beauty

Vacation Ready Nails: Top Nail Polishes for Fall Winter Beach Trips

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Get your talons ready for the sun. Manicures and pedicures are the most basic form of pampering! While I am a fan of DIY nails, this time around I got my nails did at a salon with my aunt and cousin. Keep reading for my iconic nail colour picks.

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Before I left for Jamaica, I scoured Pinterest for the perfect nail colour. To be honest, I had already decided on white nails. There's nothing like white nail polish against a golden tan. However, when I got to the salon, I still took a look at the shelf—just in case. Fingernail FOMO is a huge deal. Here are some adorable shades you can rock on your next vacation.

Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer

L'Oreal Paris Le Verni Fuchsia Palace 330

ZOYA Nail Polish, 0.5 fl. Oz. in Snow White

essie Gel Couture Nail Colour Polish: Make The Cut

Do you have a favourite shade that you wear on every vacation? Let me know in the comments below.

Travelling while on your period: a How to Guide + Essentials

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Getting your period while travelling doesn’t have to suck. I’ve learned that the best way to deal with my period is to prepare. While I’m known to sweat in writhing pain, my friend Taylor usually doesn’t get any cramps and can go about her day. Everyone's period varies. reading for what’s worked for me when I got my period while abroad.

Do Your Research

Pads are more popular in China. Many videos and blog posts about warned me that if I wanted to use tampons while there I would pay a premium. So I was sure to pack as many tampons as I needed for my trip (like this

travel pack from Kotex

). Find out if you’re visiting a place where the product you prefer to use isn’t popular or if you’ll have access to a drug store. then load up your luggage with the supplies you need. Your next trip is could be enough incentive to try a

Diva Cu

p. Should I try it out and give you a review? Let me know in the comments.

There’s an App for That

Gone are the days when you have to use paper and a chart to track your period! Download a period tracker app way before your travels. You can use this app to track when your period and ovulation are on the way. It averages out how many days it takes for your period to come based on your body, not only the average 28-day cycle. That way you can check in advance to know whether you’ll even get your period while abroad and you can prepare if so.

Take Inventory

Keep track of how many tampons you use, pain killers you pop or how often you change your

diva cup

in a day. It’s easy to forget that you’re shedding a part of your body if your luggage goes missing or your flight gets delayed. Try to set a timer on your phone and bring enough product in your carry on or in a bag or pocket you can access at any time.

Know your Body

I get bodied by my period on the first day. I’ve felt like a vicious round of mortal combat was taking place in my abdomen. Know your symptoms and your limits. If you feel the red death approaching, try switching up your plans. Why fight through a 20k hike? Try visiting a museum or a decadent restaurant (where there are washrooms close at hand) that day.

Talk About It

Travelling with friends? Especially friends who don’t get a period? If you need a break or if you feel that you can’t do certain activities that day, then talk about it if you feel comfortable. I spoke up when I got my period when travelling with some friends. I told them why I wasn't down with certain excursions. We worked around it that day then got back to it for the rest of the week.

Get Comfy

One of the ways I get through my period while abroad is to bring familiar foods and media to make it through. I take the day off and binge watch something on Netflix with chocolate (mmm

Brookside is the best

). Pack and rock your period clothes (I avoid jeans and stick to leggings and loose tops to deal with mild bloating). Make sure they're appropriate for the weather at your destination.

Period pantie

s are also a must for me since I’m usually active when travelling and I can’t run the risk of leaking.

Have you gotten your period while abroad? Let me know in the comments how you dealt with it and if I missed any advice. 

Overnight Flight Carry-On Beauty Essentials

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Airplanes can be awkward, especially for your nighttime beauty routine. I will be boarding the longest flight I've ever taken this Thursday. Preparing for it has been quite the adventure but also going over how to ensure I end up on the other side with bomb skin is also key.

After learning how to take care of my skin and keep it hydrated on and off of flights, here are some of my favourite Overnight Flight Carry on Beauty Essentials.

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before-you-sleep-2

Olay Daily Facials Daily Clean 4-in-1 Water Activated Cleansing Cloths Thanks for the recommendation Priya! I would never have thought about packing these. Instead of hauling a facial wash and ensuring it fits the regulation size and then trying to get it to lather then wash it off...Instead, I'll just use these facial cloths! Get them a little wet and take off the little makeup I put on for the journey.

Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil When Taylor introduced me to the joys of coconut oil I didn't realize that my life would change. I'll be packing this in a travel container to remove the makeup I put on before my flight. While I try to avoid wearing makeup on flights, I'll be vlogging and shooting pictures before I board so I've got to look a little fabulous, no? (tip: sometimes I add a bit of lavender to relax me if I'm using coconut oil as a moisturizer on my hands or neck)

The Face Shop Real Nature Mask Every blogger and vlogger recommends using a sheet mask on the plane. If you thought I'd be different, boop! I tried a few of The Face Shop's masks in the past and I found my skin was extra hydrated for a few days. This Shea Butter option will provide super-penetration into your skin especially at the high altitude during the flight.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream I always carried hand cream in my large purses because one of my biggest pet peeves was dry hands. I find that this thick and creamy formula works well when I'm about to go to sleep. While it feels a bit greasy for a few minutes, I find that my skin just really sucked it up and felt super soft the next day.

Rosebud Lip Balm I absolutely loved using this lip balm on my last trip to the UK. I kept it in my pocket for safe keeping to apply as I flew. While I usually go for stick balms where I don't have to put my finger into it (ick international germs), my solution: I just press the full balm to my lips and give it a twist. Instant hydration!

Carry Clean Travel Sonic Toothbrush I haven't used an electric toothbrush in years, let alone brought it with me on a plane! However, this baby deserves a shout out. It's battery powered and the size of an average toothbrush (which I bring travelling with me anyways). I get super lazy on the plane and begrudgingly brush my teeth. This time it'll be a little easier.

NIVEA Moisturizing Night Care My combination skin wasn't a fan of the long non-stop trip from London to Toronto last year. This time around I'll be sure to bring along a very heavy night cream (which I will transfer into a smaller container for transport). After finishing my nighttime beauty routine (either on the plane or before boarding) I'll add some of this heavy cream and drift into a peaceful sleep.

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before-you-sleep-1

NIVEA Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Day Care SPF30 After flying don't you feel like you've aged a bit? I added this baby to my airplane beauty regimen when I learned it was packed with anti-aging properties including Q10, Creatine and SPF 30 protection. Like my other moisturizers I'll add this into a travel container and keep the full sized version in my checked luggage.

FlashPatch Lip Gels + FlashPatch Eye Gels

If you find that your under eyes look a little rough or your lips are pretty dry in the morning, slap one of these masks on! Sure you might look a little weird, but no one ever said beauty was easy.

Maybelline New York Superstay Better Skin Concealer While I haven't travelled with a full-face of makeup, I've liked to have some concealer on hand. Travelling can be taxing on the under eyes especially if I don't get a restful sleep. Before I land I like to just quickly apply a bit of concealer to look a bit more alive.

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder Original The lineup at immigration when I have arrived at my destinations have been long and left me tired. Loose setting powder has kept my makeup in place no matter how many lines I've gotten stuck in. Dermablend's version is a life saver.

Honourable mention: A water bottle! One of the most important things to do on flights is to stay hydrated. I don't like to drink the water offered to me on planes (unless it comes straight out of a bottle that I've watched the flight attendant pour out of) so I usually grab an overpriced 1L bottle on the way to my gate.

Did I miss anything? Let me know what your overnight carry-on beauty essentials are in the comments below!

Monthly Covet: Valentines Day Edition

img_9193-2 Chronically single as I am, I decided to, once again draft a wishlist of things I want to get for myself for Valentines Day this year. Cool enough, this also kicks off the first of many travel themed Monthly Covet lists you should check out at the start of each month this year. So for all of my single women with wanderlust, this one is for you.

Valentines Day Single Girl Travel

1. Teeez Cosmetics Style Addict Highlighter When Teeez sent this to me, I felt beyond honoured to have the privilege to shine on anyone who underestimates me. The easy to apply cream formula reflects beautifully on my skin and will for sure make it in my makeup bag on my next vacation.

2. Skinny Dip London iPhone No Boyf No Probs Phone case I love the Skinnydip London case I already have, and I obviously need another one right? I mean...what phone case better declares your single-state than this?

3. Chapters Indigo Embossed Journal  To write about how single you are. I love pouring my heart out on pages faster than my dominant hand can write. Reading back over memories that time changed and skewed is always a fun shock for me. One of my biggest regrets is not journaling while I travelled.

4. Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds  I always have at least 3-4 podcasts downloaded, at least one audiobook and 1-2 new albums when I’m on a flight. These noise cancelling headphones would suit my need to isolate myself while on a flight….and obviously my romantic life wah.)

5. Alexander Wang Gabi Bootie with Rose Gold  Simple black booties pair well with most outfits, a sign of the perfect shoe to pack for long and short trips. I was drooling over these in Saks 5th Avenue, and they haven’t left my mind since.

6. Tom Ford Lipstick A bold lip and sunglasses are sometimes all you need to look fabulous when you land. I usually wear minimal makeup on flights (unless it’s a short flight to New York or Montreal where the adventure begins, not when I hit my hotel, but when I breeze out of customs).

This year I’m continuing my tradition of celebrating my autonomy with a third annual fun night out with Taylor. Are any of you going to be single on Valentines Day this year? If so, what are you getting up to?

5 Protective Styles You need to Try on your Next Trip

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crochet-hair

If your hair is having a bad vacation, so are you. One of the first things I think about when considering my trip is what I'm going to do with my hair. For those of you not in the kinky/curly club, you've got to understand, it's more than vanity. Tangled curls can be painful to detangle and take the fun and joy out of any day. I avoid having to do anything more than shaking my mane and getting on with my day.  Here are my go-to protective hairstyles when travelling.

Crochet Hair

London calling | #curlsunderstood #protectivestles #BGKI | #ElaishaGoes #BlackTravelFeed

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Jun 25, 2016 at 5:10am PDT

Obviously, I'd start with my new favourite hairstyle! Crochet hair is BOMB! It takes less application time than similar looking styles (see: box braids) but looks just as good. Just get your braiding pattern right and you're set.  Actually, now you don't even need to know how to cornrow to get it right.

Patty King > Cold Tea | @taylorbrycemcdermott #ProtectiveStyles #CurlsUnderstood

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Jun 12, 2016 at 3:37pm PDT

There are a variety of styles from box braids to curls. This is a great choice when you're pressed for time but want a long-lasting style that you can customise.

Box Braids

LA #Vlog 1 is up {link in profile}

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Jul 19, 2015 at 10:28am PDT

I remember seeing my grandmother come home from the hair dresser's with this style and knowing she was going on a trip.  The advantage of this style is, when taken care of properly, they can last a long time.

Now on the #blog: how to look cool when it's #ElaishaGoes {link in profile}

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Aug 7, 2015 at 7:23pm PDT

I remember travelling to California with my already well-worn box braids and only needing to refresh the front once after 2 weeks. While the application can take a long time (sometimes days depending on the size), the result is priceless. This is a great style when in humid and wet climates.

Feed In Braids 

So... because of Valentine's Day I wrote a super personal piece on why I'm single. #OnTheBlog

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:48am PST

I remember rocking this style and feeling so cute. However, if you want to try it, get your hair bonnets and head scarves ready. This style, while gorgeous and slick requires extra care to ensure that it stays neat. It's a great style when you're going to be very active and need your hair out of your way.

Twists & Twist Outs

Curls on nana @kerastase_official Ultimate Elixr products came through for my #naturalhair/#twistout. Visit YouTube.com/c/elaishajade to enter to win these amazing products for #Laishmas!

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Dec 23, 2016 at 6:45pm PST

There's truly nothing better than a classic twist style. If I'm travelling with this hair, I know I can take it out and separate my curls for a special occasion then get then right and tight that night by re-twisting it. Just make sure you bring along your favourite twisting products and detangling tools if you will be re-twisting frequently. This is a great style for more controlled (and dryer) climates.

Pulled Back Bun

When all else fails, I can't go wrong with slicking my edges and pulling my hair up into a classic bun! On trips, I usually bring along some hair gel to ensure that my edges are tame throughout my adventure. This is essential when I'm rocking this hairstyle.

I was smiling 'cause I just ate | @sephoracanada matte lip in #13 didn't budge even after my

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Sep 26, 2016 at 7:44pm PDT

I dampen the outer edge of my hair, grab a bristle brush or toothbrush then style away. I use a headscarf to quickly manage the drying process into a flat style (and to avoid fly aways). Then voila! The perfect bun. If my hair is battling shrinkage and I want a fuller looking bun, I'll bring along some synthetic kinky curly hair (that matches my own) and shape a natural looking bun!

What's your favourite protective style when travelling? Did it make the cut on my list? Let me know in the comments!

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'Laishmas Day 1

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I hated keeping this a secret from you guys....Day 1 of 'Laishmas is here! img_8281

You all know I'm born on Christmas and I felt like playing Santa this time around and giving you guys some lovely gifts! And hopefully, this will be good inspiration for last minute gifts you may need to buy too.

Want to know how you can win the Black Musk Gift Set from The Body Shop? Follow this link to comment below this video and subscribe to my channel!

Un-masking my Feelings: Top 3 Face Masks for Fall and Winter

img_7819 I'm emotionally constipated. That's the frankest and easiest way to say it. I'm not good at expressing my emotions. Last time I had to reveal my true feelings to someone I was shaking and I totally cried. Keep reading to find out why it went well in spite of the tears!

Letting myself feel vulnerable and expressing myself is the scariest thing. I'm already super awkward, so letting my guard down makes me awkward x10. The major key to unmasking my feelings is writing them down before I reveal them. Know which points are the most important to highlight then hit home. If you can keep your notes in front of you, do it. Don't fee embarrassed about it! The best way to sound eloquent is to write your thoughts down and sort them out beforehand.

While working on removing the mask from my emotions, I'm also busy taking care of my skin by putting masks on! Here are my top 3 masks

LUSH  Mask of Magnaminty I'm obsessed with this mask. Recommended to me by my girl Janu at LUSH. When I put it on it was like an exfoliant and mask as I applied it. When I washed it off my skin felt super soft and fresh (from the minty tingle). This was my weekly mask of choice when I would pamper myself with my weekly sit-in bath (my daily showers just aren't as nice). After hopping out of the warm bath, I'd apply the mask onto my clean and exfoliated face. After 5-10 minutes my skin would honestly feel brand new.

The Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask I tried the Ethiopian Deep Honey Nourishing Mask and it did not work for my skin type. My face felt a bit tight and dry after I washed it off. However, didn't give up on The Body Shop's new Superfood Mask line and gave the British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask a try. I loved trying this mask! The formula was similar to putting strawberry jelly on my face. But when I washed it off my face felt anything but sticky. It felt so soft, moist and frankly a little pump. I loved it. It was rejuvenating and I've tried it twice since whenever my face felt super tight or tired.

img_7820 L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Mask  The hype is real guys. Last month all over my Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube were influencers heralding the new mask line from L'Oreal as everything. My skin gets super dull in the winter, so I went for the charcoal detoxifying mask. It was super cool to see my usually unnoticeable pores standout as the mask dried. Now, the only issue: I have combination skin. So this mask was great for my t-zone and drying for my cheeks. My face felt a bit tight after I washed it off. I would definitely recommend it in the summer for those with combination skin versus the drying summer. I kept this review in because I know some of you have oilier skin! This mask is totally for you. Try it and thank me later.

Do you have a problem with masking your emotions? Have you tried any of these masks? Let me know in the comments!

What do you 'belif' in?

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belif-3
belif-3

 I wasn't sure what I was going to write about for this post. I believe in so many things but recently my firm belief of  standing up for what's right was put to the test.

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belif-5

(Keep reading for how you can enter the belif cosmetics contest)

I faced the opportunity to turn a blind eye to a friend of many years allowing another person to bully me. That other person disparaged my character and tried to ruin my relationship with that friend. What really hurt my feelings is that friend allowed it to happen.

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belif-2
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belif-1

So, I stood up for myself. Sure it was nerve racking confronting my friend, but I think I did alright. Sadly, we're no longer as close as we used to be, but I'm ok with that. Because it means I only keep people around who understand my value as a friend and will treat me the way I deserve to be treated.

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belif-6

I was given the chance to partner up with belif cosmetics for their Canadian Launch. Their products are available in The Face Shop and select Fruits and Passion stores as of this October. I got a sneak peek of The true cream – moisturizing bomb and The true cream – aqua bomb. I can't wait to let you know what I think.

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belif-7

Here's how you can enter their contest: Follow @belifcanada on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and share what you believe in using #ibelif to WIN A TRIP FOR TWO to the luxurious Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Spa valued at up to $5000. Visit belif's website for contest rules and regulations.

Are these $30 Mascaras Worth it? Featuring Guerlain & Estée Lauder

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both-mascaras

 You guys already know I've been trying to step my makeup game up. While I do love my drugstore brands, I thought it would be cool to see whether these luxe brands were actually worth the price.

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img_3315

Guerlain Maxi Lash Intense Volumizing Mascara $36 First, the packaging is beautiful. Compact with sleek gold detailing, this baby was made to be Instagrammed. Gigi Gorgeous recently featured it on her Snapchat and hailed it as one of her favourite mascaras and it has a great rating on MakeupAlley. The only drawback mentioned in the reviews was that the mascara is expensive.

mascara-guerlain
mascara-guerlain

The wand is easy to hold and super light. The formula is a true black and quite silky on the lashes. The firm applicator is a dream come true. The first time I used this mascara, I walked through Holt Renfrew's beauty bar at Square One. I received so many compliments on my eyelashes! The volume to length ratio was perfect and not too spidery.

mascara-g
mascara-g

Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara $30 I have been reading and watching reviews all over the web about Estee Lauder's Double Wear line. So I'm excited to finally giving one product in this bunch a try. First of all the packaging is divine with all of the gold Estée Lauder detailing. It feels heavier than it would look (not to say it's heavy it's just not as light as most mascaras).  I purchased it in brown by accident but I ended up loving the colour. I think it's great for makeup looks that black mascara would be too harsh with.

mascara-double-wear
mascara-double-wear

The firm wand was easy to manoeuvre and the dark brown formula wasn't too creamy. It focused on length, not volume. I had sky-high lashes the first time I tried the mascara! The formula didn't budge, but also didn't leave my lashes sore. It was perfect for the no-makeup-makeup look I rocked at the gym the first time I wore it. The best part: no flaking! There was no residue at the end of the day, yet it easily came off with a few swipes of my makeup remover. I wouldn't purchase this for glam nights out, but for daily wear to work or running errands or to the gym.

In short, if you've got the budget to spare, try one of these mascaras! They not only worked, they worked incredibly well. I received so many compliments when wearing them and loved the volume and length my eyelashes were able to achieve.

What's one luxe product you've wanted to try?

Winter is Coming: Haircare

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both-lines I'm excited about winter. I know it's not even fall yet, yet but I can just imagine crisp snow on the sidewalks and the taste of warm apple cider. I can also imagine how brittle my hair normally would be during winter. My curls don't want anything to do with the brutal Canadian weather.

Here are two haircare lines that saved my hair last winter. One is high end, and the other can be considered a drugstore brand. Both are amazing, and I wanted to give them a joint review. That way you could choose  to splurge or save while getting your hair ready for the frosty months to come.

garnier-full-line

I've been using the Garnier Whole Blends line non-stop since I received it at a press event. I was skeptical at first. I've got textured hair which usually doesn't agree with drugstore finds. However, when my hair felt super silky (even after shampooing) I knew Garnier crafted a winner. First of all, it smells amazing. The warm coconut fragrance isn't overpowering. It's just a delicious hint that bounces through my curls and I love it. Before I even add in moisturizer it feels extremely hydrated and stronger after using the  winning combination.

kerastase-full-line

Yum! The Kerastase Resistance line smells divine! The hair mask and conditioner leave my hair feeling light and fluffy. It's made for repairing thick damaged hair, which is perfect for the winter months. The shampoo is very cleansing so I use it sparingly when I want a super clean finish (after having my hair in a protective style or a particularly dirty/sweaty week). If I apply heat to my hair I am sure to use the serum throughout my curls. The shiny and silky finish it leaves my hair with is everything!

How do you take care of your hair during winter?

Self-Care Sundays

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flat lay nails
flat lay nails

Sundays are for Lovers Loving Yourself! Whether I go to church in the morning or sleep in, I like to spend at least some part of my Sunday on self-care before the work-week takes its hold of my time. Keep reading for how I make every Sunday special

Get Organized It might seem odd that reviewing my calendar and setting weekly goals is a part of my self-care routine. However, I feel less scattered and stressed during the week if I get my life together on Sunday. I try to get ready for the week ahead in any way I can, whether it's organizing my underwear drawer or checking off things I've been procrastinating on my task list.

Paint Your Nails

Even the smallest thing like getting my nails done makes me feel special

— ELAISHA JADE (@ElaishaJade) September 3, 2016

Not sure if anyone else feels the same way but getting my nails buffed, shaped and painted makes me feel like a new person. I usually end up doing my nails at home. It's a nice treat I love to get done at the salon but I like watching bad rom-com's and giving myself a manicure.

Do Something You Love Whether it's watching too many movie trailers in one sitting or going for a long bike ride I like to do something I love every Sunday. Today I'm watching the incredibly underrated 'Jupiter Ascending' again. Don't @ me.

Eat Something Healthy (and Yummy) After a usually riotous Saturday, I like to scale back on Sunday and eat foods that give me energy and make me feel good. Foods that usually put a kick in my step are a smoothie bowl, vegetable juice, a fruit filled bowl of cereal, or any other vegan meal or snack I can get my hands on.

Quick pit stop at @liveorganicfood between meetings

A photo posted by E L A I S H A J A D E (@elaishajade) on Sep 8, 2016 at 9:28am PDT

Bath Time I've got my bath-time routine down to a science. I remember choosing my apartment because of the deep tub that comes with it. There is nothing like soaking in some bath salts, lighting a scented candle and catching up on my YouTube faves (like It's Judy's Life). Should I write a post on bath-time essentials?

What do you do for self-care? Tell me in the comments!

Brushing up on My Skills

My grandfather always told my mum that education was the only thing that couldn't be taken from her. That stuck with me and inspired me to continue to learn and find things that would help me remain a student. Keep reading for how I’m brushing up on my skills as a jack of all trades.

Brush 1: Finishing Contour Brush | Brush 2: Flat Top Foundation Brush | Brush 3: Blender Brush

Attend a Digital Conference Not sure which conference I will attend or when, but before the year is over I will be heading to one. Maybe in Portugal? Stay tuned!

Actually use my Lynda.com Subscription While I found Lynda a bit overwhelming (so many options to choose from) I’m going to build a schedule for myself. Maybe I'll write educational blog posts based on what I learned! To keep me engaged with the post I will take notes too.

Read Two Books a Month On my trip (city guides coming soon!) I started reading Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. I borrowed it from my work library and I highly recommend it. I used to read so much on public transportation. However, I switched over to podcasts when I started getting motion sickness while reading on the road. Next on my list is “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes, recommended to me by my good friend Sheetal.

Watch More Documentaries I love documentaries but I haven’t watched any in a while. The ones I tend to gravitate to have very stoic and sobering messages, so they can be heavy for casual watching. However, I’ve found that the best conversation starters have come from watching them. Any recommendations?

Ok, obviously Tweezerman’s brush line inspired this post! How gorgeous are these babies? I am more of a 'fingers for application' girl, but recently I started using brushes. Do you want to see a makeup look with them?

*Products used in this post were provided free of charge, all opinions are my own.

Curl power: The Strength of Loving your Curls

*Sponsored post 

I hated being different. Growing up I was, to say it nicely, weird. Bookish, outspoken and often misunderstood I didn’t fit into one social group. I wasn’t cool, but I also wasn’t uncool so I stood somewhere in the middle. One way of fitting in was to have straight hair.

Most of the girls I hung out with rocked waist-length weaves or flipped their fresh perms over their shoulders. My mum carefully braided my hair since I was a baby. I never chemically straightened my hair and thought of natural hair as my norm. However, it would be many years later until I understood the importance of embracing my curls.

As mentioned in a ‘Stuff Mom Never Told You’ podcast about Curly Hair, curls got a lot of hate in movies and TV. When a female lead would ‘transform’ from the awkward duckling, she was into a graceful swan gone was her ‘unruly’ mass of curls. Straight and silky her hair seemed to play a part in her newfound popular life. Gorging on ice-cream and watching these transformations unfold as a kid, my mum’s teachings escaped me.

Shopping channels and late night infomercials offered solutions to my kinky ‘problem’. Blow dryers with magical abilities and straighteners that did the impossible had me begging my mum to straighten my hair. Eventually, she caved and did it. Without the use of chemicals, my hair fell into more of a triangular shape than bone straight. But I rocked the style on my birthday and special holidays like I was hot stuff. Feeling too old for the cornrows I was accustomed to, I started wearing my hair in the curls it would wave into after I pulled out my flat twists. My afro drew attention from the guys I had crushes on and the girls I wanted to be friends with. Since then the power of my curls surprised me everyday. While the natural-movement was in full swing, my natural hair drew attention wherever I went. From sneaking looks in the middle of a conversation or blatant staring on the subway, people just couldn’t resist ‘em (or maybe I had something on my face?!).

Since embracing the power of my curls, I learned to accept a lot of other things about myself I would have given anything to change. Yes, it took other people appreciating my curls for me to realize their strength. But it showed me that I shouldn’t look to others to define what beautiful is to me, but to work with what I’ve already got!

 

*Giveaway is now closed*

 

I’ve partnered up with Dippity-Doo to give all of my curly-haired readers the chance to join the #DDCurlSquad with me and WIN the full Girls with Curls line. Start to embrace the power of your curls...you know you want to.

Enter via Rafflecopter below and follow the instructions carefully. Good luck!

 

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How You Gonna be Matte on Vacation?

Ok Kanye puns aside, I've searched for the perfect matte lip shade that will suit my top-lip heavy mouth for months. My cupid's bow is deep guys. While everyone else is going gaga over the Kylie Jenner lippies I'm not even gonna try getting one of them. It's near impossible.

 

Instead I collected and swatched some soft pink 'matte' shades (which suit me best) to decide which one is coming with me on my next vacation. There is nothing like a soft pink lip to subtly glam up a 'natural' faced look (concealer and a bit of mascara).

 

I like my lips. In 2016 that's an odd thing to say when everyone is trying to plump, fluff and expand the amount of space theirs takes up. All power to those who want to change their lip size and to those who are keeping their original look. I think it's important to know what works for you and to not be afraid of trying new things.

Matte lips were a territory wasn't sure I was ready to fully embark on, so  Makeup Forever's Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick was a great 'transition choice'. It's subtly moisturizing and such a pretty colour but isn't a 'true' matte. The only true matte of the bunch was the LA Girl Matte Flat Gloss finish. It's not as moist as Maybelline's Creamy Matte lipstick but it doesn't transfer at all. If you need long-lasting matte lips and don't mind a bit of dryness go for it. I would need it in a colour with less auburn in it though. The By Kiss Matte Lip Lacquer was a gorgeous almost Barbie-pink that I'd need to do with muted eyes and a matching blush. The Kiss New York Moisture lippy was a drugstore dupe for Makeup Forever's Rouge Artist but not as pigmented. It would do on a more casual day.

The pale JMatte lipstick in Bare nude was a very light choice I borrowed from my mum. I'd only wear it if I were blending with a deeper shade since it's a bit chalky for me.

So...what's your favourite nude matte shade of the season?

*Some products used in this post were provided free of charge, all opinions are my own.

I'mma let you finish ft. Guerlain's Météorite Skin Perfecting Matte Powder

I have a friend who could write the book on unfinished projects. She's all 'talk' and no 'do'. Putting in work requires more than an idea, but follow through. I however, have a rushing problem.

The power of finishing things is extremely underrated. The excitement of starting a project eventually fades into a reality of deciding to put in the hard work needed to persevere and complete it. Concentration, discipline and determination all aid in finishing the proposal, assignment or task. While speed is a skill I'm proud of gaining, slowing down is the one I need to work on. I remember one of my clients would always try to get me to slow down. Eventually I did and the benefits were incredible. I wasn't just going through the motions but really thinking about the task and doing the best job possible.

That in itself was an accomplishment for me. While I've got a ways to go, at least I know that really finishing is, as my biggest cheerleader DJ Kaled would say, a major key to success. The limited edition, Météorite Skin Perfecting Matte Powder by Guerlain is a steep investment with an incredible pay-off. The $200CAD finishing powder was crafted to leave the face skin matte yet luminous after applying foundation. I thought it would be too light for me but I was wrong. I dusted the powder in trouble areas that tend to get a little, shall we say, dewy as the day progresses (shoutout to my t-zone). It definitely added extra oomph to my 'natural' look. While the price may warrant use for very special occasions, I personally love the luxe packaging and texture of the finishing powder. It's soft fragrance is also a nice touch too.

*Some products used in this post were provided free of charge, all opinions are my own.