Real. Life. Beauty.

Where Real Women Connect.

Don’t be hatin’…yourself.

The last few Fridays, I have indulged myself in watching TLC’s new show, “Love Lust or Run” starring Stacey London of “What Not to Wear” fame.

I love the show and the positive message being imparted by Stacey in that you can use what you’ve already got and it doesn’t matter what size, colour, race, or age you are, you can still be the best version of yourself.

What troubles me about the show is not the show itself but how terribly frightened the featured applicants are at the prospect of being seen without makeup. To her credit, Stacey does her utmost best to allay the fears of these women and helps them move forward.

Makeup should enhance – not hide – who you are. It shouldn’t be worn as a mask preventing people from seeing the real you. And yet, every show, there are applicants featured on this show who express fear not at wearing only a chunky white bathrobe on national (or international) television, but rather at being seen without their makeup. As if the makeup was some kind of protective shield over their faces.

There could be many reasons for this mindset, but I am disturbed that so many women have grown up from being young girls thinking that leaving the house without makeup on was somehow sacrilegious or taboo.

While I write a lot of product reviews of makeup products, it should be known that I DO NOT wear makeup every day. It doesn’t matter to me whether I wear it to work, or if I wear it out when I’m enjoying a date night with my husband. I wear it simply as an accessory as I would a pair of earrings to go with an outfit. In other words, if I end up omitting makeup from my routine, it’s not the end of the world.

It’s also true that my decision to wear makeup is based largely on whether or not I actually have the time to apply it. If the clock is running low, I skip it all together and simply make sure that I am dressed appropriately and cleanly for whatever I’m about to undertake on my way out the door.

I don’t mean to say that I’ve always been together and this is not a judgment of women or people in general who wear more or less makeup than myself. In my teens and 20’s, I used to obsess over my hair, my clothes, my makeup and how to act or behave around other people. I seemed to be always anxious and tense and finally something clicked in my head where I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore; I wanted to change to a better me.

I learned somewhere along the way that my obsession with my appearance was not only annoying those who had to wait for me to get ready to join them in whatever day we had planned, but it was also robbing me of time which might otherwise have been spent doing things which were so much more fun than being locked in a bathroom preening in the mirror. When I let go so much concern for my personal appearance and whether it was going to be good enough, the world opened up a lot more possibilities and I relaxed and had a lot more fun.

It’s an ongoing process as we women, in particular, frequently fall in and out of this trap. But I encourage anyone struggling with this issue to take a few moments to study themselves objectively in the mirror, focusing ONLY on those things they love about themselves and ignoring all those things they might dislike or even hate. Take, for instance, the colour of your eyes. Or the shape of your mouth, or the smoothness of your forehead. You may have very toned and strong shoulders, or you may have a beautiful collarbone. It doesn’t matter what you find attractive about yourself (I happen to like my feet, as an example), but it matters tremendously that you find yourself attractive even in some small way.

Finding one thing you like about yourself will undoubtedly lead you to discover other things you like about yourself, leading to an altogether better sense of overall well-being which you will be able to impart to your friends, family, daughters and those who rely on you to be strong for them.

If we’re to raise strong, secure women, we must lead by example.

The heartening thing about “Love Lust or Run,” unlike the ambushes on “What Not to Wear,” is that it is completely voluntary and the women featured on the show are simply asking Stacey for help in enhancing and updating their looks to fit not only current trends in fashion and makeup, but also toward their life and career goals. It’s a brave step for many women, but it’s nice to see so many women taking that first step toward happiness and self-acceptance for the rest of their lives.

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Product Review: L’Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm - Velvety Fuchsia

L’Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm – Velvety Fuchsia

I am a fan of L’Oreal products of most any kind thanks, in no small part to Gerard Butler’s involvement with the company (it runs deep, okay?!?). 🙂

I use their BB Cream, for instance, and love it as a lightweight foundation. I also love their eyeshadows and mascaras (I’ll review them later). So, based on my past experience with their products, I wanted to try their Colour Riche Balm.

Also because I’m a Lipstick Junkie and I just HAD to give it a whirl.

I chose the product for its claim to be lightweight and full of colour, as well as for its 8 hours of continuous moisturization. The colour I picked was Velvety Fuchsia since I like a little pop of daytime colour at work.


This lip balm definitely delivers on colour, but it seems to fall short on the other claims. In order to gain any real moisturization, I had to work in the product with my fingertip into the lip surface, and then apply a second coat to replenish the colour.

Also, I found that I had to reapply it often throughout the day, after drinking and eating, as well as after simple conversations as it does not seem to want to stay in or on the surface of my lips and wears off all too quickly. While this may be a genius marketing scheme on the part of L’Oreal, I would rather simply not be bothered worrying about whether my lip colour was staying in place.

This product may be better for those who live in a more humid climate than Alberta, or who have “normal” or “combination” skin as opposed to my “dry” skin.

Thanks, L’Oreal, but I’ll pass on this product since it only delivers to me colour but no staying power.

Rating: 1 Star out of 5.

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Why serial dieting makes you miserable.

Achieve a more harmonious balance for a happier you.

Achieve a more harmonious balance for a happier you.

The Dalai Lama – and countless others – have frequently said that the path to true happiness is to be found through doing kindnesses for others. I can personally attest to this being true since I recently was able to purchase an item for my husband which he had been wanting for some years, but had put off in favour of buying more necessary things for us and our household.

It wasn’t so much the material object itself, but rather the ability to give him something which is meant only for his enjoyment. To fulfill a longstanding wish of his. To put him first. All of these things are what gave me joy, which in turn made me feel better about myself.  I had nothing whatsoever to gain from purchasing this item.  But it wasn’t about me, after all.

When we focus entirely too much on our physical selves, we lose sight of our true selves. We stop nurturing our souls since we’re focusing so much on our bodies. That’s not to say you should entirely lose sight of your body’s needs, but it should not be all-encompassing, and certainly it should not come at the sake of your soul or your spirit.

My suggestion is for every hour of exercise or concentration on your dieting, you allocate another block of time for peaceful and uinterrupted meditation or spending time with or on someone else who will benefit from your attention. If you have no one on whom to lavish your attention, lavish it on yourself.  Read a book.  Take part in a hobby or interest you’ve been putting off.  Enjoy a long hot bath and lose yourself in your thoughts.  Take a restful nap.  Do anything which does not centre around your physical appearance.

In doing so, you may find that your mind and your body reach a more harmonious balance, and your spirit will be uplifted as a result.  Your confidence will grow, and you’ll feel loads better about  your physical appearance.  Trust me as one who has made this journey herself.

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Product Review: The Body Shop All-In-One BB Cream


All-In-One BB Cream by The Body Shop

All-In-One BB Cream by The Body Shop

Instead of regular foundation, I tend to gravitate toward products which perform at least a couple functions since this not only saves me time, but also money. One such product is The Body Shop’s All-In-One BB Cream, which doubles as my light-coverage foundation.

I apply this not with my fingertips, but rather with Urban Decay’s Optical Blurring Brush.

Urban Decay's Optical Blurring Brush

Urban Decay’s Optical Blurring Brush

This ensures that the product is applied evenly and streak-free, and also gets farther into my skin so I can fully enjoy the many benefits of the product.

I apply it after I’ve applied my makeup so I can blur out any errant makeup specs and smooth my undereye area since this product has wonderful moisturizing qualities which aren’t too heavy or greasy.  I have found that the small, fine lines which tend to appear after a couple hours with other foundations are greatly minimized after using this product.

I also like that this product offers me light coverage and simply evens out my complexion, rather than hiding it completely. It doesn’t cover up my freckles, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to cover up their beautiful freckles. Rather, it simply gives my skin a nice, all-over glow which lasts from when I apply first thing in the morning until I go to bed, usually around 10 or 11 o’clock at night.

If you have skin which is more on the ‘normal’ or ‘oily’ side, you may want to obtain a sample to test this before buying the full-size product. My skin is very dry, so this product absorbs easily into my skin and I don’t end up with any unwanted shininess even after a long day in stuffy office air. Oily or normal skin people may wish to follow up this product with a light dusting of powder.

When I know I’ll be in the sunlight for more than 20 minutes, I add a little sunscreen to the mix before picking it up with my Optical Blurring Brush and applying to my skin.

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5.

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Repost: Goddesses in our Midst

I wrote this post a couple years ago, and even though I have switched offices, much of what I wrote about in this post is still true to the present day.

Ladies, and Gentlemen, be kinder to yourselves – be true to yourselves and accept how beautifully unique each and everyone of you are just as you are.

Have a read, let me know what you think.  Thanks for stopping by.

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Me and my Calvin Kleins

Calvin Klein Tights

Calvin Klein Tights

As someone who does not fit the “normal”body type (and I’m not convinced there actually is such a thing), I sometimes find it difficult to find articles of clothing which are both flattering and fit as they should.

Without boring you with specific dimensions, I am not a svelte person but I am of more or less average height at 5-foot-7, but thanks to my multi-ethnic heritage, my legs could most politely be described as “sturdy.” As such, finding pantyhose and tights which fit over, let alone stay up over my legs and hips has been a costly exercise in “process of elimination.” Some pantyhose are long enough, but lack staying power and leave me continually trying to discreetly hoick them up throughout the day which can lead to runs and tears. Others which claim to be “one size” leave me wondering what the one size truly is and from what species they made their determination. Others which are big enough to fit over my legs and thighs seem to want to continue on upward to my neck so I basically end up with a full bodysuit.  Perhaps the idea is to simply tie a knot once the hose reach under my neck or, even better, over my head!

But, I am happy to report that I have found my saviour in Calvin Klein! I have purchased tights and pantyhose of this brand and the size chart is refreshingly accurate. I am thrilled to find an affordable supplier of hose and tights which also deliver performance which lasts throughout the day and into the night with supreme comfort and wearbility. I don’t experience any stretching or drooping/sagging, and they stand up well to multiple washings so you’re not spending nearly as much money since you’re not replacing them after only a couple of wears.

To my knowledge, these tights and pantyhose can be purchased at major department stores like Hudson’s Bay.

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

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Product Review: Urban Decay Waterproof Gel Liner

Urban Decay Waterproof Gel Liner in "Perversion"

Urban Decay Waterproof Gel Liner in “Perversion”

I recently purchased Urban Decay’s Waterproof Gel Liner from and fell in love! I am one of those people who have difficulty managing an eyeliner pencil, but for whatever reason, I can do much better with a brush and a paint pot.

I have used other gel eyeliners before, and while they worked, this is the first one I have found which also claims to be waterproof. I had some reservations as most things waterproof are not easy to apply and if they are easy to apply, they can be difficult to remove.  Also, some waterproof products I have used have also been irritating for my eyes, and this product gave me absolutely no reaction.

I am happy to report that application of this eyeliner with a Quo Angle Eyeliner Brush…

Angle Eyeliner Brush by Quo

Angle Eyeliner Brush by Quo

…was positively effortless. I put it on before 7 in the morning and it lasted all the way through to bedtime, which was roughly 10:30 at night. There was absolutely no fading or transfer and it was easily removed with my go-to Avon Eye Makeup Remover and a couple of water-moistened, lint-free cotton pads (just one for each eye).

Avon Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover Lotion

Avon Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover Lotion

This product does not come with its own applicator brush, but if you’re like me, you have a healthy selection of brushes already.

Urban Decay, you’ve impressed me again!  Keep up the great work!

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

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Product Review: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Primer

On the advice of friends and several beauty magazines, I decided to give one of Smashbox’s iconic primers a whirl.

It seems that everyone but me loves this product, and I am uncertain why that is. Perhaps the oil-free formula doesn’t agree with my particular skin type. I found, though, that when first applied, the product made my skin feel silky smooth and bonded well with my foundation makeup. I also tried wearing it without adding foundation makeup on top. But as the day wore on and regardless of whether I used it in conjunction with foundation or simply wore it alone, my skin began to feel and look more parched. After a few different tries, I determined that this product had a total lifespan of about 2 hours on my skin.

Granted, using the oil-free formula was likely not my wisest choice since my skin can only be classified as dry/sensitive.

(However, I have also tried the Hydrating Under Eye Primer by Smashbox and found that it did anything but.)

And yet, my friends rave about its benefits and everything that it didn’t do for me, it apparently did for them. Their skin took on a more flawless and poreless complexion, and they felt that the product was equally beneficial whether worn on its own or underneath foundation.

Rating: 2 Stars out of 5 (based strictly on my own experience)


Product Review: Clinique Chubby Stick INTENSE (lip balm)

I bought a few Clinique Chubby Sticks before Christmas because I was attracted to the colours they offered. In my case, I chose the following hues which are better suited to my “cool” complexion:


What I love about these lip balm sticks is their portability and ease of use, and that you can simply roll up more of the “crayon” as the tip wears down after usage.

The colour is also as intense as promised and, best for dry skin sufferers, the balm truly is moisturizing. While these are not strictly colourfast, the colour does last a long time and thanks to the ample hydration, you don’t feel the need to reapply as often as you might other lipsticks.

If you’re worried that these colours may be too intense for your liking for day use, there are other less-intense colours available, though I found that they didn’t pack the same punch of colour as the “intense” colours did.  I do wear the intense colours at work since oftentimes I do not have much time in the mornings to spend on applying eye makeup, so wearing a pop of colour on my otherwise bare face makes me feel a bit more “polished” for work, and I love the hydration these balms offer in my very dry office environment.  These lip balms also stand up well to the frigid temperatures and biting wind chills we frequently experience in Canada.

One thing I don’t like about them is the “crayon” can sometimes break which can understandably be annoying.  I also wish that they included a Sun Protection Factor of at least SPF 15 and preferably SPF 30.

However, in my opinion, they do give overall fantastic value for the money.

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5


Beauty with a conscience.

Lush Charity Pot Lotion

Lush Charity Pot Lotion

As a lifelong sufferer of dry skin, and sporadic outbreaks of eczema, I am familiar with pretty much every single dry skin remedy there is, including the cortisoid cream which I prefer not to use.

I was introduced to Lush’s Charity Pot Lotion in the fall of last year and immediately fell in love. The lotion is long-lasting and pleasantly scented and absorbs quickly into my parched, dry skin, particularly during our long and dry winters in some parts of Canada.

I would recommend this lotion for dry skin suffers and those who have mild outbreaks of eczema as I do since regular application of the Charity Pot Lotion to cleansed skin will provide you with a great degree of relief. I use it all over my body, except for my face. I have found it exceptionally helpful with dry, scaly skin after shaving my legs and on my feet. I also like that I don’t have to reapply the lotion very often.

If you suffer from more regular outbreaks and extreme forms of eczema, please consult your physician before using or switching to this lotion!

What I love most about this product, it has a conscience and proceeds from the sale of their Charity Pot Lotions (and other products) go toward amazing non-profits like Ancient Forest Alliance and Women’s Empowerment International Foundation and Wildlife Defence League, to name just a few. Plus, Lush makes their own products and will provide you with a date that the product was created and, if applicable, a date when the product is about to expire. On top of that, they’ll also put a face to the person who made your product for you!

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5.