Monday, 14 October 2019

Master Bedroom Update

Hello lovelies! This summer I had a sudden urge to paint my house. Simon and I have lived in our home for nearly three years (already!), and I felt like we needed an update. Painting always seems like it will be quick and easy, but then ends up being a lot of work (well for me at least!). I decided to stick to painting only three rooms in my house for now, and start slowly since I've been so busy lately. I painted my powder room on the main floor, and the master bedroom. The main bathroom is also on my list but I haven't had time yet. Maybe I'll get to it during the Christmas holidays? I'm really pleased with how the master bedroom turned out, so I wanted to share the results with you! All my ideas are heavily inspired by Pinterest. What would I do without it?

Here is the before: our whole house is very neutral, so I wanted to add some color.

Here is the after! I love dark blue for the master bedroom! The color I used is called Blueberry Jam by Premier.  

I only painted two of the walls so the room wouldn't be too dark. I purchased the headboard from Amazon. I was really pleased to find one that perfectly matched my bedding. The leaf canvas is actually upcycled! I already had a pink canvas that didn't really match anything in my house. I decided to cover it with fabric and voila! It matches my new bedroom. I used a glue gun and pulled the fabric tightly around the canvas.

The 'Let's Cuddle' signs are Pinterest inspired. I got the frames on sale at Canadian Tire and just printed the words. 

My friend recently told me about hygge, the Danish lifestyle focused on living in the moment and coziness. I've been working on being more mindful for the past few years, so hygge is definitely up my alley! I decided to put this definition on the wall to remind me to stay in the present moment.

Overall I kept the decor simple, and I'm working on slowly decluttering my house. I already declutterered my closet and donated a bunch of stuff to the thrift store. I feel like it's so easy to accumulate clothes I don't wear often, or knick-knacks that end up only collecting dust! 

Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for reading! xo 

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Vacationing in Las Vegas

Hello readers! How is everyone? I recently went on a little vacation to Las Vegas and wanted to share my experience. This trip was quite a big deal for me, since the main purpose was to meet my online friend Amber in person. We met through blogging many years ago. What started with mutual blog comments blossomed into regular emails, then Facebook messages and Snapchat conversations. Amber does not blog at the moment, but we've always stayed pretty close. After 7 years, we decided that it was beyond time to meet in person! Meeting someone in person after being online friends for so long is a really exciting experience! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tiny bit nervous, but after a little initial awkwardness, we got along just as well in person as online.

My fiance Simon and my bff Steph joined us for the trip. We arrived in Las Vegas one night earlier than Amber, and visited the Grand Canyon on our first day (Amber didn't want to join us for this). The tour we went on also had a quick stop at the Hoover Dam. I'd  like to go on a more in-depth tour of the Hoover Dam one day. I didn't think I'd enjoy it, but it was actually super interesting! The Grand Canyon was beautiful, and I really loved the serenity of the desert. I could definitely get used to the lack of humidity! ;) 

Amber took the time to plan out an awesome itinerary for us for the rest of the trip. We visited many of the fabulous hotels on the strip, as well as the Fashion Show mall. We're both big fans of the reality show Vanderpump Rules, so drinks at the Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesar's Palace were a must. It was one of my favorite stops of the trip! The ambience was great and the cocktails were some of the best I've ever tasted. The casinos were fun to experience as well. It came as a bit of a shock to see people smoking inside, since it's been illegal in Ontario since I was a kid. We went to the Cirque du Soleil's O show at the Bellagio on Saturday night. I honestly didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I guess it's just not my thing. 

During our trip we stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations hotel on the strip. We stayed in a fabulous penthouse suite on the 37th floor. The view was spectacular and the service was excellent. There isn't a casino at the Hilton, so we had more tranquility and felt safer. The pool at the Hilton was one of the nicest pools I've ever swam in!

 The view from our hotel room

 The lovely pool

I kinda have a thing for palm trees!

We went on quite a few Uber rides during the trip, and talking to the Uber drivers was very interesting. Most of them were very chatty and told us tidbits about the city. One driver told us that Vegas is a very transient place: people come for the glamour and the low cost of living, but end up not staying long. Our Grand Canyon tour guide told us that the strip is known as Paradise, Nevada. The real Las Vegas is the rest of the city. Simon did experience a bit of the real city during his visit to the Mob Museum, but the rest of us mainly stayed on the strip (except for one quick visit to Carl's Jr.!). 

The ceiling in the Venetian is painted to look like you're always outdoors!

Overall I had a fantastic vacation, and I will definitely go back one day. There is so much to see that it can't all be done in one trip! I'll try to get off the strip next time and visit the real city. 

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? Thanks for reading! xo

Monday, 5 August 2019

July No Spend Challenge: Results

Hello lovely readers! I hope everyone had a fabulous month of July. It really flew by for me! I'm back to report on how my first ever no spend-challenge went. I started off strong, but did end up spending a lot on fast food for the second half of the month... I'll have to try harder to be good next time!
I began the month with a strong resolve, and actually cancelled one of my beauty subscription boxes to save some money. My friend invited me to go get a pedicure, and after initially saying yes, I changed my mind and declined her offer. Why spend $40.00 on a pedicure when I can do one myself at home for free? I was doing great until mid-month... that's when some unfortunate events happened that caused me to spend money. I turned on the wrong burner on the stove. I had left a burner cover and a pot warmer on that burner, and they made a lot of scary black smoke as they burned. There were no actual flames, but the amount of smoke freaked me out so I used my fire extinguisher to put it out. Therefore, I had to buy a new fire extinguisher...Which counts as essential, but it was not exactly in the budget! Simon also dropped our glass French press, and it cracked. I bought a new stainless steel one (clumsy fiance proof!). It was a great deal on Amazon, but also, not in the budget.

Near the end of the month, something really exciting happened regarding Square Lemon: we secured a new location! The end of the month was spent working hard to get our new building polished up and ready for our grand opening on August 3. I was very busy going to our new building every evening after work, and grabbed fast food on the way there with my friend Steph. We definitely enable each other with fast food... Dairy Queen and Little Caesar's are some of our top guilty pleasures!

All in all I'm proud of myself for my willpower at the beginning of the month (cancelling a makeup subscription is kind of a big deal to a beauty blogger!). Next time I do a no-spend challenge, I'll have to be more organized so I avoid grabbing so much fast food. You never know how busy life will get, so if I have a bunch of pre-made frozen meals ready to go, it will save me a few bucks.

Thanks for reading! xo

Saturday, 15 June 2019

July No Spend Challenge

Hello lovelies! I decided to try a no spend challenge for the month of July. Lately I've been finding myself tempted by clothing sales, and I'm also guilty of treating myself to coffees when I can simply make one at home. I have some credit card debt I'd like to pay off by the end of the year, and I'd also like to build my emergency fund. A no spend challenge will definitely help with those goals.

I'm not sure that I'll be able to go a WHOLE MONTH without spending anything, but by tracking my spending each day, it will make me much more aware. I'll think twice about stopping at Starbucks on the way home! Let's see how many no-spend days I can manage to accomplish.

What tricks do you use to save money? Have you ever done a no spend challenge before? Let me know how it went! I'll be updating you at the end of July with how I did.

Wish me luck! xo

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Welcome June! Life Update

Hello lovely readers! How is everyone? Can you believe it's already June? Half of 2019 is done! I wanted to give you a little life update. So far this year, a lot of amazing opportunities have blossomed for me and I'm so thankful. I'm making 2019 a year of growth and accomplishments!

The first thing I'd like to mention is Square Lemon. If you follow me on my other social media channels, you might have heard me mention it. In March, after a few casual meetings, me and four other awesome ladies founded Square Lemon, an artistic non-profit aimed at celebrating local artists, makers and crafters in Ottawa. We organize craft markets, workshops, as well as private events. It's been a lot of work, but so fun! Square Lemon has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Melanie from 1 year ago would have been far too shy to pursue this kind of venture. I'm thrilled with everything we've accomplished so far! Check out our website if you want to learn more here.
The second thing I'm excited to announce is that after 12 years of procrastinating, I finally went and got my driver's license! I put it off for so long because my fear of failure held me back. As a child, I used to have nightmares that I'd be alone in a car sitting in the front passenger's seat. Suddenly the car would start and I'd panic not knowing what to do! I let a silly childhood fear hold me back from even trying to get my license... so this year I decided that I'm not letting insecurities hold me back any longer. After studying on and off since April, I passed my G1 exam on June 1. I've signed up for a beginner's driving course in July. I'm very positive about it, but if ever it goes horribly wrong and I decide driving really isn't for me, at least I'll be able to say I tried!
You might have also seen via my other social media channels that I got engaged to Simon at the end of April! We've been dating for a total of 11 years, and as all long term relationships go, we went through our share of ups and downs. In December, we had a heart to heart and decided that it would make our relationship that much more special to actually tie the knot. Simon didn't wait too long to surprise me with his proposal! He look me for a nice stroll downtown and popped the question. Afterwards, we had dinner at a lovely fine-dinning restaurant, Beckta. We've slowly been looking at wedding venues, and are aiming for a small, cozy wedding in September 2020. I will be writing some wedding inspired blog posts in the near future, so stay tuned.

I just turned 29 on Sunday and spent the weekend relaxing in Quebec City with my best girlfriends. Looking back to the Melanie of 1 year ago, I'm proud to say I'm now a much more confident and zen version of myself.

Thanks for reading friends. Here's to many more accomplishments! xo

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Avon Crave Lip Gloss: Review and Swatches

Hello lovely readers! I've been meaning to get this review up for weeks... better late than never, right?

When I saw the new Avon Crave Lip Glosses in the catalog a few months ago, they really caught my eye. They have seriously ADORABLE packaging! Each tube contains 0.3 fl oz so they are small. I'm actually okay with that, because I feel like I will actually finish them up! They are the perfect size to pop into my purse (and my desk drawer at work). The formula is a tiny bit sticky, but that's lip gloss for you. The colors show up pretty opaque on the swatches because I put on a big glob. On my lips, the result is a more subtle wash of color with incredible shine and shimmers. What really sets these lip glosses apart for me is their decadent scent. They are just so fun! I picked up French Toast, Peach Bellini and Birthday Cake out of the 12 flavors available. I almost picked up Pumpkin Latte (because, duh, pumpkin lattes are life), but decided to try French Toast instead since I thought it was quite an original flavor. It ended up being my favorite out of the three. The color is just stunning!

The Avon Crave Lip Gloss is definitely a hit in my book! What's been your fave lip gloss lately? Thanks for stopping by! xo

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Eyeko London Lash Alert Mascara

Hello lovelies, and happy Sunday. I received a trial size of the Eyeko London Lash Alert mascara in my February Ipsy bag. I'm always very stocked to receive mascaras. I love to try new ones, and how cute is the concept of mascara in a tube?
The Eyeko London Lash Alert mascara contains caffeine and fibers, so it really gave my lashes a lift. Anything involving caffeine is a yes in my book! The curved brush works great to curl the lashes during the application process, by pressing the brush at their base. This is a tip I got from the card that came with the Ipsy bag. It's a great idea I never thought about! The trial size I received contains 2 ml of product. The full size mascara contains 8 ml and retails for $26.00 USD, so it qualifies as a high-end mascara. I usually stick to drugstore brands, but I would consider shelling out the extra cash for this one just because it's a really unique concept!

What is your go-to mascara? Thanks for reading! xo

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Trip to Cayo Santa María, Cuba

Hello lovely friends! I just arrived home yesterday evening from my first ever trip outside of Canada. Simon and I went to Meliá las Dunas, a gorgeous all-inclusive resort in Cayo Santa María, Cuba. It was Simon's first time leaving Canada, too. We chose Cuba for our first trip since we heard it was safe, and very beautiful. We had a SPECTACULAR time. It was a much needed peaceful break from our busy lives. The wifi in Cuba isn't very good, and I did not get a data plan with my phone so it was a nice break from social media as well. Sometimes it's good to completely disconnect!

Cayo Santa María is an island separated mainland Cuba. Here you can faintly see El Pedraplén, the highway across the Atlantic ocean that connects Cayo Santa María to the mainland. It is 57.3 km long and really fun to travel across! 

 The beach was beyond beautiful. We have some nice beaches in Ontario, but nothing beats the ocean.
 We stayed in building 71 of the resort. I really liked the way Meliá las Dunas is set out. There are two separate sections, one for adults only, and the other for families. There are multiple small buildings each containing two dozen rooms, so you don't feel like everyone is all crowded together. The hotel is pretty quiet as well, definitely not a "spring-break party" type of resort, which we really did not want. 

 We got a bit tanned and a bit sunburned... oops! 
 The resort has a separate pool for adults only, connected to a bar. There are bar stools under the water!
 Cuban cola-this stuff is really good! It contains much less sugar than colas in Canada.
 This is my favorite photo from the trip. I was so excited to see palm trees in person. I took this photo at dusk, and something about it is so dreamy.
 Cubans know good coffee! Their cappuccinos were awesome.
 We went on an excursion to Remedios, a colonial town located close to the northern coast of the mainland. This town has 2 churches located in it's main square. Here is the Igesia Mayor of San Juan Bautista which is known for it's gold altars in the next photo.

 Here is some detailing from the ceiling, made of mahogany wood.
 Here is the parque Martí in the central square. The Igesia Mayor of San Juan Bautista is on the left, mostly hidden by trees.
 The bust of Jose Martí, a national hero.
 A stray doggo in the park. The strays are fed by locals so it's not as bad as it sounds.
 Above is the second church in the Remedios central square: Iglesia del Buen Viaje. According to a legend, some travelers brought a statue of the Virgin they found at sea to a black man living at a house where the church is currently located. The man gave the Virgin to the church the next day, but somehow the Virgin kept coming back to the man's house by itself. The people in the town decided to build a second church on the location of the man's house because of this.
Remedios even has it's own Statue of Liberty! 
On the left you can see a bicitaxi. Because Remidios is a 16th century town, many roads are too narrow for cars to pass. Bicycles and horses must be used to get around. We had a ride on a bicitaxi and it was quite fun. 
Here is a street we passed during our bicitaxi ride.

We weren't the bravest and spent most of our time on the resort except for our short excursion to Remedios. In the future, we would love to visit more towns to get a more cultural experience. The Cubans are some of the friendliest people ever, and that's coming from a Canadian ;)

Where are you traveling to next? Thanks for reading! xo

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Yes Oh Yas Beauty Subcription: First Impressions

Hello lovelies! I recently signed up for Yes Oh Yas, a monthly beauty subscription. It includes 3-7 full size (!) products, valued over $70. Yes Oh Yas costs $14.99 a month, plus $9.50 shipping to Canada. Shipping to the US is cheaper, at $3.99. The products come in a pretty holographic silver bubble envelope, with extra bubble wrap to protect the more fragile items. I want to share my first impressions on the February 2019 package with you. Here are the products I received:
 From top, clockwise:
-Beauty Creations Emerald Eyeshadow Palette
-Bang Beauty Lip Crayon in Dangerous
-JCat Cosmetics Wholly Addiction Eyeliner in Bronze Shimmer
-Kokie Cosmetics Velvet Smooth Eyeliner in 526 Eggplant
-Inmo Concealer Brush
 -Inmo Angled Brush
-Inmo Crease Brush
Here is the card that came with the February package. I love keeping these cards!

Above are swatches of both the eyeliners and the lip crayon.
Here are some swatches from the Emerald Palette. I love the shimmery shades.
Here is a look I created using the Beauty Creations Emerald Eyeshadow Palette, the JCat Cosmetics Wholly Addiction Bronze Shimmer Eyeliner, and the Bang Beauty Dangerous Lip Crayon

I'd like to start by saying that brushes are a great item to receive in a beauty subscription. I can never get enough brushes! I used all three of the Inmo brushes to create the above look, and they did an excellent job. I especially love the Crease Brush. It's perfect for applying darker eyeshadow to the inner corners of my eyes. The Beauty Creations Emerald Palette has a huge mirror, and the lovely colors remind me fall. The Kokie Cosmetics Velvet Smooth Eyeliner in 526 Eggplant is true to it's name: it is very velvety! The JCat Cosmetics Wholly Addiction Eyeliner in Bronze Shimmer is also very smooth, and the lovely bronze color is something I can wear on a daily basis. I'm not normally a fan of lip crayons, but the Bang Beauty Dangerous Lip Crayon is so fun to wear. It glides on so nicely. I'm just not sure if the red color suits me.

My February package only arrived on March 7. However, I'm very pleased with the products I received. The wait was worth it! Overall I'm very happy I signed up for Yes Oh Yas. If you are interested in signing-up yourself, please click here.

What is your favorite product to receive in a beauty subscription? Thank you for reading! xo

*Disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador of Yes Oh Yas. If you sign-up using the above link, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.