Winter Survival with Pretty and Useful Things

Winter Survival Guide

Ah winter….what can I say? Not my first choice of seasons. Don’t get me wrong, winter can be serenely beautiful…if you’re sitting inside by a fireplace wine glass in hand. But all hibernation ideals aside, winter really doesn’t do my body any favours; I lose my golden glow, it makes my hair static, and when it’s really frigid, my knuckles dry and crack to the point where they bleed. Fun times. Luckily I’ve been introduced to a few new products that are helping me to cope with the winter season that I am rounding up here, along with a few old favourites.

Lots and lots of tea. I’ve expanded my horizons in the tea department recently, venturing outside of black, green, and my favourite – jasmine tea. All of this thanks to a visit to Teavana while randomly strolling through Upper Canada Mall. The vast amounts of loose leaf teas this store has is insane…anything from specialized tea, chai, to even herbal teas. The herbal fruit teas consist of a mix of tea and dried pieces of fruit and not only smell, but look divine. Passion Tango is the one I am currently hooked on.

passion tango tea in vintage teacup

Winter Survival GuideBOLD LIP COLOURS
A beautiful smile goes a long way in uplifting spirits and fighting the winter blues. And Bite Beauty keeps me smiling for more reasons than just their beautifully bold colours. Bite Beauty lipsticks are natural lip products made with food-grade ingredients which leave me happy knowing that I’m not applying harmful colours onto my lips on the daily (a reason that I avoided lipsticks for many years). 

winter survival for lips

I cannot even tell you how often I reach for my lip balm on a daily basis. Working in an office with dry and cool temperatures doesn’t help either, so I am really grateful to eos for sending me their  lip aid kit – which has been just that – first aid for my lips during the dry winter months. Aside from just being a fun product thanks to their cute and colourful containers, eos lip balm leaves your lips not only soft and supple, but full of yummy flavour. A winter beauty hack of mine is to apply a very thin layer of moisturizing lip balm on my lips before adding lipstick.

winter lip care

You may have seen on my Insta stories that I shattered the screen on my phone not too long ago. I think the stress of the holidays took its toll on me because at one point I was dropping my phone on the daily. Not even kidding…until finally one day my poor iPhone just did not survive the drop. Thankfully my friends at Arla Cases let me try out one of their cases (with which the delivery of coincided with my replacement phone to the exact day)  and I’m happy to report that I have not dropped my new phone since. I’m notorious for waiting months before getting a case or even screen protector for my phone, but there really are no excuses when hundreds of cute designs are available online. It wasn’t easy to narrow it down to one, but after seeing this cowskull with roses designs I had eyes for no other. So far I love it (the gorgeous design is a no-brainer) but I truly appreciate the fact that my phone actually has a ‘grip’ to it now, and isn’t slipping out of my hand all the time. If you are looking for a case for your phone check out the Arla Cases site and use promo code XOXO15OFF to get 15% off your order.

arla cases cow skull with roses case

arla cases cow skull with roses case

Which is exactly my routine. I’m always on the lookout for products that contain as little harmful substances as possible, so a special thank you to eos for letting me try their new line of skincare products. This line is loaded with shea butter, avocado, and all sorts of vitamins to not only help nourish dry skin but also to provide it with nutrients that it craves. Especially loving the hand cream, which is perfectly compact and prevents my hands from drying out and cracking. Also of note is the shaving cream because it’s almost next to impossible to find one that isn’t made up entirely of harmful ingredients. Instead, this one contains vitamins, green tea and grape seed extract along with the aforementioned shea butter and avocado. The shave cream allows for a wet or dry shave and leaves my legs noticeably smooth and nourished – it’s as close to summer skin as I can get in the wintertime. And with great skin like that, who wouldn’t want to show it off? Which leads me to my next fave…

winter skincare survival

winter skincare survival

Loungewear in this house has taken on new meanings with the emergence of bralettes and, well…skivvies. On any given weekend my typical loungewear consists of a bralette, loose rocker tee (if any), skivvies and over the knee socks. To date, my bralette collection consisted of Nasty Gal only pieces however I’ve been crushing on a few For Love and Lemons pieces recently, and my boo surprised me with one. Needless to say it has quickly become a favourite, and I’m looking forward to expanding my Fore Love and Lemons collection more. 

bralette with girl painting and candles

bralette with candle and wooden box
lace flower detail bralette What are some things that are helping you to survive the winter season? Let me know, I’d love to hear it!

A special thank you to Bite Beauty, eos, and Arla Cases for sending me their lovely products to try out.



Winter Skincare with Murad

Murad Skincare for Sensitive Skin
Naturally flawless skin is not something I was blessed with and it’s been an effort even to maintain my far from perfect skin over the years. Having suffered from acne throughout my teenage years well into early adulthood I was left with damaged, uneven skin tones in my t-zone area that never quite went back to normal. While I get that some may never have perfectly flawless skin without having to break out the makeup arsenal, it would still be nice to have skin that looks decent enough to wear outside without cover up whenever you just don’t feel like putting make up on.
Having said that, with all the advancements in skincare technology nowadays I knew there had to be a product out there that could potentially minimize my redness and even out my skin tone to a realistic expectation. An opportunity presented itself to try Murad skincare, and seeing as how I had only heard good things in the past, I was excited to try the line. I ended up using an assortment of products from different lines for my three-step routine.
Skincare for sensitive skin
Step 1 to achieving my near perfect skin was to replenish my dry skin with the Renewing Cleansing Cream. Needed now more than even in the winter. The cleanser smells like papaya tea to me and is quite refreshing in the mornings. The cleansing cream feels really good on your face and you can actually feel the silkiness and moisture as you’re using it. It’s loaded with papaya enzymes and apricot oil, and is very concentrated; a pea size amount is enough to wash your face and effectively remove all makeup.
Murad Cleanseer for sensitive skin
Step 2 is the Luminous Essence. Umm…I didn’t even know there was an essence until research time for this post. Essence is a concentrated formula that treats on a cellular level targeting wrinkles, fine lines and dull/uneven skin tone. The Murad light enhancing essence is infused with skin-illuminating botanicals to help restore youthful texture and luminosity. Some of the extracts include red algae and indian fig which work together to support natural renewal, enhancing smoothness, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while increasing firmness and elasticity. It smells pleasant and feels quite refreshing on the skin – think thirst-quenching hydration but for your face.
Step 3 hydrates with the Skin Perfecting Lotion. This lotion offers shine-free hydration without clogging pores in a lightweight oil-free formula. As someone who usually has to reach for a blotting paper right around noon, this is a must. The lotion kept my pores clear and minimized, a benefit of the retinol and queen meadow extract I’m sure, which reduce oil production, tone and tighten pores.
Murad Skincare for sensitive and oily skin
I’ve been using the products for over 2 weeks now and am starting to notice that the rosy areas of my face have become more subtle and are blending in better with my natural yellow undertones. My skin is also less oily, if anything, some of the dry areas could use more moisturization. And that’s actually another thing I love about the lotion, it is compact enough to throw in your clutch. I am very pleased with the results and am thankful to Murad for letting me try their skincare line, and in the process giving me better skin. For what I was after – naked skin that is beautiful enough to run errands with, I sure got it. I look forward to using this regimen over a longer period of time to see if my skin improves further – I have a feeling it will.
Murad Skincare for sensitive skin

This post was written in partnership with Murad, however all opinions expressed are entirely my own.



Matrix Biolage RAW

I had the pleasure of attending the Biolage R.A.W. product launch in Toronto last week to learn about their new line as well as sample some of the new products. Matrix challenged their labs to come up with a professional salon product that is made as highly natural as possible without reducing standards of high performance. The result is Matrix Biolage R.A.W.: shampoos and conditioners that are up to 95% of natural origin and made without parabens, colorants, or silicones. Real, authentic, wholesome. Kinda like a really good smoothie – but for your hair. Which is essentially what this product looks like!

The concept is about being raw and Matrix has sourced ingredients from some of the world’s most exotic locations including rich lava clay from Morocco and white beeswax from Africa. Coconut oil is used instead of silicones and the line has a deep commitment to sustainability and ethical practices: yucca is grown in North America by traditional farmers and the super cute bottles are not only made of post-consumer plastic but are also 100% recyclable while the formulas are 99% biodegradable. Now that you know a little bit more about the brand, let’s have a closer look at the line.

Matrix Biolage RAWNOURISH
The shampoo contains quinoa husk and honey and is perfect for dry and dull hair. It creates a great lather, smells wonderful, and leaves your hair feeling soft after washing. The conditioner contains ingredients like coconut oil and kaolin clay and also has a nice light scent. It maintains the softness and leaves your hair feeling nourished and moisturized, for shiny, touchable and more manageable hair. It also leaves your hair scented with a light touch of honey.

Matrix Biolage RAW UPLIFT
The shampoo contains black sesame and grapefruit to purify fine, flat hair. It gives your hair a nice wash without stripping too much of its natural oils. Conditioner for fine hair is tricky; fine hair still needs nourishment but a lot of times conditioners or moisturizing products will weigh it down too much. This is where the blend of kiwi and kaolin clay come into play, they condition for increased body without weight. Afterwards, my hair felt clean, had body to it, and smelled great!

Matrix Biolage RAWRECOVER
For anyone who has abused their hair, whether it be from too much bleach, chemicals, or heated styling, this line works to restore shine to sensitized hair. The shampoo contains yucca and goji berry to restore shine and the conditioner which is made up of coriander oil and kaolin clay helps to improve strength, shine and bounce.

Matrix Biolage RAWThe best thing about this hair care (aside from them looking like cute cold pressed juices) is that it gives you the salon style results you’re after while being good to you and the environment.