Friday, February 17, 2017

My Morning Routine for Better Skin

I've written about skincare a few times on VV before, but today I thought I would update you on my current routine, and specifically talk about what I have been doing to keep my skin clear and healthy looking this winter.

For pretty much all of my teenage years, and even my early 20's, I always struggled with breakouts. I tried every product imaginable, but even if they did clear up my breakouts, then I was plagued with dry skin. Especially in the winter, when sky is already dry. It was hard to strike a balance, and all I wanted was to get healthy looking skin. I'm now realizing, in the second half of my twenties, what the key elements to healthy skin are, and that it's important to have a few key elements in my daily routine. Keep reading below to see what they are!

Drink more water!

I feel kind of silly that I didn't really think more about this when I was younger. I tried so many products on the market to get clear healthy skin, but I never really realized that just drinking more water could help my skin so much! As a teenager, I always opted to drink milk over water, which means I was never getting enough water in my system. I'm willing to admit it, I don't like 'boring' water. First world problems, I know. But seriously I have only ever really liked sparkling water.

Last year, I decided to treat myself and bought a SodaStream at London Drugs and it seriously changed everything! I started drinking way more water, because I actually liked the taste. It seems crazy looking back now, but my skin seems to be SO much clearer now that I've been drinking all that water.

Use a Copper Water Bottle

Every night, I put sparkling water from my SodaStream into my copper water bottle from Copper H2O (they're a Vancouver-based company!), and I leave it in the fridge overnight. Ready for drinking in the morning! Rather than drinking from a glass, this way I have a better idea of how much water I've had so far that day, and how much more I should drink. I try to drink about 2-3 litres a day.

The bottle is made of 100% pure copper, and copper is naturally antibacterial, which is super handy. Have I mentioned I get sick really easily? Yeah, so this is a big plus, especially during cold season. Water stored in a copper water bottle will also become natural alkaline, which helps to balance your body's pH levels (especially if you digest too many acidic foods/liquids) and can help with digestion. Apparently it neutralizes acid in the bloodstream, which leads to increased oxygen levels and improved energy and metabolism too (according to Shape), which is a nice added bonus!

Let's be honest though, I mostly like using this water bottle because it's pretty chic looking, so I'm more likely to take it with me on the go. After all, as I mentioned in the section above this, more water drinking = better, clearer skin!

Exfoliate the Skin

To make sure my pores don't get clogged, I like to use an exfoliating cleanser every other day. A long time favourite of mine is the St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I absolutely love the smell of this stuff, and I like that it uses 100% natural exfoliants rather than micro beads (which will be banned in Canada, effective 2018). It easily sloughs away the dead skin cells, revealing super soft skin underneath!

Apply a Glycolic Acid Cream

Glycolic acid is my skin's best friend. It helps to exfoliate the skin, which keeps my pores from clogging in between using my St. Ives scrub. I've been using this NeoStrata Glycolic Renewal lotion for two years now, and I literally use it every single day, morning and night. They have a 5% glycolic formula, and a 10% formula, which you can work your way up to after regular use.

Apply an SPF

Healthy skin needs protection. I know in the winter we don't think about it as much, but it's still important to protect ourselves from the sun's harmful rays. I'm very picky about my SPF creams, as I hate the typical sunscreen smell, and its usual greasy texture. I've been using Racinne's SPF 25 Ultimate Aqua Blanc Protective Lotion and it's a dream. I use it over top of my Glycolic Renewal, before applying my makeup (my BB cream also has SPF). I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty excited to see how my skin turns out like in the long run, years from now. Applying SPF now is going to pay off big time when it comes to healthy skin later in life!

Happy Styling! xo

~ Britta

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Copper H2O water bottle to review in this post. As always, opinions are my own.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Pink Shirt Day: Stand up to Bullying in Style!

Once a year, kids and adults alike wear pink to say NO to bullying! Pink Shirt Day is February 22nd this year, and is a powerful campaign meant to show support for anti-bullying. I've participated in the campaign here on Vancouver Vogue for a few years now, and I think it's a very important cause to support, especially in this day and age with social media making bullying far too easy to perpetuate.

If you're not familiar with Pink Shirt Day, it was started in Nova Scotia by two grade 12 students who saw a grade 9 student being bullied for wearing pink. To show their support for the teen, they wore pink and encouraged their school to do the same. The story quickly spread across Canada, with thousands now wearing pink during the annual Pink Shirt Day event,

London Drugs, who has been a longtime supporter of Pink Shirt Day, is once again the exclusive retailer for the official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt, which I'm wearing in the photos below. This year's design features 'Make Nice': a message that's true and simple. The net proceeds of the shirts will support local Boys and Girls Clubs across British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan through the CKNW Orphans' Fund. The programs supported help kids build self-esteem and teach them empathy, compassion and kindness.

I hope you all join me in wearing pink on February 22nd to show you stand up to bullying! Pick up your official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt at London Drugs, and if you need some inspiration on how to style your official Pink Shirt Day shirt, take a peek through the photos below, or see my Pink Shirt Day outfits from 2016 and 2015. Don't forget to use the hashtags #pinkshirtday and #PSD2017 when sharing your outfit photos on Twitter and Instagram, and tag @LondonDrugs!  

Blazer - H&M (thrifted) | Pink Shirt Day shirt - London Drugs | Embellished collar - | Earrings - c/o Nobis & Grey | Jeans - Urban Planet | Shoes - Sole Society

Happy Styling! xo

~ Britta

Friday, February 10, 2017

Teeez Cosmetics Review

I always get giddy at the prospect of discovering a new makeup brand. Well, OK I didn't discover this one all on my own - Teeez Cosmetics was kind enough to reach out to me and introduce themselves, but I'm so glad they did, but I am totally hooked on this stuff now! After all, a fashion-forward makeup brand is right up my alley.

The packaging alone had me sold. They sent me three products to test out: their Style Addict Highlighter, Spectrum of Stars Eyeshadow, and Mysterious Crystal Liner. All of them had such eye-catching packaging that was also noticeably sturdy: indicative of a quality, high end makeup brand. You can find Teeez Cosmetics exclusively at the Hudson's Bay

Keep reading for a closer look at each product!

Style Addict Highlighter in Smooth Copper (Fashion Vendetta Collection)

I went straight for the highlighter first - my curiosity was already piqued by the packaging, and when I lifted the lid, I was beyond excited. It looked like molten bronze, in a beautiful whipped formula! Gorgeous! I was a little worried that the colour would be too dark for me as a highlighter, but if I'm not too liberal with it, and blend well into the skin, it gives me a gorgeous sun-kissed glow! This one is definitely going to get a lot of use in the summer especially.

Spectrum of Stars Eyeshadow in Vanilla Sunbeam (Sugar Rush Collection)

Were you a huge fan of the EOS lip balms when they were everywhere? Then you're probably going to love the packaging of these little eyeshadow babies! Inside this shiny gold egg, you'll find the double or triple changeant eyeshadow shade that's enriched with Moroccan argan oil. The Vanilla Sunbeam shade is a beautiful light gold colour with a nice rich texture.

Mysterious Crystal Liner in Rich Amber (Desert Glow Collection)

This liner is 100% a worthwhile investment for your everyday makeup routine. It has just the hint of a shimmer, and when I say this formula is smudge-proof, I am not kidding! It takes a bit of work to take off with makeup remover, which means you know it's going to stay put on your eyes all day. The liner dries in 45 seconds too, for those of you with no patience (hey that's me too!). Plus, on the other end of the liner, there's even a little smudger and a sharpener. You better be quick if you want to use the smudger though, because of the aforementioned quick drying time!

I'll be taking a look at more Teeez Cosmetics products over the next couple of months, so stay tuned to see more!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Valentine's Outfit Inspiration

Ah yes, an excuse to rock my favourite new LBD? Why thank you, Valentine's Day! I'll take it. 

Bardot necklines are having a big moment right now, so if you're searching for a dress to wear for date night (or any night out, really), it's a great choice. Even though they're trending right now, it's really a classic style, so it's something you can keep in your closet and wear for years!

Now, another big trend right now that I wanted to feature in this Valentine's Day outfit is the 90's choker. You go to pretty much any women's clothing or accessories store in the mall right now and find a billion of them. Here's the thing - why go buy a bunch of new necklaces when you can make your own chokers at home? And it's not even really a DIY project: it's just a matter of tying your regular necklaces tighter! I know, it sounds so obvious, but seriously why isn't everyone doing this?? Most of your necklaces will have the claw on the end that opens and closes to attach to the chain of small rings on the other open end. Try placing the necklace high around your neck and closing the necklace to make it as small as possible. That might even mean surpassing the usual short-to-long set of rings most necklaces have. For the necklace you see me wearing below, I actually closed the clasp on one of the rings which connects the jewelled pieces of the necklace. Consequently by doing this, you also end up with a pretty strand of necklace down the back of your neck! It's actually quite gorgeous!

I hope this inspires your Valentine's Day outfit, and saves your some cash creating your own choker necklaces at home!

Jacket - thrifted via Salvation Army | Dress - H&M (similar) | Necklace & Bracelet - c/o Nobis & Grey | Purse - Aldo (thrifted via Value Village) | Shoes - Aldo (thrifted via Salvation Army)

Happy Styling! xo

~ Britta

Friday, February 3, 2017

Kissable Lips for Valentine's Day with LipSense

I feel like I have been on the hunt for the perfect long lasting lipstick for as long as I can remember. Well, at least as long as I've been wearing lipstick. There's nothing more annoying than getting a lipstick mark on your chin from eating, or losing all your lipstick to your coffee cup, or not being able to kiss anyone for fear of covering them in lipstick marks. Any time a lipstick promised to last all day, I'd try it. But to be honest, none of them really lived up to the hype.

I figured it would be fitting to share my new kiss-proof lip routine with you in time for Valentine's Day, in case you have a certain someone you're hoping to plant a kiss on!

Step 1: Sugar Scrub Exfoliation

If you want your lipstick to really last, you have to start by prepping your lips. This means proper, gentle exfoliation. One of my best friends actually gifted me an awesome homemade Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub for Christmas, and that's what I've been using all winter now. It smells amazing, and it tastes good too if you accidentally get some in your mouth (don't worry, it's safe).

If you want the sugar scrub recipe to make it yourself at home, check it out here on Happiness is Homemade!

Step 2: Lipsense Long Lasting Liquid Lip Color

Ok so cards on the table, I am very leery about buying from MLM (Multi-Level-Marking) businesses. They make me a bit uneasy. But the curiosity to try the long lasting lipsticks of all long lasting lipsticks was just too great! I had to try Lipsense after seeing it all over my Facebook for weeks! And you know what? No regrets here. Thanks to My Kiss and Tell, who was kind enough to let me test it out.

Once you've exfoliated and your lips are completely dry, apply a thin layer of the lip colour from corner to corner on your top and bottom lips, allowing it to dry for a few seconds. Then do the same for a second and third layer. That's it! I found it tingled a bit at first when you apply, but that quickly goes away. In the photos below, I'm wearing the shade Blu-Red. A nice true red with a blue undertone is great for making your smile look whiter and your lipstick really pop. 

Step 3: Lipsense Moisturizing Gloss

Apply the gloss over top of the lip colour to keep your lips feeling moisturized. Re-applying throughout the day keeps the lips looking fresh and the colour intact. I've also been wearing it alone, when I'm not wearing lip colour, and I actually like how moisturized my lips feel compared to lip chap.

I've been wearing the lip colour each day this week, and through breakfast, lunch and dinner it's stayed on amazingly well. Only a small bit of flaking off on the very inner part of the lips, but it's still faaar far less then my other long lasting lipsticks. And those other ones weren't even after eating! Of course, a couple of kiss tests were necessary too, just to make sure it was 100% kiss-proof. So if you're looking for a lipstick that will last your Valentine's Day, all the way to the last kiss, this is your lipstick!

Happy Styling! xo

~ Britta

Monday, January 30, 2017

Travel Style Diary: London Part 2

It's hard to believe this is my final Travel Style Diary from my trip to Europe! In my last post, I wanted to show you the photos we took while at Stonehenge, and also share a few more things we did during our final days in London.

Stonehenge was a place which, to be quite honest, I wasn't super enthused about visiting at first. Partially because it's a long bus ride to the site, so you really have to dedicate half a day to it, and it's rather pricey - I believe we paid around 80 pounds for the tour. Our bus driver was pretty hilarious though, so that alone actually made the long journey out there feel shorter, and it was definitely an amazing sight to see. Brrr it was freezing out there though! I'm glad I layered up. My Burberry-style scarf was a star piece in pretty much all my London outfits for that reason. If you're not sure whether to check out Stonehenge, I definitely don't think it's an absolute must-see if you're tight for time, but if you have a free half day, it's worth a visit.

There was actually a lot of other sights and activities we managed to squeeze into our 5 days in London. Harry Potter Studios was an absolute must-see for us, and we spent the whole day exploring the amazing wizarding world of Harry Potter, seeing all the original costumes, movie sets, and drinking butter beer. Man, was that butter beer everything I had hoped it would be. We also saw the London Eye, Big Ben, and checked out the inside of Harrods. My god, I wish we had a Harrods here in Vancouver. That department store is incredible. Their food section alone was a sight to be seen! Chocolates, teas, preserves, fresh foods, unbelievably beautiful cakes, and so much more. I wanted to buy literally everything. We also visited Camden Market, where we made a stop for a snack at Cereal Killer, the cereal shop with flavoured milks, cereal toppings, every cereal you can imagine, and even a huge selection of Pop Tart flavours! It was delicious!

Lastly, one stop in London you have to make is Sketch. It's a high end destination for food, drinks, art and music - a place that you really need to see in person to understand. To give you an idea, you are greeted by a doorman, who opens a cloaked entryway to let you pass into the foyer, which has a game of hopscotch printed on the floor in front of you. There, you decide which room you would like to visit: the East Bar, the Glade, the Parlour, the Lecture Room, or the Gallery. That night, we had drinks in the Parlour, but I would definitely recommend visit the Gallery (aka the Pink Room), which we saw on the way to the washrooms. It is a truly beautiful space, and on any given evening, the room is full of London's elite in their best dress. Even their washrooms were a sight to be seen: individual washrooms are hidden inside white alien-like pods. You can see photos of what they look like here!

It's been fun reminiscing, looking back on my favourite memories from Italy, Switzerland, France and England with you over the last few months. I hope it's helped you discover some new places to visit on your future travels, and inspired you to dress your best while on the go.

If you'd like to see a post on how I packed outfits for the 3-week trip, let me know in the comments!

Photography by Debra Hawryzki

Cape - Topshop | Sweater - Forever 21 | Scarf - thrifted via Salvation Army | Necklace - Claire's | Shirt - Winners | Jeans - Urban Planet | Boots - Just Fab

Happy Styling! xo
~ Britta

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