FEATURE | Small business Sunday featuring Atelier Eli, Too Funni, Reusable BBT Cup, Reclaim, and Apothekari Skincare

Reclaim coat with Too Funni sweatshirt, Apothekari Skincare and Atelier Ali

I’m sure you don’t need another article telling that this past year and a half has been “unprecedented,” so I’m just going to get straight to it. In the last year, it’s been more important than ever to support small businesses. As a consumer, I’ve tried to focus my shopping efforts on indie brands and local businesses, particularly businesses headed by women. I’ve talked about some of the brands I’ve supported on my Instagram, but today I wanted to share them on my blog too. These are in no particular order, but all of these I’ve personally interacted with and/or purchased from, so they have my personal seal of approval!

1. Atelier Eli

I wanted to thank my friend Melody for introducing me to Atelier Eli. It’s no secret that I absolutely love leather goods, especially that intoxicating smell of leather. Atelier Eli is a small leather shop that is owned and operated by Maggie. It’s based in Vancouver, and all of the products are designer and handmade in Vancouver by Maggie. I purchased the Dopp Kitt and I am completely obsessed. The leather is beautiful and the handiwork is just incredible. Not going to lie, I was trying to decide between this and a Louis Vuitton toiletry case but I’m so glad I got the Dopp Kitt from Atelier Eli. Maggie, the owner, is also such a lovely and sweet person.

100% recommend, and I’m already eyeing my next purchase from Atelier Eli.

2. Too Funni

Too Funni is another local Vancouver business that designs and creates super adorable embroidered clothing and accessories, wooden magnets, stickers, and other fun things. I only own her embroidered clothing – my collection has grown from no Too Funni to five embroidered sweatshirts and one t-shirt. They are the perfect pandemic-wear for cosying up at home, but they are also easy to put on for when you want something comfortable to wear out. Tiffany’s items are also customizable, so they make for a fantastic gift.

My favourite is their bubble tea sweatshirt… get one, you won’t regret it.

3. Reusable BBT Cup

I met Carrie in person in Vancouver when she first started her Reusable BBT Cup business as a side hustle, all the way back in 2018. We purchased two cups from her back when she only offered the one option of glass cup with white lid. Fast forward three years, now she has four different styles of cups with a variety of coloured lids, plus straw sets, bubble tea kits, and she also collaborates with other local businesses such as Too Funni.

Since 2018, we’ve used our bubble tea cups nonstop, primarily to drink smoothies at home and on-the-go (there’s something about drinking smoothies out of a to-go cup like this that makes it taste better). I didn’t include my cups in the picture above because the cups are in constant use in my home and at the time of writing this, we were drinking milk tea out of the cups.

4. This is Reclaim

I first encountered Zana from Reclaim in a weird internet instance I won’t get into. Long story short, I helped her with a sticky situation, and then she offered to send me a coat from her collection as a gift. The coat she sent me was the Timeless Coat, which has since been discontinued and replaced with the Timeless Coat Edit. The Timeless Coat, and the updated Timeless Coat Edit, are both made of 30% cashmere and 70% merino wool. For US$375, the price is relatively affordable for coat that contains such a high percentage of cashmere.

I’ve been wearing my Timeless Coat nonstop in the winter. It’s super warm and lightweight, and it also pops really easily over any outfit. I mostly wear mine unbelted, but it also comes with a belt of equal fabric composition. In addition to their coats, Reclaim also offers a curated collection of everyday wearable clothes that are priced very fairly and made to last. Last but not least, Zana, the founder, is super nice and very responsive.

5. Apothekari Skincare

I can’t do a shortlist of small businesses to support without mentioning Apothekari Skincare. This local skincare brand was founded by Sharmani, a pharmacist who set out to create effective skincare for women who want real results. My favourite product by the brand is Bespoke Vitamin C¬†in the 10% concentration. It’s a fantastic antioxidant that also helps to brighten and even out the skintone. I also use their all-natural deodorant when I workout at home and it’s been great at keeping me smelling fresh.

Disclosure: The Reclaim coat and Apothekari Skincare products were gifted to me by the brand founders with no obligation to write about them, but I’m featuring them here because I’ve truly enjoyed using them. Everything else was purchased by me.

LIFE | Update on latest happenings


Helloooo! I am back with another life update. I seem to do this every two years, even though I say I will try to do more of them, I just don’t know if I have enough interesting things happening in my life to talk about. But there have been a few pretty excited recent happenings that I would like to share.

1. We’re getting married!

After over five years together, my boyfriend proposed over Christmas! We always knew we were going to stay together forever so the engagement was more like a formality – nothing felt different afterwards. Although, I did have a few minor moments of “oh shit it’s actually happening.” If you know me in real life, you’ll know that I am an avid planner of literally everything. I LOVE planning. Of course I jumped on the wedding planning train literally right away, and after one month of being engaged, I already have our venue (ceremony and reception in one place), caterer (included with the venue), photographer, officiant, makeup artist, wedding ring, and more…

One of my friends who I knew from high school is a part-time wedding coordinator, and she basically “banned” me from planning for the month of February because she said I am doing it too fast. We joke that she’s my “unofficial” wedding coordinator because I’m not allowed to book her yet. The timing actually works out really well because…

2. We’re buying a house!

I know, the crazy life updates just keep on coming. We’ve actually been looking to buy a house together for the last year or so. The Vancouver real estate market is insane, like worse than San Francisco or New York because the median family income here is a lot lower, so the income-housing prices ratio is completely out of wack. Because of this, we’ve been pretty actively looking and going to open houses for the last year. We finally found something that fit our budget and our future needs, and we’re currently working on closing the sale.

I actually find house-buying a lot less stressful than condo-buying. With condo-buying, you’re assessing the unit itself and also the building / complex that the unit is in to make sure there are no major issues. Because condo owners own a percentage of the shared common property (building walls, lobby, driveway, etc.), it’s really important that you check if the building is being maintained properly. With the house, you just make sure the house itself is in good shape, and then you’re pretty much good to go. Thankfully this time I also have my fiance to help with a lot of the action items, whereas last time I did it by myself, so it’s another plus.

We’ll likely have to do some renovations on the house before we can move in. While it’s not super old, the previous owners didn’t do any updates, so we’ll have to update it for things like new flooring and paint.

3. We’re changing up our diet

One big thing that I wanted to change for myself was eating healthier, especially with the upcoming wedding. We decided to try out the keto diet, and since January 2, we’ve been pretty good about not eating any carbs. This has been a big transition for me because carbs used to make up at least half of my diet (I LOVE noodles, basically any long, carby thing). It was easy the first week, and then hard for the next two weeks, and then back to being easy after week four. Being on this diet doesn’t just mean that I have to watch that I’m not eating carbs, but also being cautious about what else I’m putting in my body. While my fiance has been eating a lot of bacon and eggs, I’ve been drinking a lot of bone broth, and eating vegetables and shirataki noodles to help with the noodle cravings.

The other thing that I have added to my diet is collagen powder. Skincare has always been a big focus in my life, and of course for my wedding I want to have the best skin possible. I was recently sent a tub of the SPROOS Grass-Fed Collagen (C$34.99), which I’ve been adding in my coffee. Each tub comes with 300g (30 servings of 10g each) so I’ve been using it maybe twice a week to extend the life of each tub (I think for optimal benefits you’re supposed to have it every day). So far I haven’t noticed that significant improvement in my skin, but over time I’m confident that collagen will help the way my skin looks and feels. I like that it’s flavourless and doesn’t taint the flavour of my coffee, it also dissolves completely and is not clumpy at all. SPROOS also offers collagen from a marine source (C$44.99), I’ve tried a few 10g sachets of this as well, and I honestly can’t tell the difference between the two in terms of flavour profile (both flavourless), texture, and benefit.

4. I finally know my real bra size

Growing up, my mom used to only wear Japanese bras, so I grew up with the notion that Japanese bras were the best. Unfortunately for me, and unbeknownst to my mom, my chest ended up growing to a size that aren’t even made by most Japanese bra companies. Thankfully, I was invited to a bra sizing event by Anita, and they gave me my correct size. Also thankfully, they sent me one of their Rosa Faia bras to try, in the style Selma, and honestly I have never ever felt more comfortable in a bra in my entire life. When I was in Japan a few years ago, they measured me at size 36DD (for most styles, DD is the biggest size available in Japan), but it was always uncomfortable and didn’t fit well. Anita measured me at size 36F, which is a whole two sizes bigger than the Japanese bra measurement I had earlier – no wonder I was always uncomfortable in a bra!!

Ever since I got my Rosa Faia bra, I’ve literally been wearing it pretty much every day (gross, I know, I desperately need more). They aren’t cheap, at around $100 a pop, but that’s very comparable to the prices I was paying for the Japanese bras. As a person with my cup size, it’s really hard to find bras in conventional stores like La Senza or Victoria’s Secret because we need so much more support in the band. The Rosa Faia bras not only provide incredible support, but also look sexy – in my case, the bra I was sent is black and lacy, but can still be worn underneath t-shirts with no nip slip. I’ve been super impressed with the Anita Rosa Faia styles, that I will be purchasing many more in the coming months to replace my ill-fitted Japanese bras. I’m also looking into the brand for wedding lingerie.

I received samples of the SPROOS collagen and Anita Rosa Faia bra from the respective companies for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

CELEBRATION | Beauty blogging, 10 years later… my thoughts and ramblings

I’m celebrating my 10 years of blogging, and after all these years, I have some thoughts that I’ve accumulated over the years that I want to share with you!

1. Blog for the right reasons

There are so many people who enter the blogging world forthe wrong reasons. Some people do it for the product samples, or because they’re scared to miss out (i.e., FOMO, or fear or missing out), or because they want to be famous, or want to make “easy money.” In my mind, these are not the best reasons to start or keep up blogging.

I started my blog because ever since I was 10 years old I played with my mom’s makeup. I’d always steal her GWPs and then share them with my friends. At at 13, I was considered the “beauty guru” amongst my friends. And then continuing into high school and university, I’ve always loved buying and testing new makeup and skincare. I started this blog primarily to catalogue all of the products I’ve used, and then I can point my friends to specific reviews of the products I’ve tried over the years.

There are so many people now who enter the blogging world because they see all of the samples that bloggers get. Ten years ago, there were no PR contacts or samples for bloggers, especially in a smaller market like Vancouver or even Canada in general. If you didn’t get PR samples anymore, would you still blog? If your answer is no, then you’re probably in it for the wrong reasons.

Now, I blog because I simply love writing. It’s my way of relaxing – letting my mind flow and writing freely. That’s also why my blog now includes much more than just beauty writing. I feel like writing about bags, or luxury products, or travel, or food, so I do. It really should be this easy.

2. Respect each other, and respect the blogger-PR relationship

Over the years, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to meet and become close with several bloggers. Some of my first ever blogger friends that I got to know in 2008-2010, I’m still super close with to this day, even though not all of them blog anymore. The blogger community can be an amazingly close-knit and supportive community.

Unfortunately with everything that has an incredibly positive side, there’s also a negative side. The blogger community has blown up exponentially over the last 10 years, and because of the limited number of PR relationships, people have become very competitive and sometimes malicious. Bloggers are aggressively pursuing PR relationships, to the point of harassment, or they also chase their fellow bloggers to give them contacts. People are also looking at other bloggers and feeling sense of FOMO or inadequacy over not getting certain things, which then creates anxiety or some other negative feelings. Some “popular” bloggers / influencers also disrespect that blogger-PR relationship and are openly selling PR samples, while other bloggers wonder why PR still send those individuals products just for them to sell it.

In addition, while it pains me to say this, I have noticed that whenever you do get a group of women together, drama quickly arises. In theory, you’d think that a group of women together should hold each other up and support each other, but this is far from the truth. In reality, what you do get is women tearing each other apart, tearing other women’s work apart, forcing their (unwelcome) views on others. Feminism should be about supporting the choices that we as women are allowed to make. It’s not about women forcing their views on other women. This is one of the most toxic things that keeps coming up and makes me think about quitting blogging.

3. Prioritize your time

Blogging is a huge investment, both in time, energy, and money. As we get older, time is a luxury, and we can’t waste time doing stuff we don’t really care about. At the peak of my blogging life, I spent probably 10+ hours a week blogging, which included taking photographs, writing, editing, and posting. That was at least one whole weekend day, on top of a full 40-50 hour work week.

Well now that I’m working full time, in a relationship, and want to have a social life, I can’t afford to spend that much time on it anymore. To me, that’s totally okay. I blog because I love it, and I’m actually able to find more time on weeknights to blog now whenever I feel a pang of inspiration. Once I let go of the expectations of how much / often I should blog, it’s become a lot easier to actually do it too.

Why do you still blog? If you don’t blog anymore, what made you stop?

CELEBRATION | 10 years of Maddy Loves

On this day 10 years ago, I published my first ever blog post. My little corner of the internet was called Mademoiselle Loves Beauty at the time, and was hosted on Blogger. In 2010, I migrated myself over to WordPress, and shortened the blog’s name to Maddy Loves.

Since 2008, I’ve published over 1,350 blog posts, written on average 1,000 words per blog post, and tried and sampled thousands of products. I’ve worked with with hundreds of brands, some of whom supported me from since the time brands started collaborating with bloggers, to now. I’ve also expanded my relationship to retailers, small businesses, salons and spas, and more.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has landed on my page in the last 10 years, all of the brands I’ve worked with, and the PR and brand people I’ve met and corresponded with. Thank you to everyone who has trusted my reviews and bought something because of my recommendation, and all of the companies who have trusted me to send me products to test out. It’s been a super fun 10 years, and even though I’m not as active as I used to be, this blog continues to be my little sanctuary away from the busy-ness of everyday life.

Hope to see you around for another few years ūüôā

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 Рmy 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 Walmart.ca and Amazon.ca.

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‚ÄĚ and the price will change¬†from $250+tax to $50+tax! This is not only a great deal, but¬†after you‚Äôve finished your 50¬†days of classes,¬†you‚Äôll¬†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 vancouver.barmethod.com, 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 d√©cor 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 d√©cor 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 d√©cor, 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¬†d√©cor 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?