My Favourite Cozy, Lounge Pieces

Hey guys! I don’t know about you, but it has been raining almost non-stop for the past two weeks. Which means it’s the beginning of the cold, cozy weather time. When it’s grey and cold outside all I want to do is curl up with a good book and a cup of tea and read. So I thought I would share five of my fav lounge pieces to inspire you to cozy up inside this weekend.

The first is a good pair of leggings. Comfy leggings can be a second skin and will make it feel like you are wearing nothing. If you’ve followed me for a while, you will know what my favourite leggings are the Lululemon Align. I have the Align in a variety of lengths and colours and I just love them. They are designed to be buttery soft and weightless feeling. They are also high rise, so I can wear them with a cropped sweater and not feel exposed. I know they are on the pricier side, but they are honestly worth it. They now have joggers and a tank in the Align line and I am seriously considering picking up a pair of each. 👀

The next cozy piece is a Canadian staple: the Roots Cabin Socks. If you are Canadian you know exactly what I’m talking about. They are thick, knitted socks. The classic ones are white, grey with a red stripe on top but I have a variety of colours. My feet are always cold, especially in the winter. Since I’m not much of a slipper person these socks help keep my feet nice and warm. They’re thick but still relatively breathable compared to some other reading socks that I’ve tried. Also, some reading socks can be too small, but these fit my size 9.5 feet perfectly.

The next lounge piece is a nice cardigan. I debated including a sweatshirt but there is something special about a comfy cardigan. I can fluctuate being warm and cold, so a cardigan is a nice option because it’s easy to take on and off. And there is just something so special about wrapping yourself in a nice, soft cardigan. I guess it’s similar to the feeling of wearing a robe. Unfortunately, my current favourite from Eddie Bauer is no longer available and they don’t have anything similar on their website. This cardigan and this robe from American Eagle and the closest I could find, and I know the quality of AE to be great so I think these would both be good options.

The second pair of bottoms is a good pair of sweatpants. Even before COVID, I loved a good pair of sweatpants. I would come home and take off my jeans and put on sweats. I am quite picky about my sweatpants because I want them to be loose but fitted at the ankle and be long enough. Sometimes sweatpants are tight all around and at that point I might as well wear leggings. I also do enjoy American Eagle sweatpants but they are also too short on me. My favourite pair is from Walmart of all places! I’ve had these for two years now (maybe I can’t remember exactly when I got them) and I just love them. They are baggy on top put taper at the ankles. The material is super soft and not too thick. I brought these with me to Europe, that’s how much I love them. The George Women’s Hacci Joggers are currently sold out online but are available in some stores. So if you are ever in Walmart and see these sweatpants pick them up.

The final lounge piece is a blanket. Because let’s be real, everyone needs a good blanket in their lives. And half of the time I wear it as a cape and that’s clothing right? One of the best blankets ever is the Indigo blankets that they periodically have as apart of deals. You know, they one where if you spend over $50 you get it at a discount? Well, it’s the best. We have about five in my house and they are everyone’s favourite. And when I had one in my university house it was everyone’s favourite as well. It’s super soft and it’s the perfect size where it covers the majority of your body if you are sitting down. The Indigo throws they have on the website are slightly different than the ones I own but I am sure they are similar and just as soft and cozy.

And those are all my cozy, loungewear pieces! Please let me know in the comments what are some of your favourite lounge pieces, I would love to try them out! 🙂

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 011: Throne of Glass series

Hey guys! Today I am reviewing the Throne of Glass series so this is going to be a long post. I am going to do this in sections because there is a lot to discuss. So first I am going to give my overall thoughts on the series, without any spoilers. Then I will discuss the reading order because these novels can be complicated. And finally, I am going to break down each book individually and there will be spoilers in this section. I’ll mark where the spoilers begin so you can skip that section. But I thought I would include my thoughts just in case you have read the series and are interested in what I thought. Okay, let’s get into it.

I’ve mentioned this on other social media platforms but I have quickly become obsessed with booktok – which is the book community on TikTok. I have changed my TikTok account to be a booktok account, so if you like books I would recommend you follow me there. Anyway, it’s been a couple of years since I was really into reading so there were so books that are popular that I haven’t read. One of the most popular series on booktok is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It’s a high fantasy novel and I haven’t read anything like that for a while so I decided to give it a go. There are seven books and one book of novellas.

Series Review

The first novel is about Celaena, a trained assassin who has been imprisoned by the King of Adarlan. She is given the chance to compete against 23 other assassins to serve the King and be free. As Celaena competes she befriends the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard. But as the competition progresses, the competitors start mysteriously dying. Celaena must win the competition but also figure out what is going on in the castle.

Now the plot of this series advances from this first novel. There is magic, witches, fae and dragons in the later novels. There is lots of fighting and death but also a fair share of magic as well.

So things I liked about this series. I loved the main character Celaena. She is the badass fighter but she also has a girly side where she loves dresses and the arts. I like that Celaena is balanced because sometimes female characters in fantasy novels can be quite one-sided. She can be quite stubborn and selfish in the earlier novels, but I loved how her character develops throughout the later novels.

I found that the vast majority of the characters in the novel were pretty complex and developed throughout the series. Maas has a huge cast of characters throughout the series. It can a little annoying at first because I just wanted to read from Celaena’s point of view, but I grew to love the other characters and were happy to read from their point of view. The only characters who I didn’t love were Dorian and Aedion because I found both of them to be quite one-note.

I also love the world-building in the novels, especially in Tower of Dawn. The world that Maas created is huge. There are multiple continents and I appreciated how each one was different. Maas put details in how these places looked, smelled, what they wore and what they ate. I was very immersed and would love to visit some of these places.

Now the things that I think could be improved. First, if you go on booktok you’ll notice pretty quickly that while they love this book they are also very quick to point out that there isn’t much diversity. Yes, there are so diverse characters in some of the later novels but they all side characters. It’s a fantasy series so Maas could have made some people purple but a lot of them were white with either blonde or dark hair. I think it would have been great if Maas had made her characters more diverse.

There is a lot of history and folklore in the series, which was mainly introduced in Heir of Fire. I found it somewhat overwhelming to be thrown all this lore all at once. I also sometimes found myself forgetting which god or dead queen/king was who. I think Maas could have done a better job of slowly introducing these elements in the earlier novels and giving better reminders throughout the series.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the way that the magic system was described, but I think that’s a very personal opinion. For example, Aelin’s power is fire and I’ve (somewhat) recently read Red Queen where one of the main character’s power is also fire. I just didn’t like the description as much compared to Red Queen. It just didn’t seem as real or organic is that makes any sense.

Finally, the last two novels are more war-based plotlines and that’s just not as much my thing. I’ve read a few war plotlines and I just don’t like them as much, even though it’s a common element in fantasy novels. I find war to be tedious and sad. But despite the war, there were still some great elements in the later books.

So overall I would give this series 5/5. I know, that’s my first 5/5 I think since starting to rate novels. And even though I did have some cons to this series, I found that they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the series. This is the fastest I’ve ever read a series. The first couple of novels I was reading within 3/4 days. I read Empire of Storms within a week. A similar length novel is Midnight Sun and it took me three weeks to read that novel. I was engaged and felt very connected to the characters. And I cried so much during the last novel. If you like fantasy, you HAVE to read this series. It’s great!

Reading Order

So I’ve mentioned that there are seven books and one book of novellas that are a prequel to the series. In a similar way that they are multiple ways to watch Star Wars, there are multiple ways to read this series. There is no ‘wrong’ way, but the order can change how much you perceive the series. So I read:

  • Throne of Glass
  • Crown of Midnight
  • The Assassin’s Blade
  • Heir of Fire
  • Queen of Shadows
  • Empire of Storms
  • Tower of Dawn
  • Kingdom of Ash

The Assassin’s Blade is the prequel novellas but they are quite important to the series. It’s helpful to read them because there are characters in them that come back later in the series. I had read online to read them after Crown of Midnight because you don’t need to before them. But Crown of Midnight ends on a cliff-hanger and I wished I could have gone straight to Heir of Fire. So I actually would have read The Assassin’s Blade after Throne of Glass. I think Throne of Glass has a complete enough ending where you want to continue the series but you wouldn’t be annoyed going back in time. But I wouldn’t read The Assassin’s Blade first because it’s helpful to know a bit about the world before going to the book.

Also, Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn happen simultaneously. I know some people skip Tower of Dawn because Empire of Storms has a huge cliff-hanger. But I would highly recommend not skipping Tower of Dawn because it’s a great book. Where Tower of Dawn takes place is one of my favourite places in the series and some of the characters are very important for Kingdom of Ash. If you don’t think you can handle not having a cliff-hanger, there is some tandem-reading list where you go back and forth between Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn. I didn’t read it that way so I’m not sure what it’s like, but either way I wouldn’t skip Tower of Dawn.

*** Spoilers coming up**** Individual Book Reviews

Throne of Glass

I liked this book! I read it in three days which is a record for me. I was just so hooked and engaged. I like Chaol better than Dorian. I know that they are a lot of Dorian fans online, but there is something about him that I just don’t like. I find him to be a bit of a f*ckboy where he just cares about himself.

It’s hard for me to remember what Chaol was like in the first novel since he has such a huge character development throughout the series and he was an asshole in the middle of the series. But I think I liked him in the first novel because he was just trying to help Celaena and be her friend.

My one critique was that I wished there was more romance because it was pretty bare in the first novel. (Don’t worry, there is more later in the series).

Crown of Midnight

I liked the first half of the novel. I enjoyed the building romance between Chaol and Celaena. I also enjoyed the friendship between Celaena and Nehemia. So you can imagine how gutted I was when Nehemia was killed. I guessed that Nehemia was going to die sometime within the series, I didn’t expect it the way that it happened.

It’s quite hard for me to wrap my head around Nehemia’s death and the repercussions it had. At the time I was frustrated because I shipped Chaol and Celaena hard and this moment ruined their relationship. But what happened and their reactions are super important to the over-arching storyline. So at the time, I thought everyone was overreacting but now I’m happy if that makes any sense.

I also guessed that Celaena was Aelin but I did not guess that Celaena was fae. So basically every plot twist Maas writes I partially guess but not fully it seems.

The Assassin’s Blade

As I mentioned before, I wish I had read this novel after Throne of Glass. But after reading it I could see how it’s important. The first three novellas are Celaena meeting people who will later be allies in the later novels.

I was shocked by The Assassin and the Red Dessert. I never expected that Ansel was going to betray the Silent Assassins.

I know that a lot of people loved Sam but I wasn’t as huge of a fan. I could see how the relationship was doomed in some sense by the way they acted in the last two novellas. But I do see his importance in being her first love. Which is something that I like that Maas does. She does switch up the love interest but that’s what real life is like. Some people do meet and stay with their first relationship, but most people have many relationships and they learn and grow from them. I think Sam is her first love and is important because he showed Celaena that it’s possible to love and care for people.

Heir of Fire

As I mentioned above, I found the beginning of this novel to be a little confusing. All of the fae and witch lore were thrown all at once so it was a little confusing to keep track of everything. This is also the first novel where Manon’s storyline is thrown in so the extra point of view can be a bit confusing. I found myself always wanted to go back to Aelin’s point of view just because I didn’t connect to Manon yet and found what was happening back in Rifthold not as interesting.

I wasn’t as sure that I was going to like Rowan as much as Chaol but he quickly grew on me. As soon as I learned about his relationship with Lyria I was in love with him. This love only continued to grow throughout the series.

On the other hand, I found Dorian’s relationship with Sorscha to be so bland. He said that he loved her but to me, it felt more like an infatuation. But I was pretty shocked when Sorscha was murdered though. That was crazy.

This novel was when Aedion was introduced as well. And I’ll say it here that I’m not a huge fan of Aedion as well. I found him to be pretty one-note and honestly just not that interesting.

I found this pacing of the second half of the novel to be pretty good with what was happening in Mistward (and whatever else happened in this novel that I can’t remember lol).

Queen of Shadows

This is my favourite novel in the series. I found it was a perfect balance between battle and court intrigue. The only thing is that I couldn’t wait until Aelin and Rowan were reunited, but I think helped me read through the first half of the novel quickly. The only thing I didn’t like was reading Dorian’s point of view, but I was happy that it was kept to a minimum.

I love Lysandra’s plotline in this novel. I knew I was going to like her even when she was supposed to be a bitch in The Assassin’s Blade. I was happy that she got to kill Arobynn in the end.

I know a lot of people didn’t like Chaol in this book and I do agree that he said some pretty awful stuff to Aelin. Calling her a monster was pretty uncalled for. And he also endangered everyone’s life by trying to get to Dorian with the witches present. But I do get that Chaol was going through a crisis of his whole world going up-side-down and he was just scared of something that he felt was out of his control. But I think he did realize he was in the wrong and apologized in the end.

I also loved Manon and Elide’s plotline in this book. I really like Elide because she shows that you can be a strong and brave person without having to have magic like some of the other characters. I also liked seeing Manon grow and realize that she doesn’t have to be a hateful person.

Empire of Storms

I did not expect the twist with Darrow denying Aelin her crown. But it leads to Aelin going to Pirate’s Bay and I love this twist with Lysandra becoming a sea dragon. I thought it was great.

Also, I got the romance that I was looking for in this novel. I think the scene when Aelin and Rowan were in the water after the fight at Pirate’s Bay was immaculate.

I enjoyed reading about Elide and Lorcan. I think their romance is my favourite after Aelin and Rowan. They are enemies to lovers but I love how even with everything that Elide keeps her independence.

I was shocked and saddened when Maeve captured Aelin, but I didn’t find that I needed to immediately go to Kingdom of Ash and skip Tower of Dawn. There was a part of me that knew Aelin would escape somehow so I was fine to pause that storyline and go to Tower of Dawn.

Tower of Dawn

I liked this one! I think it might be my second favourite after Queen of Shadows. I just loved the world of the southern continent and found it so interesting compared to the northern continent.

I think Chaol’s character development throughout this novel was amazing. He went from an asshole who thought he was worthless to being a great guy. I loved Yrene and the relationship between the two was great.

I also loved Nesryn’s adventure she had with the ruks. I also cried when Sartaq came to Nesryn’s uncle’s house at the end of the novel. He told Nesryn was named heir and wanted to be with her if she would have him. Oh, I just love it!

I found this novel to be very engaging and I didn’t necessarily miss the other storyline. I was very happy that I read it.

Kingdom of Ash

Man, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this novel. First I cried SO MUCH while reading it. Some tears were of sadness and some were happiness.

I finally understood why people like Fenrys because I found him bland before this novel. He stood beside Aelin while she was being tortured. And he broke the blood oath to help her and she returned the favour by giving him the blood oath to keep him alive.

I found that it took forever for Aelin to escape/get rescued. I found it agonizing to read about Aelin getting torture, but I understand that Maas probably did that to help the reader understand what Aelin was feeling.

I loved with Elide rode into the field to find Lorcan even though there was a high chance that she would die. I found the whole scene so romantic but also scary because they could have died. There were many emotions.

I also loved when it Manon was crowned Queen of the Witches and called everyone to war. It gives me shivers thinking about it.

I sobbed when I read the Thirteen sacrificing themselves. I think Maas developed the relationship between Manon and the Thirteen well so it was heart-wrenching when they died. And then all the city putting stones to honour their sacrifice – I am still tearing up thinking about it.

I guessed that Aelin and Dorian would try and seal the gate together, but I did not guess that Aelin would kick Dorian out and try to do it herself. I was also crying happy tears about the fact that Rowan tattooed a map for Aelin to get back home to him. The love between the two of them is unreal.

I think Evangeline’s character was so cute. She was able to melt Darrow’s heart so she would be named his heir and ensure that Aelin would be crowned in the end. I like how Aelin asked Evangeline to win back her crown earlier in the series and she managed to do so later.

I was sobbing as well with the moments between Gavriel and Aedion right before Gavriel sacrificed himself. It’s so sad. I like how Maas built different relationships within the novel. There were romantic relationships but also friendships and family. I also cried when Aelin gave Gavriel the blood oath after he died. I’m crying right now just writing.

And my final favourite moment is Aelin saying to Yrene that they were a long way from where they met in The Assassin’s Blade. Aelin also asked all the women to walk with her after she was crowned. There was some amazing male character in this novel, but the female characters were all spectacular. They were strong and independent and they were the ones that saved the kingdom at the end of the day.

And that is my very long review of the Throne of Glass series. Sorry that it’s so long but the series was long and there was so much I wanted to say. I promise that not every book review will be like this. This is a special book review for a special book series. I am very excited to read Maas’ other books in the future!

xoxo

Lea

KASH Beauty Secret Treasure Collection Review

Hey guys! Today I am sharing my review of KASH Beauty’s first-ever makeup collection. For those of you who don’t know, KASH Beauty is KeilidhMUA’s makeup brand. I have been following Keilidh for a couple of years so I knew I had to buy the collection as soon as I saw it. I got the eyeshadow palette, the lash set and one of the three lip kits available. I also forgot to mention this in my Youtube video (which is my first impressions and a makeup look using the collection) that I also got a few mask face with my order as well. I thought that was a super cute little free gift to add to the order and I will definitely be wearing it around town.

So the first product in the collection is the Secret Treasure Eyeshadow Palette. It’s a nine pan, golden-toned eyeshadow palette. I think the idea of gold-based browns works perfectly with the treasure idea. I also think the colour story is an interesting interpretation of the basic brown neutral palette. Having mainly browns and gold makes the palette accessible to the average makeup wearer, but the gold tone makes it unique compared to other brown palettes on the market.

The eyeshadow palette is mainly mattes which are fine by me. Each shade is quite different so it’s not like there are any repeats. And I think the mattes selected could work on a range of skin tones. For example, Script is a golden sand shade and I think that would look gorgeous all over the lid on someone with a deeper complexion. The mattes are the perfect level of pigmentation where they are impactful but easy to blend.

The shimmer shades are alright. The shades Gemstone and Treasure are actually pressed glitters. So they give more of a sparkle than colour to the lid. The shade Tarnish is the only metallic but it’s gorgeous. With one swipe it was pigmented and looked great on the eye. I think I would be more likely to use this palette for the mattes and then go in with my own single metallic shade and uses the glitters as a topper. The palette is $46.25 CAD. I’m very happy the website has CAD prices because they often don’t so it’s nice to know what the price of each item is. I think $45 is a fair price for the palette considering that the size of the pans is pretty large.

The next item is the Secret Treasure Luxury Faux Mink Lashes. These lashes are HUGE. Even the pair Elsie, which are supposed to be the natural pair, are still very large on me. So if you have small eyes pass on these because they will swallow you up. Even those these lashes are pretty large, they are nicely made and look gorgeous on the eyes. They are faux mink so they have that wispy look to them.

They do have quite a think lash band. On the one hand that makes it easier to apply them to the eye. On the other hand, it makes it harder to blend them with your makeup look. So I needed to apply eyeliner for each pair to help conceal the lash band.

Of the three my favourite is Elsie. Rich is very large so I would only want it for dramatic looks. I tired Daggers and found that they made my eyes look a little droopy and downturned. I will try to cut them more and see if that makes a difference. I think this lash set is for big lash lovers, not the everyday person necessarily. They were $20 CAD which is a really fair price for lashes. For example, one pair of Ardell lashes is around $10. And nice lashes from Sephora are like $20. So the fact that this set comes with three pairs for $20 is a really good price.

And the final product is the Secret Treasure Lip Bundle. I got the shade Rose Nude. And I think the shade range of the lips is pretty pitiful in the sense that all three lipsticks are very similar. They are all warm nudes and each is just slightly darker than the next. Like when I picked Rose Nude I was thinking it was going to be a pinky shade. But it’s not. I would say that the lip liner is slightly pink but the lipstick is almost an orange. I’m not saying that I don’t like this lipstick. I think it’s unique and I don’t own anything like it, but it’s just not what I expected with a rose lipstick.

The lip liner is pretty good. It’s a little stiffer compared to other formulas, but it’s not so dry that there is no pigmented or that it’s a pain to apply. I would apply it under a lip balm or gloss and it looked nice. The lipstick is a matte so it’s not necessarily the most nourishing lipstick formula. The longevity is okay. It fades away whenever I eat something. After two hours my lips felt dry but at least they didn’t look dry. I also found that the lipstick was fading away from the centre of my lips which isn’t exactly the cutest look. Overall I like the lip liner more than the lipstick. The bundle is $29.27 which is for getting both a pencil and lipstick.

My overall thoughts about the collection is that the eyeshadow and lashes are great. I think I will get a lot of use out of those two products. I’m not the hugest fan of the lipstick. I find the shades to be all the same and it’s not my favourite lipstick formula. I’ll probably use the lip liner more than the lipstick. But I think the pricing for everything is really fair.

So that’s my thoughts on KASH Beauty! Let me know if you guys are considering getting anything from the collection, or if there are any brands you would like to see me test out.

xoxo

Lea

Body Lotion Round Up + Review

Hey guys! With the cooler and drier weather slowly arriving in the northern hemisphere, I thought it would be a good time to discuss some of my favourite body lotions. After working at a pool for so many years and constantly having dry skin I have ingrained using my body lotion into my routine. I always apply body lotion after I shower. It helps keep my skin feeling soft and smooth, and if done regularly can help prevent dry skin.

Because of this devotion, I have amassed a pretty decent collection of body lotions and butter lol. I am trying to finish a few that I have before buying any more. I have a few favourites like Lush Sleepy and the Body Shop Body Butter that are not apart of this post just because I currently don’t own any but those two are also amazing. Things I look for in a good body moisturizer is that it absorbs quickly into the skin, makes my skin feel soft and smooth and has a good scent. So let’s get into it!

Up first we have the Hempz Natural Herbal Body Moisturizer: Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Skin Lotion. I discussed this in my August favourites but this lotion ranks near the top of my list. I don’t like pineapple but this scent leans more towards the Honey Melon. The scent is strong while you apply but fades anyway nicely after applied. I love the pump because it makes it so easy to apply. It absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn’t like any stickiness. And there is a decent amount of product in the bottle. I got this back in June and I’ve been using it quite regularly and I’m only halfway through it. Highly recommend this one.

Lush is planning to discontinue their Karma Kream so pick it up while you still can. This lotion is heavily scented with almond, patchouli, orange, lemongrass and pine. The scent is spicy and almost intoxicating. It also lingers on the skin throughout the day, so whenever I wear this lotion I don’t need perfume. The scent is not for everyone but I love it. It’s very thin so it’s not the most moisturizing but it absorbs quickly into the skin. I like to wear this on special occasions.

The OGX Extra Creamy + Coconut Miracle Oil Ultra Moisture Lotion is like a never-ending lotion. I have been trying to finish this for MONTHS and I still have so much left. The scent is pleasant and is moisturizing, but it takes forever to absorb into the skin. I will rub it all over my body and then have to go back and rub it again because it hasn’t absorbed it. I want a lotion that absorbs quickly so I can get dressed and on with my day. This one takes forever. But because it still does a good job of moisturizing I still use it. I would pass on this one because there are way better ones on this list.

If you have acne-prone skin on your body then I would use the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. This can be used both on the face and the body. It’s meant for sensitive skin so it doesn’t break me out. I have acne-prone chest and shoulder and if I were to apply a heavily scented lotion then it would break me out so much. So I apply this to ensure the area is getting properly moisturized. And it’s from the drugstore so it’s not like I’m breaking the bank using this daily.

If you have acne-prone AND dry skin, then try the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. This one is meant for very dry skin. It’s pretty thick so it does take a bit more to work into the skin but it provides the moisturization without the breakout situation. It also doesn’t have a scent. I use this in the dead of winter when my skin is at its driest.

The thickest of all my body lotions is the Nivea Creme. This stuff is thicc. Like it’s almost a paste. It’s amazing for rough spots like hands, knees and elbows. It does take a bit to work it into the skin and I do find that leaves a bit of a residue to the skin. Not sticky but slippery. Not apply this to your hands if you need to open a jar after. I love using this on my feet in the winter but I don’t touch it in the summer.

My favourite night time lotion is the Honest Beauty Face + Body Lotion in Truly Calming. It’s scented with lavender and chamomile so it’s lovely to apply at night to help me feel sleepy. I love that it’s a squishy tube because it’s easy to get out. But similar to the OGX lotion I do find that this one takes a while to absorb into the skin. I have to really work it in. But I don’t mind as much since I’ll use this at night when I’m trying to relax and unwind so I’ll take the time to massage it into the skin.

The final two are the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and the Coco Cabana Body Cream. I find them are both super moisturizing and absorb into the skin easily. I find that the scent is strong while I apply it and it faintly there throughout the day. I like to use these on special occasions just because they are expensive. I like the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream scent just slightly more. But I brought the Coco Cabana Cream with me when I went to Europe so every time I smell the cream it reminds me of my trip.

So that is my round-up of all of my body lotions. Please let me know what some of your favourites are in the comments because I love testing out body lotions!

xoxo

Lea

A Non-Runner tries the Couch to 5K App: Review

Hey guys! Today I am sharing my review of the Couch to 5K app. There are a few different apps on the market, the specific one I used was the Couch to 5K Runner app (it’s yellow). The concept of each app is the same where they help the user go from not being able to run to running 5 km.

History with Running

Now let me give a little backstory about my relationship with running before getting into the app and the review. I was never a runner. My favourite sports when I was younger was hockey and swimming, two sports that don’t involve running. Whenever I went ‘running’ in the past it was walking with a bit of jogging. The most I’ve ever jogged I would estimate at 2 minutes.

The main reason why I never got into running wasn’t necessarily my cardiovascular abilities but the fact that I am prone to shin splints. If you don’t know what shin splints are consider yourself lucky because they are painful. They are pain that can be along the front or rear of your shin bone. I’ve been getting them for years. I usually get them when running or walking for long periods, but I’ve even got them from standing on the pool deck in flip flops for a long time.

Whenever I have tried to get into running in the past, I would do it for a week or two and then the pain would get so bad that I would stop. But with the pandemic going on I wanted to pick up running again. The nice thing is that I can do it outside and not have to deal with other people (and all the virus concerns that entails). I’ve heard many people talk about the Couch to 5K format so decided to give it a shot.

App Overview

The app is an interval training program that progressively increases the time that you run throughout the weeks. It’s pretty simple. Every run has a five-minute warm-up and cool down. Then within the main ‘run’ is a set of intervals between running and walking. The first run is 25 minutes long but only has 6 minutes of running in total. The intervals fluctuate to help increase the runner’s stamina over the week.

The app is pretty easy to use. I just swipe to pick the run and then hit “LET’S GO” to start the run. I can play my music and the app will give prompts over my music. It will let me know when it’s time to run and time to walk. It also gives little motivational prompts throughout the run as well. While running, the app tells the runner how far along they are, how much time is left and time until the next interval. The app will tell the runner when they are halfway through the run.

At the end of the run the app gave me a summary of the run included time, distance and calories burnt. It will also show a map of the route taken, distinguishing which parts were running and walking. All this data can be accessed in the History time to be referred back to.

The program is structured to be three runs a week for eight weeks. By the end of the eight weeks, you should theoretically be able to run 5km.

The app has a few free runs, but to access the full program the runner must pay. I got the premium 3-month subscription, which is $10.49 for three months (or around $3.49 per month).

My Progress

I thought I would share my progress and process using this app. My first run was on June 1 and I ran 1.7 km. My last run was October 8 (so yesterday) and I ran 4.5 km. So I took double the amount of time and was just under the 5km goal. But I am honestly SO proud of myself.

The first couple of weeks I was consistent in running around 3 times a week but I was repeating runs. I didn’t think it was smart to move onto the next set of intervals if I couldn’t finish one. So I repeated W1/D2 (week 1, day 2 – this is how they name the runs and how I will reference them), W1/D3 and W2/D3 twice. I was in pain. I went from not running to running. I found that I could have easily kept on running cardio wise but my shins were killing me so much that I had to stop. I ended up talking to my dad’s friend who is a physical therapist and he gave me a list of stretches to do before and after my runs. I also got myself a roller stick and that helps SO much.

Around week 3 my shins were starting to adjust and I was able to progress. Until I got to W4/D1. I did this run five times before I felt comfortable enough to move forward. This was the point where my cardio was the issue. It was a jump from 10 minutes of running to 14 minutes. It probably didn’t help that I also took a two-week break in the middle of this when I went to my cottage. That’s probably why it took me so many times haha.

Once I passed that W4/D1 hurtle though I had no further issues. I was able to progress throughout the rest of the program without having to repeat any runs. I also did start going back to yoga in late August, so I wasn’t running three times a week anymore. That’s probably why it took me two months to finish what should have been one month. But I wasn’t mad about my progress. I was running more then I have ever before in my life!

In my last three runs, the time and distance lined up pretty well. I was able to run 3.5km in 35 minutes, 4.0 km in 40 minutes and 4.5km in 45 minutes. So by that logic, I could probably run 5.0 km in 50 minutes. I’m not upset by the fact that I didn’t run 5km using this app because it helped me build the stamina to be able to do so. And either way, 4.5 km is still pretty good!

Would I recommend this app?

Yes, I would 100% recommend this app to anyone who isn’t a runner but wants to get into running.

If you are new to running and have no idea where to start, this is simply laid out for you. It’s easy to see what future runs will look like and it’s easy to track past progress. The app also recently got an update that will ask for your feedback after a run and will recommend whether or not to move onto the next run.

And the app worked! I liked the interval training system because it helped me move from a non-runner to a runner. I would have loved if this app was free, but I think the money I spent was worth it. I also rationalized it that I wasn’t paying for a gym membership (because there were closed and then I had my account frozen). And I think it’s important to invest in ourselves and our health.

If you are someone who is just looking for a way to track their runs then I wouldn’t recommend this app. I think there are probably better (and cheaper) running tracking apps out there.

Which leads me into:

What I’m doing next

So now what? That’s the beauty of this app that now that I’m done this program I can do whatever I want. I know the app company has a 10k program but I think that’s a little too advance for me. I think I’m going to actually run 5km and then work on bringing my time down. I would love to run a 5k next year. A few of my friends have recommended Strava, so I will be checking that out. Let me know if you would like a review of that app as well!

So guys, I just want to end this year by saying that you can do anything if you work on and believe in yourself. I never thought I could be be a runner, but then I decided to download then app and said to myself “I am going to be a runner”. You can do it guys!

xoxo

Lea

Testing Out Burt’s Bee Makeup

Hey guys! Today I am testing out some of Burt’s Bee’s makeup line. I have tried out their lip balms but never tried their makeup despite hearing many good things. So I picked up three products (I picked the ones on sale oop) and I am going to give your my thoughts on them!

So a little info about their makeup products. Burt’s Bee describes their makeup as ‘natural’. I tried to research what is natural about their makeup. It’s made without parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum or synthetic fragrances. It’s also dermatologist tested and not tested on animals. Each makeup product also has some standout natural ingredients a part of their formula. For example, the blush features bamboo, honey and vitamin E and the lip shine features apricot wax and sunflower seed oil. Some of the product packagings are made from recycled materials.

I knew I had to pick up a blush because I know Kathleen Lights loved the blushes. So I picked up a Burt’s Bee Blush in the shade Fresh Apricot. There are five shades in total and I like the fact that all the shades are very different to match a variety of skin tones. This blush is supposed to be lightweight, blend easily and evenly to deliver a natural glow to the checks. With that description, I was very surprised how pigmented this blush is. I use a light hand when applying this blush because it’s very easy to apply too much. There is a slight sheen to the blush that isn’t exactly glitter but adds a radiance to the skin. I think this looks beautiful on the skin and it lasts a decent amount of time. I would recommend this blush, just use a light hand.

The next product is the Burt’s Bee Lip Shine. Not to be confused with the Burt’s Bee Lip Gloss. I could not tell you guys the difference between these two because from the description on the website they seem the same. The only difference is the lip shine has a white cap and the lip gloss has a brown cap. Anyways, the Lip Shine is supposed to be a sheer colour that glides on the lips to deliver a sweet and super shiny finish. I would say this is a hybrid between a lip gloss and a lip balm. It’s quite nourishing but also shiny. The other is sheer so I could probably use any shade no problem. I think this is a great product for when you want something hydrating for your lips but want something shinier than a plain lip balm. I would recommend this product!

And the final product is the Burt’s Bee Natural Satin Lipstick. Rea Ann Langas mention these on her Insta stories. I picked up the shade Blush Basin which I would describe as a neutral rose. There are 18 shades on the website and a variety of neutrals, berries, pinks, corals, red. There is a shade for everyone. This lipstick is described as moisturizing and lasting all day long. I haven’t tested out the longevity of this lipstick but it’s very hydrating. It’s so comfortable on the lips. The satin finish also means that I don’t need to apply a lip gloss on top. I like this shade and I can see it easily becoming an everyday favourite. I would also recommend this lipstick.

Well guys, that was a huge success! I loved each product that I tried and would recommend them all to you guys. I think it might have helped that I picked out two products based on good reviews I’ve heard. But that doesn’t matter. I’m here to tell you that these Burt’s Bee products are great! And the best part is that they are available at the drugstore. Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of Burt’s Bees makeup products and your thoughts on their products.

xoxo

Lea

October Products of the Month

Hey guys! Today I am sharing my thoughts on the products I picked for September as also selecting which products I want to focus on in October.

The first product is the Huda Beauty Nude Obsessions Medium palette. I have decided that I am putting a pause on picking palettes for this series because I have used this palette twice. Because I don’t leave the house very often I’m not wearing makeup as much. And the days that I do put on makeup I have been gravitating towards no eyeshadow. Or if I do wear eyeshadow it’s because I’m testing out a palette for another post. So unfortunately I can’t give me thoughts on this palette because I didn’t use it.

On the other hand, I have finished my MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Microfinishing Pressed Powder. I have been using more powder lately because I find it helps reduces the transfer of makeup from my face to my mask. I find that my favourite way to apply this powder is with a damp makeup sponge. I find it looks more flawless and less cakey. I wouldn’t recommend this powder and I won’t be repurchasing it for a couple of reasons. First, it does create a white cast when doing flash photography. I prefer not having a powder that does that in my collection. I also have other powders in my collection that does the same job but are cheaper. But overall I am so happy that I finished this powder and that’s the first time I have done that so far during this series!

Now for my October products. The first is going to be the Tarte Big Ego mascara. I’ve had this mascara in my collection for a bit but I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite. I’m going to try and get some use out of it and if I don’t end up loving it will probably throw it away at the end of the month because there is a good chance that it’s expired.

The second product is my Too Faced Born This Way Ethereal Setting Powder. This powder is like the never-ending setting powder. I’ve had this for YEARS and I’ve made a consistent effort to use this up multiple times and I can’t seem to finish it. I also go back and forth on whether or not I like this setting powder. Sometimes I love it and other times I don’t but I just want to finish it! So here’s to getting some use out of it and maybe finally finishing it.

Let me know what you guys think of the products I have selected. And if there is a specific product or type of product you would like to see featured let me know in the comments!

xoxo

Lea

My Favourite Lipsticks for Fall

Hey guys! Today is the second part of my favourite makeup product for fall. Today we are focusing on lip products! So I have one lip gloss, three liquid lipsticks and two regular lipsticks. I picked a range of shades as well. So let’s get into it.

In the fall I tend to move towards more matte lip products. After wearing lip glosses and balms I want a change. I also find that it’s windier in the fall and there is nothing worse than getting your hair stuff in your lip gloss. So that’s why I have only one on this list. I picked the Iconic London Lip Plumping Gloss in the shade Nearly Nude. This gloss has a slight taupe undertone which I think pairs perfectly with the warm tones of fall. I love this formula because it isn’t sticky and it’s opaque so I don’t need a lip liner underneath. A great fall gloss.

The first liquid lipstick is one I like to wear year-round but especially in the fall. The Girlactik Matte Lip Paint in the shade Posh is just so beautiful and unique. It’s hard to describe but I would say it’s a brown-based pink. It’s not too bright and it wears beautifully throughout the day. I would wear this with a brown or gold eye look.

Ofra Cosmetics Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in the shade Verona is my perfect fall brown. It’s described as a mocha nude brown. It has strong warm undertones so it’s beautiful with any orange or gold eyeshadow look. It’s definitely a statement lip, but it can be toned down with a light nude over top as well. This is also the perfect nude shade for those with darker skin tones.

The final liquid lipstick was one I mentioned in my vegan makeup blog post. I love dark, vampy makeup. I think the  KVD Everlasting Lipstick in the shade Nahz Fur Atoo is perfect for those who want to dip their toes into the deeper lipstick. This red shade is described as blood crimson, so it’s not as deep as say a burgundy but deeper than your average red. I think this red is perfect for any gold or brown makeup look or even a simple wing eyeliner. This is the perfect shade is your thinking of being a vampire for Halloween hehe.

The first lipstick is more of the true red if you’re not into a deep red. I think everyone needs a good red lipstick in the makeup collection. It’s timeless and goes with so many different looks. MAC’s Russian Red is the perfect lipstick if you don’t want something warmed toned. The matte formula will also help the colour not slip all over the place.

The final lipstick is one of my all-time favourites. MAC’s Velvet Teddy is a cult classic for a reason. This pinky beige is a my-lips-but-better shade for me. It goes with so many different makeup looks and does a good job of complementing not competing with eyeshadow. The formula is matte but creamy enough where it’s not drying. Because it’s nude it will work for both day and night looks as well.

And those are my six favourite lip products for fall. Let me know in the comments what your favourite lip product is to wear in the fall!

xoxo

Lea

September Boxycharm 2020

Hey guys! I am happy that my Boxycharm came earlier this month so I could probably test it out for you guys! If you want to see these products in action go check out my Youtube video where I give my first impressions of the products. Also, I will be giving an update from the skincare products that I got in my August box at the end of the post. Okay, let’s get into it!

The first product I received is the Farmacy Cheer Up Brightening Vitamin C Eye Cream with Acerola Cherry (such a long name). This eye cream is mention to brighten and reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark circles. It’s supposed to deliver instance radiance as well. I’m still unsure about this eye cream. I’m pretty picky because my under eyes can be quite sensitive. I’ve had quite a few eye creams react and create bad dry patches when the product is supposed to be hydrating. This one hasn’t negatively reacted but I’m not sure if I’ve seen any benefits yet. I’ve been using an Origins eye cream that also has vitamin C and I don’t see if doing anything more or less than the other one. Maybe I’m too young to see the impact of a good eye cream yet. So I’m on the fence. I’ll give you guys an update in October if I feel any different. Price: $45 US, $58 CAD

The next product is the Hipdot Zion Eyeshadow palette. I’ve never heard of this brand but I was pleasantly surprised by how great this palette is! First, the packaging is beautiful and the colour selection inside is gorgeous. It reminds me slightly of the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Vol 2 palette, but this one is much more muted which makes it more wearable. All the mattes blend beautifully on the eyes and are quite striking. The only thing is I wish that there were more shimmers. I also find Sublime and Surreal to be quite similar. I would have liked a pink shimmer or a lilac to compliment the shades in the palette. But otherwise, I think this is perfect and I did have a lot of fun playing with it. The palette is also cruelty-free and vegan! The only thing is that is has a weird smell to it that I don’t like. I can’t place what it smells like but a weird combination of plastic and dirt? I asked my brother and he thinks it smells like Crocs. 🤣 Price: $30 US

The next item in my box is the Phase Zero Makeup Blusher and Bronzer Trio. Just want to say that while I do like this product, there is the only shade and that’s not acceptable. The website says that these shades are universal but that’s bullshit. I find the bronzer shade to be a tad light and I’m pretty fair! This would not work on people who even medium skin tones. I don’t understand why they can’t create more shades. They have different blush shades, so why can’t they create different bronzers shades to match everyone’s skin tone? I do like the formula of these shades and I like all three look lovely on the face, but it’s unacceptable in 2020 to come out with just one face product shade and think it’ll work for everyone. Price: $42 US, £35.00 (they are a British company).

The next product is the Laura Geller Lashboss Bold Mascara. This mascara is meant to give length and curl to the lashes. I think this mascara is okay. It’s not a volumizing mascara, but it doesn’t claim to do that. It gives decent length but I have mascaras that give me more. I think this is a good everyday mascara. Like if I only wanted to wear mascara I could grab this one. I wouldn’t use this for a bold makeup look because then my eye shadow would overwhelm my lashes. It’s not bad and I’ll continue to use it but it’s not the best mascara I’ve ever used. Price: $24 US

And the final product is the SFGlow Glam in Paradise Cannabis Sativa 3-Piece Mask Set. I’m not sure if my skin likes cannabis sativa oil. These masks are the second skincare product I’ve tried with cannabis sativa oil and my skin just doesn’t seem happy. It isn’t a strong reaction but I notice that my skin feels sensitive after using it. I also don’t find the products that hydrating. After using the lip mask my lips were bone dry an hour later. I just feel like I’ve had better results using other masks. The gold leopard print is cute though. Price: $18 US for the set

The overall price of the box is $159. I think this was a pretty good box. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the sheet masks – but they are single-use so I’m done with them haha! I think the palette was the high point of the box. Let me know in the comments what you guys think about this month’s box. There weren’t many well-known brands in this month’s box – is that important to you guys? I don’t need Sephora brands in my box, but I do prefer brands that I have heard of before. But just because I’ve heard of a brand doesn’t mean the product will be good and vice-versa!

xoxo

Lea

*NOTE: Product Update from August* Okay so I have two skincare products that I was testing from August. The first was the GlamGlow moisturizer and the second was the MineTan.Body.Skin serum. One of these products was breaking me out and I’m not sure which one. I think it’s the GlamGlow moisturizer since I was using it more consistently than the serum. I just noticed my skin was getting congested and I was getting texture on my forehead and chin. The moisturizer has cannabis sativa oil in it, and after using the SFGlow masks I think my skin doesn’t like it. I also think it’s the moisturizer because my face would get red after I apply it even though it’s supposed to help with redness. Also reading Sephora reviews on the GlamGlow moisturizer it seems that some people have the same problem as me. As for the serum, my thoughts from my original post still stand. It makes my face feel smooth but not hydrated. I would use this maybe as a primer instead of a skincare item.

My Favourite Eyeshadow Palettes for Fall

Hey guys! Today I thought I would share some of my favourite fall eye shadow palettes. I love fall makeup. It’s full of warm tones and dark shades as well. I love to emulate the fall colours outsides with yellows, oranges, cranberries and dark greens. So I picked out six eye shadow palettes that I think would be perfect for fall! Next Tuesday I will be sharing my favourite lip colours so stay tuned for that.

Up first is the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Vol 2 palette. I know the left has some bright pinks and purples, but the left half is perfect for fall. On the top are these gorgeous browns and golds. And then on the bottom left corner are these cranberries and burgundies. There is also a bright red which could be great for Halloween looks.

The second palette is one of my all-time favourites: the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam palette. This palette is great year-round, but it has those beautiful dark shades that are great for fall. The shade mulberry is such a great burgundy shade. One of my university’s colours was maroon so I always used to palette during Homecoming to great a makeup look. There are also some orange shades which are great colours for fall. The quality of these shadows will not disappoint.

The third palette is the Dose of Colours Baked Browns palette. If bright and crazy colours scare you, then get this palette. It has all the browns you need to create a beautiful fall looks. From caramel to rust to chocolate, there is a brown shade for whatever look you want to create. If you want to add some sparkle to your look, just use your face highlight on your eyes.

The fourth palette reminds me of a fall day. There are all the bright oranges and yellows and reds like the leaves on the trees. There are browns and also a beautiful army green which is also great for fall. And then the blue shades like the blue sky during fall. If you are looking for a colourful palette that is still reminiscent of fall, then the Ace Beaute Vintage Dawn palette is the one for you.

The fifth palette is the one I used in my Fall Makeup Tutorial if you haven’t seen that Youtube video yet! I used the Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette to create a beautiful orange look. Golds and coppers are perfect for fall. This palette is great if you want something that is in the fall colour palette but isn’t literally orange.

The final palette recommendation is the Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow palette. This palette is great because not only does it have those orange and rust shades but it also has those burgundy and maroon shades. This palette can great both a light natural look but also a deep, smoky and sultry look. It also the versatility to do both.

And those are my palette recommendations! Hope you guys enjoyed these recommendations. And like I mentioned I will have lips next week. Let me know in the comments what your favourite fall eyeshadow palette is!

xoxo

Lea