Moringa? What The Bleep Is Moringa?

Moringa Products From The Body Shop (Tea & Nail Polish)

Moringa has been around forever and is known as a miracle plant (so I am not sure why my phone so badly wants to change it to Morning every time). Moringa leaves are a rich source of many nutrients like Vitamin A, B, C, D and E and have more vitamins than the richwe known sources such as carrots, oranges and milk. They can be cooked and eaten in many ways. They can be consumed as juice, vegetable, oil, pretty much anything but today – they are all about the beauty craze.

Using a product from The Body Shop is far from using Moringa leaves/seeds for beauty, but they smell gorgeous.  The have a light floral scent but not old lady floral, fresh and different.  While I got these in my advent calendar from The Body Shop, they just sat in my stash while I used up the multiple bottles of shower gel I already had open.  I am glad I waited because the scent just screams spring time.

Moringa Shower Gel

This shower gel is soap free but lathers really well.  Plus you do not need much, since The Body Shop products tend to be a little pricy at regular prices (but when do they not have a sale on?) this is a good thing.  It has a light scent that lasts.  Not all day but I could still get faint whiffs of Moringa about 3 hours after showering even after being stuck on a packed subway train with smelly people.  I didn’t find it as moisturizing as some of their other products, but it did not leave my skin feeling dry or tight either.

Moringa Body Milk

The Body Shop’s Moringa Body Milk is a milky lotion.  It has the same floral scent as the body wash but lasts a bit longer.  It absorbs really quickly and is actually hydrating and lasts.  The larger size has a spritzer which is great as I tend to pour out a little more than I need thinking it is thicker each time.  It has actual Moringa seed oil in in, not just scented like many so called Moringa products too.

The Body Shop has a whole range of Moringa products that have been out for a few years now.  Interested in learning more about Moringa?  [Read more…]

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Review

Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser Review

I am a huge fan of Maybelline’s Baby line, I love Baby Lips so when I saw Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser on the clearance shelf at Shoppers Drug Mart (I have been cleaning them out of clearance deals lately) I jumped at the chance to try it.  I have heard good things about their Pore Eraser but never really read a review or seen it in action so I didn’t have any expectations going in other than others were usually positive about it.

Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser Primer

Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser feels very much like a silicone primer.  It is a little thicker and less oily feeling than Smashbox’s primer and similar to e.l.f.’s in consistency.  One your skin, it smooths on easily and feels silky to the touch.  You apply it after moisturizer/sunscreen and before makeup if wearing any of these.

Instant Pore Eraser Claims:

  • Instantly blurs the look of pores without clogging them.
  • Transparent gel formula smooths on clear.
  • Smoothes and refines skin’s appearance.
  • Non comedogenic & fragrance free (that means it doesn’t block pores)
  • Use alone for flawless looking skin smoothing onto areas with visible pores or smooth a thin layer under foundation for a smooth looking finish

Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser Before & After

woah scary no makeup before & after shots!

As you can see, it definitely blurred my pores, a lot more than I thought a drug store product could.  For day to day use, I could see this replacing Smashbox Photo Finish if you only need to deal with visible pores and want a budget option.  It seemed to make the red blotches on my skin more noticeable however, so I personally would need something to even out my skin tone before applying foundation.

It did not make my skin oilier, but did not have much in the way of mattifying effect either which some primers do.  It also caused none of that pilling of primer when I applied my foundation over it which is always a plus.  Overall, I do recommend it but it will depend on your skincare needs.

Buy Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

Going Red With OPI’s Older Polishes *Swatches*

While shopping the other day, I spotted a sign for OPI polishes at 3/$10 in the nail salon.  I can’t turn down a sale on nail polish so started rummaging through the bottles to find some I don’t own.  Most were reds, I am fussy about red polishes as many don’t suit my skin tone and there were no testers so went with some of the darker ones and this cute purple:

OPI Meet Me On The Star Ferry Essence Accent Swatch

OPI Meet Me On The Star Ferry is from the Spring 2010 Hong Kong collection.  It is quite hard to describe, not quite purple and not quite red.  It has a light shimmer to it but not overly sparkly.  It seems like it wants to be a foil but not quite.  Essence Baby You’re A Firework as an accent to show the difference in sparkle.  A beautiful easy to wear purple toned red, I am surprised I haven’t picked this one up earlier than now, I can see myself wearing it a lot.

OPI Royal Rajah Ruby Swatch

OPI Royal Rajah Ruby is from the Spring 2008 India collection (told you they were older polishes).  It doesn’t look as sparkly in the bottle, almost foil like so I was surprised to see how much glitter is in it when applied.  Despite how dark this burgandy toned polish is, you can almost get away with one coat.  I have one on my baby finger, two on the others and you can see that it is a bit lighter and the sun picks up the glitter more easily.  I added a close up in the top right so you can see just how much glitter is included.

OPI Tease-y Does It Swatch

Finally, OPI Tease-y Does It is from the 2010 Burlesque Holiday collection.  This one is more brown toned than Royal Rajah Ruby and has a lot more multi-toned glitter that gives it more of a red sheen.  The glitter is mostly orange and pink which helps if you find it hard to wear brown polishes.  While you can see the brown tone in this photo, in other lights, it seems almost plum.

Of the three, Meet Me On The Star Ferry is definitely my favourite, but unlike many of my darker toned reds, I can see wearing the other two as well.  The application on all three is great, they are all two coaters but are not bad with the first coat and no streak issues and thick enough not to flood the nail (unlike the one that stained my cuticles before taking a photo of Royal Rajah Ruby).

Tease-y Does It and Royal Rajah Ruby are both discontinued polishes and not available from OPI retailers unless they have old stock but Meet Me On The Star Ferry is still available from Nail Polish Canada so likely in stores too.

Get More Done With SamePage.io

SamePage.io Review - Logo

I work for a non-profit where we are in different offices and used to constantly email each other large files, send multiple emails to arrange meetings, and had other issues that caused us to be unproductive and waste time just waiting for others.  Due to the nature of the work and trying to save costs, we share offices with other companies.  One of them blocks facebook access, another blocks google due to an issue several years ago that the IT guys have never got over and another has a limit on our email accounts to allow files under 1MB, so many typical solutions for us to work together are not possible.

For many years, we used Airset, it was affordable and worked for us – including the people who are not very tech-savvy and don’t have a facebook or google account to sign in to many of the organization & cloud sharing apps and websites we looked into.

When Airset shut down we were at a total loss.  We spent months trying different websites, making sure they are accessible from all of our offices, usable by everyone, preferably with an app for the majority of the staff who are always on the go and do everything from our phones but simple enough for the people with very little tech-knowledge. I recently had the opportunity samepage.io and it has definitely come closest to replacing Airset for us but more than that, I love it for personal use.

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You can use samepage for almost anything!  I set up a samepage for my blog, made a list of upcoming blogs to do, uploaded photos so I can work on them when I am not at home, made a task list to check off as I post a new blog etc.  The calendar option makes it super easy for me to plan the month (and year) ahead.  I can add files, contacts – pretty much anything I could ever need.  Look at all the options they give you for uploads:

samePage-options

I also checked out other pages to see how to best set up my work samepage.  As you can see above, samepage.io can be used for any group or personal use.  I added another samepage to organize contests I am entering.  I have a list of links with end dates that I can just click to enter daily, a list of the links I need to paste into entries, a list of wins I am waiting for so I can track them arriving – a great tool to keep on track!

Other pages include recipes including a check off grocery list and possible coupon match ups, a hiking group who share availability, teams, upcoming hikes and maps of the route, a family who shares calendars, menu plans, important numbers and more, a work team who use samepage to share files (very similar to how we would use it at work) with each user having their own page with cloud files and more.  Another interesting page was a party planning group with tasks for each person, dates, photos for users to vote on choices for banners and colour schemes and more.  It is really amazing just how adaptable samepage is and the variety of ways it can be used.

The Pros of Samepage.io

  • Accessible & easy to use
  • Ability to upload and share files (even with those outside of the group or team) including from cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and OneDrive. You can also pull in Google Maps and videos from YouTube.
  • Add teams within a group to share only with those people without bothering everyone
  • Comment section for notes that everyone might be interested in but is not worth sending an email
  • Has a page calendar and ability to find times that work for people for meetings + separate your events from other team events
  • Apps for iOS & Android plus mobile friendly web access for everyone
  • Free for small groups (up to 10 users)

The Cons of Samepage.io

  • No auto reminders from events
  • $10 per user for larger groups (with 16 people, this matters to us – $160/month prices it out of the market as a non-profit watching our budget)

The price would probably be the major downside for work.  For bigger companies, $10 is well worth it, but with a small budget we try to keep costs low.  The auto reminders were nice, but since we already learned to live without them, would probably be fine (plus you could always add events to your phone’s calendar).

I will definitely be using samepage going forward for my blog planning and contests though.  I love the ability to add snippets of HTML I may need without the added step of opening a text document, the many task lists and ability to have everything I need on one page – not various other sites or google apps.  Plus the ability to add due dates to my tasks and check them off and see they are all done is great and I can upload photoshop files without zipping them first!

Click here to try out samepage.io

Samepage.io is free and has a trial business account.  I received compensation for my time trying samepage but all opinions are my own.

Win a $25 iTunes Gift Card When You Tell Us Your Fave Workout Song!

win a 425 iTunes gift card by telling us your fave workout song

The nicer weather means actually spending some time outside, rather than just hurrying to the car or bus and back.  One of my goals for 2015 was to walk to more places and get moving.  Out walking yesterday enjoying the warmer weather, I realized that my iPod needs some serious updating with new upbeat songs to walk to, I don’t think I have added many new songs for a year!

So, our latest contest asks you, what song would you listen to while walking or working out?  New or classic?  We need a mix of songs to keep us moving!

Mermaid Effect Nails With Essence Aquatix

Essence Mermaid Nails Effect Nails

I tried these out a while back and then couldn’t find any of the limited edition collection since so was excited to see Essence Aqauatix Mermaid Effect Nail Stickers on the clearance shelf at Shoppers Drug Mart.  I love blue polishes and these mermaid stickers adds a nice effect you rarely see.

Essence Mermaid Nails Effect Nails - Packaging

The stickers in the packaging do not look very special, in fact when I first saw them, I put them back thinking what does pink have to do with mermaids?  It wasn’t until I saw someone post a picture of their nails that I realized you paint over them for the effect.  Essence Aquatix stickers are around $2.99 for 12 stickers, so you can do a whole set of nails but you can pick them up on clearance for under $2 now.

You also need a blue polish to paint over the mermaid stickers.  Essence have a range of Aquatix nail polishes in mermaid colours you can use, sadly I missed out on these so had to choose from my own polishes.  I used Maybelline Color Show in Blue Blowout and Zoya Maisie effect coat to give it some sparkle.

Essence-Mermaid-Nails--Instructions

  • Start by cleaning your nails thoroughly, you want the stickers to last as long as possible.
  • Choose stickers by nail size and apply close to but not at the cuticle
  • The mermaid stickers are longer than most nails, so bend it over at the tip and file off the excess sticker
  • Once you have applied all of the stickers, use a blue polish to paint over the sticker – I chose Maybelline Color Show Metallic in Blue Blowout.
  • You will see the sticker crinkle up after a few seconds once you apply polish
  • You may find some areas do not crinkle, a second coat helps even out the effect
  • I applied Zoya Maisie fleck effect coat to give it some extra shiny/sparkly mermaid effect

Essence Mermaid Nails Aquatix with Zoya Maisie Effect

You can remove you mermaid manicure by carefully peeling off the stickers, but some nail polish remover helps.  The stickers last about 3 days before they need to be removed.  You should wrap the tips with your blue polish as you are filing at the tip so it wears away a little easier than just polish.

Bright Eyed & Bushy Tailed Even When You Are Tired

Tips to Be Bright Eyed & Bush Tailed Even When You Are Tired

The last few weeks have seen me go back to crazy work days including some weekend work.  With my neighbours getting their final notice to move out, they are being louder than usual, as a result, I have crazy days and not enough sleep.  Unfortunately, I can’t go to meetings looking like I really sleep, so some tips to go from I still need a few hours in bed to bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Nothing happens here until I have had my first cup of tea. He often leaves even earlier than me, so he brings me a cuppa before he leaves while I cuddle with a cat in bed and try and make my brain work.  If I am really tired, black tea works, but I add some peppermint tea to help wake my body and mind up at the same time.

The Body Shop Cooling Aqua Eye Mask

I always keep an Aqua Mask from The Body Shop in the fridge, puffy tired eyes are gone in minutes and the coldness really helps wake me up.  If you are into hot baths, using this really cold when you are soaking is amazing too.   I used to have a similar one from The Body Shop that was slimmer and a little more comfortable to wear but this one covers your whole eye area so the skin around your eyes plumps up too.

As much as I love silence, if I am tired, I may fall asleep in the shower or doing my makeup, so some loud music helps (and payback for neighbours keeping me awake at 2am – they can listen to 80s music at 5:30 haha).  I throw music on as soon as I am done my tea and hop in the shower using something citrussy like St Ives Energizing body wash.  Peppermint works too and tea tree products will definitely wake up your body and senses but I like the citrus scent better.

How To Apply Concealer To Cover Dark Circles - Triangle Concealer Method

Dark circles are a sure way to show you are tired and generally skin will not look as bright.  Use concealer to hide those bags under your eyes.  Don’t just dab it on the dark part under your eye, you want to start beside your eye and make an upside down triangle and blend the concealer to cover.  I love Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circles Eraser  because it has a great applicator for touch ups on the go and the colour works for my pink toned skin.  While you need some yellow to cover, too much looks weird.

Maybelline Master Prime

Maybelline obviously suits my skin.  While I am a huge fan of Smashbox primer, on really tired days, my skin needs more correcting than just smoothing.  I recently tried Master Prime and love it.  I have a lot of redness on my cheeks and the green toned Blur + Redness Control is amazing at colour correction while the Blur + Illuminate helps with that tired skin look.  It doesn’t have the same consistency and smoothing as Smashbox but I can add a little before applying makeup if needed and it helps me look human.

Anyone who knows me will know I have several black eyeliners in my purse but on really tired days, opt for nude (not white) on your lower waterline to freshen up your eyes.  White will show the tiredness in your eyes while dark will accentuate the dark circles.  You can still use black for the upper eyeliner.  I love Rimmel ScandalEyes in Nude because they are waterproof and the nude isn’t sparkly like many.  They are about $7 – more expensive than some of Rimmel’s other Kohl eyeliners but worth it and still super affordable!

Gross I know, but when I am tired, I find I sweat a lot more and it smells worse than usual.  I opt for Secret Clinical rather than my usual deodorant to help stay fresh all day.  If I am that tired, washing my hair isn’t happening, it takes too long to dry and straighten.  Batiste Dry Shampoo is a lifesaver.  I buy the one for dark hair and even if my hair isn’t that funky, the shot of cold on my scalp feels great and helps wake me up.

Finally, some peppermint gum just before I get into the office or a meeting helps wake me up a little – enough to get through the next hour without just dreaming of my bed.  Lots of water will help you feel hydrated and not quite so tired too.

Easy Nail Art Looks with Quo by Orly Water Transfers

Quo by Orly Nail Art Water Transfers - Packaging

If you do not have a steady hand or are new to nail art, water transfers are amazing.  I can do cute designs on my left hand but as soon as I have to duplicate the design on my right?  It looks like a 5 year old did my nails!  So I am a huge fan of water transfers.  These are not those stickers for nails, they go on like a temporary tattoo, just wet the backing as it presses against the nail.  I find these all the time in the clearance racks at Shoppers Drug Mart for $2 so they are affordable too, especially if you just use them for accent nails but you get 24 different sized transfers in a pack so depending on nail size, you could do two full manicures.

Quo by Orly Nail Art Water Transfers- Prepping

Most water transfers require that you paint your nails and these adorable ones from Quo are no exception.  I like to start with Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat to even out my nails.  I chose CND Vinylux Thistle Thicket because I am not a huge fan of white, it looks too in your face for work but Thistle Thicket is a nice grey that picks up tones around it.

While the base coat is optional (but use one if you choose a colour that will stain your nails) you do need a top coat for water transfers.  While the water transfer sticks to the nail fairly well with water, you need to seal it or it will rub off quickly.  I typically use two coats just to make sure it is sealed.

  • Prep your nails by washing your hands and wiping your nails with alcohol (or even nail polish remover, but alcohol leaves no residue)
  • Before you paint your nails, open packaging (I often forget and mess up a nail opening the cardboard packaging) and choose the correct size water transfers for your nails.
  • Apply colour coat in colour of your choice.  For this particular set of water transfers, I find it looks best with light/pastel polishes or a bright red.
  • Wait for colour polish to completely dry.  You don’t want to smudge your nails and waste a water transfer!

Quo by Orly Nail Art Water Transfers - Tutorial

  • Remove the plastic and lay the water transfer sheet over the nail – do one nail at a time – and press down (paper backing facing you and round side of the transfer goes at your cuticle)
  • Use a cotton ball dipped in water to wet the paper backing and press down on the cotton ball to ensure it is fully adhered
  • Gently peel away paper backing, you may have some of the transfer left on your skin, it easily washes away but do it after you seal the nail!
  • Use your favourite top coat to seal the water transfer to the nail

Quo by Orly Nail Art Water Transfers

Enjoy your pretty nails without all the work of designing them yourself!

To remove your nail art water transfers, simply use nail polish remover as you would for regular polish, you may need to scrub a little, but not as much as you would for a glitter polish.

How To Make A Tea Latte At Home

How to make a tea latte at home with no steam

Someone asked me what machine I used to steam milk at home without using the UHT milk that comes in Tassimo discs.  I don’t have a steamer and while my milk isn’t as soft and foamy as you can get when steamed, it is possible to make your own latte without it.

  • Make 1/2 cup tea, since you will be adding 1/2 cup milk, it is good idea to make it extra strong
  • Add a little under 1/2 cup milk and use a frother like aerolatte to foam up the milk.  I have a few of them, Bodum, Trudeau and a cheap one I got at Dollarama.  I prefer the Bodum one, the foam seems to last longer and is smoother but they all work.
  • No milk frother?  Use a mason jar for your milk and shake it for 30 seconds then remove lid before heating.
  • Microwave your milk for about 30 seconds.  This will take some trial and error, if you overheat the milk it collapses.
  • No microwave? Whisking it with a small whisk but heat it a little first, best to use a small pan
  • Remove tea bag or tea leaves from water, add any syrup/sweetener and stir well
  • Pour hot milk over the tea, using a spoon to hold back the thicker foam from the top
  • Spoon on foam left in cup and add any flavoured toppings (I added a little chocolate to mine and used a tea with cocoa nibs for a chocolatey taste)

While I am a huge fan of just a regular black (or Orange Pekoe) tea for tea lattes, here are some you may enjoy:

  • London Fog Tea Latte: Earl Grey tea, vanilla (extract, flavoured sugar, whatever you prefer) and make is sweet!
  • Chai Tea Latte: Chai tea (let it steep for a while) and honey, top with cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Chocolate Chai Tea Latte: As above, but add a spoon of hot chocolate or chocolate syrup to your tea and sprinkle with chocolate
  • Green Tea Latte: green tea is generally weaker in taste, so use double the tea and honey to sweeten
  • Maple Fog Tea Latte: rooibos tea with maple syrup to sweeten
  • Mint Tea Latte: steep black tea with mint leaves, remove before adding milk.  If no fresh mint, use 1 black tea and 1 mint tea teabag
  • Sweet Dreams Chamomile Tea Latte: Use two tea bags chamomile tea, vanilla and honey and this one works great with unsweetened soy milk – perfect warm milk drink to calm you down before bed

There are of course many more, especially if you love chai tea or matcha tea.  Pick and choose the tea and flavours you love to make your perfect tea latte.  Remember that some fruitier teas will not mix well with milk.  The great thing about making tea lattes at home is you can really control the sugar content and use whatever milk you prefer.  I find 2% milk froths best in the microwave but you can use soy or non-fat too.

How Hard Is It To Make a Tea Latte Starbucks?

Starbucks Teavana English Breakfast Tea Latte Gold Card Bonus Stars

Starbucks and I have a love hate relationship.  Since I drink very little coffee and he is a Tim Hortons addict, I don’t go often.  I can get tea anywhere and they dumped Tazo for Teavana.  Tazo Awake tea rocks and Teavana took over Teaopia and got rid of all of my favourite teas so I just stopped going unless it was the only place available.  Then they sent me an offer for 6 bonus stars on tea lattes.  I love tea lattes, I make them at home with my fake steamed milk (foamed and microwaved).  So off I go on my quest for a Gold Starbucks card.

I will start by saying that making a tea latte isn’t that hard (or shouldn’t be).  They make steamed milk for 100s of drinks and since they use tea bags for everything but Chai or Matcha tea lattes, they are literally adding steamed milk and froth to a half cup of tea and some syrup.

Tea Latte #1

I know I don’t like really sweet teas, I don’t add sugar or honey to most teas but the milk content calls for some in lattes.  So I order a half sweet venti English Breakfast tea latte.  It isn’t busy so I am watching as she adds a shot of espresso to my tea and I have to point out that there is no espresso in a TEA latte.  She makes it again, with 5 pumps of syrup.  I mention I wanted it half sweet and get a snarky “well you should have ordered it half sweet then”.  The huge 1/2 on the cup says I did, but having her make it a 3rd time?  I took my latte and left.

Tea Latte #2

This time someone else was paying.  They only get 4 stars and are jealous of my 6 star offer.  It is very clear that this barista knows their tea.  I mention that I really don’t want it too sweet and can I have just 2 pumps syrup (venti has 5 on a regular order) and they recommend one classic and one vanilla for taste since two isn’t much in a venti and a sprinkle of chocolate powder will make it delish.  He adds the water to the tea bags as soon as I order so it has time to steep by the time the milk is added and the bags can be removed.  If the tea is too weak and you have to stir the tea, you lose foam so this is a good thing.

Tea Latte #3

Back to using my own card and I go to yet another Starbucks.  They have no clue that a tea latte is meant to have classic syrup (they all have vanilla according to them) but get the order right eventually, but pour the water in just before adding the milk so despite having two tea bags, it is super weak until the bottom of the cup.  It stays nice and foamy though.  But yay with the two bonus stars I got per visit, I made it to Gold on Starbucks Rewards with this one right?  No.  This one is in a Sheraton, I have a receipt showing a tea latte but their system must be different because I get neither the bonus star promised on the brewed coffee I bought for him earlier in the week, nor the tea latte – but I do get two for the visit.

The amazing customer service team did add my stars when I emailed them though – so kudos to them!

Starbucks Tea Latte Broken Tea Bag

Tea Latte #4

This one is just undrinkable.  I am not sure what happened to it.  I went back to the same location as my first one, but different staff. She allows the tea to steep for a minute but leaves the bags in and adds the milk and hands it to me.  No time for chocolate powder today, I am running for the train.  Get on the train and take a sip to think ewww what is that?  The tea bag was broken and I have a cup of tea leaves, no foam left and just milky sweet tea just minutes after I left Starbucks.  I made it to Gold but won’t be going back to that Starbucks again.   I checked my email today to find an email asking me about my experience with that store, but the form doesn’t load – looks like they can’t get anything right.