New In: Spring Lip Colours

Oh lip products, how I love thee! I'm always interested when my favourite beauty bloggers give recommendations for new shades or product releases so these are my latest blogger inspired lip products purchases for Spring!

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in Vivid Rose//
Bright lips are something I'm always down to experiment with, especially in warmer weather, and this lipstick is just gorgeous! Vivid is definitely the right word to describe this shade - it is incredibly bright and pigmented and the rose undertones of this pink make it a great transitional colour for Spring. Definitely one to swatch when you see it! 

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Unapologetic & Complex//
I have two shades from the original Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain line but these matte balms were definitely intriguing. I find that I don't have many matte finish lipsticks in my drawer and these fit the bill for closing that gap. They are surprisingly, incredibly creamy and glide on like a dream (although you definitely want to have exfoliated lips beforehand). The shade Unapologetic, a bright true coral, is one of Alix from ICovetThee's favourites and looks so good on her, so naturally it was a colour I gravitated towards. Complex is a peachy nude which wouldn't be my first choice if I saw the range but ViviannaDoesMakeup included it her Spring Edit and suggested another way to wear it so I was convinced. I'm definitely loving these so far!

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Peach Blossom//
This. Is. A. Beaut! Another Anna inspired purchase (do you see a trend here?) and one that is now basically my default when I need a peachy pink nude for everyday wear. I don't know how many different ways I can say that I love this but I seriously do. It's such a flattering shade, and one that would be foolproof for a lot of different skin tones. The formula is one of my favourites - Cremesheens are super creamy but still give more colour than my old favourite Hue which is a glaze. I'm so glad I heard about this shade because it's not one that you hear about very often. 

Have you tried any new lip products for Spring? What's your favourite formula or brand?
post signature

Happy (half...) Birthday, GP!

Ok, so it's not my blogs actual birthday but half birthdays are just as much of a reason to celebrate! It's been a fun 6 months let me tell ya! I never thought I would have the courage to start writing and doing this whole thang but I'm so happy that I did. Getting to write about the things that I love the most, and having people actually read it is still shocking to me. I've been able to connect with people I would have never been able to connect with otherwise and just thinking about what is to come really excites me. 

Obviously I'm still getting the hang of it but that's what I love most about this experience - I get to learn more each day and express myself and be creative. So, thanks. Thank you for coming over onto my little corner of the internet and staying a while. Thanks for believing in me enough to follow my blog and for all of the sweet comments. It's funny how someone you have never even met can make your day with a few simple words. My goal is to inspire - aspire to inspire is my little catch phrase I repeat. Hopefully I've done that, even in the smallest way, and continue to do so. This has been a really fulfilling 6 months and all I can say is God is soooo good! 

So, Happy half  birthday Glorious Peonies! (side note: you have all been given permission to have some birthday cake - live a little!)

post signature

Faith Friday: Eternal Perspective

{Background image source}
Another week has gone by - TGIF. No matter how your week went, don't fret! Today is another Faith Friday (my favourite day) and I'm excited to share my thoughts, well mostly God's thoughts because I can't take the credit for these posts. I woke up today and to be truthful, I had no idea what to write. After having breakfast and doing some more homework, I found my self on Pinterest - which isn't unlikely! I kept seeing those pictures on Instagram and Pinterest where you take a photo of a landscape through a pair of sunnies and then it all clicked! Here's what God revealed to me through these photographs!

Have you ever thought to yourself, how does God see creation? I've always wondered about it because when I was younger I thought of God as this really giant man holding the entire universe - which to him was small enough to hold in His hands - in His palms and having this amazing aerial view where every single thing was accessible. It brought me to the conclusion that God must have some seriously good eye sight to zoom in on little ol' me when He has the hole universe at his disposal. One of my favourite things to do in life is to explore different perspectives. It is so incredibly important to see the world through not only your eyes, but through the eyes of others, from a distance, very close to you, from an aerial view; basically from every possible angle because one picture isn't enough!

This week a friend of mine confided in me that she had a really lousy week and I could completely understand why she felt this way. I just remember telling her that God had a plan with what happened, mostly because He didn't see the situation for what it was right at that very moment - God has eternal perspective. He sees you for what He ultimately created you to be, for what you will slowly become. He's not done with you or your life yet so why do you keep seeing it from only one perspective?

In the past, I've had some close friends just chat with me about different things they go through and I get the question, "So what do you think? Is what I'm doing wrong?" My answer is simple and always quite similar: If you were in my shoes, listening to exactly what I'm hearing, what would your reaction be without all the emotions you have attached to them? So you're dating this guy but you just know he isn't right for but you like him soooo much - if you thought this guy was bad news when you didn't have feeling attached to the idea of him, just walk away. Do you see how much perspective and taking a step back from the situation can completely change what it looks like? Simple photography skills make a great analogy. Depending on how close or far you are from the subject and how you focus on one particular point, the end result of a photograph can be drastically different. This is the same with a life situation. Don't be stuck on taking your eye's lenses and focusing on one point when the entire panorama that is still blurry paints a different picture. (Oh snap, I'm even revealing stuff to myself while writing!)

A few years back this phrase "Look at the world like He does, with eternal perspective" came into my mind out of nowhere when my life felt like it was in complete chaos. When I began to see my situation like God saw it, that made all the difference. The Lord sees you as His beautiful creation, filled with beauty that hasn't been tapped into yet, with a glorious purpose and eyes that was shaped by His own hands. When you walk out today, put on your God seeing glasses and see the world like He does. See the beauty in the girl or guy that people call ugly, see the colours that you never notice because you're always in a rush, focus on the good that people do and look forward! Think eternal.

Remember that you are a child of the light, open up that aperture and let light flow inside! You can't see the way God sees when the darkness is clouding your vision.

"You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness"
1 Thessalonians 5:5

Have a lovely day! Don't forget that you were made for more...
post signature

The Essentials For a Pro At-Home Manicure

I could easily count the amount of times I've gotten a professional manicure at a nail salon. I've honestly always enjoyed doing it myself - it's kinda therapeutic! A lot of my friends compliment me on how I paint my nails and after practicing for so many years I think I have a system that works really well. The picture above contains all of my essentials but you might notice that I haven't included my nail polish remover, nail file, and cotton buds. Honestly, I haven't found any products in these categories that I like enough to say they're what I use every time since I alternate what I'm using once things run out. For nail polish remover I usually just buy whatever is on sale at Shopper's Drug Mart, although I really want to try the Zoya remover with a pump! It looks so convenient. Same goes for my nail file and cotton buds. I'm not particular with either of these although I can usually tell what I like more than another option. I would love to switch to a crystal nail file just to prevent any nail splitting! 

Alright onto the products I use each time I give myself a manicure:

Cleaning & Maintenance //
After polish removal and shaping, I like to run a nail tool that has a pointer tip under my nails to get rid of any "nail dust" (this probably has a more technical name) and dirt that may be lingering. Especially if you choose a sheer polish, you don't want to be seeing any dirt underneath your nails. Not a good look ladies! The tool I use (the black one) has been in my collection for wayyyyy too long so I have no clue where you can find it but here's an inexpensive option that you can find at Sally's Beauty Supply. 

Push Back Those Cuticles! //
A good manicure is only as good as your cuticles look. Nothing is worse than having painted your nails and then having a dry cuticle area and little pieces of skin hanging around. I start by applying the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and then pushing back my cuticle with the tool mentioned above. If this wasn't enough to get all of my cuticle out of the way then I will go in with my LOGO by Cricket cuticle nippers (reasonable price if you don't want to go for the Tweezerman version) and remove anything that could get in the way of my polish. Make sure to really push your cuticles back before starting to apply nail polish because it elongates your nail bed and it's healthier for your cuticles compared to cutting them away completely with the nippers. 

Putting On The Foundation //
Just as foundation is crucial to creating a perfect base for the rest of your makeup, a good layer of base coat is essential for the perfect at-home manicure. Some people don't bother with this step but it can be your strengthening and growth treatment, yellow nail preventer and manicure endurer all in one. I've been using the Sally Hansen Complete Care base coat because it's multipurpose and does everything I would need in one simple step. 

Polish It Up //
The part you've all been waiting for... putting on a fresh coat of colour. Like I mentioned in my recent post about my Essie obsession, the brushes are my favourite for getting a precise curve around my cuticles but this colour pictured above by OPI in Miami Beet is the perfect transitional colour from winter to summer - and it would look great as a pedicure colour. I like to apply the polish a little bit separated from the cuticles because it makes the finished product look a lot more professional! The first coat is crucial for creating a good shape and then the second coat will fall right inside that outline you created and cover up any streaks. I'll hopefully film a video of my manicure routine sometime soon! (yay for potential YouTube videos?!)

Glossy Finish //
After so much hard work - which only takes under 10 minutes if you get the routine down - you need to lock all of your steps into place and give your tips a mirror shine effect. A few years back I used the Seche Vite topcoat but after hearing about all of the health warnings and I decided to choose something that didn't smell like death in a bottle and forced me to open all of the windows in my house. I'm already on my second bottle of Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri which is almost as fast drying as Seche Vite (I don't know if anything else beats it in that respect) and gives you a high shine finish. I also suggest Sally Hansen Mega Shine because it basically does that same thing and I think is a little shinier. Perhaps after this bottle runs out I'll switch it up a bit. 

Damage Control //
So, you've finished your manicure but then you notice you've got some polish around your cuticle or all over your finger... what to do? Take an orange wood stick like these ones by TRIM (I found the 12 pack I have at my local Walmart) and wrap a little bit of cotton wool over the pointy tip. Place the tip in a little nail polish remover and in a few swipes it'll look like you there were never mistakes there!

Moisturize //
Remember to always take care of your hands after you give yourself a manicure and apply hand cream at least once a day to make your hands, cuticles, and nails looking like new. I love L'Occitance Shea Butter Mini Hand Cream, especially because it's great to carry around with you - don't bring a huge 30 mL tube with you in your purse unless you want to hand out hand cream to everyone you see. For a more intense cuticle treatment apply a drop of Josie Maran Argan Oil Light on one one finger and just spread it to the rest of them - a tiny amount is all you need. I have the mini travel size version of this too!

The length of this post may be a little frightening but having the right tools can make a world of a difference and with a few times of doing this routine, you'll have a 10 minute, pro at-home manicure every time!
post signature

Kari Jobe Has Done It Again!

If only I could show you how extremely emotional music makes me. I mean, I'm sure people at church must think I'm all sorts of crazy because there have been countless amounts of times where I've just been sobbing during worship... like #crymeariver much? Before it was Oceans by Hillsong United. I listened to it at the perfect place in my life where the words I was singing along to perfect described my heart and emotions towards Jesus. I was feeling lost and scared - there was no way I would get out of the boat and walk towards Jesus on the water. But somehow, this song made me feel like it was possible. I would sit in my room, in the silence and repeat over and over:

 "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Saviour"

I knew I needed to start trusting him fully. I was going to sink without him! There was nothing I wanted more than to know more of Christ and seek Him every waking minute of my life. It still makes me smile every time I think about it because worship is such a key for me. I close myself into my room and just sing my heart out, crying as much as I want and letting go! I feel so free when I worship. 

Recently though, another song has been tugging at my heart strings. Now, let's get one thing straight - Kari Jobe is the (wo)man! I just love how she worships, it's like the definition of free! A month ago I first laid ears on her newest song Forever and let me tell you, I cried for hours. It was like the goosebumps that wouldn't go away.  Before I go on, watch her live performance of it!

Amazing right? The past few weeks I haven't been able to stop thinking about one thing: I need to choose Jesus everyday in the same way He chose me that day on the cross forevermore! It's a truth that literally doesn't let me go to bed sometimes. I am so loved that He gave it all for me. He knew I would fail Him but He chose not to fail me! This song proclaims that the sacrifice on the cross is something for us to thank God for each and every day. 

"His perfect love cannot be overcome. Now death where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!"

Ahhh I mean, come on!!! Like I wrote on Friday's post, no lie of the enemy is worth listening to because Christ made you worthy of His perfect love! Christ has defeated all fear, shame, doubt, self loathing and negativity. Don't you settle for those lies because you were made for more. This is something that should fill you with joy - I know it does for me!

Oh and that spoken word was mind blowing! All I can say is #TRUTH. "My words point to The Word and The Word has a name! Hope has a name, Joy has a name, Peace has a name, Love has a name, and that name is Jesus Christ!" I'm wrecked as I write this ha! My God is full of beauty and wonder and POWER and for that, He deserves all honour and praise! 
post signature

The Lazy Girl's Guide To Eyeshadow

Every girl has that one makeup subgroup that she either isn't a fan of or just can't seem to get a handle on. For me, that's eye shadow. It's not that I don't know how to apply it... I just always feel really done up when I have it on. I tend to to go for natural looks and the whole "no makeup makeup" thang so having really elaborate eye makeup on a day to day basis isn't my fave. I've been experimenting with different ways to come to terms with my frenemy Mr. Eyeshadow and I think I have just the thing. 

When I want to add a little extra somethin' something' so my eyes, other than mascara of course, I take my finger and sweep either a champagne or bronze cream eyeshadow on my lids. One of the most tedious things about doing elaborate eye looks is the fact that you need so many different colours and brushes to make it look nice but no one can complain about this method. I love using the Maybelline Color Tattoo cream shadows because their colour selection is amazing - from neutrals to brights - and they stay on all day! During the fall I was obsessed with the well loved shade Bad To The Bronze. I would take it on a clean finger and smudge on my lids and then take my ring finger and extend the colour slightly into my crease to get that sultry look without going overboard (you know what I'm referring to...) My newest shade is Barely Branded which is part of their Metallic collection. It's a gorgeous champagne colour and I find that it really waked up your face, especially now that Spring makeup is here to stay. 

So if you're a lazy girl like me and can't be bothered to take out a million brushes to do your eye makeup then I suggest using cream shadows. If you have really oily eyelids like me then you can put on an eyeshadow base underneath to ensure crease-free colour all day. I've been using Urban Decay Primer Potion for a few years now but I'm thinking that after I finish this tube I'll move on to the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base instead. Oh, and while we're on the subject of cream shadows, any suggestions for other formulas or shades I should take a look at? I've always heard really good things about Chanel's Illusion D'Ombre in Emerveille - the swatches look so pretty!

Well that's it from me today. The assignments are still coming but I've done 3/5 this month - so close! Now all I have to do is survive finals and I can finally enjoy the first actual summer vacation I've had in two years!
post signature

New! Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss

Lipgloss isn't usually the lip product I'm the most excited about unless we're talking the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors which I've professed my love for continuously. On my pursuit of expanding my lipgloss horizons I thought I'd give these Milani Brilliant Shine Glosses a try! This is a fairly new release for the brand and although I haven't seen Milani sold in any other place other than WalMart in Canada, people in the United States should have much better luck getting their hands on them. These are very affordable at $5.50 each and they come in 14 shades, ranging from pinks and corals, to violets and reds. You really can't complain on the shade collection here, especially for the price. 

The shade I chose, mostly due to a lack of a large stock, is Sweet Grapefruit - a pinky coral (go figure!) that is a cream finish. This colour is incredible flattering and I think it's a shade that would work on many different skin tones and makeup looks. In terms of packaging, Milani has created a very sleek see through tube with gold detailing on the writing and handle which looks quite nice. Inside, this lipgloss offers a doe-foot applicator which is pretty standard with glosses at the drugstore. 

Milani claims that these have "rich colour, extreme high shine, and comfortable lasting wear" as well as being "moisturizing and non-tacky". With these lofty claims in mind, I set out to test the gloss and see if it delivers on all of these fronts. The colour pay off was decent. It was enough to show some remnant of the colour on my lips but it surely wasn't as pigment as lacquers and lip glosses I've tried (for example, the Rimmel Apocalips). It's semi translucent but that might just be the shade I chose, In any case, these aren't glosses that you would choose for their incredibly pigmented look - though that might be your liking for more natural looks. For layering over other lipsticks or rocking them on a natural makeup day, these are great!

As the name suggests, this lipgloss packed in a lot of shine while on the lips so they are sheeny and give your pout quite the full effect... check! Milani also said they provide a comfortable lasting wear and I'd say although they are creamy and glide on easily, the lasting power of these glosses isn't impressive - as is the case with most glosses. You will need to reapply often so they're not a gloss that leaves a stain but there are better options in this category anyways. I'd say these last 2 hours or so before you'd want to freshen up. This doesn't bother me since reapply lipgloss is kinda therapeutic...

Now to assess the "moisturizing and non-tacky claim." One of these claims is highly misleading, to say the least while the other is thrown in for marketing purposes. These are tacky, sticky and any other word you can find for "put your hair in a ponytail before you get your hair stuck on your lips!" One of the reasons I stay away from lip glosses is their formula. MAC lip glasses always bothered me in that sense because I felt like they were incredible thick and sticky. These aren't as thick or gloopy but they're still too thick for my liking - which is why the Clarins offering is top ranking for me. If you aren't concerned with the stickier feel then I don't think it would be much to worry you. I can't say that these are moisturizing just because the stickiness makes them feel like they're just sitting on your lips doing nothing but making them look shiny. Moisturizing glosses tend to have a creamier, balm-like texture so I can't vouch for the moisturizing factor. 

Overall, I think these glosses are a good choice if you're on a budget. I would probably think they were better if they didn't have so many claims to live up to but the stickiness is my only issue. For the price and the array of colours, the Milani Brilliant Shine gloss is a good release for lipgloss lovers who want a fuller, plump and shiny pout without the burn of typical plumping glosses. 

What do you think about these glosses? Does sticky lipgloss give you nightmares like it does for me?

post signature

Faith Friday: I'm Just Not Good Enough

Lily & Val Bible Verse Print

Happy Saturday y'all! I know, it's not Friday but yesterday was hectic beyond belief. I'm basically the only one in my family not sick at the moment so I am a temporary nurse to four people and a puppy. But here I am, offering up another weekly dose of Faith Fridays! I wanted to share a very simple principle that helps me on days when I don't feel like I'm enough. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences days where absolutely nothing you do or say seems to be good enough. This spans across diverse situations and personal relationship but you may have gotten a bad grade on a paper, you mom may have gotten mad at you for something, and you friend was ignoring you all day. It's not uncommon for this to happen in a single day if you're really having an off day, but the problem is that in the end you think "why wasn't anything I did good enough for my professor, mom, or friend?" It makes you feel unwanted and like it's no use to do anything further because, in any case, it won't be enough. But I have really, really good news for you. 

On your best day, and on your very worst day, God loves you just the same! Don't let your head be filled with lies from the enemy that tell you that someones reaction to you on Earth has anything to do with how God sees you. That bad grade you got should push you to do better next time and prove that professor wrong (don't blame it on you not being good enough if you didn't put in your best effort... you have more to give!). Your mom loves you greatly but she must follow in God's teachings to instruct you - you have more to give! Your friend might be mad today but it is easily fixed by confronting the situation with a kind disposition - you can always be a better friend, you have more to give! Remember that as much as God gives you certainty that you are enough for Him, you need to prove that in that way you live your life. It's not a one ended agreement! 

When you feel like nobody wants you or that you aren't good enough be reminded that the King of Kings chose to die for you, in the most brutal way, because He thought so much of you that he decided that you were worth it! If that doesn't put a smile on your face, then boy oh boy I don't know what will. Here are some verses for day's when you feel less than good enough:

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ"
Philippians 1:6

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us..... and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus"
Ephesians 2:4,6

"But he said to me. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me"
2 Corinthians 12:9

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them"
Ephesians 2:10

Feel encouraged in the fact that you were chosen and your sins were paid for through the highest price. Don't let those lies fill your mind! You are worthy because your identity lies in who made you. What other people say about you temporarily has no effect on how God sees you eternally - His very words created your existence. Have a great weekend!

post signature

Topshop Beauty: Across The Pond

Happy Wednesday and happy spring to you all! Truthfully, it took a lot for me to believe that today was the first day of spring because Canada still looks like a skating rink and it is way too cold for any flowers to survive. But hey, at least we don't have to say it's winter anymore!

A few months back, I was strolling around the mall and decided to pop into Topshop to see what they offered. I'd seen so much about them on British based blogs and YouTube channels so the curiosity was stirring but I didn't know they had this line available in Canada. Of course, my first stop was the beauty section. So many bloggers had mentioned their products so I thought I'd try two things and see what all of the fuss was about! I picked up their Cream Blush in Flush and Lipstick in Ohh La La. The first thing that I thought was that both of these were reasonably priced at around $12 and $10 respectively I believe ( I can't find my receipt but I think this was the approximate price point). 

For a beauty offering which comes from a store that is focused on their clothing, I think the selection was fairly good with a range of bases, blushes and bronzers, eye products and some gorgeous lipstick shades! I can't vouch for their other products but I was pleased with the two products I did take home! The cream blush is reasonably pigmented and has a cream to powder formula which is great if you suffer from oily skin. The lipstick I have seems like the perfect summer shade and it will be amazing with a bit of tan in the warmer months. Texture wise I've definitely tried better formulas but it's nothing to condemn it for. Aside from the formulation, I think the colour payoff is fantastic for a more affordable selection and they have some incredible bright shades that would be the perfect statement! Overall, the lipsticks I saw looked great and maybe in other stores you can find a wider range of offerings, like their Lip Bullet pencils which seem like a great on-the-go product and maybe even a bit of a dupe for the NARS lip pencils. 

The packaging is really adorable on all of their products and they also have some new releases this season, like the Glow Stick highlighters which would be great for a fresh, dewy look. I've only dipped my toes into Topshop Beauty but it was a good enough first impression to keep me on the lookout. If you don't have a Topshop store near you, perhaps take advantage of their worldwide free shipping going on today only and maybe take a look at their clothing because they've got some really nice things stocked at the moment.

Have you tried any Topshop beauty items? Share your favourites!

post signature

The Best of Spring: Essie Edition

As a previously loyal, die hard OPI fan, this post kind of makes me laugh. I was never interested in buying Essie polishes until maybe a year ago when I fell in love with them. As with every brand, you have the odd dud here and there, but I've loved many of the shades that I've had from Essie and I actually prefer their brushes because they are thinner and allow for a lot of precision. 

I noticed that my collection, as a whole, was lacking in the spring/summer shade category so I took myself to Target (when Essie was on sale whoop!) and did some damage. Keep in mind this was over a period of like 7 months - which in the end doesn't matter because it's still a lot haha! I'm so excited to be sporting these shades on my nails in the coming months! The colours I included are: (bottom row) Mademoiselle, Fiji, Sand Tropez, Absolutely Shore; (top row) Bikini So Teeny, Mod Square, Watermelon, Really Red.  (I'm wearing Mod Square in the picture). I love wearing Fiji with a tan and Watermelon looks like it'll be one of my preferred pinks during the warmer weather!

This line up has everything I could want for Spring/Summer nails - except I would probably add in an orange and a purple, but otherwise, these are some of my go to shade ranges. Aside from Essie though, I am so tempted to buy some shades from the Deborah Lippmann Spring Collection because they are seriously beautiful! Vivianna Does Makeup has made me want more beauty products once again! (more on her recommendations in an upcoming post!)
To sum it up, I'm involved in a major love affair with Essie at the moment and I don't think it'll be a summer fling ;)
post signature

5 Study Break Ideas

After a long while of studying my brain is just screaming for a break so here are 5 things I like to do when I relax for 10 minutes or so:

1// Blog Away!
I've really been trying to get my blog posts prepared earlier but sometimes a bunch of assignments and upcoming tests don't make that an easy task. When I've studied an hour or two, I like to take some time to go on the blog and do a little bit of maintenance or just brainstorm ideas for future posts. Blogging is something I've chosen to do as a fun hobby so it's not a chore at all! There's always pictures I want to edit or make into a collage and this is the perfect time to do it. If you don't have a blog, taking this time to maybe write a bit of poetry or look through photos you have that bring back good memories, can really brighten your spirit!

2// Doggy Dance Party
When you're really busy, the last thing you want to do is work out #lazygirlprobz. When I have these extra 10 minutes I go downstairs, grab Charlie and just listen to super upbeat music and dance around! Even before I had Charlie, I'd have impromptu solo dance parties in my room and it really gets your heart rate up. Perfect solution for getting your blood flowing AND having fun! (Make a dance party playlist!!!)

3// Organize A Section Of Your Room
If you're anything like me, studying for hours on end means that your bedrooms tidiness can fall to the wayside. It can get really overwhelming to have your whole room look like it was hit by a tornado so during study breaks I decide to tidy up one section of my room. It allows me to get things done without feeling frustrated - and if you can't bring yourself to do it, turn up the music. Nothing makes boring things (such as exercising or cleaning...) more enjoyable than playing music while you do it!

4// Online Window Shopping Anyone? (YouTube Style)
Now, this is probably for those who have a bit more constraint and willpower. I often have a running list of products I want to check out so if I have some time to waste, going through different videos and looking at reviews is my favourite pastime! I'm definitely a conscientious shopper and don't just throw myself at things, especially when they have a hefty price tag. There are tons of really great reviews out there so watch one or two (or five) on YouTube during my breaks. 

5// Make a Healthy Snack
To stop myself from munching on a big bowl of chips while I type away, I like to do my study snacking during my designated break time. This is a really good tip if you have a problem with obsessive snacking like I do. I'll go to the kitchen and cut up some fruit or even better, make myself a smoothie ( my fave!). Smoothies fill me up and are much easier to digest - plus I get in my fruit intake for the day and my veggies, which I hide inside. If you eat during this time, then you're less likely to keep a large reservoir of junk food by your desk at all times! 

Most of all, make sure study breaks are just as productive as when you're actually studying. Having accomplished something when you aren't studying makes you feel better about yourself once you get back to your dreaded homework! Have fun and let it be a time to get your mind off of whatever you were doing so that you can get back to your work station refreshed and ready to go!

post signature

Style Inspiration: Brighter Than The Sun

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who's been getting tired of the monochromatic black and white look. Looking inside my closet I was flabbergasted at how much cream and black I had in there. Since Spring is right around the corner I needed to get a little style inspiration by way of Pinterest and all of the bright colours got me super excited for warmer weather!

1// 2// 3// 4// 5// 6// 7// 8// 9//

Last year I didn't get into the scalloped trend so this year I'm on the hunt for the perfect bright shift dress with scalloped details! Bright pops of colour really make an outfit so much happier and I love colour blocking with different shades. Definitely going to give it a try this season. Oh, and shoes! Hopefully Target brings back their leopard pumps and maybe even some pastel shades as well because I need to depart from nude and black heels for a while. 
What looks are you excited to try this Spring and Summer?
post signature

Faith Friday: ... But I Can Change Them!

I love being completely honest with people who take the time to read my blog, and of course, today is no different. When thinking about what I could share today, I was reminded of a chapter of my life that although I have let go, taught me so much! Going through a breakup or a tough relationship can be difficult on someone whether it be emotionally, mentally or even physically. I learned a very big lesson from a choice I made almost 4 years ago and I think girls, and guys, need to learn from it to so here it goes. 

Experiences in my life as a child formed ideas in me that made me feel like a relationship would make up for all of the hardships I went through as a child. Looking back it almost seems like I had an obsession with it. I've only been in a "serious" relationship once in my life and I was fairly young at the time. He was a boy from church and I thought he was perfect for me... or at least as perfect as a guy may seem for you when you're a teenager. He was relatively new in his faith but I made a huge mistake: I thought I could change him. I thought since I had been a Christian for longer and felt more mature about it, that I could help him do better and be better. I would suggest that we pray together over the phone and tried to involve him more in church activities in the hopes that he would develop a relationship with God like the one I had. The only problem is that this wasn't my job! I have no authority to change the hearts of God's creation because that can only be done through Him. Yes, I can plant a seed but no matter what I could ever do, the job is ultimately finished when God steps in. I had no part in the change. 

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose"
- Philippians 2:13

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws"
- Ezekiel 36:26-27

I find that people make this mistake all of the time, which is why I wanted to share my experience. First of all, if you've made the effort to nurture your relationship with Christ and pushes Him like He pursues you then it seems only right that you share this with someone on the same path as you. With the same goal in mind and the purpose of your life as a common element between two people, God can be glorified. But, things can get really tricky when you settle for anyone because you believe that you can change them through your own doing. I posted a video where Pastor Mark Driscoll is talking about being single and one of his points was that people start to cut down their list of what they want in a future spouse - including erasing the part where they love God. You may be satisfied with the other person just believing in God or at least having had a relationship with Him some time in the past. I can't begin to explain how many problems can arise from this. God hasn't created you to pick just anyone or "go with the flow" because at some point along the way they'll follow where you're going. Most likely, at the beginning of your relationship, whether you know it or not, you and that other person have chosen a path to go on. 

When you settle for one thing, you'll soon settle for another and at some point you'll lose who you were in the first place because you made it not matter. You will probably forget that your whole intent was to change them because it'll be you who was changed. I'm not saying that you have to stay away from people who don't share your beliefs, but when it comes to a relationship you need to guard your heart with the utmost care. "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" Proverbs 4:23 

The job to change someone is not yours and ultimately, if you feel like the person has to grow spiritually before they can be in a relationship, then give them that time. That person may be perfect for you but not until they realize that Christ was the answer to their problems, not you! We all have to change certain aspects of who we are in all of our relationships but when they are usually deal breakers for you and you let them slide... that's the ultimate red light warning for you. Just don't do it. Many times getting into a relationship when you aren't spiritually ready can have an incredibly negative effect on both people and that's not what you want in the first place if you truly care for someone. Let the heart transformation be in God's hands and take a look at what areas of your life you need to change as well. I spent a long time thinking that the guy I was dating needed to change his life around, when I was just as unprepared! Are you in that same position?

post signature

Puppy Love

Today is my 100th post! In honour of such a momentous occasion I wanted to turn the spotlight onto the cutest boy you have ever seen: my puppy Charlie! He's been with me for 9 months and as mushy and cliche as it is, he's changed my life!

Ever since I was a little girl I can remember just begging for a puppy but never being able to be as convincing as I needed to be. I waited and waited. Being an only child can get pretty lonely and I knew a puppy would do the trick. Last year a few months before my birthday I was able to have a bit of sway with my parents and we started looking online to see where we could find just the right pup. My mom was very specific: she said if we were finally going to get a puppy, it needed to be fluffy and all kinds of cute. After searching for weeks and not having any luck, we struck gold! I saw the sweetest picture of a bichon poodle mix boy puppy and my heart melted. We got in the car the next day to take a look at him. My heart was set so there was no way I would walk out of there without him in my arms!

I can remember getting out of the car and being so surprised that the puppy was so tiny. He was playing a play pen on the grass and I wanted to cry (I'm extremely emotional!) The breeder let me hold him in my arms and he just sunk right in. My dream was finally coming true! Funny thing is that the breeder did a little test so that she could figure out how easy he would be to train and she says "oh, well you've got a feisty one on your hands!" She was right - but I figured that out eventually! We of course took him home and the car ride was a walk in the park. No puppy accidents (check!) and no biting which made me think he was perfect. I had been traumatized as a kid when a dog bit me and I'd always been afraid of them. Makes you wonder why I got a dog right? But it really did help me get over my fear. 

I'd been going over names in my head for our new puppy before we even met him. I had names like Max, Mac, James Bond (haha!) but ultimately, that little cutie was a "Charlie" right from the start. The first few weeks were pretty much a struggle. Once Charlie got acclimated, he became quite the character. Biting toes, grabbing anything he could find, lots of puppy accidents. Typical puppy things which I had no clue how to handle! I was so scared of my 3 lb dog at the beginning that I wore rain boots in the house because I didn't want him to bite my toes... #pathetic.

Charlie in action playing fetch!

Months later and lots of lessons learned, I couldn't be happier with our sweet pup. He's got some incredibly cute quirks and he just loves a good belly rub. It makes me so happy to get home from a long day of classes and have him barking out of excitement before I even knock on the door. He's got this really weird spidey-sense with all of us. Any car can pull up to the driveway, but he knows exactly when it's us! I love him so much and couldn't imagine not having him with me. 

The whole "man's best friend" thing is so true. He may get himself into trouble sometimes but he loves us unconditionally. It's so funny that I've learned so much about life from a dog. I went from walking on the other side of the street when they were coming near me, to loving all kinds of dogs and animals like they were my own. Charlie is my bestie and I can't wait to see what he'll do next!

post signature

Let It Go, and Breathe.

(background image via)
It seems that for the past couple of days I've been constantly reminded to simply, let it go and move forward. Change is scary but it happens and it's sometimes inevitable. What I have learned though is that it's not always such a bad thing. Different doesn't equate to worse. It's just not the same, and that's ok. In whatever situation I've been in that I've felt I needed to move on from, the key to really letting it go and being able to breathe, was feeling peace. A peace like the one only God can give. 

Right now I feel like I'm entering a new chapter in my life. God has been faithful throughout my life and looking back, I can see his hands orchestrating things into place. The other night while lying in bed thinking, it just occurred to me that I was happy. Not a false kind of happy, but more like joyful. Like I said on Friday's post, there is so much to be thankful for that it really doesn't give me another option but to smile and just say, thanks God. But of course, that all comes with perspective. In the past I've had to go through changes, that at that time felt like they would complete break me - until I let it go and felt at peace. Then my judgement wasn't so clouded by temporary feelings. I could see things the way God saw them. He wanted what was best for me and I could finally notice. 

It brought me to think, well why am I so happy? It all came down to one fundamental decision that I'd never really committed to until recently: I chose Jesus. I chose Him, let go of everything that I needed to, and breathed in His peace. I let go of the things that hurt me when I was a kid, I let go of any grudges, I let go of misconceptions, I let go of thinking about only myself. I chose peace. We were singing that over and over yesterday morning during worship at church and I couldn't help but smile because I knew that's what I needed. It stopped being something I did because I was told to do, it finally hit me that you actually need to choose him. He gives you free will and it's your decision whether or not you grab onto his hand when he extends it towards you. 

I've touched on this before but I feel like I've finally learned to live for the moments God is giving me now. Specifically, in my singleness. I spent so much time not being able to let go of the fact that I was single, as if it was a fundamental problem. It was time that I could have spent seeking God and enjoying this incredible time He has given me. Instead of focusing on who my husband will be some day, the most important issue to tackle is, "How am I going to fall in love with Jesus again each day?" Each day I wake up, I choose Him, above all things. Above my circumstances, my concerns, my fears. I just have to breathe in peace and joy and choose to let my day be filled with Jesus. It's easy to say that you choose this, but in practice it can be hard. Some days are better than others and I've learned from it all. It takes a conscious effort and constantly focusing on what's most important.

Some things are changing, and some things aren't. In any case, though, all I've asked for from God was just peace. Knowing that when I breathe in and let it go, I'm releasing anything that binds me from moving forward into God's plan for me. I'm only truly joyful when I choose Jesus, because I know that He chose me first. Nothing right now is ever as bad as it seems. I just encourage you to let go of anything that you've been keeping hidden or that you're letting eat away at your blessings. Choose Jesus and the peace that he offers us each day. It's constant and never changes, even if things in our lives do. 

post signature

Life Lately According To Instagram

Hope everyone is having a great start to their week! Once again, it's gonna be quite the busy week for me. Anyone else feeling extremely pressured with school work? (please say yes so I'm not alone!) Since social media and blogging goes hand in hand today I wanted to share my love for my favourite site! Ever since finally getting a smartphone that allowed me to use Instagram (thanks a lot old blackberry....) I've been loving this app! Photography is something I love and I'm constantly surprised by the photos people come up with by using their phone cameras... which really shouldn't be that surprising since phone cameras can capture some pretty amazing things nowadays. 

I love being able to share little things that inspire me or tid bits of my life so (here comes the shameless plug) if you haven't already taken a look at my Instagram page then you should because I share a lot of things that end up making their way onto the blog! It's also fun to interact with people from halfway around the world and have daily inspiration coming your way. Plus it's the best way to to prove that we really do follow some of these "blogger instagram" stigmas. I'm totally the "rearrange random stuff on the floor" kind of person... whoops! 

Hope to see you on Instagram - and remember that all of my social media links are on the top navigation menu as well as social media links at the top of the sidebar so follow along :) 

post signature

Faith Friday: Being Thankful

(background image via)
Happy Faith Friday y'all! I apologize for the later than usual post but I've had a day full of unexpected occurrences so being able to sit down and write this up kept getting pushed back. Today I wanted to share a reflection on something that God placed in my heart last night. But first, I think you'll need some background information. 

Without going into too much detail, I wanted to share an event in my life that really changed me and challenged me to seek God's comfort and love. When I was 8 years old my mom was diagnosed with two kinds of cancer. She was a single mom at the time and her and I had always been besties. Needless to say, even at that age, it was a tough time. I didn't understand the situation well at the time and it was hard to see my mom go through such a drastic transformation. I remember one of the most painful moments was being told I couldn't hug her when she was in the hospital because they couldn't risk having her get any infections. I was heartbroken. I wasn't able to hug my best friend, my mom, the one who was always there with me. It was through this unthinkable circumstance that my mom and I found the Lord and I can't be more thankful to Him for just being there. 

Back then I remember thinking, "God if you love me and my mom, please heal her!" I didn't want anything else. Two years later my mom was free of cancer and I had her back. Looking back now I just think, Lord with what purpose did you give her a second chance - and for what reason did you spare me from being left alone? There can only be one reason for this - God wanted me to glorify Him for keeping me safe through that storm the rest of my life and making my life be all about Him. God doesn't need my praise, He's got a million angels doing a pretty great job already. But, He wants it! And I will gladly tell the world that He died for me and has never left my side. He's given me the gift of life and the gift of being able to share it with the people I love so incredibly much. Praise is our acknowledgement that we can't do it our own, we need Him!

I was reflecting on this last night and just going through all the little things He has done since then, and even before then, that have been such amazing blessings. Starting off with the most basic fact that I have a roof over my head, food on the table and I have the right to an education. So many people don't even have that. He's given me air in my lungs, the capacity to see all that He created. These are basic, but the most fundamental. So much of our lives we spend thinking that we need more to be happy but if you only had Christ and you acknowledged his presence, you would be just fine! But He is so gracious that He has offered us the opportunities to have so much more. What does He want in return? For you to love Him and other people. 

We've lost our sense of gratitude. We take things as a given. As if we deserve it. Sorry to break to you, but you don't deserve any of it! He saved you from your sins by grace - a gift that was freely given to you! That alone just starts to open up a whole box of things you should be thankful for. If you slow down and open your eyes to what you get to enjoy every single second, you would be surprised at all that you miss. One of the things I give thanks to God for is being able to see Him in other people. No, I haven't seen Him yet but in a sense, I have. I see him in peoples smiles, in a sincere hello, in someones laughter. He's everywhere and for that I just say "thanks"!

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever"
- Psalm 136:1

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him"
- Colossians 3:17

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offs to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe"
- Hebrews 12:28

Maybe you haven't been through a similar situation to me, maybe you've been through something worse. Give thanks! He is good, in all circumstances! Like Hebrews says, you have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Remember that the war is already won! Christ fought for you and he won - you need not fear anything. Thanks him for each morning, for your eyelashes, for the rhythm of your heartbeat, for the sky, for everything that seems insignificant to you. You only have those things because He has been good to you. 

I love you all, even though I don't know you. Because Christ loves me so I love you! Let's be filled with gratitude!
post signature

Lilly Pulitzer x Estée Lauder Collaboration

Alert! I wanted to share something for all the Lilly print lovers out there and those who want to venture out and try Estée Lauder! I've never owned any Lilly Pulitzer clothing items but they do some rather adorable accessories and lifestyle items are much more accessible price wise - so when I saw this little set I jumped at the opportunity. In my search for my holy grail foundation I decided to finally take the plunge and purchase an Estée Lauder foundation (more on that soon) and therefore I was eligible for a free gift with purchase which was beautifully packaged in an amazing Lilly printed makeup case. 

This special promotion is going on right now until March 16th so I wanted to let you guys know about it now if you're interested before time runs out. Lilly has made exclusive prints for their Estée Lauder collaboration, so if you live in another country and have stores like Macy's for example, then the contents of this gift with purchase may be different - as well as the Lilly print. But for my Canadian gals this is what The Bay is offering with a purchase of $36.50 or more, which really isn't too difficult to reach. If you choose to spend more, maybe on a fragrance ($80 or more), you can get an extra little bonus which includes a dual ended concealer/lipgloss duo, a lip conditioner, a lipstick and a Lilly Pulitzer print travel mirror!

Since I only purchased a foundation this is what I received and I must say I'm very pleased. The contents that come in the bag have two variations; one is a daytime look that includes a purpley pink eyeshadow palette and a frosty pink lipstick and the other is the "bolder" options which contains a neutral eyeshadow palette and a bronzy pink lipstick. I thought the undertones of the bold option suited me better so that's what I chose. 

The bag comes with a 7 mL sample of Estée Lauder's famous Advanced Night Repair serum, a sample of their Sumptuous mascara in black, a 30 mL tube of Take It Away Makeup Remover, a 15 mL jar of Daywear Moisturizer for Normal/Combination skin, an eyeshadow quad with the shades Sugar Biscuit, Nude Fresco, Hot Cinnamon, and Lavish Mink, as well as their Pure Color Lipstick in the shade Sugar Honey. 

I think this is an awesome gift with purchase and it gives you a chance to use some of their most popular products before committing to the full size! I love that they teamed up with Lilly Pulitzer because it's a perfect transition into a brighter Spring mood, plus it's very appealing to a younger audience as well since Estée Lauder can sometimes appear a bit "outdated" to the younger generation. 

And no, I'm not sponsored or endorsed by any brands (I wish... lol) but I thought this was a great opportunity to try out some new products and have some adorable Lilly sitting around in your makeup stash! I mean how cute is it to have a Lilly printed eyeshadow palette?! Let me know if you decide to take advantage of this gift with purchase!
post signature

Long Hair, Short Hair and Everything In Between

I confess that if there's something I can't make my mind up about it's hair length. When it comes to colour, I've only experimented about 2 times and this past summer it was the most dramatic change I've done ever. I decided to go for the balayage look and I went pretty blonde for what I was used to (thanks to my instigating fried - you know who you are!). My mom is a hairstylist so I have it pretty easy in the sense that I don't have to spend tons of money on my hair but my mom always says that I'm her worst client.

As a mother, she loves me to pieces and we are each others best friend but when it's time for me to sit in the hot seat, well, let's just say she has to mentally prepare herself a few days in advance. I personally don't think I'm that bad but since I can never make a decision and I'm so incredibly particular, she always says that any stylist other than her would probably kick me out. Whoops, sorry mom!

A few weeks ago I decided to go back to my darker roots so I covered up the light caramel balayage I had going on and I chose to darken it but still have a bit of dimension in the shade of brown in my hair. For a few months now I haven't touched the length, mostly because I've traumatized my mom with how many times I flip flop between wanting super long hair and just chopping it all off. I have my moments. 

Lately though, I've been seeing more damage to my ends than I usually do and I really want that feeling of when you cut off a few inches and your hair is super thick and lush... oh how I love that feeling. The only problem is that I'm all or nothing with my haircut. Sometimes I go a little too short compared to what I had planned so I scoured through Pinterest for some inspiration and some references so that momma won't refuse to cut my hair, which she quite possibly may chose to go with. 

Whatd'ya think? Keep growing it out or give it a chop. When my hair is long, I want it shorter. When it's shorter, I want it longer. Seriously what is life? Can it not be as easy as those internet barbie games we used to play where you could change their hair back and forth without any issues?! These pictures are persuading me even more, plus look at all the cute options I still have for styling it! Not to worry, I'll keep you posted on what I end up doing.... or not doing! Any hair trends inspiring you to change it up?
post signature

Lancome Rouge in Love Lipsticks

L to R: 275M, 230M, 340B
Another day, another post on my makeup loving antics! Lip products are probably my most purchased item out of all the categories. Whether it be different colours or formulations, I've got a good variety! I've got a lot of lipsticks that hold a special place in my heart but the Lancome Rouge In Love range are definitely one of my faves!

These lipsticks are daily new to the Lancome range compared to some of their more classics ranges but they really diversify the brand as a whole. I always thought that Lancome was a makeup line for older women (except for the Juicy Tubes which I always coveted!) but when they came out with the Rouge in Love line with Emma Watson as their new face, things certainly changed. First of all, look at that packaging! I always thought they looked like bullets or something. They are a departure from the classic black lipstick tubes that lance usually does but that's why I love them. It's one of those lipsticks that you grab from your handbag and make you feel all posh - and who doesn't love that? 

Formulation wise these are really quite interesting. The lipstick bullet actually looks as if the colour would be matte but once you swipe it you'll realize that it actually gives a slight sheen and there are creamy! Very deceiving Lancome! One thing to note is that these are really pigmented so you get great colour payoff and what you see in the tube is what you get on your lips. That begin said, these lipsticks still offer enough moisture and a glossy finish that you don't even need a gloss on top. These are really comfortable to wear all day and I've never had a problem with them drying out my lips but if you have really chapped lips I'd exfoliate and apply balm before to prevent this from catching onto dry skin.

Another thing that makes this range so interesting is the way that they are divided into categories. You have Jolis Matins (M), Boudoir Time (B), and Tonight Is My Night (N). Lipsticks in the M category are day time shades that work well with a variety of looks - perfect for fresh makeup that you can wear to school or work. Shades with the letter B are brighter and trendier shades. In the last category under N, these lipsticks are deep shades that are a cry for attention - statement lips over here! 

I like the mix of the three shades I selected. 230M Rouge Rendez-vouz is a my lips but better shade for me. It's neutral but has just a hint of a coral undertone that's really flattering. 275M Jolie Rosalie is a deeper berry mauve shade that when I applied more heavily actually gives a great deep lip shade (I love this for fall and winter!). Lastly, the brighter shade of the bunch, 340B Rose Boudoir is a flashier version of my favourite peachy-pink selection. I love wearing this with a light bronze look because it adds just the right amount of colour to the face - perfect for summer makeup!

You can find these at Lancome counters or at Sephora. These retail for $30 CAD (£ 21 or $25 USD) and come in 29 shades as the Lancome website suggests (only 17 of which I could find on the Sephora site) which includes limited edition shades out right now for their Spring 2014 collection. I'm definitely eyeing some shades! All in all I think these are well worth the price tag and there is a shade for any preference or season. They last quite long, give off great pigmentation while still maintaining a light feel on the lips and they are comfortable to wear. Love, love, love! 
post signature
Blog Content. © Glorious Peonies | A Lifestyle And Beauty Blog . Blog Template All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.