Thursday, 26 May 2016

Tarte Lights Camera Flashes Mascara

Tarte isn't a brand that I had heard of when I lived in the UK but when I came to Canada last year, I noticed their stand in Sephora and it seemed popular. I still didn't buy any Tarte products though but I did buy a "Lashstash" kit last year. Sephora's "Lashstash" kit is awesome. You get 5 samples of mascaras and then a voucher to get a full-size tube of your favourite mascara for free. In 2015's "Lashstash" kit was a sample of Tarte's Lights Camera Flashes mascara and only just got around to trying it.

Tarte made some pretty bold claims when it comes to this mascara:
An amped up, ultra-black mascara that lengthens, curls and magnifies lashes for an intensified look while instantly increasing lash volume by up to 757 percent. Powered by Tarte's proprietary black complex, this long-wearing, vitamin infused formula emphasises length and volume for a dramatic look that won't dry out, flake or budge. The custom-engineered, dual moulded brush boosts even the skinniest lashes for an exaggerated, voluminous look. First, the shorter, denser side of the brush delivers the optimal amount of mascara to volumise and coat each lash perfectly. Then the longer, firmer side lengthens and separates for maximum volume without clumping.

About the ingredients:
It is free from parabens and phthalates. Provitamin B5, a vitamin derivative, helps treat and thicken the appearance of lashes while beeswax forms a protective barrier between the skin and the environment that supports natural collagen production and mineral pigments soothe and soften lashes. This product is formulated without mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulphates and gluten. 

The packaging for Tarte's Lights Camera Flashes mascara is pretty and eye-catching, a gold tube with a snakeskin style pattern, that certainly makes it look glamorous. Now, I thought identifying the two different sides of the mascara wand would be hard but then I thought how difficult can it really be...? It was difficult. I have seen some tubes from different stores that are labelled with the numbers 1 and 2 on the wand, indicating which side to use first but the Sephora version didn't have that. In the photo online, one side of the mascara wand is black and the other half is purple but that is impossible to see under layers of mascara. I also tried tapping the brush against the top of the tube, as recommended by Sephora, but to be honest I still couldn't identify the different bristles so I just went for it.

One of the claims by Tarte is that the mascara doesn't clump. When I removed the mascara wand from the tube, the wand was clumped with mascara and I had to wipe the excess off, otherwise, I am pretty sure my lashes would have been clumpy. This wasn't just a one-off occurrence, every time I used the mascara, I had to wipe a lot of excess off before applying it.

The bristles for the mascara wand are plastic and I found them a little rough on my eyelids compared to regular bristles and when applying the mascara it went on quite messy and smudged onto my eyelids.

After the mascara was applied, it did look nice and lengthened them significantly. It was also a deep black colour which I really liked. I like my mascara to be a really dark black colour and this colour was perfect!

I found the mascara quite difficult to remove at the end of the day and it did feel a little heavy and crispy on my lashes. Normally with some mascaras, I can just use my regular makeup remover to wipe it off but this mascara was a little more tough, similar to Benefit's They're Real mascara. The product that worked best for me removing this mascara was Shiseido's Instant Eye and Lip makeup remover. It seemed to dissolve my mascara off and didn't feel rough around my eye area.

I am not one to post many negative reviews of products but I am always honest and this is a mascara that I wouldn't repurchase. The duel wand just seemed too fussy as an everyday mascara.

Have you tried Tarte's Lights Camera Flashes mascara? What did you think?

Monday, 16 May 2016

Canadian Brand | Barre Body Studio

Over the past year I have been getting much more into exercise, in regards to toning up and becoming fit. It seems that I am not alone, you just have to go onto Instagram and you basically have a directory of people who are also looking to get more fit and lead a healthier lifestyle. I love looking at people's posts, it gives me inspiration and motivation. Some of my favourite accounts to check out are; Liparazzi, The Body Coach, and Emily Skye. I did reformer pilates last year for about 9 months and I really enjoyed it but I felt that I needed to do something that was more challenging. I wasn't sure how to incorporate weights and HIIT into my workouts but I knew that was something I was interested in. I had heard a great deal about Barre, mostly from EmTalks blog and also Instagram. Reading that Barre incorporates pilates, yoga, and dance, I decided that it sounded like something I would love. When I was younger I was constantly active and dancing was a huge part of my life. I did ballet, tap, highland and jazz dance as a kid and teenager but once I moved away from home it was something that I never took the time to do.

In February, I decided to try the month intro pass for Barre Body Studio which cost $65. BBS was created by Marlo and there are two locations in Calgary, one in Ramsay and one on Bow Trail. There's also a BBS located in Edmonton and is owned by Marlo's cousins, Elissa, and Megan.

There is a great selection of classes to try at BBS;
Barre Body Fit: This classic one hour class will challenge and tone all levels of fitness.
Barre Press: A fifty-minute version of Barre Body Fit for those in a rush.
Barre + Core + Stretch: Barre paired with extra core work and stretching.
Barre Body Blast: A class with added cardio and strength training options.
BBS Bangin' Backside: A class that will sculpt your butt, tone your hamstrings and strengthen your back.
Barre Body Fifty: Skip the cardio and focus on graceful sequences, strong toning work, and a long stretch series.
Lean Mean Arms: A class that has an extra focus on your arms.

I love the studio that I go to. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and the studio has great amenities such as; shower stalls with shampoo & conditioner, free mats, and towels, lockers and hair dryers.

The classes I go to most are Barre Body Fit and Barre Press, I try to go to classes at least three or four times a week. The class takes place in a big, bright and airy studio and the instructors wear headsets to take the class while the latest chart hits are blasting. For classes, you have to wear grippy socks and I also just wear standard exercise leggings and top.

The pace of the class is perfect for me and the two classes I go to the most (Barre Body Fit and Barre Press) seem to follow a consistent structure. The class is split into sections; a warm-up, then an arm workout with dumbells ranging from 2-5lb, bursts of cardio to get your heart rate up, barre work to get your legs and butt in shape and then ab and glute work on the mats. Then there is a wind-down session at the end which includes some yoga positions. I love the wind-down, I always feel so relaxed after and I am not a huge fan of yoga.

I am always sweating during and after my class and I love it. Even though I have been going for 4 months now I still find the workout intense. The leg work is full of pulsing and resistance bands and oh my god, it burns but it so worth it. I have really noticed a change in my body since starting barre. I have always been pretty scrawny and didn't know how to build up muscle at the gym or what was right for me. I am now noticing muscle growth in my arms, my legs are more toned, my abs are harder and my butt is lifted! These classes have made me feel really great about my body and I am so happy with my progress. You can see a video of what BBS is like here.

Another thing I love about BBS is their involvement in the community. Very often there are classes held to raise money for a specific charity. This Sunday $20 from each person that attended a class was donated to the Canadian Red Cross to help with the recent fire in Fort McMurray.

Barre has really changed my perspective on exercise. I used to hate the idea of doing cardio but the short bursts at BBS I actually really enjoy. I love going to Barre and I never feel like I don't want to go. It is important to find an exercise that you like and I have finally found mine.

Instagram: @BarreBodyStudio
Facebook: Barre Body Studio
Twitter: Barre Body Studio

Have you tried Barre? What is your favourite way to exercise?

* This post was written because of my love for BBS - I wasn't asked to do it. Thanks to BBS for providing me with the images*

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Weekend In Canmore

"Let's get out of this town, drive out of the city, away from the crowds." That is basically what Dan and I did at the weekend. In Calgary, we are so lucky to have the beautiful world famous Rocky Mountains in our backyard and Dan and I need to start taking advantage of that more. We were both feeling a little burnt out last week and decided to book a last minute weekend away to Canmore, a small mountain town just 45 minutes outside of Calgary.

The drive out to Canmore is one of my favourites. The scenery is absolutely beautiful, there is mountains and emerald water all around. On a small island in one of the little areas of water, there is a strategically placed picnic table and chairs with a Canadian flag. Dan and I always say that we need to go out to it as it is so cute.

We stayed at the Falcon Crest Lodge in a one bedroom suite. The suite was lovely and had a kitchen, living room, one bathroom and one bedroom. I didn't take any photos of our suite but I did take these beautiful photos above from our balcony. How amazing was our view?! The staff at the lodge were really friendly and there was great amenities such as complimentary DVD's and blue-rays and also hot-tubs.

On Saturday night, we went out for a walk in Canmore and we saw loads of tiny baby rabbits! When I say loads, I mean it, they were everywhere! Of course, I also had to take my photo beside two of the ridiculous sized trucks that we saw. These aren't unusual sized trucks to see in Alberta, they are crazy! I would need a ladder to get in and out of them, haha.

After going for our walk we drove through to Banff for dinner. (I somehow managed to not take any photos of Banff but trust me, it's way more pretty than the Banff in Scotland)...
We walked down the main street and went into some of our favourite stores. There is an amazing rock and gems store and they have real fossils which I find fascinating. Another favourite store is The Spirit of Christmas - it is an all-year-round Christmas store.

We went to a favourite Greek restaurant of ours called The Balkan. They do the most amazing hummus and tzatziki dips! I had the baked salmon which I have had before, the recipe had changed and I didn't like it as much as the old recipe. Dan had the seafood stew which he enjoyed. My favourite part of the meal was the sangria, haha. I don't like wine but when it is in sangria, it is good!

On Sunday morning, we stopped off at our favourite breakfast spot in Canmore, Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. I have so much love for this place. The queue is always out of the door but it is worth it. Even when we went at 11am the queue was really long. We had the "traditional" open faced bagel: cream cheese, salmon, red onion, capers and lemon. Two other favourites of mine are the "amigo": egg, green pepper, tomato, onion, cheddar, salsa and cream cheese and the "breakfast lox": salmon, egg, mozzarella, lemon and cream cheese. All of their bagels are homemade and they are so delicious. I also had my favourite drink, a London Fog, and we also shared one of their granola bars...their baked goods are also amazing.

After breakfast, we drove out to Grassi Lakes, a really nice walking area. On our way there we saw some Mountain Goat. Seeing animals like that in the wild is one of my favourite things about Canada.
I hadn't been to Grassi Lakes before but is really is breath-taking, full of forest and more emerald water. Grassi Lakes are named after Lawrence Grassi, a miner who became a climbing guide and built the trails in the area, and I am so grateful that he did. They really are something special.

The views from above at Grassi Lake really are something else (look at them)! They really are like something you would see on a postcard and I think they are some of the most amazing views I have ever seen.

We also saw some rock climbers in the Grassi Lakes area. They are fearless, I could never do that. The mountain is huge! It was really interesting to watch, and there was more than one group of people doing it. According to Wikipedia, the mountain they were on is 246ft high! After sitting by the lake, we walked down towards the waterfall. It was really nice and I love the sound of the water falling, it is so relaxing.

Our hike ended and we drove back into Canmore for one more stop at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co for an iced coconut latte before heading home.

Have you been to Canmore or Banff before? How do you like to spend your time outdoors?

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