Monthly Favourites: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Song: I've already raved about "Need The Sun to Break" by James Bay so I will spare you that one, but here are three of my other favourites this month. One is slow and mournful, the other is an upbeat dance song and the last one is a country song, which just goes to show how varied my taste in music is. February was such a good month for discovering new music.

Read: As I mentioned in my Sunday Lately post, I am loving "Before We Were Strangers" by Renee Carlino. As for blogs, I have been a fan of Krista at Covering The Bases for a while now but I have especially been loving her blog lately. I love her classic style, plus she seems really fun and down-to-earth in her YouTube videos. And after reading her recent post on her trip to Jamaica, I am dying to head back there again!

TV Show or Movie: I know I've mentioned this a dozen times, but I am loving Fuller House. Yes, it's cheesy and no, it doesn't compare to the original (not enough Uncle Jesse!) but it's still a fun, cute show to binge-watch. Also, how cute is Max? I don't even like kids but I love his character!

Beauty Product: It's a tie between the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in "Trooper" and the NYC Expert Last Lip Color in "Pure Coral". The eyeliner isn't something I use on a daily basis (mainly because it takes me at least 40 minutes to do a winged eyeliner and I don't have time for that everyday) but it is so good. On the other hand, the lipstick is a product that I use nearly every day lately.

Food: If I could live on smoothie bowls, I probably would. I usually just mix some frozen fruit, yogurt and juice together in the blender, then top it off with sliced bananas, dried strawberries, cocoa and granola. They are so easy, delicious and filling!

Purchase: Plane tickets to Florida, obviously! I know, I haven't even gone on the trip yet but I love that I decided to just go out on a whim and book a spontaneous weekend trip, even if it isn't the most practical thing to do.

Celebrity Look: Can we just talk about how gorgeous Cate Blanchett looked in Armani Privé at the Oscars last night? That color! The flowers! The silhouette! I didn't even watch the show and I can't get this dress out of my mind. 

Happy Leap Day everyone! I hope your Monday wasn't too bad. After working three night shifts and barely sleeping today, I am like a zombie over here. Hoping that I will feel better tomorrow!

Sunday Lately: February 21 - 28

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe - KatyAngelicaMeghan and Nicole. Each week they present five new prompts to describe what is happening in your life that week.  This weeks prompts are Planning, Loving, Reading, Wishing and Feeling.

Planning: Our upcoming weekend trip to Florida! Surprise! I know, it's a bit crazy to fly to Florida for a weekend but there was great price on direct flights and to be honest, we just need to get away for a few days. Even despite having an unseasonably warm and dry winter, it still depresses me beyond belief. Combine that with my constant wanderlust and a little persuasion from Jordan (I was actually the one on the fence about going) and we decided to book the tickets. So far we only have our plane tickets and a car rental - we have no hotels booked and no plans, which is just a little stressful for the planner in me. Given that we only have two full days there (and they are on a weekend), I think we are going to skip the theme parks, even though it kills me inside to not go. I'd love any recommendations for hotels, places to eat, or things to do in the Orlando area! I've been there a couple times now but we are trying to make the best of the weekend so we need a solid plan.

A photo posted by Janine (@janineallison) on

Loving: Fuller House (I don't care how cheesy it is!), James Bay and Damien Rice, Snapchat (add me: janineallison), ColourPop, coral lipstick, vacation planning (even if it stresses me out), good weekends at work, and the lack of snow on the ground.

Reading: "Before We Were Strangers" by Renee Carlino. I have to admit, I haven't picked this up in the past week or so, but I really need to make more time for it because I was absolutely loving it. The story is about two friends-turned-lovers who end up living separate lives, then reunite 15 years later. It is definitely worth the read, though I am a sucker for a good love story anyway.

“And in that moment, you realize how little control you have over your own destiny. From the time you’re born, you have no control; you can’t choose your parents, and, unless you’re suicidal, you can’t choose your death. The only thing you can do is choose the person you love, be kind to others, and make your brutally short stint on earth as pleasant as possible.”

Wishing: I know I shouldn't wish away my time but is it Friday yet? I have so much to do before then but I am so ready to get on a plane and leave now.

Feeling: Tired. I used to love working night shifts and now they wreck havoc on my body. Working 12-hour shifts while only sleeping for 3 hours a day tends to have that effect. Not to mention that when I am off, I am then in night-shift mode and cannot sleep at a sensible hour. I have one more night to punch this weekend and then two more this week before our trip and I am praying that they aren't too busy.

Five on Friday: Volume 4

Friday, February 26, 2016

Can I just say that the only thing I like about working nights is that I can stay in bed all day and not feel even a little bit guilty about it? Currently snuggled up with Macy, watching the first episode of "Fuller House" (John Stamos, what is your anti-aging secret?) and writing this. Now, if only I didn't have to work all weekend..

1. I briefly mentioned this in my Sunday Lately post (which later disappeared as a result of me forgetting to save it while trying to fix some formatting issues), but what a great weekend we had last weekend. Honestly, by the time Monday rolled around and it was back to real life, we felt as though we were back from vacation and reality was hitting us hard. Luckily, we have fun plans made for next weekend, which I will hopefully be able to discuss before too long!

2. It is forecasted to hit 9 degrees here today and the majority of our snow is melted, which makes me a very happy girl. Honestly, the weather this month has been on par with the weather we experienced last July and I am crossing my fingers that it means we will have a nice spring and a hot summer. If you follow me on Snapchat (username: janineallison) then you know that I have been breaking out my bright lipstick, rubber boots, and lace shirts in anticipation.

A photo posted by Janine (@janineallison) on

3. Speaking of lipstick, my current favourite costs a whopping $1.50 from Walmart. I'm wearing it in the Instagram photo above and I will hopefully have a review up within the next few days!

4. I've recently become obsessed with smoothie bowls and I have a feeling that I will probably be living on them next week while Jordan is working. Mine definitely aren't pretty enough to photograph (..yet) but I'm working on it!

5. While watching the Brit Awards the other night, I developed a full-on obsession with James Bay. First of all, I happen to think that he is quite attractive but even if he wasn't, that voice (side note: I googled to see how old he is and it's officially okay for me to crush on him). I listened to his entire album on Spotify yesterday and it is just so. good. I think "Need The Sun to Break" is my favourite but "Scars", "Running" and "Incomplete" are awesome as well.

Birchbox February 2016 Review

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sadly, this is the last month for us Canadians to enjoy Birchbox as they will no longer be providing a service to us here due to the poor exchange rate. For this month, I chose the curated "Date Night" box as opposed to regular box, which meant that I knew which products I would be receiving in my box.

Birchbox February 2016

The products arrived in a pink and orange box with pink tissue paper, that was quite similar to the January box.

Whish Renewing Mud MaskOur skin acts up in all sorts of ways (think: random pimples, dryness, and flakiness). Luckily, this exfoliating mask helps us start fresh. Loaded with purifying bakuchiol and organic rose hip oil, the mud sloughs away dead skin while softening with kaolin. Meanwhile, mucor miehei extract and bionatural tropical enzymes work together to refresh and renew skin, revealing a smoother, brighter, trouble-free complexion. Another plus? The nourishing formula is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Approximate sample value: $14.50.

Review: Apparently Aerie sells Whish products, though I couldn't find this particular one on the website. No odds, because I wouldn't recommend it. It isn't necessarily bad but I don't find it particularly effective either. It is slightly gritty but not enough to effectively exfoliate and I didn't feel like it benefited my skin in any way. It smells like peaches to me which is a bit odd for a mud mask, but pleasant nonetheless. Also, this looks like a decent sample size but it was mostly air - there was barely any product in the tube, which makes the approximate sample value much less than what it seems.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar Liquid LipstickWarning: These intense matte shades of red are not for the faint of heart. Offering opaque coverage and amazing color payoff, these cult-favorite liquid lipsticks are infused with hemp and peppermint oils for a silky feel, plus they’re vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and free of silicones and artificial preservatives. Choose between deep burgundy Vintage, classic red NSFW, brown-toned burgundy Anita, and purple-red Strumpet. Bonus: The colors can be blended to create unique hues, and product can be layered for a glossier look (can you say versatile?). Approximate sample value: $9.96 (price based on US Amazon product pricing).

Review: Honestly, the reason I chose this box is because I wanted to try this product and I liked the color that was included. However, it was a total let down! It appears to be in a tube with a wand on the Bircbox website which would improve my opinion as it would be easier to apply. The only other option would be to apply it with a brush because the pointed top of this tube is useless. The color was nice, but I struggled so much trying to apply it that I looked like a clown and simply removed it again. It also applied really patchy but again, that could be due to the tube. Smells slightly minty which is the only redeeming factor at this point.

Catherine Malandrino Romance de Provence No one knows fragrance like the French, and this sophisticated eau de parfum from Grenoble-born designer Catherine Malandrino proves it. Inspired by the Provence region, it begins with subtle fruity layers and opens up to a floral bouquet of jasmine, orange flower, rose, violet and lily (all against a backdrop of powder musk, amber, and patchouli). Both sweet and sleek, it provides a je ne sais quoi that lingers all day. Approximate sample value: $3.38.

Review: I'm not generally a fan of floral scents, but this is a warm, sweet scent that I actually enjoy. It isn't something that I will wear on a daily basis but I wore it out the night of the Dragonette concert and got a few compliments! The scent lasted all night too, which is definitely a bonus. I just wish the sample was in a spray form.

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Brightening Illuminator | You just can’t beat the convenience of painting on highlighter with a brush. And now we’ve found the perfect formula to go with the perfect applicator: one that goes on smooth, dries to a pearlescent finish, and has just the right amount of shimmer (hint: not too much). This velvety highlighter works for all skin tones, delivering a subtle sheen that lights up your features. It's an ace at strobing, or just adding a little extra brightness to cheekbones, brows, and the inner corners of your eyes. Approximate sample value: Unknown, but full size retails at $32, so my guess is about $4.

Review: It seems that this is a Birchbox exclusive product which is a shame, as it's actually quite nice. It has a pink undertone that reminds me of Benefit's "High Beam" and provides a nice sheen on my skin. I haven't actually used this yet (only swatched it) but I'm looking forward to giving it a real try.

Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray As the saying goes, a jack of all trades is typically a master of none. Not so for amika™’s Bombshell Blowout spray, which successfully works on both damp and dry hair to give you the perfect bombshell blowout. The lightweight spray performs a variety of functions, protecting, nourishing, smoothing, and volumizing hair. We apply it to damp strands before blow-drying to provide heat protection, texture, and lift. It also serves as a light hold mist for dry hair and can facilitate restyling. In keeping with its multipurpose personality, it works on all hair types, including color-treated hair. Approximate sample value: $3.30.

Review: I received this product in my January Birchbox, which I reviewed here. I'm not sure why they would include a product (even in the curated box) which had been used the month before, but I cannot really complain as I chose this box. Anyway, I've been using my sample from January and it is growing on me, though I have to use it very sparingly so that it doesn't make my hair oily. It does provide some lift at the roots though, which I desperately need. I'm not sure if I will keep this sample or give it to a friend as it will take me a while to use my other one.

Overall, this box was just okay for me. I wasn't a fan of the mask or the lipstick, but I enjoyed the perfume and the highlighter. The spray is a repeat for me and is just okay. The approximate retail value of this box is $35.14, which is higher than last month and a good value. I am definitely sad that this will be my last Birchbox!

Obviously it would be pointless for Canadians to sign up but if anyone from the US/UK would like to join Birchbox, I'd love if you used my referral link.

Description of products taken from the Birchbox website.  For calculation of value, prices based on current Canadian price on Birchbox website. Prices may vary on other websites. This post contains affiliate links.

Valentine's Day Haul: Kate Spade, Sephora, Victoria's Secret & more!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

While in St. John's for the weekend, I decided to do a little Valentine's Day shopping for myself, because why not? There's no better time than the holiday of pink and red to splurge and buy yourself the shoes (and the makeup, or whatever else you want). I even bought myself $3 roses the day after Valentine's Day because I love having fresh flowers in the house and you can't beat that price.

Ha, I bet you were expecting something more scandalous in that Victoria's Secret bag but alas, I bought a new makeup case. They have a ton of adorable makeup bags in every shape and size in store and I had a hard time choosing but ultimately decided on this one. I like how it is clear so that you can see what is inside and the shape allows you to search for items more easily than a zip-top pouch. I cannot find this exact one on the website but it retails for $26 CAN in store. This one is similar, though a bit more expensive.

The boots are from Globo Shoes and they are the K Studio Fusagasuga booties. I'm actually kind of annoyed because I paid full price for them and now they are on sale for $30 and I am two hours away from the store, ugh! Anyway, I went to the store in search of casual ankle booties and left with these but I've been wanting a pair of black suede wedge boots for a while (I featured a similar pair here) so no harm done. I really wanted to wear them downtown on Saturday night but alas, the 20cm of snow ruined that plan.

From Sephora I picked up the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in "Trooper", a travel-size version of the Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara, the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleanser, the Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in "Amarone" and the Sephora Collection Small Pencil Sharpener. I also picked up samples of the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation and the YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint Foundation. I really wanted to get the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in "Aubergine" but it was sold out so I had to settle for the non-matte pencil. The color is nice but the wear time isn't great, however, I suppose that is to be expected with a non-matte color. I am really into dark berry-colored lips right now, which is a bit odd as I am normally a lover of all things pink.

My Valentine's Day gift from Jordan hadn't arrived in the mail prior to Valentine's Day so I didn't receive it until last night. Turns out that he took a hint from my Valentine's Day Gift Guide For Her post and purchased the Kate Spade "Rise and Shine" stud earrings (in sapphire!) for me.

Anyone who knows me knows that navy is my favourite color and I'm a lover of all things Kate Spade, which means that these are right up my alley! I must say, Jordan always does a great job of picking out jewelry for me (even if he had a little help this time around) and I am never disappointed! Now, if only he would buy that engagement ring.. ha! 

Book Review: "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Title: Wild

Author: Cheryl Strayed

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir 

Synopsis: Following her mother's death, a divorce, and a short stint of drugs and random hook-ups, Cheryl Strayed decides to hike over a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone and with no hiking experience.

Review: I know I'm a few years late to this book as it was published in 2012, but I am glad that I finally took the time to read it. I actually picked up a hard copy of this in a used bookstore a couple years ago and can I just take the time to say how much I miss holding an actual book in my hands? 95% of the time I read books on my Kindle but I honestly think that reading the actual book made the experience that much better. Anyway, back to the review. I really enjoyed this book, but it definitely seems to be a love-or-hate type of novel. Really, the story mainly just involves her walking countless miles, meeting the occasional person or animal, and finding peace with her mother's death. It isn't the most exciting novel and she can certainly come across as self-absorbed at times (not to mention, hiking a gruelling trail with no prior hiking experience and minimal research is pretty careless), but I still enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for memoirs and also anything to do with setting up camp as it takes me back to my childhood and Little House on the Prairie (is there an adult version of those books?)

Rating: 4/5

Other Musings:
- I never wanted to hike until I read this book and now I cannot wait for summer so I can go hiking (and camping).
- I read the entire book thinking it was the "Pacific Coast Trail", not the "Pacific Crest Trail". I'm actually pretty embarrassed to admit that.
- I watched the movie last night and I didn't really enjoy it. The plot made for a good book because of the detail and the author's thoughts and feelings but it did not translate well to a movie. 
- I actually enjoy the author's writing style so I will definitely check out some of her other books.

Did you read this book or any others by Cheryl Strayed? Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts?

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I am currently reading!

Weekend Recap: Yellowbelly and Dragonette

Monday, February 15, 2016

Apologies for the radio silence over here but I have been just miserable with a head cold and possible sinus infection - glamorous, right? I've been feeling under the weather since Thursday night but a combination of Advil Cold & Sinus and Benylin Cold & Sinus pills finally have me feeling like a normal human being tonight.

Despite being sick all weekend, I was not letting it get in the way of my plans! We woke up bright and early Saturday morning and headed to St. John's with our friends for the Dragonette show. After a little pre-Valentine's Day shopping at the mall, we headed to our hotel around 3pm to get ready for supper and the show. It was beginning to snow at this point and the snow was falling fast and furious! By the time we hailed a cab to go downtown for supper, the roads were snow covered and we were informed by our cab driver that the busses and cabs were being taken off the road. Needless to say, we didn't really relax long enough to truly enjoy our meal at Yellowbelly Brewery because we were all too stressed about how we were going to get back to the hotel! Both myself and Tara were wearing wedges and there was no way I was walking back to the hotel in a snow storm while in wedges.

Because of the aforementioned crisis, I was a bad blogger and this was the only photo I took during supper. I really wish I had taken a photo of the restaurant because it was gorgeous with its exposed beams and brick walls! I ordered the Four Cheese & Chicken Caesar Pizza with a side of poutine and both were delicious! Shame on me for not taking more photos during supper.

After supper we managed to hail a cab, thankfully! It may have taken us 10 minutes to make it up over a snow-covered hill downtown but luckily we made it back to our hotel safe and sound. After doing our hair and makeup, changing our outfits, and having a few drinks, we headed back downtown again. Thankfully at this point the snow was stopped, though we had accumulated about 20cm over the span of a few hours.

Around 10pm we headed to Allure because although the show wasn't scheduled to start until 11:30pm, we wanted to get next to the stage. There wasn't a big crowd that night, probably due to weather, so we actually had the perfect view. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with Dragonette, they are a Canadian electronic music band comprised of Martina (lead singer/songwriter), her husband Dan (bassist/producer) and their friend Joel (drummer). We actually seen them in concert a few years ago but I wasn't familiar with a lot of their music at the time. They are one of Jordan's favourite bands so they have definitely grown on me since then! A few of my favourite songs include "Run, Run, Run", "Let The Night Fall" and "Outlines" (with Mike Mago). Their new song "Red Black Heart" with Dada and Paul Harris is also amazing. Most people probably recognize them from "Hello" or "Big in Japan" though. I highly recommend you check out all of those songs but I'll include a few of my favourite videos below!

After the show we stuck around and actually had the opportunity to meet up with Dan and Joel! I always feel weird meeting celebrities because I have no idea what to say to them but it was a great experience regardless. Around 2:30am, we picked up poutine and mozza sticks and headed back to the hotel for our very early wake up call at 9am. Needless to say, it was no surprise that I was feeling terrible yesterday! 

A photo posted by Jamie Chafe (@jc__designer) on

I didn't take any photos downtown so I stole this one from Jamie's Instagram! Perry had a really nice photo of us on his Instagram as well but I couldn't embed it for some reason.

After getting home on Sunday, I had a nap, watched Gilmore Girls and ate garlic fingers - not exactly a typical Valentine's Day but I was too miserable to care! Overall, we had a great weekend with the best friends and that is all that matters to me! Hope you guys all had a lovely weekend as well.

Five on Friday: Volume 3

Friday, February 12, 2016

Writing this post a day early as I will be working all day Friday, then packing for our weekend trip!  It's calling for 15cm+ of snow on Saturday into Sunday and we are really hoping that the band makes it in for the concert. Also, can I just say that this snow is really messing with my outfit plans? It's just not realistic to walk in 15cm of snow with heels. Anyway, here are five things that caught my eye this week.

1. Starbucks has three limited edition drinks for Valentine's Day. The three drinks - Molten Hot Chocolate, Molten Chocolate Frappuccino, and the Molten Chocolate Latte - are only available until February 14th, so you better run, not walk, to your nearest Starbucks! The closest Starbucks is two hours away from me but I will be there on Saturday, so I may pick up one of these to try. I'm thinking the frappuccino, though I'm afraid that I will fall in love with it and then not be able to get it anymore.

2. J.K. Rowling is publishing an 8th Harry Potter book! Okay, this is life changing for all of us die-hard Harry Potter fans. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" will be published on July 31st, 2016 and begins 19 years after "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows" ends. The only downside is that it will be published as a script as opposed to a typical narrative book, but I will happily take whatever Harry Potter I can get.

3. All of Rory's boyfriends are joining the Gilmore Girls revival. I was mainly just happy to hear that Milo Ventimiglia is returning as Jess. I was initially Team Dean (and very much anti-Jess) when I watched Gilmore Girls the first time, when it was actually on TV. Apparently I had a thing for the floppy-haired boy-next-door type, but now I'm all about the bad boys so Team Jess all the way! As for Logan, I never liked him. I just started watching the first season of Gilmore Girls over again in anticipation of the Netflix revival and if you haven't watched it before, I recommend you start right now.

4. I finally placed a Colour Pop order this week! I actually ordered through a local group buy in order to cut back on shipping costs but we are definitely going to get nailed with customs so I probably won't be any better off in the end. I ordered a blush, a highlighter, a lippy stix (ugh, hate that name), an ultra matte lipstick, a lip primer, and an eyeshadow. I've been wanting to try their products for a while and I will definitely post a review when they arrive!

5. According to a study, the cost of love is $61,821. This is based on one year of dating, a one year engagement, and one year of marriage and apparently it has increased by 22.8% since last year.  It's really interesting to see the costs broken down by each year! Of course, not everyone spends that much money in their relationship. We hardly ever do fancy dates (or even casual dates, really) and obviously not everyone spends $5000 on an engagement ring (I wish!). I find it odd that the study doesn't consider the cost of gift-giving though. Personally, I love buying Jordan gifts, though it gets harder with each passing year.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Review: Lorac Mega Pro 2 Palette

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lorac Mega Pro 2 Review

I was so excited to win this gorgeous Lorac Mega Pro 2 eyeshadow palette in Adaleta's giveaway, so a big thank you to her! After you finish reading this review, go check out her page and give her some love!

You guys, this palette is amazing.  I kind of hate reviewing it because it was limited edition and no longer available for purchase but if you can get your hands on one, snatch it up!  It retailed for $59 US for 0.45oz and I believe that it is worth the price, though I'm sure it would cost significantly more than that here in Canada.

This eyeshadow palette contains 32 shades - 16 matte and 16 shimmer.  The shades are mostly neutral with a few orange, pink, purple and blue shades as well.  The eyeshadows are unbelievably buttery to touch and pack a lot of pigment. These shadows can also be used wet or dry. There is a bit of fall out when swiped with the brush but I haven't noticed any on application. The shimmer shades have more pigmentation than the mattes, but all of these shadows last all day on my eyes without needing any touch-ups.

Check out the swatches below!  These are one-swipe applications with my fingertip.

 Top-Bottom: Porcelain, Custard, Tawny, Burlap, Melon, Tangerine, Saddle, Forest

Top-Bottom: Bisque, Lavender, Purple, Sorbet, Goji, Cabernet, Ash, Black

Top-Bottom: Sugar, Chiffon, Prosecco, Soft Plum, Cinnamon, Sandstone, Gunmetal, Blue Quartz

Top-Bottom: Moonlight, Seashell, Peony, Dk. Sienna, Penny, Olivine, Gold Leaf, Black Ivy

As you can see, the pigmentation from the shimmer shades is absolutely incredible.  My favourites are Cabernet, Prosecco, Soft Plum, Sandstone, Penny, Olivine and Gold Leaf.  I'm dying to try these out with my weekend look!

Lorac is difficult to find in Canada, but it looks as if you can buy it on Amazon (US website) or Nordstrom. As I said, this particular palette is limited edition and no longer available, but you can still purchase the Lorac Pro Palette or the Lorac Pro Palette 2.  I'd also love to try some other products from Lorac, including the Unzipped PalettePro Matte Lip Color and the Sheer POREfection Foundation. Also, for those of you who are in the United States, Nordstrom is currently running a gift with purchase with any $65 Lorac purchase!

Have you ever tried any Lorac products? Any recommendations?

What to Wear: Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I am sure that most everyone has their plans made for the holiday (yes, watching Netflix still counts). Jordan and I are heading to the city for the weekend with our friends, which makes it a non-traditional Valentine's Day for us this year.  I have absolutely no qualms about that though - the more the merrier!  Below I've compiled a few outfit ideas for the holiday, whether your plan is to party (like us!), enjoy a fancy dinner, or just stay in and relax.

Skirt (less than $25!) |  Boots | Tights | Necklace | Wristlet

We are heading St. John's on Saturday for the Dragonette concert, which just so happens to be at a club downtown.  It may be a day before the official holiday but you can bet that we will still be partying well into Sunday!  The weather (more snow, boo) is interfering with my dream outfit, which would be the one I have featured above.  I'm not sure why but I am loving all-black lately, which is odd considering I am normally a pastel-loving girly girl.  However, the adorable sparkly pink Kate Spade wristlet adds a girly touch to an otherwise dark and grungy outfit.

Bag | Dress (less than $50!) | Shoes | Earrings | Coat

This is an outfit that is suitable for a more typical Valentine's Day celebration - a fancy dinner date.  Personally, I'm not a huge fan of dining out on Valentine's Day, simply because it is always so busy, but it is nice to splurge on a restaurant that you generally wouldn't go to.  The dress and shoes are both super affordable (which makes up for the expensive but swoon-worthy coat) and could easily be worn again for a different occasion.  

PJ Pants | Tee (these are my favourite) | Socks | Phone Case | Faux Fur Throw

Honestly, if it weren't for the concert, this is probably what I would be wearing for Valentine's Day.  These days, I am more than happy to spend the day lounging around in comfy clothes, watching Netflix and eating yummy snacks.  We just started re-watching Gilmore Girls tonight and I have a feeling that we will at least spend part of Sunday watching TV in our pajamas.

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?

Birchbox January 2016 Review

Monday, February 8, 2016

To be honest, I contemplated even posting this review after learning that Birchbox is suspending its Canadian services.  I mean, I understand why they are doing it, given the poor Canadian exchange rate right now.  We were only paying $5 more per box than our American neighbours, yet our dollar is worth over 25% less at the moment.  I kind of wish they just raised the prices as opposed to completely cutting it out, though.  At least we would have the option to continue on if we so desired! Anyway, business is business and it's all about the money, so it is what it is.  The most disappointing thing, however, was finding out through the media quite a while before we heard any official word from Birchbox themselves. I finally received an e-mail from them last week, which stated the following:

Hi Janine,
We are sad to let you know that we have made the difficult decision to put our Canada operations on hold. We love our Canadian customers, but with the current exchange rate and high shipping costs, we can't deliver the Birchbox experience at a price that is fair to you. We will do what we can to make that a possibility; until then, please know that we sincerely appreciate your support and enthusiasm for Birchbox, and we plan to take good care of our Canadian subscribers as we wind down in this market.  

  • For all subscribers, February 2016 will be your last Birchbox shipment.
  • You will no longer be billed after February.
  • The Birchbox Shop will be open through April 30, 2016, and you have until that date to spend all of your Birchbox Points. 
Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions or feedback. We are available at
Thank you again for all of your support, and we hope to see you again in the future.
Katia Beauchamp
Co-Founder and CEO

So while I am sad to see it go (especially because I only signed up in December), I figured I would at least review my last two boxes.  In the meantime, I requested to sign up for Toxbox and I also signed up for the quarterly Luxe Box. I generally only subscribe to subscription boxes for a few months at a time before I become overwhelmed with samples anyway.

Anyway, on to the review.

Birchbox January 2016 Review

The products arrived in an adorable pink, purple and orange box which had "2016, The Year Of ___" written across the top.  Inside were stickers which you could use to fill in the blank.  I chose "creativity" for myself!  Inside the box was five products wrapped in pink tissue paper.  I received the following:

Juara Candlenut Body Creme Traditional healers of Indonesia weren’t messing around when they pinpointed candlenut oil as a cure for severely dry skin. The centuries-old balm is rich in fatty acids, which makes it a great natural hydrator and all-around skin-smoother. It's velvety formula, inspired by venerable Balinese recipes, penetrates deep into dry, rough skin for instant, nongreasy softness that lasts and lasts. Approximate sample value: $2.20.

Review: This is a teeny sample but if the price of the full-size creme wasn't so expensive, I would consider purchasing it.  It's a thick and moisturizing cream but the best part is the scent!  It has a nutty, fruity, tropical scent that reminds me of a tanning lotion that I used to use when I tanned in the tanning salon (no worries, I learned that lesson!). 

Biorepublic Skincare Cucumber Breeze Soothing Fiber Mask (set of 3) | Save your veggies for your salad – cucumber slices are getting a serious upgrade. These soothing sheet masks bring the spa to us via natural cucumber extract, plumping plant collagen, and healing vitamin E. The powerful antioxidants and cooling powers of cucumber tighten pores, reduce the appearance of lines, and calm our stressed-out complexions, leaving us with smooth, happy skin. Who knew one little veggie could do all that? Approximate sample value: $7.

Review: I really enjoyed this mask! It smelled fresh (like cucumbers, duh) and left my skin soft and glowing. My only issue with this product is that it was so saturated with liquid that I accidentally ripped it while trying to open it up.

TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint Though a stain that stubbornly spends the day on your winter white job interview ensemble is not a good look, a stain that stays put on your lips is a completely different story. This lightweight, super pigmented formula goes on your lips with a fruity smelling sheen, and dries quickly for a sheer, matte finish that won’t budge all day. It’s easy to create deeper color by adding layers of this non-drip formula, which moisturizes lips with rosehip and aragan oils. Plus, this long-lasting tint contains jojoba seed oil, which promotes cellular regeneration and elasticity for younger looking lips. Approximate sample value: $2.

Review: At first I wasn't too sure about this product. It has a watery texture that reminds me of fake blood for some reason. It's really cool and slippery initially, but it does dry really quickly which makes it difficult to achieve a non-patchy application. It's easy to apply a second layer once the first is dry, though. Once it's on your lips, it lasts for a few hours! I actually love applying this now and knowing I don't have to worry about reapplication for a few hours. It also doesn't feel uncomfortable or dry on the lips. 

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Highlighter | There’s a reason contouring is the newest makeup craze—it plays up bone structure like nobody’s business. And the trick to getting that flawless dewy look is all in the highlighter. Formulated with tiny gleaming flecks, this illuminating cream puts the spotlight on your best features (think: cheek and brow bones) so you always look picture-perfect—no retouching needed. Approximate sample value: $6.30.

Review:  This product has great reviews on Sephora but I wasn't impressed. I have very fair skin and this seemed to disappear when swatched! I haven't actually tried it on my face yet, so perhaps my opinion will change then but I wasn't thrilled with the swatch.

Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray As the saying goes, a jack of all trades is typically a master of none. Not so for amika™’s Bombshell Blowout spray, which successfully works on both damp and dry hair to give you the perfect bombshell blowout. The lightweight spray performs a variety of functions, protecting, nourishing, smoothing, and volumizing hair. We apply it to damp strands before blow-drying to provide heat protection, texture, and lift. It also serves as a light hold mist for dry hair and can facilitate restyling. In keeping with its multipurpose personality, it works on all hair types, including color-treated hair. Approximate sample value: $3.30.

Review: I had really high hopes for this product as I've heard amazing things about their dry shampoo, not to mention that the packaging is adorable! Sadly, it just doesn't work for my hair. It smells lovely and I will try it again but so far, it seems to be weighing down my fine hair and making it oily. I have another one of these coming in my next box as I chose the curated Valentine's Day box and I will be passing it along to someone else.

Overall, I did enjoy this box as I liked the lotion, the mask and the lip stain.  The highlighter and blowout spray didn't work for me but seem to have a lot of positive reviews from others.  I liked the variety of products in this box, much improved over my December box which had three hair products. The total approximate value of this box is $20.80 CAN, which is approximately $6 more than what I paid.

Obviously it would be pointless for Canadians to sign up but if anyone from the US/UK would like to join Birchbox, I'd love if you used my referral link.

Description of products taken from the Birchbox website.  For calculation of value, prices based on current Canadian price on Birchbox website. Prices may vary on other websites.

Sunday Lately: February 1 - 7

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe - KatyAngelicaMeghan and Nicole. Each week they present five new prompts to describe what is happening in your life this week.  This weeks prompts are Updating, Remembering, Needing, Wearing, and Being.

Updating: This blog at the moment! I also updated my Pinterest boards earlier this week and created a "Blog Reviews" board. My Pinterest could still use some tidying and I really ought to change my username to match my other social media websites, but I cannot get "janineallison" and that bothers me.  I also plan to update my "Disclaimer" page and I am contemplating adding a separate page with either my favourite products or a wishlist of things I'd like to own - any thoughts or preferences? I'm hoping to also get my January Birchbox review written today and scheduled for tomorrow considering it's nearly halfway through Februrary now.

Remembering: Jordan is currently writing a Psychology quiz and I am reminiscing about my plans to become a Psych major in university. I found the courses really fascinating but ultimately feel like I made the right decision to change my major after my first year.

Needing: To write my January Birchbox review, clean the house and visit Jordan's family.

Wearing: At the moment, pyjama pants and a long-sleeved tee. Recently I've been attempting to break out of my sweaters and leggings combinations and start wearing some spring clothes, like florals, bright colors, and distressed jeans. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am also feeling all-black outfits lately and will probably wear one to the concert next week (followed by something girly for Valentine's Day on Sunday).

Being: Surprised at how much I've come to enjoy this little hobby of mine. I love the creative aspect of it and I also relish the opportunity to write and improve my writing. The icing on top of the cake is when people that I know in real life provide positive feedback! I've received a number of compliments from co-workers and friends since starting this blog and it truly means the world to me that someone else is interested in my thoughts and opinions, so thank you for your support!

Also, just discovered that the lovely Wendy has featured me as her February blog of the month, which I appreciate ever-so-much!  I've been following her blog for quite some time and I highly recommend you check her out if you enjoy lifestyle & beauty blogs!
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