Best of Beauty 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016


I considered breaking this down into each individual category (much like the Ride or Die tag does) but decided at the last minute to just list my favourite products from this past year. 2016 was the year that I really delved into the world of makeup and beauty products. Sure, I dabbled in the past, but this is the first year that I've developed a full-fledged obsession with it. While I plan to cut back on my beauty spending in 2017, I hope to actually do more beauty-related posts here on the blog. Becoming a member of the Canadian Beauty Bloggers group has been one of my favourite experiences this year and I've met some incredible people through the group so I want to continue building those relationships in 2017. Anyway, here are my favourite beauty products of the past year.
Anastasia Beverly Hill Modern Renaissance Palette | After missing out on the palette during the summer, I refused to let it slip through my hands again (thankfully it's now a permanent item). Jordan picked this up for me during the VIB Sale but I didn't get my hands on it until Christmas and yes, it still made the list because it's just that good! The formula is incredibly soft, buttery and pigmented and blends with little to no effort. Just trust me on this one - it's amazing.

Lorac Mega Pro 2 Palette | Before the Modern Renaissance palette came into my life, this was my go-to. I won this in a blog giveaway early this year and I've been using it frequently since then. Again, the shadows and super soft and pigmented, plus there's a great variety of colors and finishes. Lorac is really difficult to obtain in Canada or else I would have definitely picked up the newer Mega Pro 3 palette as well. My review of the palette is here.

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in "S50" | All of the eyeliners in this collection are amazing (you can read my review here) but my favourite everyday eye pencil is "S50", which is described as a "satiny taupe".

Essence Forbidden Volume Mascara | I picked this up at the drugstore for $4.99 after a recommendation from Samantha and it actually turned into my favourite mascara this year. Not only is it affordable, but it lengthens and volumizes my lashes with no irritation, flaking or smudging.

L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in "Blonde" | 2016 was definitely the year for brows and this ended up being a product that I repurchased as I enjoyed it that much. Affordable, accessible, easy to use, and a great color match for my brows.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick | I don't even have a favourite color in this liquid lipstick - it just happens to be my favourite formula of matte liquid lipstick that I've tried. I have 7-8 colors in my collection and I keep buying more because I love the comfortable, non-drying formula.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in "Lovecraft" | This was my go-to matte lipstick in a tube. The color is a universally flattering mauve-y pink shade and is cult favourite for a reason.

Marc Jacobs Le Creme Lipstick in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" | I received a mini version of this in my birthday gift from Sephora but it is definitely going to be a repurchase for me. The color is a gorgeous medium pink but the wear time and comfort of this lipstick is my favourite. It seems to stain the lips so the color lasts forever and is one of my favourites to wear at work.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in "Lumiere" | I love the ColourPop Lippie Stix in general but this is the perfect every day color that I found myself reaching for over and over again this year. If you haven't figured it out already, neutral mauvey pinks are my go-to in lip colors!

ColourPop Ultra Satin Lip | While I can't say I reached for one particular color of this product, I do love the formula so I felt that I had to include it on the list. It's pigmented, comfortable and long lasting, plus insanely affordable!

YSL Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick Lipstick in 49 | This is another product that I only received at Christmas but it made the list regardless. Naturally, anything YSL is going to be super luxurious and this is no exception. I love the splash of color it provides and while the moisturizing effect doesn't last, the stain of color does. These are quite expensive but I would love to add a couple more colors to my collection!

Maison Jacynthe Blush in "Juliette" | I raved about this blush here and it remains my favourite blush this year. It's a gorgeous light peachy pink shade that blended beautifully and lasts all day.
Wet Brush | After years of my hair stylist suggesting I try a wet brush, I finally tried one this year and it has changed my life, honestly. I've since recommended this to everyone I know who has tangly, difficult hair. Now I can easily brush through my wet hair with minimal knots or pain. I have a travel size version and two full-size versions so that I am never without one!

Milkshake Silver Shine Shampoo | Another recommendation by my amazing hair stylist! After dying my hair a silvery-grey color, he gave me a bottle of this to try and I will never go back to any other purple shampoo. This smells amazing, lathers well, and is the most pigmented of any purple shampoo I've tried. If I leave it on for 4-5 minutes, it actually turns my hair a light purple shade.
MyChelle Refining Sugar Cleanser | This is another product that I reviewed on the blog (see this post) and fell in love with. It's a gentle exfoliating sugar and cream cleanser and I am sad that my tube is nearly empty! I will have to repurchase this in the new year for sure.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water & Makeup Remover | I use this in the waterproof version and I've already repurchased it twice. This does an excellent job at removing my makeup without irritating my skin. It is so gentle, even around my eyes. Not only that but it's affordable as well, which is always a bonus in my opinion!
YSL Black Opium | I discovered my new signature scent this year, in the form of this perfume. It's sweet, spicy and sultry all at once, and the one scent that I've been wearing consistently this year.

Beauty Blender | For years I swore by the Real Techniques version of the Beauty Blender because I refused to pay $30 for the original, however, after Jordan gifted me one this year, I've been converted. I use this every single day to blend out my foundation and concealer, therefore it would be wrong not to include it in this list!

What are your favourite beauty products of 2016? I'd love to hear from you!

2016 Goals in Review

Friday, December 30, 2016


On January 21st, 2016, I started this blog with my very first post titled "Goals for 2016". I can't believe that (nearly) a year later, I'm still here. Granted my blogging has been sporadic for the past couple months but I'm ready to dig in my heels and get back into blogging in the new year. However, I figure I owe you all an update on my original goals for the year which.. if we're being honest here, were mostly unsuccessful. But hey, there's always 2017!

Get Healthy | I did well with this.. for the first month. Joined the gym, worked out 3-4 times a week, then didn't bother to renew my gym membership. I bought an elliptical a few months ago.. and I still haven't stepped on it. Went to one zumba class but the instructor hurt herself and has been off since then. Went to one yoga class and enjoyed it but failed to book anymore. However, my clothes no longer fit right, my self-confidence has plummeted, and my back is in terrible shape. Therefore, this is absolutely being placed at the top of the list (once again) for 2017.

Wear Lipstick Every Day | I didn't literally wear lipstick every day but I did fall in love with makeup in general this year. I always wear makeup now, even to work, and I make an effort to wear lipstick regularly. Of course, I probably doubled my collection in 2016 as well but hey, I could have a worse addiction.

Pay Off Bills | I came so close to having my credit card paid off and then Christmas came along. Hopefully by early 2017!

Save, Save, Save | Nope, nope, nope. I need a rain check on this one.

Read 12 Books | According to my Goodreads account, I've read ten books so far this year and I am currently working on #11. I didn't quite reach my goal but I'm still okay with that. Both Jordan and I have been on a reading kick lately so I'm hoping to start next year off strong.

Overall, I basically sucked at accomplishing my goals so you can expect to see most of these on my list for 2017 as well. However, I did manage to keep my little blog alive for a year, so I am pretty impressed with that.

Did you set any goals for 2016? Did you accomplish them?

Review: Sole Patches

Monday, December 26, 2016


When you hear the words "soul patch", I'm sure you think of the creepy facial hair. But no, there is a new Sole Patch in town.  Sole Patches are flower-shaped adhesive pads that allow you to comfortably wear your favourite shoes all day long. I don't know about you, but I struggle to wear heels for any amount of time. In fact, 99% of the time I will choose wedges over a heel, but even they can get uncomfortable if I have to walk long distances (my friends can affirm this as I tend to whine.. a lot).

For years I've been using insoles in my shoes, both for comfort and also to make them fit better as finding size 5 shoes can be struggle. However, there are times when I want the comfort of an insole without the bulkiness. This is where Sole Patches excel! Sole Patches can be applied directly to a clean, dry foot, or to the inside of a shoe. I chose the latter as I expect I will get more use out of them if they are in the shoe itself. You can apply them to the front or back of your foot, depending on which area causes you discomfort. For me, I find the front of my foot tends to hurt more, so that is where I applied mine. Bonus: it keeps my feet from sliding forward in my shoes, which is a common reason why women experience pain while wearing heels.

Sole Patches are equipped with medical-grade adhesive and will withstand up to 24 hours of wear.  Each box contains six patches. Sole Patches are moisture-repelling, odor-repelling, anti-microbial and shock-absorbing. I wore mine in my gorgeous sparkly booties during Jordan's Christmas party and felt no discomfort whatsoever!

Sole Patches retail for $9.95 US for six and can be purchased here. I am unsure if any local stores carry them but I will let you know if I find them!

The products in this post were provided complimentary for review purposes through BrandBacker. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and based on my personal experience. 

White Willow December 2016 Review

Friday, December 23, 2016

Despite receiving a tracking email earlier in the month I had totally forgotten about the arrival of my White Willow box so it was a nice, unexpected surprise! White Willow is a Canadian, bi-monthly lifestyle subscription box.  It features a combination of beauty, decor, food, style and home products and retails for $49.95 + S&H every two months. I received my first box in October and I was quite pleased. It's such a fun, luxurious subscription box that is different from anything else I've ever tried before.


White Willow does an amazing job with packaging, there's no doubt about that. Once again, the products arrived in the signature white box, wrapped in white tissue paper and tied with a ribbon. It's almost too pretty to unwrap! Inside, the products were nestled amongst shredded paper and mini candy canes. In the December box I received the following five items:

Double Layered White Marble Necklace | Prior to each box, White Willow releases one sneak peak and for the December box, the item was this necklace. Luckily, I loved it! I mean, I'm a huge fan of anything gold and/or marble, plus I love the length of the necklace and the fact that it can be dressed up or down. However, White Willow claims that the retail value of the necklace is $28 CAD, however, I found it here for $3.11, which is quite disappointing.


Greenmarket Purveying Co. Gilded Winter Candle in "Glistening Snow" & Matches | First of all, the candle and matches were carefully packaged in bubble wrap, which I really appreciate. There's nothing worse than receiving a smashed up product due to poor packaging! As for the product itself, it is a small candle and I'm not a huge fan of the scent, though I will probably use it regardless. It came with a cute pack of matches in a metallic box. Suggested retail price is $17 CAD. The candle can be found here for $10 USD and similar matches can be found here for $1.50 USD.

Manna Kadar Lip Locked Priming Gloss Stain in "Lucky" | I've never heard of this brand before but I was definitely pleased with the color, which is described as "nude petal pink". I think it's a color that would look great on anyone! I also love the formula of this product. It's moisturizing, comfortable on the lips, yet pigmented and long-lasting. Suggested retail value is $32 CAD and can be found here for $24 USD.


Kocostar Dry Hands Rescue Mask | I've heard of masks for dry hands but I've never tried one, so I was excited to see this in my box. I have super dry hands in the winter so I'm sure it will come in handy (..no pun intended, hah!). The mask retails for $5 CAD and can be found here.

Murchie's Fine Tea & Coffee Chocolate Chip Walnut Biscotti | I'm not a huge fan of biscotti but it's fine to have with a cup of tea as a little treat. This is a nice sized package and the biscotti itself is decent - not too sweet, though nuts aren't my personal favourite (wish I had gotten the white chocolate cranberry instead!). I opened it to try myself but it would have been nice to give as a gift! Retails for $10 CAD and can be purchased here.


Overall, there was a nice variety of products in the December box, from lipstick to biscotti, jewelry and a candle. I am disappointed that White Willow claimed that the value of the necklace was significantly higher than what it is, however, it does seem like decent quality despite that. Based on my calculation of the box's value, it is worth $67.11, which is about what I paid for it.

I am unsure if I will continue on with my subscription or not. I would like to, as I love that it exposes me to a variety of products that I probably wouldn't have access to, or think to purchase for myself. However, I really have to cut back on my spending in 2017 and this is a treat that may have to go.

What are your thoughts on the December White Willow box?

November "What's New With You?"

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I've been totally slacking on the blog lately, despite my best intentions. The holiday season means that I'm extra busy on my days off, which leaves even less time to blog. It's a shame because I really do enjoy it - I just wish I could do it full time! Anyway, I figured I would join in on the November "What's New With You" link up, which I discovered thanks to Kayla!

What's New With You

- I had all intentions of starting my Christmas tasks early this year so that I could finish early and really enjoy the holiday season. Well, I did actually start early(ish) but I nearly had a heart attack this past weekend when someone posted on Facebook saying "Only 3 weeks 'til Christmas!". Like, how did Christmas manage to sneak up on me again?! I have 95% of my shopping done - just a few odds and ends left to pick up, however, I have not started to wrap anything, nor have I started my Christmas cards. I will have to wait until next week to start wrapping as I have to do it during a weekday while Jordan is at work. Hopefully I'll be finished my shopping by then!

- I never bake Christmas cookies, mainly because a) I'm not a huge fan of sweets, b) but if it's in the house I'll eat eat it (and gain weight), and c) we rarely have visitors during Christmas (which is a pet peeve of mine! Come visit!). However, I decided this year that I want to do some baking, so I really have to decide what to make. Jordan has requested Potato Chip Chocolate Bark and I am thinking about making Peanut Butter Blossoms or Hershey's Kisses Secret Cookies.. or maybe Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies. What are your favourite holiday cookies? I'm open to suggestions!

- I recently discovered two new scents from Bath and Body Works that may replace my long-standing holiday favourites (Winter and Fireside Marshmallow) and they are Christmas Morning and Snowflakes & Citrus. I believe Christmas Morning is only available in a hand soap but I would like to bathe myself in the scent and I am totally regretting only buying one. A co-worker of mine had a Snowflakes & Citrus candle and I need that in my life, stat. Too bad I don't live near the store, nor will I be there anytime soon!

- I'm so tempted to write a post on my recent customer service experiences because I think praise should be given when deserved but also, nothing bothers me more than poor customer service. Thankfully most of it has been positive!

- This past week has been super cold and of course, my Canada Goose jacket is at the dry cleaner. I'm trying to get on board with the Hygge trend of embracing winter as opposed to hating your life when November rolls around but I absolutely detest the cold. We are already tentatively planning a trip to Mexico in May and hopefully another cruise in the fall. Fingers crossed! I need a warm-weather vacation to look forward to in order to make it through the long winter months.

- We made some changes to our bedroom recently and I'm making it my goal in the new year to actually starting making my bed (most) every day. Our old comforter was super worn out so we replaced it with a white duvet and navy gingham pillows. We also have a faux-fur throw on the bed for Macy in hopes that she won't ruin our white bedding with her adorable-but-dirty dog paws. The best part? All three upgrades only cost us about $75 total!

A photo posted by Janine (@janineallison) on

As much as I'd like to continue drinking hot chocolate by the Christmas tree while watching vlogmas videos, I really ought to end this and get ready for bed. I'm hoping to get my Colourpop haul up later this week, so keep an eye out for that!
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