at work and at home, on my bedside table, and in my bag when I travel for those drying flights. My favourite nail polish formula is CND Vinylux, and this year I discovered the colour Mystic Slate which is a beautiful grey with a tinge of green that I have been obsessing over.

I hope you guys had a wonderful 2017 and talk to you in 2018!


New obsession: Pandora charm bracelets


I recently have been enamoured with the Pandora charm bracelet. My good friend J has been collecting these charms for years but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I started being obsessed with them. At the time, Pandora was doing a promotion where if you spend $125CAD/$100USD in store, you can get the starter bracelet for free, so of course I took advantage of this special deal and started myself a bracelet.


I read up on people’s inspirations for starting a Pandora bracelet. Many of them wanted the versatility of being able to style your own bracelet, but others wanted it as a sentimental token. My inspiration is the latter – I wanted each of my charms to reflect something special in my life, whether it is a reflection of my personality or to commemorate a special event or time in my life.


To start my bracelet (and to get the bracelet itself for free!) I chose three charms that I felt reflected me. I chose the Chinese lantern, for my heritage and background; a London bus, for my love for travel; and a quaint little house, to represent the importance of my family and home in my life.

I’m hoping to slowly accumulate my charm collection over time; I want this to be something I can look back to when I’m old and reminisce about all the memories. The only thing is I have to try to stop myself from buying all the cute charms now, which would defeat the purpose!

Some other charms I’m hoping to add to my collection:

pandora3Pandora’s Box


pandora1Love Letter – my favourite of all the love-related charms!

pandora2Key to my Heart (silver / silver+gold)

What are some ways you remember the past, do you keep a scrapbook or store your memories in sentimental items?

Treat stress-related hair loss with PRIORIN

Priorin review

Growing up, I always had the thickest, most luscious hair. I remember my mom always had really thin hair, and she’d tell me how envious she was of my hair. Now that I’m in my late 20s, I’ve noticed that my hair has drastically thinned out.  The primary causes of hair loss are stress, not properly washing which causes follicle blockage, and pollution. Personally, I’ve also noticed that dying my hair and marinating my scalp in the chemicals has also increased hair loss, which is why I’ve stopped chemically treating my hair. My biggest issue is stress, and as such my hair volume is now probably only half of what it used to be (so sad).

Anyways, I was recently introduced to PRIORIN, which is a supplement that provides nutrients that target the hair follicles to strengthen and improve hair growth. Unlike other hair growth products, PRIORIN is designed for use up to 6 months. Over time, your hair follicles should be strong enough to maintain this hair growth even after you’ve stopped taking the product. I have a one month supply I received from the company, so I haven’t really noticed any growth, but the ingredients look very promising.

PRIORIN contains:

  • Millet extract, a source of the phytosterol miliacin, which increases proliferation and metabolic activity in human keratinocytes.
  • The essential vitamin pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) stimulates metabolic activity in human keratinocytes (key cells in hair) and is thus important in the nutritional support of normal hair
    growth and quality.
  • The amino acid L-cystine is a building block of the hair substance keratin and thus an important component of the hair.
  • Biotin is a vitamin that is vital for the synthesis of the hair substance keratin.

You take two PRIORIN capsules a day with food, for a period of 3-6 months to see results. After 3-6 months, the nutrients would have improved and stimulated hair growth and re-growth. This product is only suitable for those over the age of 14, and please make sure to read the label instructions. If you have questions, please direct them to your doctor.

You can find PRIORIN priced at $27 for one month’s worth of capsules, at drugstores, mass retailers, as well as on and

I received compensation and product for this post; product information is courtesy of the company, and all opinions are my own.

Special $50 for 50 day offer at The Bar Method Vancouver!

As you may know, I have been taking classes at the Bar Method for over a year now and I love it!  You can read about my initial experience here. I’m happy to say that a year after I was initially introduced to the studio, I am still going regularly!

The Bar Method is a one-hour, non-impact total body workout set to music. It starts with a warm-up, free weight exercises and push-ups and then moves to intense isometric leg work at the bar, followed by abdominal work at the bar and on mats. The workout was developed under the guidance of physical therapists to create a workout that reshapes your entire body. It’s intense and challenging but the ultimate result is core strength, lifted mood, increased metabolism, carved muscles, and flexibility!

I have been given the opportunity to offer my friends and family an exclusive introductory deal on classes. My exclusive promotion code will get you 50 days of unlimited classes for $50+tax! This package is only for New Members or members who have not bought a package in more than a year. Here is the link to the deal:

The 50-Day Introductory package is listed at $250+tax, but at Check Out, put in the promo code: “sheilap” and the price will change from $250+tax to $50+tax! This is not only a great deal, but after you’ve finished your 50 days of classes, you’ll be eligible for the regular Introductory Special, with which you can get ANOTHER 30 days for only $80+tax.  That means that you get 80 days for $130+tax. I pay $155+tax per month for my membership – this deal basically gives you almost 3 months for the price of less than one month!

You are welcome to forward this offer on to anyone you think may be interested in trying the Bar Method. Anyone who has not had a membership to the studio in the last year can use the above promo code to take advantage of this deal. If you’ve had one of those punch card-type class passes, you are welcome to use this promotion too. The special promo ends September 15, so take advantage of the deal now.

If you want to investigate a bit more you can find them online at, on facebook @barmethodvancouver and on instagram @BarMethod_van.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with The Bar Method at all. If you sign up with this $50 promo code, I get $15 off my next month’s membership (it’s still $140 after the $15 off, so it’s still a lot). Even if I didn’t get this $15 discount, I’d still recommend the studio because it is seriously awesome. My second home!

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, 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.