Makeup Essentials for Beginners

In the world of makeup, there is so much competition out there and if you don’t keep up on new releases, you could blink your eyes and your makeup may be outdated. So, I can imagine that if you are just starting out with makeup, it could prove to be a bit daunting – especially if you don’t have the extra funds to try all the high-end products. Makeup is expensive. When I first wanted to explore with makeup, I had no idea where to start.

This list is what I would recommend to myself, if I was looking back to those first makeup bags I was trying to fill.

Becca Backight Priming Filter
($46 Sephora)
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
($9.96 Walmart)

Primer was something that I started with high-end products, so I don’t have any solid thoughts yet on drugstore brands. I’ve only tried the Baby Skin primer once, but it kind of reminded me of Smashbox – it has a gel-like consistency and is meant to fill and minimize the appearance of your pores.

Becca First Light Primer has more of a moisturizer feel to it and it gives your skin a beautiful glow. It is a great prep and really sets the stage for the rest of your makeup.

Too Faced Born This Way
($49 Sephora)

Too Faced wasn’t my first high-end foundation, but it is definitely my ongoing favourite. You guys know how fair my skin got over the winter and I wasn’t able to use it. However, summer is officially here and so is my normal skin colour. This makes me happy because I’ve been exclusively using the Born This Way foundation every day. I just simply love it. It’s easy to apply, blends seamlessly and gives a flawless finish – even if you have no idea how to apply it.

Tarte Shape Tape
($35 Tarte)

Tarte Shape Tape is a staple for me. It’s expensive, but it has lasted me a while, so I’m ok with that. I’ve tried other concealers and this just seems to be the easiest to use – which is absolutely great for beginners. It’s also full-coverage, so it is great if your eyes tend to give away your stress or sleeping habits.

On a side note, I’m super stoked because Too Faced just announced that they will soon be releasing the Born This Way Multi Use Sculpting Concealer! From all the videos I’ve watched, it seems to be comparable to Tarte Shape Tape.

Under Eye Powder
Wet N Wild Colour Icon Reserve Your Cabana
($4.97 Walmart)

Even if you’re just starting out with makeup, it is so important to set your concealer. If you don’t set it, your under-eyes will crease in all the wrong ways (although I’m pretty sure any way is the wrong way).

I know this product is actually a bronzer, but I saw that Kelly Strack uses this to set under her eyes and so I figured I would try it. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this one.

NYX Wonderstick
($14 NXY)

NYX is such a great brand to start out with because they really offer quality products at great price points. I used the Wonderstick for about a year before I even thought about trying any other contour. This stick is easy to travel with as well.

Tarte Amazon Clay Blush
($38 Sephora)

I really wanted to give you a drugstore blush, but these Tarte blushes are stunning. They blend easily and the colour lasts all day long. So, it’s expensive for starting out, but worth it since you won’t be using a ton of it.

Hard Candy Highlighter Trio
($9.98 Walmart)

This is actually a recent purchase for me, but I loved it enough to put it in this post. The price is great and you get 3 highlighters in it. The highlighters are crazy pigmented so you don’t need a lot of it. It’s simply an all around great highlighter – starter or otherwise.

NYX Micro Brow Pencil
($12 NYX)

The very first brow product I used was Anastasia Brow Wiz. I only had a small sample size pencil, so it didn’t last forever. I needed something similar, but I didn’t want to splurge when I didn’t even know the first thing about brows.

All that to say, this NYX brow pencil is comparable and the price point is great for any budget.

L’Oreal X-Fiber Mascara
($10.76 Walmart)

Mascara is one of those items that I have a hard time splurging on because there are so many great drugstore brands out there. Also, you should be replacing your mascara at least every 3 months, so I have a hard time throwing out a product that cost me 3x more

NYX Lip Lingerie
($10 NYX)
NYC Color Expert Lip Color
($1.77 Walmart)

Nude lipsticks are great to start out with. I really found that the NYX Lip Lingerie lippies were great before I really knew what colours to wear. Once I was comfortable putting on liquid lipstick, I started buying some high-end lipsticks. Also, NYC has some great lipsticks and they are so inexpensive!

I know I left out products to do eyeshadow/liner, but when you’re first starting out, you don’t necessarily know how to do your eyes. So, for me it was an add-on, not a basic.

Also, as far as brushes go, personal preference is key. I got my set from Zulily and I love them. For foundation, I prefer applying it with a damp beauty sponge (I got mine at Costco).

I would suggest that if you want to go right in and buy high-end makeup, go to your local Sephora and ask for samples – they’re free. Also, read reviews on products and watch some YouTube reviews.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the products I’ve mentioned, I’d love to know if they worked for you.

Summer Essentials | 2018

The weather here in Canada went straight from freezing to boiling, pretty much in the snap of a finger. We have been experiencing a heat wave and all of the peeps who complained about the cold are now doing the same about the heat.

Not me.

I love the heat. I feel like I’m no longer blending in with the milk bag (yeah, we have bags of milk in Canada) and I’m starting to get some colour back to my skin. I have even been able to wear my Too Faced Born This Way foundation!

Nonetheless, it makes me think of summer and all the essentials I will be stocking up on for this beautiful season.

Let’s get down to business. I need a pool in my backyard. I’ve been working on convincing Brian that this is an absolute summer essential, but so far it’s a no-go. Until then, I will have to make do with other avenues this summer.

Here are the items I will be bringing with me to the pool.

Sun Care

If we’re going to be out in the sun and water, a good sunscreen is in order. I always seem to gravitate toward Hawaiian Tropic and it’s probably because it smells like vacation in a bottle. I absolutely love the Silk Hydration after sun lotion.

This year I will also be trying something new – Sun Bum.

sunscreen Pictures
Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash


Over the years I’ve been a bit of a swimsuit hoarder. However, every year I find it harder and harder to find a well-fitted suit that is cute, modest and comfortable. I have a long torso so it has always been a hassle to find a one-piece. Some places I have found decent swimsuits are la Vie en Rose and Target. I tried ordering from Asos, but even though I ordered the DD size, they were still about 2 sizes too small. If you know some great places for long torsos, comment below, I need to know.

swimsuit Pictures
Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash


Having blue eyes have turned sunglasses from a cute accessory into an absolute necessity in my life. I just can’t function without them. I also have categories now as well, because, well, if you let the ocean try on your $500 pair of Fendi sunglasses, you might not get them back. Also, don’t let the ocean try on your swimsuit.

I now have a pair of Prada sunglasses that are kept safe and other less expensive pairs that I bring to the ocean with me. Aldo has some great finds and when I’m really desperate, there’s always Dollarama.

Sunglasses Pictures
Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash


There’s no point in being in the sun if it’s going to drain you and leave you with a headache.

Insert water here.

Yes, this is the time where you need to be super careful not to overheat or dehydrate. My favourite way to stay hydrated is with sparkling water. My kids call it rich people water. Maybe I do feel a bit fancy when I drink it, but it gives me the fizz I crave without draining the life out of my skin. Some of my favourites are Perrier, La Croix, and San Pellegrino.

hydration Pictures
Photo by Ashley Whitlatch on Unsplash


Whether you love to crank the tunes or dive into your favourite novel, you’re going to need some form of entertainment. I mean, kids are a great form of entertainment too, so go with what you’ve got.

Here is my current Spotify playlist (by jm5y). I throw this on anytime I’m working out, driving my Jeep, hanging with the cool kids or when I’m lounging by the pool.

Don’t forget to grab a speaker for your tunes. We have a speaker named Big Blue. He’s biting the dust, so this year we are bringing home Big Blue Party X. These are great because they are portable and water-resistant.

As far as books are concerned, my favourite authors are Richard L Mabry, M.D., John Bevere and this summer I’m going to read the If I Run Series by Terri Blackstock.

entertainment Pictures
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash


I’m totally adding this in because I’m fairly certain that my backyard is missing this vital part of my summer plan – a pool.

Yes, my parents have a pool. Yes, you’ll most likely find me there. No, that doesn’t excuse me from needing a pool.

Like I said, I’m working on convincing Brian that this is the absolute summer essential that we need, but so far he hasn’t seen it quite the same. I’m currently presenting him with the idea that he will no longer need to cut the grass (since it would obviously be cement).

Let’s just be real, although summer is officially starting tomorrow, I probably won’t be lounging by my own pool, in my own back yard. I will, however, probably be in my swimsuit, lathered with sunscreen, sipping my rich people water and working on writing while the kiddos jump and splash in my parents’ pool.

lounging Pictures
Photo by Anna Demianenko on Unsplash

Good times. Summer memories. I love everything about it. What are your plans this summer? Will you be lounging by the pool or heading to the beach? Comment below.

Sephora Haul | Throwback Edition

SH First Image
Photo by Julia Janeta on Unsplash

Ok, technically this was my second Sephora haul, but the first one was 20 years ago and all I bought was a green correcting primer.

I was never a spender. I rarely spent money and I most definitely didn’t spend it on makeup.


I was sitting at work and my friend and co-worker showed me an email from Sephora. It said something along the lines of ‘spend $30 and get all these products free.’

I’ll warn you now, those are hook emails. They hook you with all the free stuff you’ll get.

Well, it hooked me.

There we were, together, attempting to each purchase $30 of makeup from Sephora. I had no idea where to even start! I think I asked her a million times what I should buy for my first makeup purchase.

I quickly added the Estée Edit Flash Illuminator. I think it gave me enough to hit the $30 mark, but then as I started the checkout, I realized shipping wasn’t free.

Well, I guess that means that I need to add things to my cart until I get free shipping. It’s like getting more free products because the money you would’ve spent on shipping, now you are spending on makeup.

Such a deal. Or at least that’s what my logic stated.

Needless to say, I got my cart to $51 before taxes and I was getting lots of product.

…but I still didn’t know a thing about what it was or how to use it.

Let’s just say, that’s probably where my YouTube addiction started.

Don’t tell my husband.

Alright, moving on.

Coming to you straight from October 2016, here is my very first official Sephora Haul!

SH Products

the Estée Edit by Estée Lauder
Flash Illumintor
Colour: 02 Morning Light
$32 (no longer available)

Ok, I’m not mad at this purchase. I just swatched this on the back of my hand and I’m not gonna lie, it’s a bit mesmerizing. If this brand was still around, I would probably repurchase this illuminator.

Sephora Collection
Make You Blush! Colorful Cheek Ink Gel Trio
Colour: 01 Peony/04 Lotus/06 Dahlia
$13 (trio no longer available)

I don’t think I actually used any of these blushes. I swatched them a few times and just couldn’t blend them easy enough. There always seemed to be an outline of the stain. These blushes are still available individually, but I wouldn’t repurchase them.

Sephora Collection
Wonderful Cushion Matte Lip Cream
Colour: 01 Wonderful Rosy
$6.00 (no longer available)

I love lipstick. I’m not gonna lie, I only added this to my cart because it was on sale and it gave me the free shipping qualification. I can’t say I hate this, but I can’t say I love this. I still throw this in my makeup bag to use as a ‘no makeup’ lip blush – you know, just something to give you a hint of colour while keeping the natural look. I like it and I really like the cushion, but I probably wouldn’t repurchase. (That being said, I did buy a second shade of this back in 2016)

SH Clutch

Since I spent $30, I received a Sephora mini makeup clutch with samples inside. I don’t remember what the samples were, but I always set my samples aside to take with me on vacations (stay tuned for a travel makeup post).

Do you remember your first big makeup purchase? What did you get? Comment below.

Gym Bag Essentials


If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you can never be too prepared. When it comes to working out, it’s such a hassle if you’ve forgotten something that you really need.

Over the years, my essentials have evolved, but here are the items I currently couldn’t do without.

I used to only drink water at the gym, but I would find myself making multiple trips back to the water fountain to refill my bottle. Water alone never seems to quench my thirst at the gym. My sister introduced me to these BCAAs and they have made a world of difference in my workouts. My favourite flavour is white grape.

Music & Headphones
I used to use gym time as ‘sister’ time – which eliminated the need for music or headphones. Some days we would lift and chat for a few hours at a time. Now that I’m heading to the gym solo (which was always one of my greatest fears!), I find the need for some musical inspiration. I pop on my beats, press play on my Spotify playlist and get in the zone. I love my wireless headphones and dread the days when I find myself without them at the gym.

Maybe this goes without saying, but deodorant is definitely an essential for me. I can’t say that everyone at the gym has this view, but it would be great if they did. I always keep an extra stick in my bag for those workouts that require that little bit of ‘extra’ protection.

Protein Bar
I’m currently out of my favourite protein bars, but will be stocking up again real soon! My favourite bars are Daryl’s All Natural Protein Bars. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious and satisfying!
Bonus – their factory is located in Windsor, so I get to support a local business when I buy them!

Once I forgot my lock and I had to carry all of my stuff with me. Gross. I keep my lock in my bag always now. Goes without saying that it keeps all your valuables safe and secure in the lockers.

I don’t know what it is about gum, but I feel lost without it. I have a pack in my bag, purse, car, jacket, desk, etc. I just don’t like to be without it. My favourite gum is Excel and I tend to buy it in bulk.

Moist Wipes
I don’t like showering at the gym – public showers aren’t my favourite thing. I also don’t like getting into my car all sweaty. Keeping wipes on hand helps with a quick wipe down so I can drive home and shower in the comfort of my own home.

Many times I start my workouts with my hair down. Y’all know what happens when things get real? A pineapple bun gets thrown on top of my head mid workout and gives me the oomph to kill my workout. I couldn’t do that without my trusted elastics.

Muscle Rub
I rarely use this actually at the gym, but I like knowing that it’s in my bag whenever I need it. I use doTERRA Deep Blue Rub and love it a lot! Brian actually loves it even more than I do!

Gym Bag
Maybe this is a given. I don’t know. However, I have such high expectations with my gym bags, so I’m including it in this post. I used to just throw things into my purse, but I kept forgetting essentials, so I went on the search for the perfect bag. Without getting into all the aspects of a perfect gym bag, I will tell you straight up that it has to fit nicely into the locker. I can’t stand squashing, forcing and slamming things to fit. Here is one similar to the one I use.

There are a few other things that I occasionally have in my bag such as a bag of nuts/seeds, feminine products, weight lifting gloves, makeup, Vibram FiveFingers, change of clothes, etc.

I find that when I’m physically prepared to workout, it’s easier to get in the zone mentally.

What are some of your gym bag essentials? Let me know in the comments below.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.