Solo Lisa Reads: June 2018

Round-up of summer 2018 book recommendations

Without meaning to, I've somehow let a whole year slide by between my last book review round-up and this one. I was still reading during that time—or rather re-reading, revisiting books I've loved since forever. But there's nothing like summer and the promise of long, warm, lazy days to make you reach for a new book, is there? Here are four I've enjoyed recently; they'd go well with a patio and a cold drink.

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Product Review: Hand Chemistry Hyaluronic Body Mist

Hand Chemistry Hyaluronic Body Mist

Deciem has been on my radar for a while, but I've resisted the temptation to purchase anything because it felt wasteful to be buying more products before I'd used up the skincare I have at home. Until now, that is. The other day I was at their downtown Vancouver store with Jayne and I spotted the Hand Chemistry Hyaluronic Body Mist ($20). Here was a product unlike anything I had or had seen before, a product that fit a very specific niche and would probably be heavily used come summer! And for just $20, how could I lose? I've been testing this for a week and am very pleased with it so far. This hyaluronic body mist has proven to be the perfect marriage of formula and packaging.

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Things I Bought That I Love: Chanel Boy Coin Purse

Chanel Boy coin purse in blue

When I was in my early 20s I was obsessed with Chanel as the epitome of all things luxurious, chic, and in good taste. That obsession has waned in recent years; now I have responsibilities like a mortgage and I'm trying to be a good minimalist. I'm also more inclined to spend money on fitness (oh hi, Bar Method) or a vacation with Hubs. But the Chanel love had never disappeared fully, it was just dormant, and it flared up when I bought my new blue Chanel Boy coin purse on our recent trip to Portland.

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Lazy Girl Approved: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Underpainting Colour Correcting Palette

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!

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Underpainting Colour Correcting Palette 25 for light skin

Of the Lazy Girls who wear makeup daily, many would probably list concealer among their essentials along with mascara, some sort of brow product, and tinted lip balm. Colour correctors, alas, are more of a "if we remember to pack/use them" and "more trouble than it's worth" item—until now, that is. Enter the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Underpainting Colour Correcting Palette ($53)!

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New & Noteworthy: Dior Addict Lacquer Plump

Dior Addict Lacquer Plump & Lacquer Stick

I can always think of a good excuse for a new lipstick, and summer happens to be rife with them! There are patio brunches, parties, bridal and baby showers, and let's not forget wedding season. That's where the new Dior Addict Lacquer Plump ($43) comes in. Billed as "the first plumping lacquered lip ink," Dior's latest claims to deliver long-lasting colour along with plumping and hydration benefits. In other words, it sounds like a perfect-for-all-occasions lip colour you'll reach for time and again because it makes a bold statement and feels great on the lips. Ready for a closer look?

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Our Quick Portland Getaway

Vancouver beauty, life and style blogger Solo Lisa stands in front of a sign that says Hello Ballard in Ballard, Seattle

As you might have seen from my Instagram, Hubs and I went to Portland for an extra long weekend recently! This getaway coincided with me attending a professional conference and honestly it couldn't have come soon enough. Working overtime on a demanding project, dealing with staffing issues, and overall stress and exhaustion were really starting to get to me, which is also why I've been MIA from the blog lately. It was so nice to escape from everyday life for a couple of days and unplug for a bit. All the details on where we went and what we did after the jump! (Spoiler: It involves a lot of food.)

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Spring Skincare Faves

A round-up of natural, department store, drugstore, and local skincare finds from Dior, Bioderma, Olay, Riversol, and Fresh

Another season, another updated skincare routine! The change in weather has me rummaging through old and new beauty samples and tweaking my regimen. These days I'm craving hydration, refreshing lightweight textures, and a radiance boost. Here's the eclectic mix of drugstore, department store, and free-from skincare products I've been loving lately.

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Empties: April 2018

Round-up of empty beauty, skincare, and wellness products for April 2018

So much aromatherapy in this month's empties round-up, as well as a good mix of drugstore and natural beauty! Let's get to it, shall we?

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Product Review: Kenneth Bernard Pro Dryer

Vancouver beauty, life and style blogger Solo Lisa tests the Kenneth Bernard Pro Dryer, available exclusively at Chatters Hair Salons.

Let me be the first to say that I might be the least likely beauty blogger on earth to be offering opinions on hair dryers. Before the Kenneth Bernard Pro Dryer ($74.95, available exclusively at Chatters Salons across Canada), I'd been making do with the same fold-up travel-size hair dryer for the last 5 years, ever since we moved to our condo and I swiped it from my parents' house. It was chintzy, it was weak. It emitted a burning hair smell from the countless times it sucked up my thick Asian tresses through the back vent and I'd had to unplug the dryer and extricate myself from the fan. Needless to say, it was not a pleasure to use. But I hung on to it because it still worked more or less, and besides, my hair had destroyed so many other hair dryers by getting tangled in them that I'd spent a pretty penny on replacements. Any hair dryer would have been an improvement over the status quo, but even barring that, the Kenneth Bernard Pro Dryer has been an all-around delight.

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Minimalist Style: Lola Jeans

#OOTD featuring Lola Jeans legging style pull-on jeans, J. Crew sweater blazer in black and buffalo plaid shirt, Madewell V-neck grey tee, white leather Vans with perforated leather, Chanel 2.55 jumbo caviar leather in black with silver hardware

As you may have noticed here or on Instagram, I haven't been posting as much lately. Work projects and participating in the Bar Method Fitness Challenge have proven surprisingly tiring! The last thing I want to do these days is put on uncomfortable clothes, which is why I've been reaching for denim and leggings almost 24/7 and which is where the Lola Jeans 'Julia' jeans ($80) featured today come into play. Think of these pants as a hybrid of your comfiest leggings and stretchiest jeans. Lola Jeans actually kindly sent me a pair to review back in November, but with one thing and another, I didn't have a chance to feature them until now. If you're thinking of ordering a pair for yourself for all those casual #ootd moments, read on for my (admittedly very detailed and honest) thoughts!

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Dior 5 Couleurs Glow Addict Eyeshadow Palettes

Dior 5 Couleurs Glow Addict Eyeshadow Palettes in 887 Thrill and 667 Flirt

Although I'm writing this post on a grey and rainy Sunday, there are already signs that spring is on its way. Daffodils are blooming and the days are getting longer and warmer. And in the beauty world, the heavy metallics, mattes, and dramatic colours of the holiday season have given way to something lighter. Case in point? The gorgeous Dior 5 Couleurs Glow Addict Eyeshadow Palettes ($73). Described in the press materials as "2 exclusive harmonies of iridescent rosy hues," these limited edition spring 2018 palettes will add a certain freshness and bloom to your beauty look.

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Introducing Nude By Nature, An Aussie Natural Makeup Line New To Canada

Flatlay featuring Australian natural makeup line Nude by Nature

More natural beauty options in the marketplace? Yes, please! Especially when they're as gorgeous as Nude By Nature. I had the pleasure of learning more about this Aussie natural makeup line at a media lunch, after which I walked away with a very full bag of products to test. In the last couple of weeks, I've been impressed with how easy and intuitive the products are, how well the mineral and naturally derived formulas perform, and the sheer prettiness of the rose gold packaging. It just goes to show that going green with your beauty routine doesn't mean sacrificing performance or luxury.

Nude By Nature is launching across Canada this month and will be available at Shoppers Drug Mart. Here are all the details on the brand, as well as the standout products and exclusive Canadian launches to look for the next time you're in store!

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Cinque Terre Travel Diary

Colourful houses nestled in the green hills of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

After Rome, Venice, and Florence, Cinque Terre was a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the major cities. As incredible as our time in Italy had been up until that point, we were also kind of worn out by the non-stop walking, sightseeing, getting on and off trains, finding our way in a new city with luggage in tow. On one memorable day in Florence, we logged 23,000 steps and I developed blisters—and the next day we still went to Lucca and went on a walking tour there! By the time we departed Florence for Monterosso al Mare, I was desperately craving a slower pace and lazier days, if only to give my feet a break. Cinque Terre delivered just that.

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Things I Bought That I Love: MINISO USB Humidifier

MINISI USB humidifier in pink

After buying the MINISO USB Humidifier ($12.99, various MINISO locations around Vancouver) and sharing it on my IG Stories, I got so many inquiries that I thought this little machine merited its own blog post.

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Empties: February 2018

Empty skin and body care products featuring Olay, Herbal Essences, Rocky Mountain Soap Company, Pantene, Deborah Lippmann, BV Spa, Fresh, Leaves of Trees, The Face Shop, Tata Harper, Caudalie, The Body Shop, Butter, Dermalogica, Stila

Those of you with sharp eyes might've noticed that I titled my last empties post "January" even though I published it in the first week of February. There was a method to my madness though: I had so many other empties to talk about I had no choice but to feature half of them later in the same month. This one is heavy on skin and body care—anything to keep skin soft and smooth during winter! There are also quite a few discontinued products in the mix, which goes to show I can be pretty slow about using up samples.

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New & Noteworthy: Dior Addict Lip Glow New Shades

Dior Addict Lip Glow new shades and finishes including Holo Pink, Holo Purple, Ultra Pink, Coral, and Raspberry

The air has been super dry in Vancouver lately with the heat cranked up indoors and the wintry air outdoors. Even the most emollient lip colours feel like too much pigment, not enough moisture on my chapped and peeling lips, which is why I've been reaching for tinted lip balms like Dior Addict Lip Glow ($41). Lip Glow is one of my all-time favourite Dior products and they've just launched new shades and finishes, so needless to say, I was pretty excited to get my hands on these PR samples.

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Product Review: Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Wellness Balms

Sometime in the last couple of years, aromatherapy went from an occasional sensory indulgence to an integral part of my daily routine. Essential oils aren't as bothersome for those with scent allergies as traditional fragrances; they fade away faster; they're all-natural instead of being loaded with synthetics and potentially endocrine-disrupting chemicals; and they boast a slew of wellness-enhancing benefits. All of this works for my current lifestyle—I work in an open office space and exercise at a scent-free barre studio (so many people with perfume allergies!), and I'm trying to go more natural and adopt healthier habits. I've mostly stuck to oil roll-ons, so when I heard about the new Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Wellness Balms ($18 each) and their innovative balm texture, I was definitely interested and requested PR samples right away.

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Givenchy Lunar New Year Edition

Givenchy Lunar New Year Edition Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Mat Lip Color and Givenchy Lunar New Year Edition Prisme Libre Mat-finish and Enhanced Radiance Loose Powder 4 in 1 Harmony

I know it's Valentine's Day today, but I'm way more excited about Chinese New Year! The Year of the Dog starts this Friday and it feels like a second chance at a reset, especially since January turned out to be such a bummer. I don't adhere to all the traditions, but I do take a few of them pretty seriously: Having dinner with family on Chinese New Year's Eve and eating lucky foods like fish; getting a haircut to cut away last year's bad luck and start fresh; and doing a deep clean of our home to greet the new year's good luck. Having something new to wear helps with the good luck too. This past weekend I picked up a Madewell shirt at Nordstrom, which I'm planning to wear with these gorgeous Givenchy Lunar New Year Edition goodies that recently arrived at Solo Lisa headquarters.

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Drugstore Delight: Mascara & Eyeliner Round-up

Mascaras and eyeliners from Lancome, Maybelline, Revlon, Givenchy, Annabelle, all available at London Drugs

At the #LDBeauty event I attended last fall, almost every brand was launching a new mascara or black liquid eyeliner with a novel twist. This is awesome news for beauty lovers: Mascara and liquid eyeliner need to be replaced more frequently to prevent the build-up of bacteria that can cause eye infections—3 months for mascara, 6 months for eyeliner—so all the better if you can find a drugstore gem that works for your needs and won't break the bank. If you're still hanging on to last year's dried-up products, you might want to toss them and look for these new launches the next time you're at your local London Drugs!

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Empties: January 2018

A round-up of empty beauty products from November 2017

This empties post has been a long time coming! I originally intended to publish it in November, but with one thing or another it's been pushed out. So without further ado, here are the products I've finished up in the, erm, recent past.

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What's In My Barre Beauty Bag

Natural and free-from skincare and beauty products that are also travel-friendly from Fresh Beauty, Agent Nateur, Leaves of Trees, Olay, Rocky Mountain Soap Company

After 3 years and 250 classes, I've come to adore the ritual of the post-barre class shower. Working out hard, washing away the sweat, letting the hot water take the ache out of sore muscles—it's just the best! The kit I currently bring to barre contains natural and free-from skin and body care in travel-friendly sizes; they're products that are easy and quick but pack a bit of pampering into what's otherwise a straightforward post-workout shower. Now that I've committed to attending 36 classes over the next 90 days as part of the Fitness Challenge, I'll be toting this round-up of essentials to the studio much more often.

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On Bar Method As An Investment

Bar Method grippy socks

The other day, I got an email from Bar Method congratulating me on my 249th class and notifying me that the next class would be my 250th. This was definitely an exciting milestone, but it also led me to do some quick mental math and arrive at a couple of shocking numbers. In the past 3 years, I've spent 250 hours tucking, squeezing, and sweating—and approximately $6,000 in membership fees. That's a lot of time and energy, and as for the money, twenty-something me would've been appalled that thirty-something me has spent the equivalent of a Chanel bag or a trip to Europe on boutique fitness classes. So has it been worth it? Yes, as it turns out, because this small fortune has been an investment in much more than just workouts.

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Product Review: Noughty Haircare

Noughty To The Rescue Moisture Boost Shampoo & Conditioner, Intensive Care Leave-In Conditioner

As part of my efforts to green up my beauty routine, I tried natural shampoo and conditioner for the first time last year. My conclusion after that experiment? While natural haircare could leave my hair feeling clean, healthy, and shiny, it didn't do much beyond that. It simply lacked the smoothing silicones and polymers that would give my locks the groomed, polished, fresh-from-the-salon look. For anyone else who's ever felt they're sacrificing transformative and textural improvements when switching over to natural haircare, well, Noughty Haircare might be the answer to your prayers.

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Florence Travel Diary

Duomo, Florence, Italy

Our honeymoon in Italy was one of 2017's major highlights, which is why I'm so excited to be able to recap our visit to Florence today. Looking back at these photos, this was probably the most eclectic leg of our trip.

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2017 Reflections & 2018 Resolutions

Rifle Paper Co. Midnight Menagerie January 2018 illustration with insects

Happy New Year, dear readers! Hope you had a fun NYE. We kept it low-key this year and spent ours at home with homemade roast chicken, baby potatoes and arugula salad, and we watched Sicario on Netflix—very cozy indeed. But now that the holiday season is done and the Christmas decorations are all packed away, it's time to look ahead to the new year stretching before us, full of fresh promise.

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