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Cold/Flu Skincare Routine

The day before my birthday last week, I was struck down by the worst combination of sore throat, runny nose and all-over body ache.  It came on so quickly, I didn't even clue in to the fact that napping twice a day (or ever) was abnormal for me.  For five days straight I've been battling the worst of throat and sinus issues -- I won't get into more detail than that!

The worst side effect of blowing your nose in a dry apartment is the wreckage your skin becomes.  Literally the entire centre of my face has started flaking off, and it only gets more irritated every time I sneeze.  With that, I've temporarily adopted a new skin care routine, at least until my face gets back to normal. Dry-skinned ladies: heads up!

Instead of a foaming cleanser, I start and end my day with Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel -- the most gentle yet thorough cleanse you can find in a non-foaming formula.  It pumps as an orange gel and melts into an oil as you work it into your face.  Once it comes into contact with water, the product gets milky and rinses off clean.  Genius.  I use it alone in the mornings and with a muslin cloth at night to make sure all of the dead skin comes off.

To manage the skin around my nose, I've been religiously applying Neostrata Moisture Infusion Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion at least four times a day.  I don't normally bother with moisturizers because oil do the trick, but this has been a godsend -- I reapply pretty much every other time I blow my nose, because my skin is so raw around there.

At night, instead of a serum, I've been piling on Josie Maran Argan Oil overtop of the NeoStrata lotion, covering my entire face from lips to eyeballs.  I've paraded on about this oil several times before on the blog, but it really is the easiest fix for most skin care issues.

To help keep you from getting sick, check out this post.  If it's too late for you (like me), keep downing water, eat as much garlic and ginger as you can (you'll smell so conflicted), and sleeeeeeeeeeep.

OOTD: 25th Birthday



I almost wish I could do a dramatic reading of this, my voice is the absolute smexiest right now.

Seriously though, I've spent most of my 25th birthday week(end) a hoarse, coughing, infectious mess, so huge props to anyone who willingly entered into a closed space with me, and apologies to those who don't realize the ridiculous flu that's about to come upon them.

And for all of you who've wished me a happy birthday and have come back to this completely rando page on the internet and keep me consistent, I love you SO MUCH I can't even begin to describe.

A friend asked me what my goal for 25 was, and honestly, I want to make this space better.   I want to drop that stupid ".blogspot.com" off my address, I want to make the page more navigable, and I want to make my content so frickin beautiful, people will post it instead of those stupid Kinfolk magazines.

Kidding, I adore Kinfolk.

Seriously though, I feel I've been hovering around my blogging style for a while now, and hopefully I can fully carve out a distinct aesthetic before my 26th birthday.

Wish me luck!

And there's a little OOTD up there for you, watch on YouTube for where everything's from!

25 Things as I approach 25




1. 
I never thought this would happen, but I suppose it's appropriate as I approach my 25th birthday tomorrow: I think I like wine.  Is this the age that happens?

2. 
did this tag in my first year of university eight years ago, and I thought it'd be interesting to see how many things I would change.

3. I am such a grammar nazi. Every time I end a sentence with a preposition, I wince inwardly. I once tried to create a Facebook account with the first name Grammar and the last name Nazi and they rejected my profile.


4. I am unsure as to whether or not I have 25 things to talk about. Fingers crossed.


5. I undergo random, serious bouts of journal writing. As in, I will write everyday/relatively frequently for some time, and then go for months without even opening my journal. I've found the same with blogging, but hopefully this streak continues for someone.


6. I am a carb whore. I have been known to eat around the chips of chocolate chip cookies. And around the ice cream of cookie dough ice cream.


7. I so didn't choose the right university or program. But so far, aside from this realization, it hasn't completely ruined my life. 


8. If there is such a thing as a clinical addiction to MSN, I was once an addict (#90skid). I've since switched to YouTube.


9. I love love love languages. The best compliment I've ever received was my first year Spanish prof telling me my accent was "casi nativa", and I hate being complimented.


10. I am the least comforting person I know in any language. 


11. I was hoping to go through this without mentioning my height. 


12. Because this is the 12th question, and the number 12 means something special to me, I will take this opportunity to address my height issues. If I only knew 10 years ago that I'd be the height I am now, I would never have missed out on five precious years of wearing pretty heels. And also, despite how much I bitch and moan about being the tallest girl in almost any group, whenever I see a girl taller than me, my head immediately goes: "What are you doing up here?" 


13. Sometimes I'm not sure if I like things because I actually like them, or just because I should/have for a long time. 


14. I ADORE Christmas carols - I will listen to them outside of the appropriate season (in the privacy of my own house when no one's home).  I hate them during the holidays though, especially when sung by creepy child choirs.


15. My brother once told me (in my 18th birthday card, I might add) that babies who are breastfed have two ridges on the end of their noses. I still find this insanely fascinating.  I was not breastfed.


16. I hate drama. It's occasionally fun when it's far enough away (i.e. on a Hills rerun), but I ain't got time for that.


17. I am very cynical.  And highly consumeristic. I like to think that as a child of two immigrant businesspeople, it comes with the territory. 


18. I'm running out of things to say. 


19. Ironically, when I first saw these random note things come up, I was desperately hoping for someone to tag me =P 


20. I am not vegetarian, but I could easily live without meat. Despite this, I really like most meats.


21. I undergo phases of my life where I overuse certain words. I think currently (although it's not reflected in this note) my word is 'actually'. And I will never stop interspersing my words with 'like', even though it makes me hate myself.


22. I find the question "Where are you from?" to be very confusing. Does it mean "Where were you born?" or "Where is your family from?" or "Where did you grow up?" or "Where do you live?" Does anyone else overthink it to this degree?


23. I don't believe that anything is ever clear-cut. I don't think anything is always or completely wrong/right/perfect/simple.


24. I'm currently drinking wine. Also, all of these have started with I except #12 and 13.


25. And #25.  Leave it in the comments!

Tutorial: Holiday Party Look






We're just getting into the swing of holiday parties, and I can't tell you how much I love holidays, parties, and glitter.  We've got all three wrapped up in this makeup tutorial with my friend Laura -- can we take a second to talk about that hair?  If the ginger population ever needed someone to be their spokesperson, it should be her.

I've limited the glitter to the eyes only -- mainly because I want this tutorial to be applicable to people other than me (glitter ERR'WHERE).  I've paired it with photo-ready skin and a holiday classic -- the red lip. In the spirit of the holidays, I've chosen a limited edition MAC Holiday release from 2012, but your favourite red lip will do just fine.

Now that your makeup's covered, share your outfit in the comments!

makeup for pale skin, redhead, makeup for red hair, foundation for pale skin

5 Tips I Don't Use



Every once in a while, I'll come across an interview, a video or an article that'll offer one sweeping declaration.  Rim your waterline with a white liner to open up your eyes!  Use a dark pencil to line your lips, they'll look fuller!  Don't put mascara on the bottom lashes.  Do put mascara on the bottom lashes, but only on every third day. What??  I say, do what's right for you -- try, judge, alter and decide.

Highlight your cupid's bow.  My lips are already huge; in fact, my upper lip is a lot bigger than my lower lip, and doing this just emphasizes that to no end.  I could balance it out by adding shadow in the crease under my lower lip but...there's an awkwardly high chance that'll end up looking like a Van Dyke beard.

Clean up nail polish with a remover-soaked Q-Tip/angle brush/miniscule paint brush.  I do this when I have to, but otherwise I'd rather just wait until my shower.  The steam from the shower completely lifts any product, whereas the remover sometimes just smudges the pigment around and stains my cuticles.  Also, in the time it takes you to detail all 20 of your fingers and toes, you may as well do an in-shower hair mask.  Two birds, one shower.

Highlight your brow bone. The only people who should do this are people whose brows actually need a lift or are closer to their eyes than they'd like.  My brows are already pretty arched and really, really far from my actual eyes.  Whenever I put a highlighter on, they just look like they're trying to run from my lids. Not to mention that after I tweeze the area beneath my brows, they're a little paler from the lack of sun exposure anyway.  Instead, I highlight on top of my brow bone for super-clean brows.

Smile to find the apples of your cheeks.  I don't put blush on the apples of my cheeks.  My face lies somewhere between round and square, so when I smile and put blush on, my cheeks look jowly. Instead, I feel for my cheekbone and put the blush directly on top of the cheek to give my face a little lift.  Also, for those of you who want that Kim Kardashian uber-cheek look, you can bet she doesn't smile before she puts on blush.

Curl hair away from your face.  Every hair curling tutorial on Youtube be like, "You have to, always, every single time, curl away from your face," as though if you turn the barrel of your curling iron the wrong way, you'll be tackled by a finger-waved vigilante.  I do curl away from my face, but I strategically place inward curls around my jawline because it's more flattering for my face shape.  Also, hair that's curled all the same way has a tendency to combine into one giant curl on either side of your head.

What don't you do?

A Cozy Night in for the Holidays






I don't typically get too into the Christmas -- from a scale of Grinch to Will Ferrell in Elf, I'm someone's single cousin seated at the kid's table during the holiday meal.

It's an awesome time to connect with family and friends I don't get to see all that often, but aside from a love of carols (only in July), chocolate and ensemble casts, I'm just too lazy for the holidays. This time tends to be filled with social obligations (which I love as long as I don't have to plan them), so it's nice to have a night off to hang in your fuzzy socks and not worry if anyone saw yuo do a fourth drive-by that chocolate fountain.  Ain't no judging in this house.

Amounts and instructions for my antisocial gluttony are below, and click the video above to watch me dance in a fur hat and watch Tod descend into a sugar coma -- also wearing the fur hat.

Best, Easiest Hot Chocolate Ever

24 g of milk chocolate
150 mL of 5% cream
Marshmallows (optional, or other garnish)
  1. Heat the cream on medium heat until a few wisps of steam come off the surface.
  2. Lower the heat to medium-low and carefully lower your chocolate. Stir constantly or you'll get a skin on your chocolate.
  3. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and serve immediately.
  4. Garnish with a few marshmallows for added sweetness.

Pan of S'Mores

Cast Iron Pan (6.5" used in this tutorial)
1 cup of chocolate chips
2 cups of marshmallows
Graham crackers for dipping
  1. Start by spreading a layer of chocolate chips on the bottom of your pan.
  2. Follow with your marshmallows, spreading them evenly over the chocolate chips
  3. Turn your oven to broil and set the pan on the top rack.
  4. Broil for 10 minutes; check your marshmallows around the 8-minute mark to make sure they don't burn.
  5. Serve with graham crackers and dip to enjoy



Cleanser Options



I never have fewer than three or six cleansers on rotation.  I can't function with fewer than that, my skin is too finicky to stick with just one.  Yes, yes, consistency and routine and letting your skin acclimatize an all that jazz, but above all, I think it's essential to listen to your skin, and give it what it needs on that day.

Most people would class my skin oily, but it would be the first to develop a dry patch just to prove them (and me) wrong.  It's a constant struggle, so in order to keep it happy, I provide it as many options as it needs.

REN Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser | This is the most gentle of the three, a creamy formulation that does not lather or foam.  This is usually my first step to remove makeup, and I'll follow with something a little more foaming.  I also use this sans muslin cloth on mornings where my skin already feels perfectly balanced.

Bosica Detoxifying Black Cleanser | This teeny sample size blew me away.  The product squeezes out as a black gel that warms up on contact with skin.  As you add water, it lathers into grey bubbles, and in my head, I picture the bubbles getting into the loosened pores and sweeping out all the dirt and oil.  Anyone remember those science-y Noxzema commercials from the 90s?  This leaves my skin feeling SO clean.

Jurlique Purely Bright Cleanser | I always keep something exfoliating on hand for days that my muslin cloth feels like too much -- the beads in this cleanser are gentle enough that you could use this for everyday, but I use it about three times a week.

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