Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Baby is 4 Today

Left: Holly at 6 months  Right: Holly today (the morning of her fourth birthday)

Where does time go?
This is the feeling that many of us get as our children get older, and this is the feeling that I'm getting today.

Holly is 4 today and I can't believe it. So much has happened in her four short years, both to her and I, and it stuns me. As every parent knows, words will never describe how much she means to me, and how much I love her, so this post won't be about that (because I can tell her myself). This post is about what she/we learned in her third year of life.

Top 10 Things that Holly learned/we learned about Holly in her third year of life:
  1. Although Holly learned to write her name when she was 2, this past year she learned to write every letter in the alphabet, the words Mom, Dad, & Brooke by herself, and several other words when assisted.
  2. This past year she began learning to spell, which obviously comes along with writing. She currently asks Chris and I how to spell e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
  3. This past year she also began learning basic math. She only grasps basic addition so far but we're still working (I know it's early for math, but I'm big on teaching her skills like this).
  4. Early in age 3, she learned to sleep without a diaper on. This was a big deal for us because Holly is a terrible sleeper. We were so worried that she would have an issue with it, but to our surprise, she didn't have an accident the first night, and hasn't had a single accident since (knock on wood!).
  5. This past year, Holly learned how to do a summersault (thanks to daddy!).
  6. This past year, Holly learned how to dress herself, and has since dressed herself every single day. I'm not allowed to help at all.
  7. We have learned how extremely perceptive Holly is this past year. She notices everything, down to the material that things are made of, and I love that about her. "Daddy, cars are made of metal, right?"
  8. We have learned that Holly may not just be going through a "phase" of bad sleeping. We are beginning to come to terms with the fact that she may just be a bad sleeper by nature, like many people are. We have tried everything, and I mean everything, to get her to sleep through the night and sleep in later (she goes to bed just fine), but now I'm beginning to think that she will always be a light sleeper and an early riser.
  9. We have learned in the past year that Holly is naturally a healthy eater. Of course she has a sweet tooth, but she really prefers to eat vegetables and fruit. I love this about her.
  10. This past year, we have also learned that Holly has an obsession with two things: ballet and horses. She loves anything ballet, ballerina, or tutu related, and anything horse, pony, and especially unicorn related.


These are the top ten things that stood out for me. This year was pretty consistent- she's been going to the same daycare, we've lived in the same house, and we've kept the same routine. Her fourth year will be a lot different- we will be moving into a new home, she will be starting school, and I (being her main caregiver) will be transitioning from student to employed full time. Hopefully, I can do a similar post on her fifth birthday to see what she has accomplished and what has changed.

Happy fourth birthday to my dearest Holly!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Battle of the Mascaras: Maybelline's "The Rocket" vs. Benefit's "They're Real"

I've heard and read amazing things about Maybelline's "the Rocket" mascara. From what I've read online, the brush and results are similar to Benefit's "They're Real" (my current favourite).
So, a few days ago when I ran into the store to grab some liquid foundation (I use this on dry spots in the winter in place of my Bare Minerals), I decided to give the Rocket mascara a try. I figured that if the results were actually comparable, I could switch and save a fair amount of money.

I decided to compare.

The Rocket was on sale at Walmart for around $7, but from what I've seen online, the average price is $10 Canadian. They're Real on the other hand, retails for $23-$29 Canadian. That's over double the price.

I was eager to compare the brushes of these two mascaras, seeing as the brush on They're Real has become my absolute favourite.
Take a look:

The closer we get, the more noticeable are the differences.
First, the bristles clearly are not as long.
Second, There is a difference in the width of the brushes.
Third, the tip of the Rocket brush does not have any bristles (it is flat), while the tip of the They're Real brush has bristles in a rounded shape.


So how did these mascaras fare for me?

Myself wearing Benefit's "They're Real"


These photos were kind of hard to examine because they were taken with my face at two different angles, but as you can see, the mascaras are extremely similar. They're real made my lashes slightly longer and slightly more curled (they're almost touching my eyebrow, while with the Rocket they're a bit further away from the brow).

I needed to investigate further.


Okay, so maybe this is an excess of close-ups. But, I like to do my research in depth.

These close ups show the differences a bit more prominently.
These are my findings:

1. They're Real does give more length (again, check how close the lashes on the left are to my brow compared to the lashes on the right).
2. They're Real allows for easier workability (unclumping/getting in between lashes, moving lashes around, etc) because the bristles are deeper and there are bristles on the end of the brush.
3. The mount of curl in the lash in similar in both brands.
4. Beyond the brush, the actual consistency of the mascaras are very similar (they have the same thickness, take roughly the same amount of time to dry, and neither clumps easily)

In conclusion, I have decided that I still prefer Benefit's "They're Real" because the length of the bristles as well as the bristles on the end make the process of application a whole lot easier. Also, you can't go wrong with even an extra millimetre of length.
But, I have also decided to keep using Maybelline's "the Rocket". For less than half the price of "They're Real", it makes sense for me to wear the Rocket during the day (to school and on errand days), and keep They're Real for night time and special events. Honestly, this is probably going to save me a fair amount of money in the end, and who doesn't like to save money?


These two mascaras really don't have many differences beyond price and small brush differences. If you don't mind missing out on a bit of length, I do recommend the Rocket, but They're Real will always remain one of my favourites.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cupcake Room Decor- "Keep Calm and Eat Cupcakes" Poster

If you know me, chances are you know I have an obsession with cupcake themed things. You might also know that my daughter Holly's room is cupcake themed and that I collect anything cupcake for it.

So, when a friend brought home this adorable little "Keep Calm and Eat Cupcakes" card from Scotland for me, I knew exactly what to do with it.

I had this white frame lying around from a value village trip. I paid $1.99 for it according to this post from ages ago.

What was the first step? Picking a background.
I wanted to play up the glitter in the lettering of the "KEEP", so I took the card to Michaels and found scrapbook paper to match.

I got really lucky here- the glitter paper actually matches the colour of the "KEEP" to a tee, and in different light, the glitter reflects all of the colours in the card. Score.

Next, I used tape rings to permanently keep the card shut (I didn't want to risk cutting it crooked since the card came all the way from Scotland). I also cut the glitter paper to the correct size for the picture frame. Finally, I taped the card to the centre of the glitter paper, and the glitter paper to the backing of the picture frame so that it wouldn't move out of place.

I then replaced the frame...

....and voila! I can't even handle how cute this is.

Check out that glitter.

I can't get enough of that glitter.

This is how the sign is set up in Holly's room. I couldn't get a good shot in her actual room because the lighting is extremely bad, but you get the idea.
All that's left to do is fix the small scratch on the bottom corner of the frame.

I'm in love with this adorable and fast DIY.

(p.s. I finally found the link to the exact card I used in this project below)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day Mini Ice-Cream Cupcakes

Happy Valentines Day, lovelies!

It seems like this year, all the momma's on my Instagram & Twitter decided to make cupcakes for v-day, and obviously so did I. But, a few days ago, while brainstorming ideas for what I could send Holly to daycare with, this idea popped into my head (it was either this or strawberry fudge- yum!). I put a little spin on traditional cupcakes with these tiny ice-cream cupcakes. These things are perfect for toddlers (in reality they are roughly 3" tall), and are super easy to make.

All you need is cake batter (with food colouring if you wish), flat bottomed mini ice-cream cones, icing, and candy for garnish.

What did you whip up for your Valentine?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My New Favourite Nail Polish of All Time

China Glaze- It's A Trap-Eze! from the Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away collection

A few months ago I saw a photo of this polish, and became a woman obsessed.
I called and visited multiple stores in two different cities, and all were sold out of this fantastic polish (obviously because everyone needs it). I ended up ordering it off Ebay a few weeks ago for around $7 canadian, and it was totally worth it.


This is the polish after one coat:

...and after two coats:

Why do I love this polish?

1. This polish stands out because the base is not clear, it's milky white. There is no need for a base colour- two coats give the look of a white base with a glitter topcoat.

2. From my count, there are eight, yes eight, different colours (all in different sizes) of sparkles in the polish. The colours also mesh really well. They remind me of Easter.

3. This polish is glitter dense, but not too glitter dense. In every brush stroke, I got even amounts of glitter. Further, the glitter was not clumpy (which surprised me considering how thick it is).

4. It didn't chip easily. Even without a good topcoat, it got me through a whole week (only with minor glitter pieces missing).

5. It's unique and noticeable. Within an hour of being in public on the first day of wear, a stranger complimented my nails.

The only thing I didn't like?

 The amounts of glitter made this polish incredibly hard to remove, which is not surprising.

Have you tried It's a Trap-Eze? What did you think of this glitterful masterpiece of a polish?

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Very Late January Topbox Post

Oh, hi! I've missed you. Please allow me to ease back into this-

Welcome to my very belated January Topbox review.

I have never discussed Topbox on this blog before, but it's a monthly subscription box (much like Glossybox, Birchbox, etc.) here in Canada. You can join here if you'd like.

I've been getting the box for maybe 4-5 months now, and have been impressed. As you can see from the top photo, this month's box featured only Clinique products in what Topbox is called a "Prive" box. I absolutely love the concept, and the products.

1. Eyeshadow duo in "like mink"- I am so impressed with this eyeshadow. I mean, sure its just eyeshadow, but, it has just the right amount of shimmer and I am grateful to have gotten two great neutral shades. Also, I cannot not mention the sliding chrome packaging- it's so sleek and beautiful.

2. Rinse-off eye makeup solvent- I've tried many eye makeup removers in the past, and this one is a top competitor. It has no strong smell, doesn't sting the eyes, and leaves no oily residue (just as promised). The best part about it is that in taking off my mascara (Benefit's "They're Real"), I only needed one cotton pad per eye (this is amazing considering I usually need three or four). I must admit though, that for the price (around $20), I probably wouldn't purchase it full sized due to the fact that there are several drug store eye makeup removers that may not work as well, but are a lot cheaper.

3. Clarifying lotion- This is my favourite sample from this month's box. I use a toner daily for my acne prone skin (which is exactly what this is- I'm not even sure why it's called a "lotion"), and this one exceeded expectations. It doesn't burn when applied, and also doesn't have that terrible toner smell. It makes my skin feel squeaky clean and fresh. By chance, I actually had samples of a Clinique moisturizer and a foaming facial cleanser, so this sample happened to complete a mini 3-step system for me. It's been working great.

4. Repairwear laser focus wrinkle & UV damage corrector- I'm a bit young to give this an accurate review, but from what I've read online, this stuff is a miracle in a bottle. There is no smell and the texture is great- a very lightweight serum that feels like nothing at all when applied.

I'm a huge fan of Clinique products for the reason that they are remarkably fresh feeling. This month's Topbox has pushed me even further into a love for Clinique.
What do you think of the brand/these products?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

This Week 19

I've been used Batiste for years but just discovered the amazing leopard can // A big bowl of fresh strawberries reminds me that spring isn't too far away, even with all this snow // I've been trying to limit my caffeine intake, and this cute teapot teaball is helping // Green smoothies are my new thing- any suggestions? // Of course, I joined vine. Follow me!


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