PIIT28: A Family Affair

Summer has set in. In a household where one works in the school system and the other is biding time until work starts in September, this also means that laziness has set in. Big time.

Last summer I whiled away many an hour on my couch. Not reading, not engaging my brain; rather, I was randomly googling and finding things to buy which I didn’t need. Of course some of that will no doubt occur with this holiday. Obviously. But…I’m hoping to incorporate a bit more brain use and movement into my summer break.

First off, I really need to read more books. There’s no excuse for my lack of reading. I just don’t do it. Which is disappointing – I truly enjoy books, the act of reading, and the feeling I get from thinking about what I read. Even when my books are goofy mysteries, cozy and filled with silliness, my brain still works. It is engaged. Online shopping, my brain is not. Enough said.

Now, onto movement. My second goal for the summer.

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I’ll preface this by outright stating that I think I’m lazy by nature. I love sleeping in (still and I’m 35) and quiet days filled with walks and lounging. But, if I’m honest with myself, I really don’t need to be quite so lazy – I’ve had a good week filled with nothing at all, more than many get. I’m not recuperating from an illness or intensely stressful time. Basically I don’t have a reason to be quite so attached to my couch. And really it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but it truly gets a little excessive round these parts once school is out.

So, Pat and I are jointly doing a fitness program called PIIT28. He seemed interested, so a jumping and Pilates criss-crossing we will go. Together, with the dog wondering what the heck is happening from her perch, we’ll complete 28 days of workouts. I’m actually a tiny bit excited about this joint prospect. I think we’ll both keep each other on track. Which is good, as I’m easily derailed (see what I did there…train analogies are golden).

Good luck to us!

Lavender Fields Forever: Leaves of Trees Deodorant

DSCN0536 (2)Dang. Finding a natural deodorant is not a simple task. Not by a long shot. Not insurmountable, I must say, but definitely not easy. Not cheap either (at least in my experience).

I’ve tried my fair share of natural deodorants and have encountered a host of difficulties. Effectiveness issues – check. Texture oddities – check. Irritation – check. White staining – check. Melting – check. Seemingly perfect fit for months and then random (intense) bouts of irritation – check. And let me tell you, a painful rash under the pits is no picnic!

My latest, and greatest, experience has been with the Leaves of Trees deodorant in Lavender Tangerine. It has a lovely texture, it’s creamy and blends right into the skin. The smell is quite wonderful, a sort of muted citrus with a touch of herbal-ness. Really pretty!

Yes, yes, but does it work? For me, it does. I don’t smell awful at the end of the day. Which is basically what I’m after in the end…and really, who isn’t? Except of course those who don’t want to sweat and dislike natural deodorants for the lack of wetness protection. I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that you still sweat with natural deodorants. You just do. They’re not antiperspirants, nor do most purport to be. I’m cool with that.

Although I just extolled the virtues of Leaves of Trees, I’d feel a titch negligent if I didn’t mention the following: in my experience, deodorant is a total wild card and you really never know if it’s going to be a good fit. You read amazing reviews and end up stinking three hours in. You do more reading, buy a lauded product, try it out. and think you’ve found the perfect fit (no stinking), only to realize that said product stains your shirts (which happen to be primarily navy and black). For two washes. At least. And so on.

All in all, Leaves of Trees has no real drawbacks for me: the smell is good, I’m comfortable with the ingredients, there’s no animal testing involved, and the tube is fabulous. Winning all round in my books.

Except here’s another caveat (not a drawback mind you): I need to reapply or use a stick deodorant for a touch up later in the day. Yah, it’s a pain. But it’s what is working for me. And really, I generally had to reapply with traditional aluminum-based deodorants more often than not.

Why a stick deodorant for midday? I don’t mind the application with my fingers in the morning, but the mid afternoon top-up is just more convenient in stick form. I’ve been using Mabrook and Co’s Vanilla and Mint deodorant as my touch up…and it works for the most part. I’m not a huge fan of the texture, it’s a little too sticky for me. But I do smell lovely afterwards and the tingly armpits, albeit unusual at first, feels nice and fresh. The stickiness is not a complete deal breaker, but means that I’m still hunting for an ideal substitute.

Any suggestions?

Joey

W3ll People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer Review

concealerW3ll People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer. Yoicks (and gadzooks) that is a mouthful (and to be honest, a little odd to spell with the 3 in there). But, I’ll make myself overlook the random long-ass name…this stuff is lovely.

Ooooh concealers! How you’ve pained me in the past. You sound so wonderful online, with your promises of “natural flawlessness,” “lack of creasiness,” and “amazing coverage.” In reality, you are a fickle beast, with dryness abounding and lack of colours available.

Obviously I know I should just go into stores to check out products in person. Obviously. Buuuut…this doesn’t work all the time. One, I’m lazy (my own fault of course). Two, an abundance of cruelty-free options is not always easy to find at the drugstore or Sephora. I tend to avoid brands whose parent companies test, so a number of the brands at Sephora are not a great fit for me (read: Tarte, Bare Minerals, Nars, and Urban Decay). No judgement; it’s just how I’ve tended to purchase for the last few years. (Side note: not exclusively, but mainly and when I can). Three, I like to research online and see reviews prior to purchasing. Typically I find  there are more reviews for middle to higher end products, as opposed to the more affordable budget cruelty-free brands that I’m able to find in my local (and Canadian!) drugstore (read: Annabelle, Marcelle, Physician’s Formula, essence).

Ok, back to business. As I mentioned before anything beyond a quick swipe of eyeshadow and mascara is fairly new territory for me. My first foray into concealer occurred at a Sephora in a very large mall on a very slow night, close to closing time. This was well-timed on my part; I was more than a little sheepish about my lack of experience and didn’t want an audience. Of course, nobody cares/cared. Silly, self-important thoughts always end up tripping us up, don’t they?

Anyway, I spent more money than I’d ever imagined on a little pot of (hopefully) wonderfulness for my under-eyes. Unfortunately, it was only ok. Not fab, but not bad. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the extra work involved and I didn’t really use the product consistently. Probably because I found it a little dry and was never able to quite make it look like they did at the shop. They wielded brushes and powdered with ease. I’m not there yet.

The W3ll People concealer has been quite the happy discovery though. The colour light works very well for me, it’s not too light and not too dark for my skin tone. It doesn’t really creep into my ever multiplying fine lines or get really creasy. Ok, maybe it creeps a titch into fine lines, but it’s much better than anything else I’ve ever tried. Dryness doesn’t happen all that noticeably and I look more awake on a regular basis. It’s good stuff in my book. Very good stuff.

Any other suggestions? I’ve tried Hynt Beauty, Pacifica, Couleur Caramel, and Laura Mercier with varying levels of success.

Perchance to Dream: My Sleep Secret

DSCN0500 (2)I’m an anxious person; I’ve pretty much come to terms with this fact. It took a while and a little bit of extra help, but I’m getting there. Slowly and surely.

One of the big things I’ve found to help is this: instead of lamenting the workings of the little bricks with which my brain is composed, I try to find strategies which work to lessen my stress. Basically, I’ve realized this is the way I’m built, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything about it. Some days are better than others — just as some strategies are better than others.

One thing that has made a huge change in my life has been a fairly simple practice: listening to audiobooks before going to bed. Luckily for me, my husband is a fan and enjoys this nightly ritual. Otherwise, I imagine I’d need to purchase some incredibly comfortable earphones…because this works so well for me, I’d shell out a pretty hefty amount of cash to keep up this practice. Speaking of cash…you can get audiobooks free from the library and all I do is download books onto my Ipad. Done and dusted.

Why do I think this works for me?

First, lying down and listening to a book pretty much ensures that I’m not looking at a screen before bed (which we’ve all heard is not good for sleeping). Every once in a while I’ll do a quick check of my phone while we are listening before bed (and then of course, fall into an internet hole). This has not ended well. I consistently don’t fall asleep as readily when I do this. What a surprise!

Second, becoming involved in a good book takes my mind off of my own thoughts. My husband helps choose the books (we’ve surprisingly found we agree more often than not on the books which fit best for bedtime listening…I’m a fiction fan; he goes for non-fiction most of the time). We tend to choose what we deem to be “fun” books, meaning books which have a great story, but don’t require an intense amount of thought. Personal favourites include mysteries and fantasy novels (typically of the young adult genre).

Finally, introducing a relaxing routine has been helpful in and of itself. I’m friends with some occupational therapists who always recommend this to parents of children who do not sleep well. I don’t see why the concept wouldn’t hold true for adults as well.

Any other simple suggestions for a good nights sleep?

Joey

An Oil Goldmine Find: A’kin Cellular Radiance Serum

DSCN0323 (2)Going to Winner’s used to be an exercise in patience for me. In the past, I’d walk in with the express purpose of finding something I needed, whether it be clothes, shoes, or food items. This was a horrible, no-good, bad idea. For me, at least. Me of little patience when I’m on a timeline.

For those that might not know, Winner’s is a store which sells off-season and overstocked items at a lower price. Therefore, the stock is not consistent. So, you never really know what you’re going to find. Yes, they have a million shirts, a wide assortment of footwear, and copious amount of home goods…but they still might not have what you are looking for specifically. Therefore, for someone who has some anxiety about shopping (AKA me), it’s a much better idea to go into a Winner’s with a mind to browse and not to find the (fill in the blank) you need.

One of my favourite areas to browse in Winner’s is the beauty aisle. Oftentimes, you can find some nice brands for even better prices. I’ve run across some good finds from Andalou Naturals, Sibu, and a bunch of other brands I might normally have to buy online. Recently I’ve been loving the A’kin Cellular Radiance Serum. In fact, I’ve been loving it so much, that when I ran across another bottle, I snatched it up immediately. I think I might have paid $7 for this little jar of goodness.

This serum comes in oil form. Which is not a bad thing in my books; I love using oils on my face. Heck, I love using oils for almost anything, if I’m being honest. The oil is a beautiful reddish-gold colour, with an earthy smell. Be warned it’s not a fabulous smell which makes you sit up and take notice or one that you want to breathe in too heartily. I find it…alright.

But the softness of my skin afterwards…that is much more than alright! It’s downright happiness inducing. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I’ve noticed a reduction in wrinkles. And in all honesty, I’m not quite sure what people mean when they say their skin is less dull after using products. I mainly just go by feel. And this makes my face feel lovely. Utterly lovely.

Here’s a little info from the Purist website about the ingredients and such.
AKIN SKIN BLUE

Any recent favourites lately?

Joey

The Mixer

DSCN0382 (2)Initially the idea of adding liquid to a dry face mask turned me off. What if I mess it up? Won’t it be messy?

I’d really only used a few face masks in the past. Mainly the sticky cucumber ones where you try to peel it off in one go. Or the green clay ones which sting a little, but are super satisfying when you see the oil spots appear. So, not a lot of experience.

One day when I was browsing around on feelunique.com, I saw the brand Balm Balm and was intrigued by the face oils. The frankincense oil looked good to me and there was a smaller, sample-style size, so I popped it into my cart. Then I thought to myself…”this is coming all the way from England” and I couldn’t really justify a single purchase…so naturally I found something else to add to my cart. And it was this lovely little Hibiscus Face Mask.

At first, I thought the mask smelled a little…odd. Very very floral. Overly floral in my mind, as florals are most definitely not my favourite group of smell. Far from it. Then I looked at the ingredients and realized that the mask is pretty much made of flower powder and oil, as well as rice powder. Of course it’s ridiculously floral smelling! (To be quite honest, I still don’t care for the smell all that much, but what this little gem does for my face makes up for the smell in my mind).

So, here’s how it works and how I use it. After mixing up a bit of the mask with water, I add it to my face and wait for it to dry. I needed to experiment a bit with the amount of water I used; if I used too little, it was difficult to apply and if I used too much, then it dribbled off my face. You just kind of go by trial and error and “feel.” A good consistency for me is kind of chunky, with a bit of “squish.” (If that makes any sense at all!).

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When I add the light pink mixture to my face I notice more brightly coloured spots of pink coming through (and honestly this makes me happy, the bright pink is such a pretty colour and it makes me feel very springy and natural). The mask dries well, but feels a somewhat tight by the end. When it comes to washing off the mask, I use warm water and massage the mask into my face a bit. Not too hard though, you don’t need to be too zealous with this product. After I rinse off and dry my face, I’m always amazed by how soft my skin feels. It’s a lovely feeling.

I highly recommend this mask. When I run out, I’m just going to have to order a few more things from feelunique.com…as I really can’t justify buying just one thing, right?

Many thanks for reading,
Joey

Funny thing, memories.

cup and teaIt’s amazing how much better something as simple as a mug (especially when filled with tea) can make you feel on a grumpy day.

Nothing of note caused the grumpiness; rather, just a lack of foresight with my snack planning and a busy day at work when I still wasn’t quite ready for it all. Minor stuff. But still, grouchiness inducing.

So what do I do when I get home? (Besides of course grab a snack). I sit down to write this post…and the process makes me stop, ponder, and consider this picture. And what comes to mind is this: this mug makes me happy. I would wager a guess that it is one of the most treasured pieces in my home. It’s simple, but in my world it’s also quite mighty. You see I’ve just realized how much I gravitate towards this bluey-green gem when I’m in need of a means to calm my agitated soul.

Why? Because it reminds me of a lovely time and an even lovelier man. Because it feels good in my hands, with its curved edges and perfectly sized handle. Because it bears the name of the place where my husband and I renewed our vows and I’m a romantic. That because of these things, I’m reminded that the little irritations in my day don’t need to follow me home and dwell in my (already full) brain. There’s really not that much extra room.

Many thanks for reading, 
Joey

New Territory

DSCN0342 (2)I constantly find it a little baffling that I’m in my mid-thirties and am only now becoming more interested in make-up. Not just slightly more interested mind you; I’m venturing into full-blown junkie territory.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been wearing some form of make-up on my face since my teen years. Primarily mascara, eyeshadow, and a bit of eyeliner. I believe blush came next. Albeit intermittently.

To give a bit if context, it wasn’t until about four years ago that I dipped my toes into the world of concealers and other bases. I’d always been a little uncomfortable with my dark circles, but not enough so that I would actually do something about them. I’d just look at them, sigh a (tiny) bit, then move on.

The most recent addition to my make-up routine has been lipstick. Since I’ve made the switch to cruelty-free cosmetics I’ve been steadily following more and more people on social media. Initially, I started following people as a form of research; however, my interest soon turned into a means of whiling away some of my more mellow evening hours. (I’m pretty lucky that I have a fair number of those, hence the rise to junkie status).

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But back to lipstick. People on social media always looks amazing in lipstick. It seems to brighten faces and make people seem much more chic and put together overall. And I wanted to get in on that action. Who doesn’t want to look more put together?

Unfortunately some of my experiments with lip colour left me feeling quite unlike myself. Particularly when I tried reds. In hindsight, maybe this was not so unfortunate after all…I guess it’s all about experimentation, right? Anyway, I found a few lipsticks which I feel very comfortable wearing on a daily basis. Not surprisingly they are more on the pink side, as I tend to feel more like myself when I’m looking fairly natural.

One of the lipsticks definitely fits into the ubiquitous “my lips but better category,” while the other two are only slight variations on the MLBB theme.

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Natural Beauty: is a lighter pink shade, which is pretty close to my natural lip colour. This is the one I wear the most.

I Am Yours: is a bit of a deeper pink with a touch of brightness. It looks much more coral in the pictures than it looks on my face! It’s not too bright though, it’s a nice, wearable brightness, especially for those who tend to shy away from really noticeable lip colours. I’m not sure if this is still available though…when I looked at my local Shopper’s Drug Mart, it was no longer on the shelf.

Wear Berries: is a medium purple berry shade. It’s lovely. Although initially it was slightly out of my comfort zone, I’m now wearing it on a regular basis.

They are all essence long lasting lipsticks, which I find to be reasonably true to name. All of the shades last a good amount of time. They don’t last all day, but the wear time isn’t all that short either. Overall, they are pretty comfortable; I barely feel like I’m wearing anything on my lips.

These are also ridiculously cheap. I think they are less than C 4$. Bonus.

Many thanks for reading,
Joey

Pink Polish

DSCN0211 (2)I have awful cuticles. So obviously there will be no artful pictures of beautifully painted nails, with perfect little half-moon cuticles blending nicely into the fingers. Nope. Oh, how I wish. But still. No.

Instead, I’ll just wax poetic about these beautiful pink(y) Zoya polishes.

Mia: The Zoya site describes Mia as a “very soft dusty nude mauve-pink in a glossy creme finish.” That my friends, is a mouthful. But it is also a very apt description. It’s a pretty pink, which is understated but still noticeable (unlike some nudey-nude colours which blend into my skin). It’s a good all-rounder. The formula is easy to apply and wears reasonably well. I’m hard on my hands (washing them all the live long day), but the chips aren’t massive and don’t show all that much.

Kate: The Zoya site describes Kate as a “dusty medium mauve with hints of rose and brown” and called it a “softer marsala shade.” I obviously have a special place in my heart for “dusty” colours. The more muted the better. That’s not to say I don’t like colour as a rule. I’d say I love colour, especially blues, greens, purples (of many varieties); It’s just that I find myself reading for the subdued versions more often than the pow colours. The pow colours I reserve for admiring on other people. I like how this colour applied and did not have many issues with chipping, beyond the norm. Good stuff!

Although I’m a simple soul when it comes to my nails, I will no doubt be commenting on another few Zoya polishes in the future. I like how they apply, they are reasonably affordable and easy to find, and just dang lovely overall.

Any other Zoya lovers out there?

Many thanks for reading, 
Joey

Cuticle Comfort

DSCN0192 (2)Modern medicine is a-ok with me. I happily take my prescriptions when needed.

That being said, I typically do some form of (to be honest cursory) research about what is going into my body or what is happening to my body. Examples: Flu shot? Acupuncture? Vaccines? Essential oils? I looked them all up (side note…with an emphasis on peer-reviewed journal research. I’m all picky like that). Obviously I’m not an expert, I’m not claiming to be. Nor am I saying my limited research ensures I know all the ins and outs of certain practices. I just like to have a general idea, to my satisfaction, of what is going on, in, and/or around me.

That being said, I’ve been trying to skip non-natural chemically laden products when I can. I don’t feel like I’ve done enough research at this point to make a definitive choice for myself; however, I’m of the mind that when I can make a simple switch to something more natural, I might as well do it. For example, I’m trying to use more natural shampoos, body lotions, face products, and such.

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One switch, which I’ve been quite pleased with, has been a move from Polysporin and other topical ointments meant for cuts and scrapes to something a little more natural. I’ve been using the M.J.’s Herbals Calendula Salve for quite a while now and am really enjoying this little golden pot of goodness. I use it for minor skin irritations, small cuts, and for softening up my dry, cracked hands and cuticles. I tend to get random skin irritations that present like hives (or are hives, I’m not sure), in my case dang itchy and raised. This seems to help. Same with minor cuts. The salve alleviates most of the itching and just makes my skin more comfortable overall.

I’ve also included in the firsr picture my recent favourite read. Because it’s comforting too. Gotta love me some English humour. Old school style.

Many thanks for reading,
Joey