On A Personal Note

Sitting and reading The Handmaid's Tale on an urban oasis condo patio

As some of you know, I've been dealing with some chronic health issues since last August. It's nothing fatal, thank goodness, but it does mean that some weeks I'm bursting with energy and crossing everything off on my to-do list, while other weeks I have all the energy of a used tea bag and it's all I can do to drag myself from the bed to the couch and back again. Thankfully there is an end in sight for the up-and-down misery: I'm going into surgery today and after that (fingers crossed) I'll feel a lot better.

I'll be taking a few weeks off from blogging to relax and recuperate post-surgery, but if you miss me, there's always Instagram! Thanks as always for your support and for continuing to read and visit this little corner of cyberspace. See you soon!


Solo Lisa Tries: Pur Water Filter Pitcher

Pur water filtration pitcher and water filter system

Drinking more water helps your health in more ways than one: it replenishes fluids in muscles and tissues throughout the day and post-workout; it satisfies your thirst, which can sometimes be mistaken for hunger and cause you to inadvertently eat more than you need; it alleviates signs of dehydration like fatigue, brain fog, and headaches. I'm lucky to live in a municipality with great-tasting, safe drinking water straight from the tap, and there's filtered water at the office and the barre studio. But if that's not the case where you live, getting your required eight glasses a day becomes more challenging. The solution? Perhaps something like the Pur Water Filter Pitcher ($29.99 at London Drugs).


In-Depth Review: Vancity Subscription Box

Vancity Subscription Box

I'm lucky to live in an area full of indie boutiques, but for those of us who don't have the time to window-shop in Mt. Pleasant or live too far away, there is a solution! Enter Vancity Box, a new subscription box service that spotlights Vancouver makers. Marketed as "the city in a box" and "a farmer's market in a box," each month's curated selection aims to introduce subscribers to new-to-them labels and products from the Lower Mainland. The Vancity Box format previously featured one maker's wares at a time, but starting April of this year, this switched things up by offering a hodgepodge of products from different artisans. Here's what was in the April 2017 box I received for review.


Solo Lisa Reads: June 2017

Solo Lisa Reads: June 2017 book review round-up #indigofaves

Happy Monday, dear readers! We're deep into summer now, and even though the weather in Vancouver hasn't exactly been sunny, the season still calls for a breezy beach read or two. Whether you're lounging poolside or headed to a coffee shop to while away a rainy afternoon, these books will make the leisurely hours and minutes just fly by.


New & Noteworthy: Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift

Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift

I don't know if it's age or long hours spent in front of the computer, but lately by the time 5pm hits my face seems to look as tired and haggard as I feel. My eyes feel it especially: The area all around the eyeballs gets tense and I feel as though I'm going bug-eyed, while the undereye area looks distinctly puffier and darker than when I left the house in the morning. If you're in the same boat as I am, the new Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift ($90; available at BeautyMark) just might be the answer to your prayers. All the details after the jump!


Paul & Joe Beauty Spring/Summer 2017

Paul & Joe Beauty Spring/Summer 2017 limited edition collection

Any beauty brand that unabashedly leans into the feminine and whimsical as much as Paul & Joe does scores high points in my books. The packaging details are always so adorable, so girly, and so cat-laden that I want to be won over, even if sometimes the products don't perform as well as I'd like them to. There were definitely hits and misses among the the spring/summer 2017 limited edition samples I received for review. You can find all of these products at Shoppers Drug Mart (except for the Pearl Foundation Primer, which sadly seems to be sold out everywhere). All the details after the jump!


Product Review: Rodial Super Fit Bodycare

Rodial Super Fit Bodycare

I go to Bar Method classes regularly and I've been keeping up the healthy lifestyle habits I developed while prepping for our wedding: eating healthier, drinking more water, sleeping more, and paying attention to self-care. But sometimes good habits aren't enough, which is why I was curious about slimming and toning lotions and potions like those by Rodial Super Fit Bodycare (available at Shoppers Drug Mart nationwide). Do they really work? All the details after the jump!


Solo Lisa Tries: Tata Harper Total Complexion Reset Treatment

Tata Harper products displayed on a marble board, in front of an orchid, on a white table

I've long been a fan of Tata Harper's effective, all-natural products and Kathryn Sawers's work at Collective Skincare, so when I was invited to try out Collective's new Tata Harper Total Complexion Reset Treatment a couple weeks ago it felt like kismet. Launching in June, this facial is a 100% natural multi-acid peel that promises no pain, no redness, and no downtime—just an insane glow and visible improvements in skin's overall brightness, tone, and texture. So did this treatment deliver on all of its dramatic claims? What did it feel like? And how did my skin react afterward? All the details after the jump!


Solo Lisa Reads: #Canada150 Edition

#CanLit #Canada150 Solo Lisa Reads picks

Justin Trudeau is the Internet's boyfriend, the country is celebrating a big birthday this year (150 years!), and some of our most celebrated books are now the basis of buzzworthy TV shows. Canada is definitely having a moment in pop culture right now and there's no better time to dip into some classic Canadian literature. I've rounded up some of my favourites here if you want to #ReadtheNorth and don't know where to start!


Bridal Style: Q&A With Event Planner Susanna Stewart

Table setting with florals, mercury glass votive candle holders, custom sugar cookies, and gold flatware designed by Susanna Stewart events

I loved planning our wedding, but did I love every step of the process? Not really, and ours was relatively small and simple (park ceremony, restaurant reception, 60-70 guests). I can't even imagine how overwhelming it must be to put together an event from scratch on a much bigger scale, or how daunting of a process wedding planning can be if you feel as though you're the only bride-to-be who's lacking the organization gene! Luckily, professional planners like Susanna Stewart Events are here to save the day. I caught up with Susanna recently and asked about her passion for event and wedding planning, as well as tips for brides-to-be on how to choose and work with a planner and how to de-stress before the big day. More after the jump!


In-Depth Review: Harry's Shave Set

Harry's Winston shave kit

I'm pretty knowledgeable about beauty and grooming products intended for women, but when it comes to the guys sometimes I'm clueless. In fact, until Harry's reached out to me to see if my husband would be interested in trying their razors and men's grooming products, I didn't even realize how expensive a single razor cartridge could be. Luckily for the fellas, online shaving subscription services like Harry's are changing the game. If you're a guy who's looking for a close shave at a better price or you're looking for a Father's Day gift idea, you're going to want to bookmark this review!


Things I Bought That I Love: The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Spray

The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Spray

As longtime readers know, I've been trying to green up my routine, whether it's my beauty regimen, household cleaning, or switching to natural deodorant. What I didn't realize was that the super-effective deodorizing spray I was currently using to freshen up coats, sweaters, and scarves between dry-cleanings was already the greener, gentler alternative. Yes, I'm talking about The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Spray.


Introducing Dior Addict Lip Tattoo

Dior Addict Lip Tattoo

It's easy to become addicted to Dior when they keep knocking it out of the park with their beauty launches. The latest review samples to cross my beauty blogging desk? Three shades of the new Dior Addict Lip Tattoo ($36), a pigmented lip colour that feels like barely anything on the lips and promises up to 10 hours of continuous wear. All the details after the jump!


Decorating With Plants 101

Coffee table succulent garden
Succulent garden on the coffee table

Plants have made a huge comeback in the world of home decor, and there are plenty of good reasons why. They add soothing greenery and texture to interior spaces, they clean the air, and they're more budget-friendly than weekly trips to the florist for fresh-cut blooms. But which plants should you get? How do you care for them? And if you're a gardening newbie, how do you stop yourself from killing them? I'm still figuring out the answers to all of these questions myself, but as someone who's just jumped on the plant bandwagon recently, I'm sharing what I've learned so far after the jump!


Empties: May 2017

Flatlay of all the products reviewed below

I test and feature a lot of beauty products, but in real life I use up more samples than I have time to write about in great depth. For a while I did quick reviews of empties on Instagram. That quickly fell by the wayside, so I'm going to take a page out of other beauty bloggers' books and start doing empties round-ups here.


Drugstore Delight: Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner

Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner

Before I started transitioning into green beauty, my standby for shampoo and conditioner was always Pantene. I knew that if the bottle said "Pantene" and had any combination of the words "moisture," "anti-frizz," or "smoothing" on it, I was guaranteed shiny, soft, healthy-looking locks. Such was the case with the newly reformulated Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner ($6.49 on sale for $5.99 at London Drugs), which I received for review and couldn't resist taking for a spin.


Bar Method 2.5 Year Check-In

Fitness athleisure flatlay with Gapfit palm print leggings, pink sports bra, and pink Gapfit Breathe racerback tank folded up; pink Bar Method grippy socks; pink BKR water bottle; Fresh Soy Face Cleanser and Sugar Rose Lip Balm; Consonant Dealkalizing Deodorant and Come Clean cleansing cloths

As of June I'll have been going to Bar Method for 2.5 years, and although I'm not the gym selfie type, I do enjoy reflecting on my fitness journey and documenting my progress on the blog. It still boggles my mind that when I started, I was so out of shape I couldn't hold a plank during the warm-up portion of class and I had to mentally pep-talk myself into completing 3 reps at a time during leg work; now I can do push-ups on my toes and the instructors are calling me out to go lower in leg work! I posted progress updates a couple months into doing Bar Method regularly and a year in, and I'm happy to report that I'm still seeing physical, emotional, and mental changes, which is pretty amazing. Here's where I'm at right now.


Home Office Decor Refresh

Feminine beauty blogger home office space

Every once in a while, I get the urge to embark on a home decor project that costs relatively little in time (1-2 weekends), effort (no messes or massive renovations), and money (a couple hundred bucks max). This season, the home decor project was my beauty blogging home office, where the former status quo was beginning to get on my nerves.


5 Drugstore Face Palettes To Try This Spring

5 face palettes to try this spring from Essence, Pixi, Revlon, and L'Oreal

A new face palette can transform your everyday beauty routine, saving you time and space in your kit as well as refreshing multiple products with just one purchase. What's more, if you go for a drugstore option, buying a palette doesn't have to monopolize all your spring beauty budget dollars. Curious about what the best option might be? I've been testing five palettes in the last couple of weeks and I'm sharing my thoughts on all of them after the jump!


Things I Bought That I Love: Spring 2017 Wardrobe Additions

I'll be the first to admit that my spring shopping list is a little all over the place and kind of boring. As an aspiring minimalist, I'm favouring a handful of quality items that are in it for the sartorial long haul. Half of these items are meant to replace essentials that have worn out or don't fit anymore, while the other half references this season's trends in a way that still works with my closet's classic yet casual, denim-heavy vibe.


Product Review: Pixi Skintreats

Pixi Glow Tonic, Pixi Skintreats Vitamin Wakeup Mist, and Pixi Skintreats Peel & Polish

Pixi Beauty has been on my radar for a while, but I haven't had firsthand experience with their products until recently when I was invited to learn more about the brand and walked away with a bag full of samples to test and review. While I haven't gone through everything yet—there was a lot in that goodie bag—I do have a few skincare standouts to share with you today, all of which are available at Shoppers Drug Mart right now.


Things I Bought That I Love: Dr. Bronner's Soap

Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Citrus Pure Castile Soap

Dr. Bronner's soap is probably old news for a lot of you. As someone who's transitioning into green beauty and increasingly curious about natural cleaning solutions though, it has proven to be a total game changer. The bottles would always catch my eye when I was browsing Welk's General Store with their colourful, script-covered labels, but it wasn't until I researched this cult fave at home that I was intrigued enough to buy a bottle of my own.


My Minimalist Makeup Routine

Minimalist makeup routine

I'm lucky to be able to test so many wonderful beauty products, but when it comes to the day-to-day I rely on nine eight products that fit in a portable makeup pouch to keep me looking polished, groomed, and natural. My rules? These products must be easy and quick to apply, no brushes required (just clean fingers blending on freshly cleansed and moisturized skin, because these days I'm terrible at washing makeup brushes regularly). Longtime readers will recognize a lot of these products, which are a mix of deluxe and drugstore finds; perhaps the more recent readers among you may discover a new favourite to add to your daily five-minute face!


Solo Lisa Reads: March 2017

I'm so happy to report that since my last book round-up in January, I've continued to read voraciously in the past couple of months. "Love, love, love" seems to be the underlying theme of my latest round-up as my tastes tended towards lighthearted YA and uplifting romances. Here's a look at the books I enjoyed in February and March.


Weekend Escape To Tofino

Vancouver beauty, life, and style blogger Solo Lisa stares at the waves breaking on the rocks in Tofino, BC, Canada

Between work and blog and the demands of everyday living, the fact that my husband and I haven't been on a proper trip since our mini-moon in Naramata kind of snuck up on us. So when Ford Canada asked us if we'd like to borrow a 2017 Ford Escape for the week, of course the answer was an unequivocal "Yes!", immediately followed by thoughts of where we'd like to road-trip to next while we have the car. (Any excuse for a vacation, right?) We very quickly settled on Tofino as neither of us has ever been and we've both heard how beautiful it is. As we discovered a couple weekends ago, this seaside community located on Vancouver Island has more to offer than just surfing and stellar fish tacos. A photo-heavy look at our Tofino getaway, plus travel tips and our thoughts on the 2017 Ford Escape right after the jump!


New & Noteworthy: Dior Addict Lacquer Stick

Dior Addict Lacquer Stick in Tease, Turn on Dior, Dark Flower, and Rolling

These days I find myself reaching for sheerer and shinier lip colours that wear like a lip balm as opposed to matte formulas, which is why the newly launched Dior Addict Lacquer Stick ($43) has me so excited. Of Dior's latest lippie collection, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup Peter Philips has said, "For this new generation of lacquers, I wanted the comfort of a hydrating balm without compromising on color intensity and shine." The result is a hybrid formula that boasts high shine, full coverage colour, and comfortable wear. Shall we take a closer look?


Product Review: Natural Deodorants

Natural deodorants by Consonant Body, Leaves of Trees, and Agent Nateur

Thanks to everyone who read last week's green beauty post and took the time to comment! It seems like my research into the world of natural beauty struck a chord with those of you who are interested in greening up your beauty routines, but looking for a balanced, scientific-minded approach at the same time. Today I'm talking about a green beauty subject that's become a minor obsession the past couple of months: natural deodorants. Why should you use one? What are the best ones to try? (Spoiler: I'm reviewing three by Consonant, Leaves of Trees, and Agent Nateur.) All of the details after the jump!


My 4 Biggest Life Changes Post-KonMari

flatlay featuring succulent, Danica minimalist dip-dyed coasters in bamboo and white, pearl stud earrings, white gold diamond engagement ring, De Beers yellow gold infinity half pave wedding band, Dior Rouge lipstick, Chanel Beige perfume

Happy first day of spring, dear readers! For many of us, this is a time to take stock of our homes and clean, refresh, and de-clutter. This was certainly the mindset I was in two years ago when I picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and embarked on what would turn out to be the biggest spring-cleaning project of my life. If you haven't hopped on the KonMari bandwagon yet, perhaps this is your season to do it! To inspire you to tackle your own closets and cupboards, here's a little rundown of how it's changed my life for the better in the last two years.


Lazy Girl Approved: Conair Infiniti Pro The Ultimate Brush

Lazy Girl Approved highlights long-lasting, goof-proof, fuss-free products that can fit into the most minimalist of regimens. If you consider yourself a low-maintenance beauty lover, these product reviews are for you!

Conair Infiniti Pro The Ultimate Brush

There are girls in this world who willingly wake up an hour early just to wash their hair, then painstakingly dry and style it into pin-straight submission or perfectly tousled waves. Alas, I am not one of them, which means I often roll into work with not-so-artful bedhead-y frizz, a sad ponytail, or a topknot if my hair is long enough for it. If you're anything like me, you'll love the Conair Infiniti Pro The Ultimate Brush ($39.99 at London Drugs) as much as I do.


My Journey Into Green Beauty

A round-up of natural, organic, and green beauty faves in beauty blogger Solo Lisa's routine (Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser and Aromatic Stress Treatment; ILIA powder brush, translucent setting powder, and lipstick in 'The Brides'; Leaves of Trees Eucalyptus Mint natural deodorant; Korres Castanea Arcadia Wrinkle Rewind Night Cream; Agent Nateur natural deodorant; Caudalie makeup cleansing oil, Rocky Mountain Soap Co. pomegranate day cream) set on a marble cheese board next to a succulent

Natural beauty and skincare are areas I've always been interested in, but more so from a "As a beauty blogger I'll try anything once" perspective than out of necessity or health concerns. That shifted a couple months ago when I found out I had a large cyst on my left ovary, most likely due to endometriosis; this diagnosis kicked off a journey into green beauty. I started with the goal of reducing my exposure to endocrine disruptors and the toxic load on my body, with the hope that by lessening the number of chemicals and toxins my body's detoxifying systems have to process and filter it'd help my energy levels. Today I'm sharing what I've learned so far in my journey towards a greener beauty routine; hopefully it'll help you and give you some food for thought if you're considering doing the same.


New & Noteworthy: Givenchy Rouge Interdit Lipstick

Flatlay featuring Chanel black lambskin camellia embossed wallet on chain WOC, black matte J. Crew statement necklace, Givenchy Rouge Interdit red lipstick

When a sample of the new Givenchy Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick ($40) crossed my beauty blogging desk, I have to confess I was fully prepared not to like it. After all, is there room for yet another luxe lipstick in an already crowded marketplace? The answer, as it turns out, is yes—especially when the packaging details are so thoughtfully executed and the formula wears so superbly. All the details after the jump, plus the scoop on how you can win an exclusive prize from Givenchy Fragrances & Beauty Canada at the bottom of this post!


Bridal Style: Hair Extensions Q&A With Veronica Gomes

Beach boho bride hairstyles with Veronica Gomes hair extensions

Fine-hair genes, styling damage, trauma, hormones: there are a host of reasons why a girl's hair might not be as long and luxuriant as she wants on her wedding day. Luckily though, hair extensions are a quick and easy way to achieve the tresses of one's dreams. I've never tried extensions myself (I just grew my hair out for my own wedding day updo), but Veronica Gomes wears and works with them all the time. Gomes, a Vancouver-based hairstylist, boasts 12 years of experience and launched an eponymous line of hair extensions last fall featuring 11 shades (including 2 different shades of black, one warmer and one darker), 3 lengths, and 2 quality levels, so it's safe to say she's an extension guru and I learned a lot from this interview. Brides-to-be who are looking for more length or volume, take note!


Drugstore Delight: EOS Lip Balm

EOS Organic Smooth Spheres lip balms in Sweet Mint and Pomegranate Raspberry

A green beauty routine doesn't always mean paying an arm and a leg or going out of your way to source niche products, and EOS lip balm ($4.29 at London Drugs) is proof positive of that. I remember trying one in a lemony flavour when they first came out; at the time it didn't impress me too much aside from its distinctive egg shape. Either my preferences have evolved or the formula has improved, but when the EOS PR team sent me a full assortment of lip balms to try this winter, I found I really liked them this time around. They're a true Drugstore Delight, especially if you're taking your first baby steps into the world of natural beauty and skincare.


Product Review: Rocky Mountain Soap Co. & Caudalie Natural Skincare

Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Transformative Cleansing Oil and Hydrating Toner, Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been dealing with some health issues and am hoping that switching over to natural products in my daily routine wherever possible will help. Now, I'm not an extreme green convert who believes conventional lipstick will kill you and there are some regular cosmetics I just can't quit. That being said, I figure if I can green up the skincare and grooming products I use daily, I can still decrease my exposure to endocrine-disrupting ingredients and lessen the overall chemical load on my body's natural detoxification systems (liver, kidneys, digestion, lymph nodes, etc.). Every little bit helps, right?


New & Noteworthy: Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub

Flatlay featuring Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub

Just in time for Valentine's Day and inspired by Dior's backstage secrets, Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub ($41) is a veritable sweet treat for the lips. It's the product you didn't think you needed, but somehow worms its way into your life and your makeup bag as an essential—and that's saying a lot considering I'm not usually a lip scrub girl.

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