Giveaway with EF + ORESTA organic skin care

November 20, 2015

The holiday party season is almost upon us and my friends at Oresta Organic Skin Care have asked me to help spread the word on their fun holiday promotion. I’ve been spoiling myself with the odd facial or two at the hands of the talented Oresta over the past five years now. Thanks to her, I learned that my skin was in fact incredibly dry and sensitive, and not the oily, tough skin that I thought I had. With just a few simple changes to my skin routine, my bumpy forehead, blotchy skin and frequent adult acne said goodbye.

Oresta has expanded her facial skills into three successful Ottawa locations that are one part spa, one part eco-beauty boutique and one part beauty classroom. The beautiful interiors of each location is reason enough to stop by but if you need more incentive, check out their great holiday giveaway below.

Book a 30-minute individual makeup application (value of $65), small group makeup application or makeup lesson at one of three Oresta locations here in Ottawa

You can book individual or group sessions and applications

You will automatically be entered to win a full set of Misencil Eyelash Extensions (a value of $150)

Book by December 1

Your booking can take place after the contest ends

Winner will be announced December 5

Click here for more details

oresta makeover

Do you want to try out a glamorous, new party look; a sexy smokey eye or the perfect red lip colour? Book a makeup application before your next holiday event.

Oresta also offers individual makeup applications for individuals or small groups. Oresta’s skilled makeup artists and skin care specialist will create the perfect natural or dramatic look for you with Oresta’s organic, vegan and gluten-free brands: ILIA Beauty, FITGLOW BEAUTY, Afterglow Cosmetics, Eminence Organic Skin Care and Vapour Organic Beauty.

In exchange for promotional help, Oresta treated me to a complimentary makeup application. What a great way to end a busy day at work. I just love stepping into Oresta’s O’Connor location. It’s warm and inviting, beautifully lit and filled with fabulous skin care and beauty products. Here I am sans makeup, a tad dishevelled after a long day at the office…


And the makeover begins….

Oresta prepared my skin with a rich moisturizer by Eminence and proceeded to apply a primer to make sure the foundation was laid for concealer and foundation. The best thing you can do before applying foundation is to exfoliate and moisturize. My skin is so dry that if I don’t do these two steps, any foundation will turn into beige flakes, lovely.

With primer on, Oresta gently dabbed a triple threat concealer around my eyes to reduce any blue or dark circles and wrinkles. I’ve been looking for a good eye cream, something that helps reduce the look of fine lines and makes my eyes pop. Well, Afterglow’s Triple Eye Treatment in Meringue conceals, hydrates, brightens and tightens. I’ve since worn it every day and I love it. It’s all I need to put on to wake up my face.


Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Soft Focus Primer #902 – $60; Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation #115 – $62; Afterglow Triple Eye Treatment in Meringue – $39

Below, you see me with foundation and blush on. I’m usually not a fan of foundation because it’s cakey and, as I said, makes my skin flake, but Vapour Organic Beauty’s Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation went on smoothly, moistened my skin and felt light.

Unlike most makeup artists, Oresta applies one layer of lipstick on before tackling the eyes. She says that it helps guide her choices for eyeshadow later on. This pretty lipstick is from my fave lipstick manufacturer, ILIA in Pink Moon. For the eyes, Oresta applied Afterglow’s Fresco Eye Shadow to light my lids and followed that with Terra Cotta and Still Life in the crease.


Fitglow Beauty Blush in Pure – $35; ILIA Lip Stick in Pink Moon – $34; Afterglow Eye Shadows in Fresco, Terra Cotta and Still Life – $26 each

I don’t have a picture of it but after the eyes, Oresta used mascara to fill in my eyebrows and topped things off with some illuminator on my nose, forehead and cheekbones and finished things up with another layer of lipstick.


Et voila, after a bit of beautiful organic makeup and lots of fun, Oresta gave me a subtle smokey eye and dewy look perfect for my holiday parties.


ILIA Shadow of a Doubt Mascara (for eyebrows) – $34; Cherry Blossoms two-step Fibre Extension Mascara – ; ILIA Polka Dots and Moon Beams Illuminator and Bronzer – $34


Better to give than to receive

November 16, 2015

Nesting Stoneware CAD 195.25

Nesting Stoneware CAD 195.25

uncommongoods (UG) is a great online shop that I’m surprised I didn’t hear about sooner. It prides itself on carrying a range of products, from jewelry to home decor that are made in ethical environments (click here to browse), to high standards and by artisans in the U.S. UG prides itself on supporting designers by promoting them through a variety of ways, including hosting studio tours, design challenges and panel series that connect local jewelry artists and designers to help them improve and develop their businesses.

UG also gives back to charities through its Better to Give program. With every purchase you make with UG, it donates $1 that is divided among its charity partners. Since the Better to Give program started 12 years ago, UG has donated more than $1 million to charities around the world. Check out the link above to see a list of their partners and their donation totals. Pretty impressive stuff.

The kind folks at UG have asked me to help them promote their upcoming “Giving Tuesday Campaign” that starts on Tuesday, December 1, 2015. It is themed around the well-known phrase, “It is better to give than to receive” and focuses on their Better to Give program.

In the lead up to the campaign, UG is asking its followers on social media “Why is it better to give than to receive?”

  • Give your answer on either Instagram, Facebook or Twitter
  • Include both #BetterToGive and #GivingTuesday hashtags

Submit your response by December 1 and you will be in the running to be chosen by UG to have your answer posted on its social media platforms and to receive $500 to give to your choice of one of their charity partners. There will be one winner chosen from each platform (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).

Giving Tuesday

On Giving Tuesday, December 1, shop at UG and it will double its donation of $500 on your behalf.

For every person who uses the #BetterToGive hashtag tomorrow, UG will also donate an extra dollar to its Better to Give partners with a cap of $5,000.

In addition, if your post tags a specific Better to Give charity partner, that one dollar goes to that specific partner.  If there is no mention of a partner in the post, that dollar gets spread evenly among all partners.

I spent some time browsing UG’s wonderful line of products today and have listed my faves in several categories for you to check out – early Christmas shopping perhaps?

I particularly like the handmade jewelry pieces from Emilie Shapiro of New York City. Check out her pieces here and tour her cute studio here.



Gifts for her

I had my sister and mom in mind when I was browsing UG’s great line of products made just for that special woman in your life. O.K., so I also had myself in mind, but can you blame me?

Gifts for the little ones

My favourite gift that I got as a child was a telescope from my uncle Dave. I think the first thing I looked at up close was my spit…it was the first thing the kit suggested I check out, don’t judge! Anyhow, I put my kid cap on and put these on my list for wee ones.

Please note that I am receiving a small honorarium from uncommongoods for helping to promote their campaign. It is important for me to emphasize that I only accept monetary or product compensation from individuals and organizations whose values and aesthetics align with my own and this blog. In each case, I make a point of being transparent about it and adding a one-liner at the bottom of those particular posts.

Struggling with your capsule wardrobe?

November 14, 2015

main collageSo am I. The struggle to maintain a capsule wardrobe is the opposite of struggling to maintain a, dare I say, “regular” closet. Instead of worrying about what new and trendy item to add to your ever-growing collection, or fretting about ways to increase storage space, capsule wardrobe enthusiasts have to try to avoid adding more clothing. I know, first world problems for sure, but hear me out. I have a hard time keeping my capsule a capsule because I get clothing as gifts (thanks Mom xo) and I sometimes lug bags of clothing home with me when I help family and friends out with their own closet clean outs. Is that so bad? Of course not, but it means I find myself sorting through my clothing more often than I’d like to.

As for the shop, we want to provide a carefully curated capsule collection of no more than a dozen pieces per season. Each piece will be selected for its quality construction; natural, durable materials; comfort; versatility; timelessness and fit. Have I made starting an online shop that much harder with this small collection? Yes and no. Yes, because I have to choose well and no, because the Canadian designers that I have my eye on deliver on all of the shop’s criteria. Now back to my personal closet issues.

I love sorting through my closet, but I’d rather be putting together new outfits than purging all of the time. I’ve come to learn that staying small isn’t always easy in a world where more is always outside your door. You have to stick to your guns, stick to your shopping list of items that you need, not just want. Need some tips on how to keep your closet lean?

Keep your shopping list handy

I use this great to-do list app called TeuxDeux to keep track of items that I’m missing in my closet. These are items that I often wish I had on hand when I’m getting dressed in the morning, and items that would help me make use of a few other pieces in my closet.

Whether you keep your list in your phone or on a piece of paper in your purse, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you avoid making impulse purchases. If you give in, you may very well find yourself with a poor-quality piece that doesn’t go with a single thing in your closet = money wasted. True, you could get lucky and impulsively buy an item that ends up being one of your fave go-to’s, but more likely than not, it’ll be in next year’s donation pile.

Store seasonal clothes as the weather changes

Most North Americans will understand that those of us above the 49th parallel experience four seasons. Each season calls for its own wardrobe, but the transition times between seasons do too. Many Canadians find themselves constantly sorting and storing their clothing from one season to the next within a matter of weeks, not months.

For example, it’s fall right now, but we’ve been experience warmer than usual temperatures (+15 degrees Celsius!). When fall hit, I put away my summer items, kept a few light tops to wear under cardigans, and brought out my fall stuff. A few weeks later, a cold spell hit us and I brought out the heavy winter sweaters and my parka. Now, I’m back to early spring items. I don’t think this can ever be avoided, but what I can give as a tip is this: layer.

Keep two to three spring tops that you can wear under sweaters and cardigans. If you get too hot, you can remove a layer. Don’t store away all of your warm-weather pieces because you’ll end up sweating like a pig on an unusually warm fall day, as I have a few times already this season.

Take note of your go-to or “uniform” pieces

These are items that you wear almost every week. These are your “uniform”, or your essential pieces. If you still have some spring items in your fall closet that are never worn because you always opt for one of your essential pieces time and time again, store those spring items away!

I finally stored away a spring, floral blouse that I was keeping this fall in case I wanted to add some colour to an outfit. But you know what? I never reached for it. It was so colourful, it didn’t go with much in my fall closet and come fall, I only want to wear warm turtlenecks and sweaters, not light blouses (even if they’re layered under a cardigan). This leads me to my last note.

Be honest about your likes and dislikes

I’m guilty of keeping things in my closet that I never wear, just in case. I’m not talking about formal dresses and going-out skirts, those are for special occasions, so it’s OK if they’re not often worn. I’m talking about that one shirt that you can’t let go of even though you have at least another two that you can easily wear in its place. Let it go my friends, just let it go. I promise you, you won’t miss it.

If you’re anxious to donate your precious items, store them away in a special box for three months. If you haven’t thought of them in that length of time, say goodbye.

Inspiration outfits for my fall capsule wardrobe

aran sweater

Photo credits from left to right: Fashion Gum, Honestly WTF, Styloholic.

Photo credits from left to right: Elements of Style

Photo credits from left to right: Elements of Style

Photo credits from left to right: Vestiaire Collective, Where to Get It, Absolu Paris Blog

Photo credits from left to right: Vestiaire Collective, Where to Get It, Absolu Paris Blog

Photo credits from left to right: Late Afternoon Blog, People and Styles

Photo credits from left to right: Late Afternoon Blog, People and Styles

Photo credits from left to right: Brooklyn Blonde, Closet Full of Clothes, Pinterest

Photo credits from left to right: Brooklyn Blonde, Closet Full of Clothes, Pinterest

New fave blog on my “mind”

November 3, 2015

I can’t remember how, exactly, but just last week I came across Into Mind while I was browsing the Interweb and I wanted to share my new favourite blog with you. Talk about a beautifully designed site. Creator Anuschka hails from Berlin and writes about how to achieve minimalism in life. The site design itself is a perfect reflection of Into Mind’s minimalist aesthetic. Each post is thoughtfully put together, she obviously spends a lot of time on each post, and her loyal readers share in their appreciation for it.

Check out this helpful guide on eco-conscious shopping. Into Mind is full of thoughtful how-to lists, tips and graphics and I am definitely reaching out to her to do a guest post for you. We’ll see if she’s up for it!


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