One Of My Biggest Flaws

It has felt like an eternity since I moved into this massive refrigerator they call a “city” (it’s more like an igloo with skyscrapers)- but it’s only been half a month. So far, I’d say things are pretty good. I’m slowly settling into a rhythm at work, and at home living on my own yet again.

“Home” feels more like home as each week passes, although I will never fully get used to the cold. My Vancouver friends Snapchat me complaining about 6 degrees and I just want to throw my phone out the window, except you don’t want to open it when it’s -20 outside.

Something that I noticed about myself when I moved last year was that I expected everything to be perfect immediately. I expected myself to be fully acclimatized in the new city and my new job right away. I tried to buy EVERY SINGLE THING I needed to live (as I arrived mostly empty handed) in one day. And of course, that doesn’t happen. You just don’t settle in overnight. And I was very frustrated with myself for not reaching this unattainable ideal right away.

Slowly I learned that it takes time to get used to your surroundings, to build up a network, to settle in. It’s just like when you’re moving- you will not unpack all your boxes and have everything looking Ikea catalogue perfect in a day, in a week, or even in a month. Throw in an entirely new environment and it just makes it ten times harder.

This time I thought it would be easier. And it was. But the frustration returned the first week when I started my job- when I struggled to adjust to work life again, to take care of myself, and the expectation of immediate perfection came back.

Have all the things I need to live on a day-to-day basis, a fitness regimen down pat, a packed calendar (not from work) and thriving social life, get over jetlag and get plenty of sleep, kill it at work, eat healthy, be totally immune to the freezing cold, be on top of my game in the kitchen and around the house, AND save as much money as possible. Right away. All at the same time.

It’s evident that the Type A personality doesn’t just apply to work and school- it spills over into all aspects of your life. This year, I am working hard on being okay with disarray and imperfection, with letting go of unattainable ideals, and to simply just be easier on myself.

I don’t want to be stuck in that cycle of setting unachievable standards for myself, and then berating myself when I don’t reach them. All of these things hinder your happiness and overall quality of life, and life is too short to always be so harsh on yourself.

I’m excited to see what’s to come! It may be freezing, but the atmosphere of spontaneity and the fast-paced lifestyle is year round. It’s going to be an amazing 7 months ahead of me 🙂

Winter Beauty Favourites – Vol. 2

If you know me at all, then you know I’m a little obsessed with beauty and skincare. I haven’t done any sort of beauty blogging in a whole year now, and with all the cold weather recently, I thought it would be a good time to talk about a few favourite products of mine during this time of the year.

I also did another Winter Favourites installment last year, which can be found here if you want to check that out as well. As a point of reference, my skin type is oily-combination and sensitive.

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This first thing is something that was recommended to me by a friend this year, and now I absolutely cannot live without it. My skin is highly finicky when it comes to moisturizers- I’ve tried many, and I’ve found that the majority of them irritate my skin in some way or break me out. The biggest problem I have with facial moisturizers is that they never fully sink into my skin- it just sits on top of the skin and feels greasy (and gets all over my pillow at night).

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I seem to be the only one I know with this problem, but the Complex 15 Daily Face Cream is a godsend. It is very light (perfect for oily-combo skin), yet effective in moisturizing my skin. While it doesn’t fully sink into my skin as with most creams, it doesn’t feel greasy and uncomfortable either. It’s the perfect compromise for me personally. It is dermatologist-recommended, hypoallergenic, and affordable- you can find this at most drugstores for around $15.00.

 

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This is the first moisturizing mask that I have ever liked. There has been a lot of hype surrounding GLAMGLOW masks in the past two years, and I never really bought into it. But recently I got the ThirstyMud mask in a holiday kit and I LOVE IT. You put it on after you wash your face, and you can either wear it overnight or wash it off after a few hours. Afterwards, your skin is so hydrated and plump and just feels amazing. I top it off with my normal moisturizer after and my skin just looks so glowy.

You can click here to see what the actual product looks like- it’s got a yellow-y colour and the texture of a facial moisturizer.

 

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This is an interesting product that became a big trend this year. This is the AmorePacific IOPE Air Cushion BB Compact. Essentially, this is a BB cream in a compact which boasts easy application and a dewy, flawless finish. It is very moisturizing, contains SPF 50 PA+++, and lasts up to 6-7 hours on my skin.

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Inside the compact is a puff applicator and a sponge soaked in product. To apply, you just press the puff against the sponge to pick up product, and gently pat (not rub) the product all over your face. It comes in only 2 shades – 21 and 23, and 2 different types of coverage – “Natural” or “Cover”. I have C21, and it is definitely too light for me. I bought this in the summer and it was visibly too light, but now that it is winter it matches me a lot better.

If you are not extremely pale, I would say go for C23. You could go for the Natural coverage if you have perfect skin, but C21 and C23 are already pretty lightweight in my opinion.

It is not necessarily a good product to wear if:

  • You have severe acne. It will not hide major discoloration and scars.
  • If you have a darker skin tone.
  • You have oily skin AND the weather is hot and humid.

But if you have dry skin that is on the paler side, you will love how moisturizing and light this BB cream is. I bought mine for $45.00, but it comes with a refill compact, so it can last for up to a year.

 

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I’ve never really tried body scrubs until the last couple of months, but I absolutely love The Body Shop’s Mango Sugar Body Scrub. It is exactly as it is described- a sugar scrub that smells so much like a mango that I actually get tempted to eat it. It smells delicious, is effective and abrasive enough for my liking, and actually leaves your skin moisturized with a layer of mango seed oil.

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It is especially important to exfoliate during the winter months to get rid of all the dead skin and buildup, and this one just takes the cake.

 

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This is a recurring winter favourite of mine- the Bath and Body Works Winter Candy Apple fragrance smells divine and I always wear it during this time of the year. I have this in both the body mist and the shower gel, and I just can’t get enough. It’s sweet and festive, but still soft and subtle, and for the price range you can’t go wrong.

So there we have it! I hope this inspires you to try out something new and to take good care of your skin this winter. I hope you all had an amazing holiday season, and I’m sad that it has ended so quickly. Wishing everyone a very happy new year and all the best in 2015!

Winter Survival Guide: Beauty Edition

So it’s been getting extremely cold in Vancouver the past couple of days (and the rest of Canada shakes their head at us). But seriously, today is a whopping -5 degrees Celcius, with a high of -2. Us university students are buried in final exams, papers, and it’s a stressful time for everybody. I haven’t been able to write much cause the last few weeks have been absolutely crazy, and I got very sick over the past week. And to top it off, my home’s heater broke and I’ve been freezing for the past week or so.

But amidst the craziness, the temperature changes have made my skin and hair very dry (when it is normally oily), and I’ve had to take extra time out of my day to take care of it and make sure it stays moisturized. I thought I’d share some of my tips and my favourite products to help combat the chilly weather.

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1. MOISTURIZE YOUR FACE. While this may seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at how many people are lazy when it comes to moisturizing, myself included. I have oily skin, so I can normally get away with just washing my face with Cetaphil and going to bed. But in the wintertime, even my oily skin gets dry, and so I make sure to moisturize my face before I head out the door and before heading to sleep.

Moisturizer doesn’t have to be expensive (I messed up my skin last winter trying out high-end products), but it does have to work for your skin. I’ve been using the Neutrogena Oil-Free Sensitive Skin Moisturizer for around 4 years now, and it works beautifully for both morning and night. It’s light and water-based, but still hydrating, and I’d imagine it work for a large range of skin types. And it only retails for $10-$15, and one bottle lasts a very long time.

2. STAY HYDRATED. This is important year-round, but especially during the holidays. All that cold weather, central heating, and alcohol at holiday parties will really dehydrate your body and dry out your skin. Drink plenty of water (and no, cocktails don’t count) to keep your body and your skin happy and healthy.

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3. Okay, even I’m surprised that I’ve included body lotion into this. I’m not going to lie, I am very picky about moisturizers, and I don’t like 99% of the lotions I own. I find body lotions in general to be very sticky and uncomfortable (and don’t even get me started about body butters). But I was gifted this Sugar Lemon Body Lotion by fresh by a friend on my birthday, so when I noticed that my legs were getting dry from the weather, I finally gave it a try- and I LOVE it. It’s so light but hydrating, sinks into my skin like a dream, and smells exactly like it sounds. My legs are visibly less dry after only a couple of uses. It has a hefty price tag for a lotion (around $30), but for me it’d be worth it, because I don’t remember the last time I actually liked a body lotion.

I discussed my favourite hand cream in an earlier post, which you can bet is equally amazing as I am just as picky about those. I’ve been reapplying every couple hours, whereas every other time of the year you’d be lucky if I applied it once a week.

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4. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! A few years ago, I wondered why I was suddenly breaking out come Fall/Winter, and read in a magazine that it is especially important to exfoliate in the winter, as those dry, dead skin cells build up on your face and leave it looking dull, and can lead to breakouts. And it turns out they were right- within a week, my skin had mostly cleared up. I have been using this one lately in the shower: The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Exfoliator. It is REALLY GENTLE- actually a bit more gentle than I’d prefer, but it does the job and doesn’t irritate my skin. This would work for even those with hyper sensitive skin- the beads are microscopic and will not irritate you in the least.

To compare the products side by side:

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From top to bottom: Neutrogena moisturizer, Fresh body lotion, Body Shop exfoliator

They all look extremely similar, all light, non-irritating, sensitive-skin friendly, and do their job well. (Excuse my hand.. it’s rather tired looking)

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5. Can’t forget about the lips, cause I don’t know about you, but I constantly have to reapply this time of year. These two have been my favourites lately, and the Burts Bees Lip Balm has been my favourite for years. Since the beginning of high school. My whole family loves them. The Vaseline Lip Therapy is very potent and great for bedtime. I apply it with a Q-Tip (because I hate dipping my fingers into jars) before bed, and wake up with soft, smooth lips.

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6. As for hair, this has been my love for the past few months. I have long hair and very, VERY dry ends, and this really helps to hydrate my hair and smooth it out. The Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Deep Treatment was also a gift from a friend, and it is seriously amazing. I’m not even joking- it is a miracle for it’s price ($2.99!). However, at the moment you can only get this in the states, so if you can get yourself down there, I highly recommend you try this out. I stocked up at Target, but you can probably find this in similar department stores.

Because I like to recommend products that are mostly affordable and can be easily accessed (I am a student after all), another hair mask that I love is the L’Oreal Total Repair Replenishing Mask.

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If you can’t get your hands on the Aussie one, this one is also really hydrating, inexpensive (around $5), and lasts for a long time. This is also a staple in my shower. Just an FYI: I use hair masks/deep conditioners as my everyday conditioner.

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7. And because you know how much I love using face masks to de-stress, this Moisturizing Cream Mask by Caudalie is very soothing and hydrating. The reason why I don’t have my own photo of this is because I received a deluxe sample of this and used it all up. It’s a splurge at $42, but this is one of the few moisturizing masks I do like. I typically prefer clay masks for oily skin.

And that is it for my tips on surviving the winter season. Stay warm, stay hydrated, and take care of your skin! Good luck to those in the midst of exams, and have an amazing and well-deserved break!

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Happy Holidays from me to you! Thanks for catching up with me!