Mar 30, 2012

DIY Beauty Fridays: Killing Acne With Thyme???

Photo courtesy of
This article comes directly from Jezebel, an awesome online site for women, and thanks to Ariella for finding it, promptly sending it to me with a message entitled "Acne Issues GONE".  I have yet to try this out myself BUT am thinking of grabbing some fresh thyme this weekend to give it a whirl.

If anyone tries it before I do a recap, let me know if it actually works!

For Clear Skin, Just Rub Thyme All Over Your Face

Oh Lordy. Here we've all been buying fancy spot treatments and expensive elixirs to rid ourselves of acne, when it turns out the answer to our problem might have been growing in the herb garden all along. Thanks for telling us, Mother Nature. Yes, a new study has found that herbal preparations of thyme might be more effective at treating acne than current prescription remedies.

Photo courtesy of
Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University tested three different tinctures—made from thyme, marigold and myrrh—on the bacteria that causes acne. They discovered that while all three tinctures could kill the bacteria after five minutes, the thyme tincture was the most effective. They also discovered that the thyme had a bigger antibacterial effect than benzoyl peroxide (a common acne treatment) did. The tinctures were made by steeping the herb in alcohol, which draws out the plant's active compounds. The three herbs they tested have been used in some antibacterial skin washes before, but this is the fist time they've been demonstrated to be effective against the bacteria that causes acne.

Sadly, more research needs to be done before thyme tincture can be declared clinically effective for acne, but if these finding are confirmed, it could be a great, more natural and gentle alternative to acne treatment. Of course, if you want to make some kind of thyme poultice or tincture on your own and test it out, there's nothing to stop you. While you're at it, why not go all out and stick a few sprigs of rosemary up your nose too. You could be clear-skinned and clear-headed in no time—or you could just look like an idiot with herbs smeared all over your face. But either way, you'll smell delicious.

PS - Sorry for the lack of posts this week.  Work has been crazy busy and Allan had a bike accident this past weekend, keeping me from doing a lot of blogging.  (Yes, I am going to blame him...ha.)  I do though have some AWESOME posts lined up for next week!!

Mar 28, 2012

Traveling to Bali, Indonesia

Ubud, Bail, our first island destination.  Photo courtesy of
Today marks 5.5 months until both the wedding and our honeymoon.  (September 15, 2012 is the official day for those that may not know.)  All of the planning that's gone into creating a one-of-a-kind vintage celebration has been exhausting, amazing and surreal all at the same time.  And best part is that because I have had some amazing help from my friends, I am in this incredible lull as most things are planned and I finally get a chance to be enjoy being engaged.  Oh, and of course, plan our honeymoon.

Photo courtesy of
Bali is our honeymoon destination.  We leave Vancouver on Monday the 17th (just 2 days after the wedding) and get to enjoy a glorious 3 weeks traveling around the island.  We will be staying in Ubud (first half of the trip) and Seminyak (second part) and have hired some fabulous drivers to take us off the beaten track to see what the locals see.  As exciting as the wedding is, is it wrong for us to be just a bit more stoked for the honeymoon? 

Though we'll be documenting our trip when we're there via this blog (we want to keep our friends and family updated as to where we are, ect.) I thought I would take some time to show you some pics of the where we're staying, what we're going to be eating AND how we're going to spend our time.  Check these pics out!!

The Inata Hotel in Ubud.  Photos courtesy of
This is the Inata Hotel in Ubud, Bail and our home for about 10 days of the trip.  I selected this hotel after MANY sleepless nights spent scouring the internet for a place that had positive reviews and excellent staff.  This was the place.  PLUS, for only $55 CAD a night, it's a steal as it includes a fabulous rice field view, breakfast, free WiFi and is less than a 5 minute walk from the city centre.  For those that aren't aware, Ubud is where they filmed the movie Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts.

Babi Guling at Ibu Oka's.  Photo courtesy of
FOOD!!  I am most excited about the food, honestly.  I love spicy food and have been told that the dishes are similar to Thai, which I adore.  The dish the Balinese are known for is called Babi Guling, or Suckling Pig (in English).  The dish is made by roasting a whole pig over charcoal made from coconut shells.  The reason the pig tastes so good is that it's been stuffed with vegetables and spice pastes.  I've been told that the best place to try this pig feast is in Ubud at a restaurant called Ibu Oka's.  For only $3 CAD, you get a massive plate full of pig -goodness.

Naughty Nuri's famous ribs.  Photo courtesy of
OMG, the other place I am DYING to try is called Naughty Nuri's Warung and Grill.  I have read nothing but fabulous things about this joint and being as obsessed with ribs/BBQ as I am, I KNEW we'd be going to this place a few times (at least).  PLUS, with main courses ranging from $1.70 to $4.20 CAD, it's the place to go for low prices and high flavor.  (And it's all done in the open...similar to a food truck or street vendor.)  Man, I am drooling already.

Elephant Safari Park.  Photo courtesy of
Elephants are one of my favorite animals and when I heard (and read) there was an Elephant Safari Park in Bali, I knew we had to visit it.  Not only do you get to touch, feed and observe these animals in their own habitat, you can actually ride them too.  To ride an elephant is very pricey ($60 USD) so I'm sure Allan and I won't be doing that.  But I can't wait to touch one and see them up close.

The Ubud Market.  Photo courtesy of
Ubud has a massive market open daily from very early to very late.  The prices are, of course, cheap but haggling is a must.  Allan and I have already began haggling amongst ourselves to ensure we're prepared for the nattering.  They have everything here from shoes, to sarongs, to food to jewelry and I can't wait to see what strikes my fancy.

The Amadea Resort and Villas.  Photos courtesy of
Seminyak is the last leg of our adventure and our hotel is called Amadea Resort & Villas.  I had originally booked a different hotel BUT after some issues with safety and the reservation, I cancelled it and reserved this place.  It looks like an absolute dream.  And it should because we're paying about $80 CAD a night, which is rather pricey for Bali BUT NOT pricey for Seminyak.  Because it's so touristy, and right on the beach, Seminyak is a very pricey place.  But the food is supposed to be fantastic all over Seminyak so we knew we had to experience it.

I've been planning more things in Ubud then I have for Seminyak and I'm thinking it's because of it being a beach town.  Allan and I are going to spend our days laying in the sun (with 60+ sunscreen on), relaxing and eating crazy awesome meals.  I can't wait!

Have you taken any crazy trips lately?  Any advice on traveling to Bali?

Mar 26, 2012

The Beauty Products We Used as Teens BUT Can't Quite Outgrow

When I was a teenager, I thought I was so cool.  I mean, I'm actually cool now but I really thought I was cool then.  (Ha.)  I still remember dabbling in my mom's makeup closet and trying on her fragrances, lipstick and her eyeliner.  Of course, I didn't really know what to do with "grown-up" makeup then so my mom took it upon herself to stock me with flavored lip glosses, toners, eye shadows and cleansers that were "teen appropriate" brands. 

The funniest part of this is that I still use a lot of these brands today.  Check out the beauty products I used as a teen but can't quite seem to outgrow...

1.  Lip Smacker by Bonne Bell

Photo courtesy of
I have been obsessed with Lip Smacker since I was about 10.  Honestly, the Dr. Pepper flavor not only tastes okay (after you get over the waxy consistency) but actually tints your lips a nice subtle red tone.  I have about 5 going at any given time (purse, coffee table, vanity table, desk at work and nightstand) because I'm just not a complete person without it.  Plus, the fact that they only cost about $1.77 at Target makes this one of the cheapest lip glosses you can by that actually moisturizes your lips.

2.  Nivea Cream 

Photo courtesy of
Bronwen, my fab friend and now Maid-Of-Honor, used this all the time growing up and still does.  She says that it not only smells great but works like a charm and is very moisturizing.  I'm guessing this is why Nivea Creme is still one of the top-selling body moisturizes around.  In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

3.  Caboodle Kits

Photo courtesy of
 Do you ladies remember Caboodle Kits?  Okay, I had a HUGE one that was purple and mint green that accompanied me everywhere.  It was filled with all my dance necessities and it would come on every dance trip AND even traveled to Vancouver with me from Prince George.  Honestly, they last forever and store everything neatly.  Plus, I hear that they can now be monogrammed....How cool is that?

4.  Baby Shampoo 

Photo courtesy of
There are two reasons why baby shampoo is always stocked in my cupboard.  First, it's a fantastic shampoo as it leaves hair tangle-free and second, it's the best make-up remover ever.  It's completely tear-free and works wonders on stubborn waterproof mascara.  If you've never tried it for either of these reasons before, you HAVE TO!

5.  Cetaphil Cleanser

Photo courtesy of
 This cleanser has got me threw some really bad skin times, let me tell you.  It's one that I started using when I was 13 and still use on occasion, even now.  In fact, my friend Ariella uses it too and she's a make-up artist!  It's great for sensitive skin, it's non-comedogenic and won't clog your pores at all.  Plus it's such a bargain price that you can't go wrong!

What are some of the beauty products you've been using since your teens?

Mar 23, 2012

DIY Beauty Fridays: The Amazing Carrot

Recently on my quest to lose 10 pounds, I've incorporated carrot juice into my morning smoothie.  Now, I realize that we're all probably familiar with how the carrot effects our body and mind but did you know that it also is FABULOUS for our hair and skin?

Carrots are not only jam-packed with vitamins and carotene but they also promote the repair of skin tissue, nourish and protect the skin, produce collagen for smooth skin, assist in reducing redness and are a natural sunblock.  Who knew the carrot had this many amazing characteristics!  Here are a few quick and easy recipes for our skin, hair and insides!!

Easy Carrot Face Mask

2-3 organic carrots 
4 and a 1/2 TBSP organic honey 

Step 1: Wash and dry carrots
Step 2: Steam carrots on the stove or your preferred method.  Let cool when done.
Step 3: Mash carrots until a smooth consistency has been created.
Step 4: Add honey and mix together.
Step 5: Apply mixture to cleansed face and let sit for 10 minutes.  Rinse with cool water.

Your skin will feel very rejuvenated after this application.  Also, since this recipe makes A LOT of mask, try using this on your arms, back or chest, wherever your skin needs some TLC.

Nourishing Carrot Hair Treatment

1 organic carrot, grated 
Extra virgin olive oil 

Step 1: Grate carrot into glass measuring cup 
Step 2: Cover the carrot with olive oil
Step 3: Place the cup in a saucepan filled with boiling water and cook for one hour 
Step 4: Strain carrot mixture, keeping the carrot oil.
Step 5: Mix carrot oil with a ripe mashed avocado and apply mixture to clean hair.
Step 6: Leave on for one hour and then rinse. (You shouldn't have to shampoo after the mixture is out)

Carrot and Fruit Smoothie (my morning breakfast)

1/2 frozen ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen berries 
3/4 cup carrot juice (Boathouse brand is the best)
1/4 cup water 
1/2 scoop Greens+ Daily Detox Powder (optional)

Step 1: Cut banana in half and remove it from the peel.  Place in plastic bag and freeze.  (overnight)
Step 2: Add berries, frozen banana, water, carrot juice and Greens+ to a blender.
Step 3: Blend well.
Step 4: Enjoy on your way to work if you're short on time like I always am.

I never realized the full potential of carrots until I started drinking them daily.  It was then that I began to research their effects and how else to use them.  I'm eager to see what you all think so let me know when you try the recipes.  Happy weekend ladies!

Mar 22, 2012

Spring 2012 Beauty (and Fashion) Trends

There is something so refreshing about springtime.  I don't know if it's the crisp air, blooming flowers, light sprinkles of rain or spring dresses, but all of these combined make for one of my favorite times of the year.  Plus, I can honestly say that in my 29 years, it's also the first spring I've seen with so many bold colors, printed fabrics, obscure short suits and orange lips.  I LOVE it!!

1.  Tangerine Tango

This is the pantone color of 2012!  (For those that do want the actual color number it's 17-1463 TCX).  Orange lips and clothing are all the rage on the runways right now and I am so glad to see it.  There is nothing sexier than orange and turquoise OR orange lips with a nice beach glow.  Plus, good news my fair ladies,  even if you can't rock a full tangerine dress, try incorporating this color is a bag or some cute sandals.

2.  Peplum 

Seeing this trend reminds of most of my outfits from the late 80's and early 90's.  For those that aren't too familiar, a peplum is a short overskirt or ruffle attached to the waistline of a jacket, dress or blouse.  OMG, my sister used to have a sheath dress that was bright purple on the bottom and striped lime green and purple on the top.  It then had a little purple ruffle that snapped onto the waist once the dress was in place.  Seriously, the cutest little dress ever.  Anyway, I am loving this trend and can't wait to find a great printed peplum skirt.

3.  Bold (aka bushy) Eyebrows

According to Vogue and InStyle, the bold eyebrow trend is back with a bang.  Supposedly, it keeps your face looking more youthful and is very old hollywood glam.  To be honest, I'm all over this trend as I naturally have quite bold eyebrows so I've been on this bandwagon for years.  However, for those that aren't as "endowed" as I am, I highly suggest investing in a great brow gel and pencil.  These two products will assist in creating this oh-so easy look.

4.  Pastel Shades

Though I'm not really into pastels personally, I had to mention this trend because it's popping up everywhere.  From footwear to eyeliner to handbags and even tights, pastels are a trend that's here to stay (for 2012 at least.)  For those that are on board with this ultra feminine look, NARS has a bunch of gorgeous liners, pencils and jumbo creams that encompass all the pastel colors to create a nice, airy makeup look.

5. Colorful Boat Shoes 

I adore these shoes from afar but for some reason just can't bring myself to get a pair.  First off I have NO idea how to wear them (though they are on every billboard and in every magazine) and they feel extremely manly.  However, this prepster-inspired trend is all over and look just as great (if not better) on men as well as women.  

6.  New Neutral Nails 

After seeing neons, flourescent yellows, greys and reds over the past few months, I am tickled about the new neutrals hitting the runway this spring.  This trend features shorter but well-manicured nails in very soft tones. (think ballet slipper pink, milky white or creamy beige).  For those on the lookout for a quick combo-pack loaded with the these soft colors, grab OPI's New York City Ballet Collection.  (I believe it goes on sale in April.)

What is your favorite spring 2012 trend ladies?  Anything catching your eye that I haven't mentioned?

Mar 21, 2012

Recipe of the Day: Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Pasta Salad

**This is a non-beauty related post so feel free to skip it if you'd like**

Have I told you all that I'm attempting to lose 10 pounds for the wedding?  Yes, well, you all know now I guess.  Weight is important to everyone but for some reason it's a topic I'm very aware of. 

I grew up in a family that ate extremely healthy all the time and because I danced almost 7 days a week, I was in very good shape.  However, when I quit smoking almost 4 years ago, I gained weight instantly.  It felt like I went to bed one size and woke up the next morning a completely different size.  It was a hard adjustment and it's been very difficult to shed the weight I gained at that point.  However, I've been eating well, exercising and am very proud to say that my wedding dress is already a size too big!

I have been making a lot of fantastic salads for work lately and wanted to share one of my newest faves.  So, here's the recipe.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Pasta Salad

1 lb. whole wheat fusili or rotini pasta (I used fusili but think it would be better with rotini)
1 cup walnuts, toasted (my walnuts were not toasted and it still tasted great)
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup red onion, diced
 3 cups baby spinach, torn
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 cloves of garlic 
2 tsp dijon mustard 
salt and pepper

Step 1: Cook pasta according to box directions, drain well and rinse in cold water.  Put cooling pasta aside.
Step 2: Mix together the oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic.
Step 3: In a very large bowl, mix together spinach, feta cheese, sun-dried tomato, onion and walnuts.
Step 4: Once pasta is cool, mix pasta, greens and dressing together.
Step 5: ENJOY!!

The hardest part of this recipe is sticking to a normal portion size.  Happy eating ladies and let me know how the recipe turns out for you!

Mar 16, 2012

DIY Beauty Fridays: Blush (and Lip Gloss) with Beet Juice

Sometimes, I concoct some fantastic DIY recipes that blow even my mind however, today was not one of those days.  I have to thank my fabulous friend, Ariella, for her makeup wisdom with this awesome DIY tip.

Blushes are my absolute favorite beauty product.  Lipstick is one thing but that's an item I can't live without!  The right color can take anyone from pale lady to rosy pink goddess (or if you're as fair as I am then blush will make your skin tone look normal...ha).  My only issue with blush is that a really fantastic color can set you back quite a pretty penny.  So, if you're budgeting like I am, try making your own tint at home.

Blush (and lip gloss) with Beet Juice

1 raw beet 
Coconut oil or glycerin (whichever you have around the house)

Blush #1 - perhaps the easiest trick of all!  Cut the beet in half (and in half again if you're rubbing the entire slice on your cheek) and rub your finger in the beet juice.  Apply immediately to cheeks.  Continue this process until you've achieved your desired color.  Blush #2 - Rub a small slice of beet directly to your cheeks until you've achieved your desired color. Lip gloss #1 - Grab Q-tip and swipe the end across the beet juice.  Apply directly to lips for a quick, and rosy, tint.  Lip gloss #2 - place some beet juice in a little bowl and add either coconut oil or glycerin to create a quick lip gloss.

PS - I should mention that you can easily juice a beet instead of trying my rustic tip of rubbing it on your face.  ALSO, you can buy organic beet juice if you prefer.  Whatever method you choose, you'll still get the same great results.

That's it ladies!  How easy is this right?  Not only are beets very inexpensive but just think how many applications you can get from one little veggie?  It's amazing.

Happy weekend!

Mar 15, 2012

Victoria's Secret Makeup Haul

Occasionally, a chain store surprises me.

Take last week for instance; I went to the States with a gal pal, popped into Victoria's Secret on a whim and was BLOWN away by their new spring/summer makeup collection.  I was so blown away that I bought the entire line....honestly, I did.

From left to right: VS Makeup Limited-Edition Deluxe Eye Palette in Fearless (blues), Face Prime Makeup Primer & Setting Spray, VS Makeup Limited-Edition Illuminating Face Powder in All or Nothing and VS Makeup Limited-Edition Lip Gloss in Passion.  (By the way, all of these items came to $60 USD...such a great deal.)

First, check out this eye palette.  Not only are the colors PERFECT for spring/summer, but they are soooo shimmery and gorgeous.  Can't wait to experiment with these colors to find out what look is best!

I think I screamed a little when I first saw this powder.  It's extremely shimmery, very smooth and silky feeling and has so many iridescent particles that the shimmer switches from being nude to violet.  This is going to be such a summer staple for me.

Check out this pink shade.  I like VS lip glosses because they aren't sticky, make my lips nice and smooth and don't cost an arm and a leg.  This one though has a bit of shimmer and is very long lasting.  Plus, the color adds so much to my skin tone that I can rock this color in Bali with limited face makeup and still feel polished.

I purchased this on a whim and am very happy I did.  I've yet to use it as a primer BUT have used it to set my look and it actually does a pretty good job.  My makeup stills smudges slightly during the day but carrying this around does decrease my touch-up sessions.

Whew, I love new makeup and I feel like it's been forever since I last bought any.  So glad that drought's over!!  Have you tried these products before?  What are your thoughts?

Mar 14, 2012

I'm Back! (From Vacation That Is...)

Hi Ladies!!

Well, I'm back from my all-too-quick vacation and attempting to get into the swing of things.  (It's sooooo hard to begin waking up at 5 AM for work when I've been rolling out, the past few days, so much later.)

First, I should mention that I have a fantastic haul post coming up tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Second, a huge THANKS goes out to both Mandy (from MandysSecrets) and Laura (from Applied Glamour) for their outrageous guest posts.  Honestly, these two ladies are not only amazing bloggers but also great friends.  Thanks again ladies!

Thirdly, you HAVE to check out Bronwen's Wedding Wednesday post today because it's hilarious.  Go go go right now....ha

Thanks everyone for your patience with my lack of posts this week.  Stay tuned for something awesome tomorrow....

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