SHOP SMALL THIS HOLIDAY

One thing I can’t get (or rather give) enough during the holidays is handmade gifts. There is something truly special about giving or receiving an item that was made by hand; it is not only unique and memorable but it is also has a story behind it which is something that should be a part of every gift that you give.

I’ve already hit up a number of local handmade holiday markets but one of my favourite places to shop all year round is Etsy. I’ve found such amazing things on there over the years and have connected to some incredible makers and artists. 

I’ve rounded up some of my favourite gift ideas here – some fun and quirky things that would make anyone’s heart sing upon opening them up under the ol’ Christmas tree. Happy Holidays, everyone! x

Neutral Woven Rainbow Wall Hanging by RhinoRepublic

This wall hanging is perfect for a nursery or for someone who loves a bit of playful design mixed into their home decor.

Simple Ribbed Baby Bonnet by sweetKM

I never finished making Jack the pointy baby bonnet I was knitting him when he was a baby; I should have just picked on up for him from Etsy. These bonnets are too sweet and look absolutely adorable.

Christmas Cracker Card by TriangleTrees

I’m such a huge fan of everything Triangle Trees makes and this adorable Christmas card is no exception. This would be welcome in any mailbox this holiday season. 

War is Over! print by ArteHausPrints

Start off the year on a peaceful note by gifting this iconic poster.

Favourite Things Pencils by ACDShop

These Favourite Things Pencils are the perfect stocking stuffers for the person in your life who always takes great joy in the most simple pleasures in life. 

Ooops Print by coniLab

Typography enthusiasts will love this bold and fun Ooops print.

Atari print tea towel by Leah Duncan

Screenprinted tea towels are always a great host gift – just wrap it around your favourite bottle of wine for a cute little treat.

Colors II 2019 Calendar by DOZI

Calendars are such special, hopeful gifts; full of excitement for the new year ahead. This stunning calendar by DOZI is the perfect gift to set the tone for the year ahead!

Best Of: Health + Wellness for Freelancers

I often get asked what is the hardest part about being a freelance writer or self-employed. While I might initially say it is the daily grind of pitching, writing and networking, I think the hardest part is actually making time for myself and focusing on health and wellness.

I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer for about six and a half years now and it has definitely been the most fulfilling experience of my working career. While working for yourself can give you an incredible sense of freedom, you can also end up falling into a workaholic pattern and never allow yourself the freedom you had originally expected in this career move. Focusing on your health and wellness should be just as important as invoicing for your work. To maintain your creativity, ambition and energy you definitely need to be thinking about your physical and mental health at the same time.

Since becoming a freelancer, my life has gone through a number of personal changes—the most important of which was becoming a mother. There are so many benefits to being a self-employed parent but it also means constantly evolving and being adaptable with how you work. It is easy to let your health and wellness slide to the wayside while you are caring for another human as well as putting in so much effort and time to your career or business.

In partnership with Alberta Blue Cross, I am sharing a few of my tips for maintaining your health and wellness as well as ways to ensure that you make preventative healthcare measures a part of your daily life. I was previously an Alberta Blue Cross plan member when I was first starting out as a freelancer and have been a plan member again since the start of the year. I feel like ensuring that you have health benefits as a self-employed or freelance person is very important. I treat it just like another yearly business expense and it has given me the freedom to get massages, buy new glasses and contacts, seek counselling when I need it and not be out of pocket for prescriptions. It is a small cost to pay (either monthly or yearly) to have that piece of mind of not having to come up with the cash for prescription medication when you get sick or be thrown by a medical emergency.

Alberta Blue Cross offers an online wellness program for their plan members called Balance. This program  helps plan members take control of their health and wellness by giving them the opportunity to receive wellness-inspired rewards as well as take part in health risk assessments, gain access to health trackers and educate themselves with interactive tutorials.  It is all part of their “Blue For Life” vision at Alberta Blue Cross, and their expanded focus on wellness—to ensure that the individuals and communities they serve are not only healthy but also well.

Besides being a freelance writer, I am also a work-from-home mom. Daily exercise is not only important to me but also to my preschooler. We make an effort to get out of the house every day to run around—whether it is just to run errands or to run around our neighbourhood park or playground. We love going for long walks together so I try to make sure we fit one or two in every week. Beyond the benefits of being active everyday, I find it does wonders for my creativity and motivation to step back from the computer and get some fresh air. Some of my best ideas are visualized when out in nature, exercising or taking some sort of technology break.

Which brings me to rest and mental health; your mind is powerful and it is what your entire business relies on so it is very important to keep your mental health in good shape too. I highly recommend seeking counseling at anytime in your life to talk to an unbiased trained individual about your concerns, whether it be business or personal.

Another way I keep my health and wellness in check is ensuring I make time for myself to seek out inspiration or let my creativity flow. Anytime I’ve felt stagnant or stuck on an idea, it has been because I hadn’t made my creativity a priority. It sounds really simple to carve out time in your schedule to be strictly creative or seek out new ways of looking at or thinking about things, but personally I always feel a twinge of guilt for doing so. It is something I’ve heard from many of my fellow freelancers: it is hard to break free from the “must-always-be-working” feeling of being self-employed. Without taking that time however, you’re only doing a disservice to yourself by not allowing yourself to form new ideas, experience new things and find new ways of doing things. Wellness is a definitely a word that gets thrown around a lot these days and can mean very different things to different people. For me, the definition of wellness is anything you are doing to actively prevent future health issues. It could be anything from taking yoga and pilates classes weekly to seeing a psychologist once a month to reading self-care books. You get to choose what wellness means to you and how it affects your personal health.

This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross . All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

Step Inside NUDE by Battistella

I am so excited to share this showroom tour with you. Today we’re visiting the NUDE by Battistella presentation centre located in Calgary’s West Beltline neighbourhood. The NUDE by Battistella vision keeps getting closer and closer to reality — and nothing emphasizes that more than the beautiful spot they’ve created to share that vision.

The NUDE lifestyle is all about living your biggest life in a small space. To me that means having creative and functional solutions for storage, entertaining and general day-to-day life. Even though some of the floor plans have a modest square footage, you don’t have to be held back by that number. The architects and designers have thought of everything to maximize your living space — meaning you can focus on enjoying your life and home without having to compromise.

The kitchen is designed to be practical and easy to keep clean — great for a busy professional who is often on the go. The simple design isn’t boring at all; in fact, the simplicity allows the surfaces — wood, tile, stainless steel — to make a statement while staying sleek and modern. One of my favourite elements of the showroom is the great sized laundry “closet” and storage room. In condos this is so often overlooked, and the laundry unit is shoved into a tiny closet, but NUDE breaks that practice by giving you actual space to store all of your laundry detergents and accessories. You could use it to store your bicycle, but NUDE already has that covered with secure bike storage. Instead, adding shelving could easily transform the space into a dry goods pantry area items or storage for small, counterspace-hogging appliances. The possibilities are endless.

The show suite features a studio floor plan and, though it is one of the smaller floorplans, it is spacious. Over the years I’ve seen so many condos that introduce strange angled walls or unusable corners; Battistella has thought of everything with these floorplans to make it easy to live in a small space in a modern and functional way.

One of my absolute favourite things about the design of the NUDE development is the ‘large hide nothing’ neon sign that will truly make this building a landmark in the West Beltline and the Calgary skyline. I love how they’re not afraid to be rebels in a sea of non-descript condo developments or how they’re pushing the envelope to stand out.

Through my partnership with Battistella I’ve been able to see so many great ways that NUDE will impact the Beltline — not only as part of a movement that is developing the west end, but also by providing a canvas for people who appreciate good design and want to live in a space they are proud of.

Even if you’re not in the market at the moment for a condo, it is a great spot to pop by with a coffee and get inspired by Battistella’s vision for NUDE as well as the future of the West Beltline. They have a lot to share with prospective buyers and people interested in the community — the space is very inspiring. The showroom is located at 1319 14 Avenue SW and is open seven days a week: Monday through Thursday from 10am-6pm and Friday- Sunday from 11am-5pm.   

This post is in partnership with NUDE by Battistella . All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

DISNEY ON ICE IN CALGARY + TICKET GIVEAWAY

The magic of Disney has arrived back in Calgary for Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream! Hosted by everyones favourites – Mickey & Minnie – this on-ice spectacular is an amazing production. Last year, we were literally sitting on the edge of our seats as we watched Rapunzel and Ariel perform incredible on-ice aerial stunts. Jack had such a blast and we can’t wait to return this weekend. This year’s production is a bit princess heavy but should still be a blast for the whole family with all of the great Disney songs we know and love!

Celebrate what’s possible as five Disney heroines spark the courage inside us all at Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream! In her Disney On Ice debut, see how far Moana goes on a quest with demigod Maui to save her island and find her own identity. Anna’s devotion to her sister Elsa sets  her on a journey to stop an eternal winter. Rapunzel goes to great lengths to realize her dream. Fearless Belle befriends the enchanted castle staff and uncovers the Beast’s gentleness. With help from her friends, Cinderella is determined to make her wish come true. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, discover your inner hero at Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream!

Apparently, if you arrive on time you will see a special pre-show by Miguel from Coco – don’t miss it! I love the music of Coco so this will be a real treat.

The show is coming to the Stampede Corral from November 14-18. Visit www.ticketmaster.ca to pick up tickets that start at $20.

This giveaway is for FOUR tickets to attend Disney on Ice in Calgary on one of the following days: Friday November 16, Saturday November 17 or Sunday November 18. To enter the giveaway you must be able to attend a show on one of those days. You must complete the  following steps:

  1. Follow @kaitkucy on Instagram.
  2. Like the Disney On Ice post.
  3. Tag a friend who should enter the giveaway as well!

The giveaway is a quick one and ends at 3pm MST on Thursday November 15th. Winner will be contacted immediately. Thanks for entering and good luck!

This post is in partnership with Disney on Ice . All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

THE AESTHETICS OF CANNABIS

This hot topic is literally on the lips of just about everyone right now here in Canada; legalization of cannabis usage comes into effect on October 17, 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on June 20th after a century-long prohibition of cannabis. Cannabis will be available for purchase in flower and oil form (sounds like edibles will come in 2019) online and in-store. Just like alcohol, you must be 18 years old (in Alberta and Quebec) or 19 years old in the rest of the country. Here in Calgary, I’ve already been seeing storefronts popping up all over the city waiting for the October 17th launch date.

While it is certainly an exciting time for cannabis entrepreneurism in Canada, the industry still has a long way to go to reduce the stigma of cannabis usage (even medical usage still has stigma) and also make reparations for people who were treated unfairly and charged by police for possession of cannabis. There is actual proof and documentation that the enforcement of cannabis laws in the past, have disproportionately affected marginalized and racialized communities. This article by the Broadbent Institute by Akwasi Owusu-Bempah outlines the very important ways that Canada’s government, police service and cannabis industry stakeholders can work to rectify this unfair treatment of the people and communities affected by the war on drugs. Be sure to read through it – this information is essential as legalization moves forward.

Beyond all of the legislation talk, I have been most fascinated by the aesthetics of cannabis. As someone who is obsessed with cultural trends it is hard not to notice how good-looking this industry is turning out to be.

photo via Tokyo Smoke

My first introduction to the art & design of the cannabis industry was through Tokyo Smoke, a Toronto-based cannabis and coffee lifestyle company. They opened up their first coffee shop in Calgary in the fall of 2017; their marketing director Josh Lyon (he is now Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships at Hiku Brands, the umbrella company for Tokyo Smoke among others) actually spoke at our conference Next Big Thing that October about this changing industry. Tokyo Smoke is slick; its for the modern weed connoisseur – really no different than someone who is super into whiskey or cocktails. Walking into the store, you’ll find all sorts of sculptural objects which turn out to be stylish pipes, 24K gold pre-rolled cones and luxury scented candles. They also happen to have really great coffee and delicious vegan grab-and-go options; all in all its a beautifully designed coffee shop that will soon sell cannabis.

photo via Tokyo Smoke

Tokyo Smoke introduced me to Van Der Pop, which is their sister brand, a women-forward company that is leader in the industry and a huge proponent in reducing stigma against usage by women and parents. Their products are perfectly designed – from their stylish leather zip bags and black glass stash jars. Sign up their newsletter and read their blog which are both always full of interesting facts and studies on the industry, topical discussions about cannabis and general knowledge bombs about cannabis.

photos via Van Der Pop

Since finding out about Tokyo Smoke and Van Der Pop, I started noticing new cannabis product companies popping up all over the place in Canada and beyond. Here are just a few of the brands that I feel are making waves in the aesthetics of cannabis.

Alair Vaporizers: Based out of Toronto, Alair is know for their discreet rechargeable vaporizers. Packaged up in this black and gold box (with tropical florals on the inside) it is easy to why they are becoming such a big player in the industry.

FLEURS:  Hemp derived CBD tea coming right at you – and in the prettiest package ever. FLEURS, which I believe is based in Vancouver, has three teas in their line-up all for different experiences (i.e. DOZE, WOKE, CHILL, CLEAN). Their packaging is fresh and fun – and totally designed for a specific demographic: people who like DavidsTea but also like to get high.

Yew Yew: Yew Yew is not Canadian but this NYC-based designer makes such incredible modern ceramic pipes that are truly mini works of art. The shapes are so sculptural that your grandmother probably wouldn’t know she was looking at a pipe if you had it sitting on your bookshelf – or maybe she would and she’d love her own. Their latest art collaboration is a limited edition collection that features the gorgeously quirky artwork of UK based artists Liv & Dom.

HighNoon: Another pipe company, another Toronto designed product – HighNoon pipes are all made by hand – no two are exactly alike. The pipes come in three different shapes: 8AM, High Noon and 10 After 6. I love all of their product photography – they get kinda weird and experimental and I love all the long polished nails in combination with the pipes.

Mister Green: Again, not a Canadian company but Tokyo Smoke carries a lot of Mister Green products and has even collaborated with them on a few projects. Mister Green is a lifestyle shop in LA and carries everything EVERYTHING for the modern day toker. Their brand is fun and chill with a great sense of humour – i.e. the Bong Water water bottle above is theirs.

Allume Chill Box: The subscription box has officially reached the world of cannabis. The Allume Chill Box is sent out of Montreal and features a curated selection of cannabis accessories like rolling papers, ceramic goods, lighters and accessories.

Levo Oil: Not just for cannabis, LEVO Oil Infuser allows you to infuse butter or oil using herbs, fruit and other ingredients. They even have an app that allows you to control your infusions while you are on the go. As far as kitchen gadgets go, this is one seriously cool one to add to your collection.

MONSTER JAM!

Imagine a car subculture that involves building an incredible beast of a vehicle, only to put it to the ultimate rough-and-tumble test; driving it through an intense and dusty obstacle course, popping wheelies and doing backflips. Yep, it isn’t just any car subculture – it is Monster Jam.

Monster Jam is rolling through town for a spectacular return to Calgary on September 8-9, 2018! You’ll get to see some of the world-famous trucks like Grave Digger®, Max-DTM, El Toro Loco®, Monster Mutt® and more race and perform in freestyle competitions. There is really nothing quite like it!

I still remember seeing Monster Jam once as a kid with my family; it was loud as can be and on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of action. It was really cool to go check out the trucks up close and personal after the show. The drivers have some serious skill and put those monster trucks through a lot!  I can’t wait to take Jack there this weekend with my parents and brother to relive the experience through his eyes!

Tickets are still available for September 8 + 9th at the Stampede Grandstand. Get them here now or see below for a chance to win tickets from The Archives of Cool!

Lucky for my readers – I have a great opportunity for my followers to take their family to see the show as well! If you want to win a 4-pack of tickets for this weekend’s show, head over to Twitter, follow me (@kaitkucy) and share this tweet:

Hey @kaitkucy! I want four tickets to see GRAVE DIGGER at @MonsterJam this weekend in #yyc! Details here: https://bit.ly/2wMy9e0

Contest ends on Thursday September 6th at 9pm PST and winner must be able to attend Monster Jam in Calgary on September 8 or 9th. I will be doing a random draw of entries and contacting the winner directly on Twitter. Thanks so much for entering and good luck!

SWAPPING SCREEN TIME FOR GREEN TIME

With the start of the school year rapidly approaching now is the time to get your children’s eyes examined by a doctor of optometry.  A comprehensive eye exam from a doctor of optometry is essential for all kids to make sure they are ready (and able) to start the year seeing clearly. Going for a regular eye exam is the best way to ensure that your child’s eyes are healthy. The doctor of optometry will work with you  to tackle any vision problems that may arise. I have partnered with the Alberta Association of Optometrists to help spread awareness of the importance of your child visiting the optometrist each year, how important (and awesome) sunglasses are and ways you can reduce the risk for myopia in your child’s eyes. Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition where close objects look clear but distant objects appear blurred.

As someone with eye sensitivity, I’ve always worn sunglasses religiously – they are my favourite accessory. Jack has been wearing sunglasses since he was a wee babe – and luckily thanks to my diligence so early in his life, he actually never leaves the house without grabbing a pair of them. One thing that is super important when shopping for sunglasses for your kids (and yourself) is to make sure that they have 100% UV filter protection. Sunglasses should block out 99-100% of both UVA and UVB light.

Here is a crazy statistic that I just learned: researchers estimate more than 80% of our lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before age 18. That is pretty unreal and really drives home the point that children should be wearing protective eyewear since birth!

Did you know that sun protection should be worn year-round when eyes are exposed to the sun? I find that Alberta is especially bright and sunny during the winter with the glare off the white snow; it is super important to keep those eyes protected. Sunglasses aren’t just for summertime! If your child is an avid outdoor swimmer in the summertime, you can also purchase 100% UV filter goggles to help protect their eyes as they enjoy swimming.

The Alberta Association of Optometrists is promoting something that I truly love; swapping screen time for green time. The Association is encouraging families to spend more time outdoors rather than on screens. There have been direct correlations made between an increase in access to advanced technology (phones and tablets) and an increase in cases of myopia in children.

In today’s day and age, we can rely on technology a lot throughout our days – sometimes a lot more than we should. Getting out into the great outdoors, exploring or taking a walk through the neighbourhood is an excellent way to give those eyes a break. Especially with young children, we should all try swapping the screen time for more green time. Myopia typically gets worse with age – so it is key to start paying attention to how much screen time your child is getting as early as possible.

Jack was due for his annual appointment and he did great – but we did discover that he has an astigmatism and may require glasses this fall. He is scheduled in for further testing later this month to confirm that he needs glasses. He starts school in September so finding this out now is such a relief as I want him to be able to focus on learning and not worrying about being able to see things properly. We’ll be shopping for prescription glasses and sunglasses for him soon!         

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with the Alberta Association of Optometrists. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool!

EVERYTHING I WANT BUT DON’T NEED

Like many Canadians, I’ve long been a disciple of the Chapters Indigo world. As much as I love shopping from independent book stores, those big bookstores also have a place in my heart; a place where you can wander for hours, finding new and interesting things. Over the years, I’ve also really fell in love with their lifestyle product lineup. I’ve purchased things you’d never have guessed were from a “bookstore”. I really appreciate how they keep up on trends and give Canadians a wide variety of beautiful things to fill their lives with – alongside the most important part: literature.

Anyways, I was updating my book wish list the other day and realized that they have a FULL BLOWN home section now. It appears that most items are available only online but I’m seriously so impressed with the selection. The colours, the materials, the styles; well done Indigo! I’ve pulled together a selection of my favourite pieces I’ve come across so far – some serious gems and a lot are currently on sale. Bonus.

A perfect example of the items you’ll find is this adorable little compact toaster oven! Who wouldn’t want to tell everyone they bought this from a bookseller?!

Chapters Indigo has proven to me that design is IMPORTANT to them – this Cloudnola Flipping Out Clock is pure loveliness and would look great perched on a bedside or desk.

This Wild & Wolf English Mustard desk lamp is the perfect accent colour for any workspace. I love the matte powder-coated finish and the minimalist design.

I want a nice big stack of these adorable floor pillows for my living room. They kind of remind me of elementary school – something you’d grab for story time. Except now I picture my pals coming over for wine and snacks and pulling one of these up for some good chats.

This Neon Eye Wall Light is such a good price point – and adds a bit of mystical fun to any space. Ideal for the up and coming tarot card reader to put in their front window.

Beautiful chairs from….a bookstore. I’m obsessed. The Kvell Kaptain Chair is gorgeous and at $170.00 it will give you the designer look for your space without an outrageous price tag!

Love this Monbento Square Bento Box! I picture packing Jack and I delicious things for a picnic in the park – while simultaneously looking so stylish and effortless. Haha!

BACK TO SCHOOL!

Ah, the whiff of freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks, the cooler morning air and the feeling of excitement mixed with a slight uncertainty; I’m talking about back-to-school. This time-honoured September tradition is probably the most nostalgic for me; to this day I can remember the first day of school so clearly. That anticipation of seeing all of your friends after the long summer, wearing a brand-new outfit you’ve been saving for weeks and gearing up a new year of learning.

Now, as a mother, I’ve got the same feeling of uncertain excitement for my child as he starts school (pre-school!) for the very first time. I am so excited for all of the learning Jack will do, the friends he will make and the experiences he will have. I just know that he will love it!

To prep for the busy month ahead, I’ve been checking off our list of all the important back-to-school stuff that we’ve had to get done. First things first was getting a real hair cut for Jack. Jack has been rocking his super sweet surfer guy hair for a while now, but I wanted to get something a bit more cleaned up for the fall. We brought in an inspiration photo (which is recommended if you are looking for something specific) and our stylist did a fantastic job.

Heading into Great Clips, I was really impressed with their service before we even got there. In case you weren’t aware, they have an awesome Online Check-In and App service that make things even easier for parents and busy schedules. First off you don’t need to make an appointment – the Great Clips App makes it super simple for getting your children in last-minute to the salon closest to you.

The App will show you the salon locations closest to you and all you have to do is enter your name, phone number and how many people will be with you. Then, just head on over and you’ll be all set up for getting a great haircut.

Clip Notes are another great feature that all locations have access to; basically, it is all of the information about the customer’s haircut that the stylist took note of for future reference. That means that the next time you head in for an appointment, everything from style, shape, type of hair is available to the stylist so that you don’t feel like you are starting from scratch again.

Another really great thing that Great Clips is doing this year is running a promotion in support of Kids Cancer Care. Spearheaded by Lisa Inman and Jennifer Mooney here in Calgary, this initiative is a really great way to teach your kids about giving back to the community. From August 22nd through to September 30th, Calgary customers have the opportunity to purchase a Kindle Bug for $3. With each sale of a Kindle Bug, $3 will go directly to Kids Cancer Care and with each donation customers will receive a $5 off coupon (expires November 16) for their next haircut at Great Clips!

I am so happy with how Jack’s haircut turned out. Our Great Clips stylist did a great job keeping the laid-back shaggy surfer vibe while cleaning it up into something much tidier for starting school. Now that we’ve got the haircut checked off of our to-do list, we can now focus on making sure we’ve got everything else ready for back-to-school!

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Great Clips. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool!

MY SUMMER BEAUTY FAVOURITES

For me July was all about trying new things! This month was fairly boring in terms of what I bought – it was a lot of drugstore purchases; I mostly just needed to switch up some of my skincare to combat some of the summer elements we’ve been experiencing here in Calgary.

As mentioned before almost all of the products listed here were purchased by me (I’ve noted it below if they were gifted) but I will definitely let you guys know in future posts if it is a gifted product or contains an affiliate link. Also, if you have any suggestions for new products I should check out please let me know!

HAIR

I cannot get enough VERB products. I am 100% sold on their gluten-free formula now and swear by all of the products that I’ve tried so far. First up is the VERB Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair which is such a total revelation. FINALLY a dry shampoo for dark hair that doesn’t have an off-putting chalky, chocolatey scent. The formula is light and fresh – and actually works really well for refreshing my hair quickly – especially during these hot, sweaty days/nights.

The other product I tried out this month was the VERB Ghost Prep (*this product was gifted to me by Chatters Hair Salon). It says it is for weightless moisture, heat protection and frizz control – all things I need during this awesome summer heat wave we are having. The Ghost line is typically for finer hair but the Ghost Prep worked great on my thick hair for maintaining flyaways and other frizz.

SKIN

I needed a new skin cleanser and had read really good reviews on the CeraVe lineup so I figured I would give it a shot. I picked up the  CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin. First off, I love washing face – nothing feels better than really cleansing my skin and going to bed feeling fresh. This cleanser is great for that – the formula is light and doesn’t dry out my skin. I think that the value is also great – it was $15.99 for quite a large pump bottle; I only use one pump per session and I feel like I’ve barely used it!

This was an impulse as I had a random breakout and nothing seemed to be working on it. The Neutrogena Rapid Clear Spot Gel actually did the trick! I usually have clear skin and don’t often need something so intense like this so I am glad that it is quite a small little tube.

Next up I was excited to try a couple new products from The Ordinary and my excitement was completely warranted. As I type, I’ve got a re-order on its way to me full of my favourite products from their line. Probably the most anticipated product of the summer for me personally was The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants. I am always looking to try out high SPF in a natural format so I was pleased to see that The Ordinary was releasing something in that range. I found the SPF formula to be very nice and smooth (make sure you shake it up before applying) with great coverage – though you will definitely have to blend it in quite a bit as with any mineral based SPF the formula is quite white. I have used it both on myself and on Jack – we didn’t get any adverse skin reactions to it and no sunburns to be seen so I am quite happy with this purchase.

I also picked up The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer which I would like to SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS RIGHT NOW AS MY NEW FAVOURITE PRODUCT. In the past, I’ve never been much of a primer user but this one changed everything. My makeup stays on SO much better than without it. And with all The Ordinary products, you cannot go wrong with the pricepoint.

MAKEUP

I’m constantly perfecting my daily lip so I picked up a few new things this past month. I tend to stick with blush nude tones for the most part. In an effort to try a new type of product, I bought the NYX Powder Puff Lippie in Squad Goals. I really love the lip colour and the product goes on nicely – my only criticism is that the “powder puff” makes it a bit harder to achieve a clean lip line.

This was part of my order from Deciem: the Abnomaly Petrowhat?  Lip + Skin Ointment in Coconut Milk. it is a nice smooth lip treatment with a mild scent – it is really moisturizing. Moisturizing enough to use it on my cuticles and other dry skin areas! Not bad for $7. A little bit goes a long way.

More lip stuff! I was given the da lish lipgloss in G02 from my friend Alli at Beach Beauty here in Calgary. It is a vegan line and I have to say – as someone who NEVER buys lipgloss for fear of stickiness – I was beyond surprised at what a great product this is. The colour is perfectly neutral and goes well with all of my other lipsticks.

I usually use NYX Lip Liner in Natural but decided to try out a darker colour for a more defined lip. I tried out Mauve and really love the colour.

I’ve been using the same eye liner for 100 years that I totally swear by but I had heard that Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper Black was a godsend so bit bullet (it is double the price of my regular drugstore fave). I think it is a really amazing product but definitely need a lot more practice to perfect my cat eye. Also, I find that the tip runs out of liquid pretty fast – not sure if that is common or not.

I am an Anastasia Beverly Hills fanatic but this NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Espresso is really great when you want to get a really defined clean brow. It is the perfect pencil to keep in your purse for daytime touch-ups!

ESSENTIAL OILS

Lastly, my allergies have been OUT OF CONTROL this summer and I was willing to try anything for a bit of relief. Luckily, Saje came out with a lovely kit just for me: Saje Natural Wellness Clear Skies Allergy Relief Kit. The kit comes with an allergy release mist which I misted over myself and on my pillows before bedtime. It was really soothing and helped me do some deep breathing despite my congestion. The allergy rollerball is great for on the go – just a dab under my nose or behind my ears seems to soothe my irritated nose/eyes. The inhaler is such a great addition to this kit – anytime I felt like I couldn’t breathe or was on the verge of a sneezing attack I used it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a natural remedy for allergy season.