Real Girl Review: L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara


Hey guys!

Today is something super cool for me, as I was involved in a campaign through my digital influencer agency and got the chance to provide an unbiased review about the L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara that recently launched! I was tasked to create a video on DubCandy (a social sharing app that allows you to watch videos and directly shop for the products mentioned, rather than looking for links) with my thoughts, which you can see below (depending on your browser, you may have to click a link):

I was really impressed with this mascara! I’ve been using it for a while now (the video was a first impression of the mascara), and I love that it doesn’t flake or smudge but still removes easily with my Garnier micellar water. I also like that the curved bristle brush kind of hugs the contour of my eye to grab all of my eyelashes for volume and length. I feel like it gives a high-end result without a huge pricetag, which I really appreciate. The only downside to this mascara is, if you like your outer lashes to “flare”, you’ll need to muck around a bit to achieve that, but it’s still totally doable. Which is pretty cool, because with my straight eyelashes that fall no matter what, I can struggle to find a mascara that does that reliably.


Additionally, I used a bunch of L’Oreal products in this video and a few tried-and-true products from other brands, but I realized how many L’Oreal products I use daily and love! If you like the natural, glowy look I did to go golfing on this day, I linked most of the products below so you can check them out! I left out a couple products that either weren’t my favorite, or that I think you can find something of similar quality for a better price.

Shop the Look:

Eucerin® Aquaphor® 3.5 oz. Healing Ointment • Eucerin • 
Josie Maran Argan Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow Duo Sand & Rose • 
L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara • L’Oreal • 
Nars Orgasm Blush – Orgasm • NARS • 
Bronzing Powder – Laguna • NARS • 
L’Oreal Infallible Silkissime Eyeliner • L’Oreal • 
L’Oreal True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator • L’Oreal • 
L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation • L’Oreal • 
L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara • L’Oreal •

Have you tried a new makeup product recently that you’re loving? I’d love to hear about it, I love checking out new makeup!


Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored or in collaboration with any parties. The video embedded was part of a brand engagement for which I was compensated, however I’m sharing it because I liked the product, not as part of our terms.

Life Lately No. 1

Hey guys!


I wanted to start something new where I can kind of “round up” all of the little things from the past little while that maybe didn’t make it to the blog as a full post, but are fun none-the-less.

Last week I had Monday off (as part of an extended Canada Day break from work), and then I went back to work FULL TIME! I’ve been working part time and love my job, and as of last Tuesday, I’m a full time member of the team.


It’s been swelteringly hot in Edmonton the past week or so, so I’ve been hiding in my parent’s basement and neglecting my own house. It needs cleaned and aired out! But, I’m taking care of a friend’s dog this week so we’ll see how much gets done! But the past week has been hiding out at mom and dad’s and enjoying the gazebo with the puppies.


This weekend, my dad went full beast and between the four of us (but mostly him!) the garden was weeded. It looks SO good. I’ll be doing a “what’s in season” post soon with some ideas of items you can still grow in a container and enjoy this summer.


I tried out another gel-like polish, a Real Girl Review will be coming soon… I have to say, this one was MUCH better!


We tried roasting radishes this weekend, and they’re SO good! My mom put them in a foil packet on the BBQ with olive oil, salt and pepper.


Also on the list of things being tried out, I’ve been trying to concoct a good jalapeno lime margarita. This version may look pretty, but it wasn’t the best. I’ll post the recipe when it’s perfected (such a hardship, doing these things… lol).


For the first time ever… I wore shorts to work. On casual Friday I wore knee length bright khaki shorts with my favorite sandals. I can’t believe this is real life haha. I’m a long way from suit-jacket-or-bust these days!

What was last week like for you? I’d love to hear about your Monday!

New Homeowner Gift Guide

Hey guys! It’s that time of year… everyone is buying a new house or getting into their first home! I find my friends that are renting prefer to make moves in the summer too, since winter can be a much messier time to move here in Edmonton. That really just results in a load of housewarmings and “new place barbeques” where bringing a small gift is often somewhat expected.

I’ll be honest. My go-to gift for a new home or new marriage is usually a bottle of wine and a kitchen fire extinguisher. Two things every house needs, right? But sometimes it’s fun to think outside the box and grab a friend something practical or beautiful to make their new space a little easier, or homier. Life is always so expensive right after you’ve moved or bought a new home, and a thoughtful gift that is totally frivolous is always nice when you can’t afford to make frivolous purchases.


Under $25

A nice assortment of throw pillows, ice buckets, and adorable coasters that are cute and thoughtful without breaking the bank!


[Live Your Dream Napkins] [Blue Coasters] [White Knit Pillow] [Marble and Gold Coasters] [Rose Gold Ice Bucket] [White Ruffle Pillow] [Glass Champagne Bucket] [Chillin with my Beaches Napkins] [more]


Under $50

Pretty highball glasses, a nice bowl for snack mix, cheeky (or cute!) doorway mats and cake stands are all great items to look for in this price point!


 [Creme De La Creme Porcelain Trinket Tray] [Gold Faceted Highball Glasses] [Blossom Crystal Bowl][Throw Blanket][Monogram Doormat] [Marble & Wood Cake Stand] [More]



Do you have a go-to gift that you love to give a friend?

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada!

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Beautiful Parliament Hill. I’ve been lucky enough to go many times.
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Confederation Bridge in PEI

Hey guys!

One day late, as I was celebrating my beautiful country with family,  but Happy Canada Day!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Canada in the past while, dually brought on by our big birthday and my best friend being steps from a terrorist incident overseas.  I have always loved being a Canadian, but I think that the feeling solidifies with age as the exotic sheen of other countries fades away and you realize other places are great to visit, but this is home.

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A lighthouse on the west coast

As kids, our family did not take a lot of vacations.  We went camping a lot though on the weekends, and I can’t say how lucky I was to grow up a few hours from the Rockies in Alberta. Beautiful rivers, quiet lakes and majestic mountains are mostly what I remember about those trips.  I also remember driving past mines, oil derricks and logging operations and having my parent’s explain to me the many economic drivers of my province.

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This is Western Brook Pond in Newfoundland, which is actually not a pond, but an inland fjord.
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Another of the beautiful Western Brook Pond

Every 4-5 years we would go on a bigger trip, though, and always somewhere in Canada.  My parents believed that we’d have our whole lives to go outside our borders but that it was important for us to learn about and appreciate our own country first. And so, I’ve seen every province of this awesome country. I’ve been in the Arctic circle. Stood in places so remote you can see three distinct lines of mountains and not a road, settlement or even a utility line.  I’ve been to the tops of mountains and roasted in the heart of the Okanagan.

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Icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland

I’ve waved at icebergs and boated on inland fjords. I know that there is a Canadian Mediterranean where palm trees grow.  I’ve visited Peggy’s Cove and the far edge of Vancouver Island and endless places in between.

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This is Confederation House

There is no place I’d choose to have my roots rather than Canada. This country has many problems of its own that need to be worked on – like getting clean drinking water for all citizens, stopping the MMIW crisis, integrating refugees to our country so they can thrive and putting in place sustainable means of driving our economy.  Canada has it’s issues just like anywhere else.

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The Yukon
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Indian Head Cliff

That being said, we are a nation that came into its identity not through monarchist birthright nor through civil unrest, but by coming to the aid of the world when our help was needed.  We are the nation that brought peacekeeping to the world. Our flag is a symbol of love to those we’ve helped and hope to those who dream of a better life.

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Quebec City looks like a European City!

As a Canadian, I was born into some of the best luck imaginable by being born into a life here.  Canadians are quietly patriotic, but Canada’s birthday is often our excuse to show our love explicitly for this awesome country. The first 150 were great… I’m looking forward to what we’ll have seen and learned at 200.

If you’re Canadian, how did you celebrate? If you’re not, where’s somewhere in Canada that you’d like to visit?

My Summer Reading List

20170605_21375920170605_21381020170605_214003Hey guys!

I wanted to share something a little different today, because it’s something I’ve recently started doing again, which is reading just for fun! Most of the past five years I have been reading for research and professional development, as well as my love of cookbooks! Not much else has earned a commitment for cover-to-cover reading since my degree, but recently that has been changing!


When I got this house, I loved the front window that looked out over the greenspace between the row homes where I live. I remember thinking… god that’d be the perfect spot to sit with a cup of coffee and read a book. Fast forward almost two years and it’s finally “book” instead of textbook! I admittedly have a couple books I’m reading for research purposes for a class I’m developing, but otherwise… all for fun!

There are admittedly a few books I’m re-reading, like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, but for most of these, they’re a first-time read!

Summer Reading List:

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

A Guy Like Me by John Scott (with Brian Cazeneuve)

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

No Ordinary Men by Bernd Horn


What books are you reading this summer? I have a bunch more that I’m hoping to take out from the library like The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, but it’s on a waiting list, so that may be a fall book! Also, if you like suspenseful books, check out Caitlin Covington’s Summer Reading book review, because it seems like she loves suspense and she actually gives short reviews of each book! While you’re there, because she’s Southern Curls and Pearls… check out her outfit posts. And her travel posts. She’s got to have one of the funnest blogs to read and her photography and mostly affordable fashion is spot on.




Vegan White Bean Stew with Saffron Rice




Hey guys!

With my love of bacon, we all know I’m no vegan. With that being said, I’m a total “pantry” cook, eating a lot of canned/tinned tomato products, frozen veggies, and beans to keep costs down and food healthy. Sometimes that results in vegan meals. One day in early June, my friend Kirsten was coming over and I realized the meal I made was completely vegan, so she could eat with me!

This Spanish inspired white bean stew used literally no fresh vegetables except garlic and onions- that was it! Everything else came from a tin or the freezer and it was amazing. If you wanted to add meat, I’d recommend poaching chicken thighs in the stew or slices of cured chorizo sausage.

White Bean Stew with Saffron Rice

Serves 6 for $10.87 or $1.81 per serving

For the stew:

One white onion – $1.61

2 tins cannellini bean – $1.76

1 jar fire roasted tomato sauce – $2.50

2 tins whole stewed tomatoes – $2

2 cups frozen spaghetti mix vegetables – ~$0.50

2 frozen spinach pellets (or any frozen green you have kicking around) – $0.50

Pantry staples – garlic, smoked paprika, paprika, crushed red chili flakes, thyme, olive oil

For the rice:

2 Cups Basmati – ~$2

Olive oil

Optional- 2 Saffron threads (use turmeric for color of saffron if you don’t want to buy saffron)


This is a bit of a “dump and go” recipe honestly. The only items I pre-cooked were softening down the onions and garlic- then I put them in my Lagostina Tuscan Collection Casserole Dish from Canadian Tire with the beans (don’t rinse), tomato sauce, tomatoes, frozen veggies (not greens!) and a half tablespoon of smoked paprika, a teaspoon regular paprika, 2-3 shakes of red chili flakes and some dried thyme.

I then popped my casserole dish in the oven at 375 for an hour to get everything toasty and let the aquafaba from the beans do its job and thicken the stew. I checked it at one hour and tasted it and was happy with the flavors, but the one hour mark is when you’d add more heat or spice if you’d like. I also added the greens at this point because I was popping it back in the oven for 30 minutes or so while I set the table and made rice.


You make the rice however you normally would in a pot, and just toss your saffron or turmeric in with the cooking liquid if you’re wanting the look of saffron rice. I wouldn’t recommend doing it with a rice cooker though… mostly because I have no idea how those things work. If you would like a step-by-step on always perfect rice on the stove, let me know!20170614_191757

Shop the post:

Staub Cast Iron Essential French Oven • Staub • 
Food NetworkTM Copper-Plated Serving Spoon • 
Villeroy & Boch Serveware For Me Collection Porcelain Shallow Round Serving Bowl • Villeroy & Boch • 
TRAMONTINA Tramontina Gourmet 5-qt. Enameled Cast Iron Covered Oval Dutch Oven • Tramontina • 
JCP HOME JCPenney HomeTM Amberly Serving Bowl • 
Nambe ‘Curvo’ Serving Spoon • Nambe • 
Anthropologie Ore-Edged Serving Bowl • Anthropologie • 
Calphalon Classic Ceramic Nonstick 5-qt. Covered Dutch Oven • Calphalon • 
Middle Kingdom Small Hermit Bowl • 
Nouvel Studios Orion Bowl • 
Yamazaki Hospitality Stainless Steel Slotted Serving Spoon • Yamazaki • 
Rachael Ray 3-qt. Rectangle Casserole Baking Dish • Rachael Ray •
Do you have an easy recipe that just happens to be vegan? Or an easy recipe that just happens t have bacon? I’d love to hear about both!

Real Girl Review- Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Hey guys!

I’m back with another real girl review today! Recently I’ve been trying out some nail polish options for longer wearing and “gel-like” formulas. In an ideal world, I’d be getting a gel manicure every month or so, but this is not an ideal world and girlfriend cannot afford that. I wish, though!

Wanting a similar quality manicure with regards to durability and extended wear time, I have been trying some drug store options that promise lasting shine and long-lasting color. This first post is about the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel line.

First of all, this polish is $9.97 for the base color and $9.97 for the gel topcoat. You don’t need a UV light for this product to work. A once-monthly salon gel manicure would cost you around $420/yr, whereas a monthly new shade of this product that promises to last 14 days would cost you around $140 (including 2 bottles of the topcoat). Definite potential savings, but does it hold up to its promises?


Long story short… no. This polish lasted 5 days, and on the fifth day it was significantly chipped. The first couple of days I was hopeful- other than some light bubbling, and one tiny chip the shine was great, the application was easy and the color was gorgeous.


As you can see here, three days in there was already considerable chipping.


These pictures are on day five, and the chipping had spread to both hands. When I went to take it off, the remaining polish would not budge- for something that was chipping so much, it was seriously difficult to remove. I sat for thirty minutes and used a buffing file and a lot of nail polish remover to get my nails clean.

This polish honestly lasted less time than my usual routine of Sally Hansen Triple Strong, color and Sally Hansen Diamond Flash top coat (on short nails, that lasts me 7-10 days). As you can see, I’m a major fan of Sally Hansen but this product just did not work out for me. I will be trying it out with the shortest of short nails to see if that has any bearing on how the product performs but for now… It’s not something I’d recommend.

I’m going to be trying out another major brand’s 2 step gel line soon, but please let me know if you have a favorite that I should try! Or any tips for how to get this polish to work for the full 14 days…