Bon Voyage: Travel Tips, Tricks & Essentials

Whether you are a seasoned traveller or someone heading on a trip for the first time, there are some tips and essentials that everyone should know when it comes to preparing and packing for a trip. As I prepare for my own trip to Panama, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some tips and tricks I have learned from my own travels.

While packing

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No matter if you are going away for a few days, a week, or a even month, a must-have for a good travel experience is a sturdy suitcase. A hard shell suitcase is a great option; they tend to be more resistant than the average suitcase. Also, it’s a good idea to choose a color or pattern that stands out so that you have an easier time finding it at the baggage claim. There’s also a much lower chance of someone mistaking your luggage for their own!

Pack as light as you can. It’s important to make sure you have enough clothes, but don’t go overboard! Pack only what you will actually wear. It’s also important to leave space for the shopping that you will hopefully get to do 😉

When it comes to packing your toiletries and beauty products, travel size is a must! So many products come in smaller sizes that are perfect for travel, and many companies also make travel bundles of their products. If you plan on bringing some of your skincare or beauty products in your carry-on, look up the quantities and products that you are actually allowed to bring on the plane! And don’t forget to bring some sunscreen!

Day of Travel

Even if you are heading somewhere sunny and hot, make sure you dress in layers on the plane as they tend to get quite cold! It’s good to keep a hoodie or sweater on hand so that you can wear it during the flight and take off when you land.

On a similar note, make sure to wear shoes that are comfortable, and, if you can, wear socks so that when you take them off during security check or on the flight itself, your feet are not directly touching the ground of the airport or airplane (yuck!).

And don’t forget to make sure you have your plane tickets and passport before you head to the airport!

While on the plane

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If your ears pop as painfully as mine do during take offs and landings, make sure to bring along either earplugs or earphones. Another trick I’ve learned  is making sure to also chew gum and swallow saliva as it help’s alleviate the pressure you will feel in your eardrum.

If you are planning to actually sleep on the plane (lucky you!), make sure to have an eye mask on hand! It will help block out all the light especially if it’s a day flight because the passengers in the other aisles may choose to keep the blinds on their windows up.

It also helps to have a good book, magazine, e-reader or tablet to entertain yourself especially if the in-flight entertainment/movie options suck (or cost money) or if your company is not so talkative.

No matter where you are travelling to, always make sure to stay safe and have fun! 🙂

Happy Travels xoxo

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Snacking Smart: Quick & Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

After having been in a little bit of a funk back in December, I decided that I needed to change parts of my lifestyle so that I could feel fully myself again. I knew it was important that I find a physical activity that I would enjoy and make some healthy (but not depriving) changes to my diet. Since then, I’ve committed to an almost daily at-home yoga practice and have ensured that I eat a balanced diet daily. What I have found is that if you are trying to eat healthier, changing the way you snack can make a big difference. I by no means believe in self-deprivation when it comes to eating but I do think there are smarter ways of snacking instead of instantly going for a bag of chips or a box of cookies.

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In my attempts to find healthier recipes, I stumbled upon the Minimalist Baker, a website dedicated to providing healthy and easy recipes (vegan and often gluten-free). I have so far tried many different recipes, like sweet potato fries, peanut butter chocolate chip granola, and even roasted chickpeas, and I have loved it all. A snack that I have found from the website that is easy to make and tastes just like a cookie is the Peanut Butter Cup Energy Bites. They don’t take long to make and require no baking, which makes it super easy when you are craving something sweet and don’t have the patience to wait. When first making it, I had to adapt it slightly since I didn’t have chia seeds and many dates as the original recipe called for but it still turned out great! When a recipe is simple, it makes it easier to customize like I did!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites 

These make a great midday snack or even a quick and easy breakfast along side a banana!

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  • 1 cup of dates  (if you can use medjool dates; they are sweeter in taste than deglect)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter (natural is best but any other nut butter would work)
  • 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks
  • 2/3 cups of rolled oats

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  1. Pulse dates in a food processor until it forms a ball or has been cut up into tiny pieces
  2. Now you can add the rolled oats, chocolate, and peanut butter and mix it all together – you can also add other things like chia, flax or hemp seeds or even shredded coconut if you’d like!
  3. Once you have your mixture, it’s time to roll! A good size to make your energy ball is about 1 inch in diameter
  4. To set the energy bites, put them in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. You can store them in an air-tight container for about a week but you can also keep them in the fridge for better freshness or if you prefer a firmer texture.
  5. Last but not least, enjoy!!! 🙂

 

Luxury Lips: Marc Jacobs Lipstick Review

When I first found out that Marc Jacobs had entered the world of beauty after decades in the fashion industry, I was very excited to say the least. I already own several Marc Jacobs accessories and one of my favourite fragrances, Honey. Though I have not tried an extensive amount of products from Marc Jacobs Beauty, I can say that the lipsticks I have tried are worth both the hype and money!


The lipstick range that I tried from Marc Jacobs Beauty is the Le Marc Lip Crème, which claims 10-hour wear and is described as “buttery, creamy and vibrant.” Though I’m not sure if it will actually last 10 hours after eating and drinking throughout the day, I do know that it is definitely creamy when applied to the lip and the colours are nothing close to dull. What I do really like and appreciate about the lipstick and the Marc Jacobs Beauty line as a whole is that the products are cruelty free – no animals were tested at all during the production process! So the lipstick comes in a sleek black case that gives a satisfying click when you close the cap. I have it in the colour Je T’Aime (surprisingly picked by my fashion-challenged boyfriend) which is described as a rum raspberry colour. It comes in at $38 CAD, so it is more on the high end of makeup pricing compared to other beauty brands.

I also have tried the limited edition Up All Night Five Piece Petites set, which was a Marc Jacobs Beauty holiday release in 2016. As the name suggests, the set comprises of 5 small sized lipsticks (0.05 oz each) with colours ranging from nudes, reds, purple and it comes in a hot pink faux patent leather case which makes it perfect for travelling or if you like super cute and fun packaging! Now, more about the colours: there are two nude shades one with an apricot undertone (No Angel) and the other with a rosier undertone (Slow Burn). There are also two red shades one being a brighter more strawberry red (Oh Miley!) and the other being a deep ruby red (Miss Scarlet). Lastly, the fifth shade comes in a deep plum (Scandal), which is the perfect statement lip.

Like I mentioned earlier, the 10-hour wear claim may be a stretch, as the darker or bolder colours need touch-ups and potentially a re-application as it does leave residue on glasses and coffee cups. Regardless of the need for touch-ups, the colour payoff is amazing and because of the creaminess of the lipstick formula, it doesn’t leave the lips feeling dry. Even though the price is more on the high end of beauty products, it is definitely worth it especially if you choose a colour that you really love and know that you will actually get great use out of it. If you are willing to invest in a knockout colour, then the Le Marc Lip Crème is a must buy!

 

Fashion Spotlight: m0851

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Zip Around Wallet – WA 81

If you are looking for a brand that is stylish yet classic, unique yet practical, then look no further, because m0851 has got your back! m0851 is a fashion house that creates accessories and outerwear from various high quality raw materials like leather, cashmere, silk and wool. Since its conception in 1987 under the name Rugby North America in Montreal, m0851 has paired European style with local design concepts. Ninety percent of m0851’s collection is being made in their Montreal workshops, and they currently have 22 boutiques located around the world coupled with 35 international retailers selling their products.

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Bell Shaped Cosmetic Pouch – PO 52; Mini Cosmetic Pouch – PO 01 in Arctic Ocean

m0851 has a wide variety of leather goods including bags, cosmetic pouches, wallets, travel accessories, key chains, cardholders, and document organizers. Their product selection doesn’t stop there. They also manufacture jackets, coats, and seasonal accessories like hats, gloves, scarves and even umbrellas. When you purchase any of their items, you know that you are buying something that is of quality and something you know you won’t see just anywhere!

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Toiletry Bag – PO 10 in Black; Large Passport Holder with Pockets – CA 02 in Black

m0851 is a great brand not only because of its stylish and sleek designs that are easy to add to any wardrobe, but also because its customers are provided with well-crafted products that come from quality, ethically procured materials. I know first hand from the products that I myself own; the leather that makes up the purses and wallets wears beautifully overtime. Because their designs are not over the top or flashy, they are versatile but also very practical. Every piece is designed to be a functional part of a consumer’s life with the various sizes available for wallets and bags. Another reason that I love m0851 is the great selection of seasonal colours that range from bold to neutral.

To see for yourself, check out their website: https://www.m0851.com/store/m0_cad_en/

And don’t forget to visit their facebook and instagram pages!!

The Sweat Life: Fitness fashion that makes you look and feel good

It’s the end of February and you’re still going strong on that New Year’s Resolution, right? All jokes aside, whatever health commitment you made to yourself recently or long ago is amazing and you should be proud of yourself! I myself am not a fitness buff, but I have become quite the yogi over the past couple of months. Although I have not been in the fitness world for very long, I do know a thing or two about fashion and I’ve learned some key tips that will keep you chic and cool for both at home and gym workouts. No matter if you are running, working out at the gym or taking a yoga class, there are some staples that you need in your wardrobe for the perfect workout experience!

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Firstly, a comfortable and supportive sports bra is important, especially for high intensity workouts like running and kickboxing. There are so many different styles of sports bras out there made for different intensities. Just like a regular bra, it’s important to make sure that the fit is right so that you can avoid any discomfort or worse, embarrassing mishaps in public. Luckily, there are so many fashionable options there that will give you the right support and make you look and feel cute while you sweat!

When it comes to tops looser fits allow for more breathability and more fluid movements. However, for activities like yoga and pilates, it is important that your top is not too lose so that when you go into a downward dog or a forward fold, your face doesn’t get covered. Tops are also a great way to add visual interest to an outfit with bright colours or a cheeky saying!

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Another important workout fashion staple are leggings, whether that’s the full length, cropped or even shorts. When working out and especially when sweating, it’s important to feel comfortable and part of that comfort comes from wearing breathable material. Although leggings are body hugging,  they will not get in the way during a yoga pose or get caught in any of the gym machines! So many companies now make really great clothes out of microfibre materials that allow the body to breathe while preventing sweat from sticking to the body. Plus leggings are an easy way to again add visual interest to an outfit. They come in so many colours and graphics  that can easily be turned into a casual outfit after the gym.

But the most important thing when working out is that you feel good!

 

 

Buying Smart: Style Pieces Worth the Splurge

Realistically, most of us can’t buy designer everything, especially when there are essentials and bills to pay for. That being said, I still think there are some style pieces that are truly worth investing in. There are so many great budget friendly pieces out there and it’s super exciting when you find the perfect makeup dupe for less than half the cost. But from my experience some things are honestly worth the splurge when they will last for years to come.

So here are the five pieces I think are worth the investment:

A Watch

Sure there are some trendy or super cute watches you can buy for super cheap but will it last a year of your busy, hectic life? In the long run, it is more cost effective to buy a good quality watch with a timeless look and replacing the battery if need be than buying a new watch every couple of years.

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 Shoes

I’ve learned the hard way that cheaper shoes are fantastic for your wallet but horrible for the feet! No matter the price, breaking in shoes is a nightmare but once you’ve broken in your favourite new pair of shoes, better quality shoes will be more comfortable and will last more than a season when well taken care of!

 Sunglasses

Sunglasses are another item that it is worth spending money. Buying a really cheap pair every summer can be convenient but cheaper quality glasses are more susceptible to scratching and breakage.  Another plus side of buying quality sunglasses is that they do have better UV protection so your eyes will actually be protected from the sun’s strong rays.

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A Coat

When living in a city that experiences cold weather for half the year, a well made coat or jacket is a must for combatting cold winds and frostbite! While there is no need to spend close to 1000$ for a good jacket, it is worth spending some money on a coat that will make sure you don’t turn into a popsicle the minute you go outside.

A Handbag

When buying a classic shape or colour, investing in a good quality and well-crafted handbag is worth it because it will allow for versatility when accessorizing and will honestly never go out of style. Investing in a good quality handbag doesn’t mean spending more than you can afford but it does mean opting for quality.

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Investment doesn’t mean solely buying high-end designer wear or spending your whole paycheck on a pair of sunglasses! There are some great quality brands out there with prices that won’t hurt the bank. But if you are someone who can’t help but want the finer things in life, there is a way to buy designer for less –end of season sales and outlets shops are great places for designer steals. But whatever your budget, buy what makes you feel your best!

The Power of the Purse

No outfit is complete without the perfect accessory – a bag. Whether it be clutch, tote, cross body or shoulder, a bag is what completes the outfit. When the colours of an outfit are neutral or monochromatic, a bag, whether in a pattern or a bold hue, acts as a perfect statement piece, while a neutral bag can act as an anchor for a colourful or vivacious outfit.

Bright bold hues, especially pinks, coral and cobalt blue, make the perfect statement piece, day or night, into the spring, or throughout the summer. Clutches in bright blue are perfect for pairing with a white dress or a floral romper, whether you’re attending Sunday brunch or a girl’s night out. Although my favourite colours for spring and summer are evidently blues and pinks, any bold colour, like orange or yellow, is perfect for livening up a neutral outfit or making a fashion statement on a smaller scale.

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If you are someone who can appreciate bright colours but are not interested in making such a bold fashion statement, then neutral and more classic patterns are the perfect way to go! A neutral colour, like brown or tan, is the best way to finish a classy or chic outfit, especially when there is a cute detail, like a fringe tassel, a soft pattern, or a perforated design. Neutral or soft colour palettes, especially in brown or beige tones, are perfect for the autumn transition, when the leaves begin to change from bright green into ambers and reds.

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 Purses, aside from being the perfect thing to carry all that a girl on the go needs, are an easy and fun way to finish off any outfit. No matter the colour, pattern or price point, you can find cute or classic bags that are both functional and fashionable to serve you well year-round.

You never need to brag when you have a nice bag.

Happy lugging xoxo.

 

 

The Art of Fashion

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Although the fashion industry has gotten a bad rap (and rightfully so) for promoting distorted ideals of what a woman’s body should be by employing dangerously thin models, it also, in a more positive light, encourages both women and men to explore their creativity and personal style. Fashion is a legitimate art form, just like painting or sculpting, for both the ones who create the fabric masterpieces and for the ones who proudly wear them.

Fashion allows us to be fun, sexy, professional, unique, glamorous, and, most importantly, ourselves. Fashion is transformative in nature. Wearing colourful bracelets, a statement necklace or killer shoes turns a drab outfit into a fabulous one, while the perfect fitted leather jacket transforms jeans and a t-shirt into a sleek and edgy ensemble. Fashion allows us to be anyone we feel like when we wake up in the morning, whether that be a stylish yet strong career women, a quirky brunch goer, a sexy siren ready for a night on the town, or a chic yogi ready to tackle hot yoga class. No matter who we feel like that day, a perfect outfit makes us walk tall. The right fit can make even the body conscious feel a little bit better about themselves.

Fashion has been, and will always be, a medium for personal expression and creativity. What we wear makes a statement about not only who we are, but also who we want the world to think we are. Confidence comes from within – but an amazing outfit doesn’t hurt.