Product Review: Lavanila Natural Deodorant

Lavanila Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit

With so many natural deodorant options on the market and more introduced every day, isn't it time to ditch your conventional deodorant or antiperspirant and give natural deodorants a whirl? Even mainstream companies like Procter & Gamble (who owns Secret) and Unilever (who owns Dove) have jumped on the bandwagon by launching aluminum-free formulas. I myself am no stranger to natural deodorants, having reviewed different ones here, here, and here. However, this was my first time trying Lavanila Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit ($14). Lavanila is a natural deodorant much loved by its devotees for its long-lasting and effective odor protection and I was eager to see how it measured up to its competitors.


Summer Skincare Round-up

Summer 2019 skincare picks featuring moisturizers with gel and jelly textures and lightweight face mists

Swapping winter-appropriate skincare for alternatives better suited to summer has been an absolute game-changer. I didn't realize how weighed down I felt—literally and figuratively—until I cleaned out my medicine cabinet. So long, heavy moisturizing creams. Goodbye, thick serums. See you later, rich cleansers. Instead I'm relying on hydrating mists and lightweight gel textures, which have the added bonus of feeling extra refreshing if you store them in the fridge. Full disclaimer: Some of these products were provided to me as samples, while some of them were purchased. Now that that's out of the way, read on for the summer skincare essentials I'll be rocking for the next couple of months!


Drugstore Delight: Pixi DetoxifEYE Depuffing Eye Patches

Pixi DetoxifEYE Depuffing Eye Patches with spatula

Deadlines, study sessions, kids, insomnia, Netflix binges...whatever the reason may be, we've all probably had late nights and woken up with puffy eyes and dark circles at least once, yes? That's what makes a product like Pixi DetoxifEYE Depuffing Eye Patches so universally appealing. Soothing eye patches and masks are nothing new under the sun, but most of the time they're sold one pair at a time and cost $5-10+ a pop depending on the brand. By contrast, Pixi has packaged 30 pairs of hydrogel eye masks in a single jar that retails for $28 USD. The resulting product is more affordable and minimizes packaging and plastic waste. It also makes me more inclined to use eye patches regularly because I know there's a jar full of them just waiting for me whenever I need a pair—so convenient!


Introducing Saeve Skincare

Saeve beauty products from Paris France including antioxidant serum and SPF 30 moisturizer, hand creams, micellar water, soothing emulsion, and purifying gel cleanser

Between the museums and the tourist attractions, the long walks and leisurely hours spent in Parisian parks and at sidewalk cafes, I made sure to check out French beauty and skincare whenever possible. Why? There are some brands and products you just can't find at home, of which Saeve is a prime example. I stumbled on Saeve while browsing in the mall downstairs from the Louvre and ended up chatting with the sales assistant for over an hour, learning more about the brand's philosophy and hero products. If you've never heard of it, well, most French people haven't either—Saeve only launched in France last year and isn't available widely. However, with naturals-heavy formulas, wallet-friendly price points, a fun and lighthearted brand aeshetic, and serums that are already scooping up awards from French beauty editors, you can expect the buzz around Saeve to keep building and hit North America soon.


Spring Style: Wide Leg Pants

Vancouver beauty, life and style blogger Solo Lisa wears wide leg light blue linen pants from the Gap with a Madewell striped tee, cognac leather handbag from Tila March, and platform white Vans sneakers.

It's hard to believe outfit posts used to be a mainstay on this blog. I don't post my outfits as much anymore because, quite simply, I don't have a lot of variety in my wardrobe. But the flip side of that is when I do purchase something it's usually a thoughtful addition that goes into heavy rotation and has a big impact on the rest of my wardrobe and updating my overall look. For this spring, the new additions comprise white platform sneakers, tees with a slightly retro vibe (like this one with its 70s-inspired stripes), a new crossbody bag from Paris and wide leg pants.


Empties: May 2019

Round-up of empty beauty, hair, body and skin care products for May 2019

This month's empties round-up features a lot of trial sizes, some makeup empties (a rarity for me!), and a new-to-me French natural skincare brand I'll be testing a lot more of in the coming weeks.


Drugstore Delight: Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

This Drugstore Delight post has been a long time coming. In fact, the next time you see Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum ($34 at London Drugs) featured on this blog it might very well be in an empties round-up because that's how well-used my sample bottle from last fall's #LDBeauty event has been! Vitamin C is not new in skincare, but it has been getting a lot of buzz lately as brands release new products featuring it as a hero ingredient. And rightfully so, because vitamin C can benefit everyone and every skin type.


Drugstore Delight: Avene Couvrance High Tolerance Mascara

Avene Couvrance High Tolerance Mascara

Who knew I'd find my Holy Grail mascara from a brand best known for sunscreens and skincare for sensitive skin? But Avene Couvrance High Tolerance Mascara ($19 at Shoppers Drug Mart) is just that. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to what I require of a mascara. I first tried this after getting a small sample as a gift with purchase when I bought an Avene SPF moisturizer; I loved it so much I stocked up and bought two full-size tubes while in Paris (Monoprix sale ftw!). In Paris it was available in black and brown, although based on my local Shoppers it seems to only be stocked in black here.


Product Review: Kocostar Foot Therapy

Kocostar Foot Therapy

Spring has sprung in Vancouver and I couldn't be happier about it! I've packed away my winter boots and am wearing sneakers on the daily while daydreaming about the start of sandal season, which makes this the ideal time of year to do a foot peel mask like Kocostar Foot Therapy ($10).


Solo Lisa Tries: Biologique Recherche Facial

Vancouver beauty, life and style blogger Solo Lisa lounges in the outdoor area of Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Pacific Rim

Oh hello there! Somehow a whole 6 weeks have passed by without me posting once. Between our spring trip to Paris, some busy days at work, attending as many classes as possible for the Bar Method Fitness Challenge, and #adulting stuff like meal prep, I simply haven't been in a beauty blogging state of mind. In spite of all that, I did manage to carve out some time to try one of the new Biologique Recherche facials at the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Pacific Rim. Biologique Recherche is a cult-fave French brand best known for their P50 Lotion, an exfoliating toner that's often touted as a miracle worker for problematic skin. Although I've never used their products before, the preview event I attended at the Fairmont Pacific Rim definitely piqued my curiosity. I went ahead and booked an appointment, armed with a $50 GC to apply towards a VIP O2 facial ($219).


Empties: March 2019

Empty skin, body, hair care and beauty products

It seems as though the universe must have a sixth sense for when I'm going on vacation. All week as I've been heads down trying to wrap things up at work, emails with random requests kept popping up out of the blue. This is why I'm writing this post on the morning before we depart for Paris(!). There are a whopping 21 products in this month's empties round-up, which includes all the rich and moisturizing products that helped me get through the long winter. Let's get to it, shall we? I have a plane to catch.


Solo Lisa Reads: March 2019

Round-up of books for March 2019

This month's book review round-up was brought to you by a new e-reader. Hubs bought me a Kobo Clara HD as a gift after many months of me hesitating over buying it for myself and it's perfect. You ever have a situation where you didn't know how bad it was until things became good? Well, I'd been reading ebooks on my iPad and I didn't realize how disruptive and harsh the blue light was (even in night mode), or how heavy the iPad felt when I held it for long periods of time (hello, wrist strain). The Kobo Clara HD is much easier on the eyes when I'm reading in the dark and less disruptive to my and Hubs's sleep, and it's so small and lightweight. Giddy with joy, I went on an ebook shopping spree which included the four books featured here.


Introducing Scentuals Natural & Organic Skin Care

Scentuals Vanilla Tangerine Hand & Body Lotion, Vanilla Tangerine Lip Conditioner, Grapefruit Turmeric Hand Repair Cream

Here in Vancouver, temperatures have climbed to the double digits and we're enjoying a stretch of sunshine and blue skies—spring has officially sprung! The warmer temps not only have me craving more time outdoors and pretty dresses, but a change in my beauty routine. Think lighter textures in my skincare, more SPF, and energizing and invigorating scents in my toiletries. That's where Scentuals Natural & Organic Skin Care comes in: A box of their all-natural, divinely scented skin and body care goodies landed on my beauty blogging desk a couple weeks ago and I've been enjoying three of the products in particular.


Highlights from Pixi's Rose Infused Collection

Pixi Rose Cream Cleanser, Rose Tonic, and Rose Oil Blend

As you may recall from my review of the Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream, I mentioned that Pixi had sent me a whole case of skincare from their Pixi Beauty Rose Infused Collection, a mixture of new launches and new-to-me products. Did I love everything? No, but there were enough highlights to do a round-up of my favourites. More after the jump!


Product Review: Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Body Wash and Body Lotion

Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Body Wash and Body Lotion

These days I prefer 100% natural or naturals-heavy body care, but I made an exception this winter when I reached for my review samples of Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Body Wash ($26) and Body Lotion ($32). Such is the allure of Crabtree & Evelyn, a brand synonymous with luxurious moisturizing products that come in a variety of botanicals-inspired scents. I knew that no matter what, the Crabtree & Evelyn body wash and body lotion would smell good and leave my skin feeling soft, and I was right.


Product Review: Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Eye Lifting Balm

Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Eye Lifting Balm

File this product review under "nearly empty product I'm finally writing about" or under "pre-vacation blogging." Either way, I have a backlog of beauty posts to work through before taking off for Paris at the end of March and I'm starting with Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Hyaluronic Acid Eye Lifting Balm ($72)! I've always liked this all-natural French brand's skincare and how it uses different parts of the grape plant—the grapes, the grape skins, the leaves, the vines—in formulas for their antioxidant and anti-aging benefits. I couldn't resist picking up this eye cream at Sephora a couple months ago; the adorable 15 ml millennial pink tube just sealed the deal.


Drugstore Delight: Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream

Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream

Pixi Beauty recently sent me the most gorgeous case full of rose-scented skincare goodies to try out, and while I'm still taking my time testing the other products, I couldn't resist spotlighting the newly launched Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream ($24) in its own post because it is just that good. A rich intensive moisturizer is just what the doctor prescribed for my dryer-than-normal skin, especially as Vancouver continues to hover around sub-zero temperatures. No wonder I've been reaching for it repeatedly.


Product Review: Nurse Jamie Uplift Massaging Beauty Roller

Nurse Jamie Uplift Massaging Beauty Roller

Have you jumped on the facial roller bandwagon yet? Facial massage devices are a trend that shows no signs of slowing down in 2019, and I am all for it. A few minutes with a facial roller after applying all your serums and lotions makes a nighttime skincare routine feel that much more spa-like, relaxing and luxurious. Not all facial rollers are created equal though. Case in point: The Nurse Jamie Uplift Massaging Beauty Roller ($86), which I received as a sample last December and have been increasingly favouring over my rose quartz facial roller.


Empties: February 2019

Round-up of empty beauty, skincare, hair and body care products for February 2019 featuring Herbal Essences, Bioderma, Rocky Mountain Soap Company, Caudalie, Olay, Dior, Laneige, Body Shop, Fresh, Crabtree & Evelyn, Aritaum, Nature Republic, Tonymoly

This empties post is long overdue! And considering we're still in the depths of winter and a cold snap here in Vancouver, the fact that it's full of hydrating and moisturizing skin and body care goodies should come as no surprise. Let's get to it, shall we?


Solo Lisa Reads: February 2019

Round-up of recommended books for February 2019: Robyn Harding's The Party, Aimee Molloy's The Perfect Mother, Shaun Francis's Eat Move Think, Mindy Mejia's Everything You Want Me To Be

I caught the flu from Hubs even after getting the flu shot, and although the virus came and went quickly it left the worst cough. The only upside to being sick for most of February? More time to read. These books (which I received from publishers for review or bought on Kobo ages ago) were interesting enough to keep my attention even through a medication-induced haze.


Solo Lisa Tries: Eliane Hair & Spa

Eliane Hair & Spa Point Grey location storefront

As I said in yesterday's post, a pre-Valentine's Day visit to your local salon is always a welcome idea, whether you're gearing up for a romantic night on the town or you just need to show yourself some love with a little self-care to get through the long winter months. I was definitely in the latter category when I stepped into Eliane Hair & Spa on a sunny Saturday morning. I'd been under the weather with a terrible flu, and I definitely looked and felt run down when I stepped through the doors.


Solo Lisa Tries: Lily & Roo Nail Salon

Valentines Day-inspired gel manicure from Lily & Roo Vancouver

After Lunar New Year, the next major February highlight is Valentine's Day! Whether you're celebrating over a romantic evening, doing something special for Galentines Day, or you just need show yourself some love with a bit of self-care to get through the long winter months, a trip to the salon is always a good idea. I recently had the privilege of trying services at two new-to-me salons in Vancouver that are definitely worth checking out if any or all of the above apply to you this Valentine's Day. First up? A gel mani at Lily & Roo.


Product Review: L'Oreal Unlimited Mascara

L'Oreal Unlimited Mascara

Mascara used to be one of my favourite beauty products to experiment with. They need to be replaced every 3 months anyway and there are so many affordable and terrific options at the drugstore level, so why not try a new one each time? Lately though it seems like every new mascara I test equals Smudge City. I was hoping this wouldn't be the case with L'Oreal Unlimited Mascara ($16.99 at London Drugs), which I spotted at the #LDBeauty preview and was very excited about. At first I thought the "Unlimited" part referred to how much product was in the surprisingly bulbous tube, but nope, it refers to the limitless lash-lengthening and lifting benefits that this product promises.


Meal Prep Tips For Beginners

This week on the blog seems to be all about the baby steps towards New Year's resolutions, doesn't it? Yesterday I talked about the 3 easy and affordable green beauty swaps you can make that would have the most impact, and today I'm talking about how to get started with meal prepping and meal planning and, well, just cooking at home more in general. As I noted in my 2018 reflections post, last year was the first time we really started cooking more at home (i.e. eating the majority of meals at home instead of out). This change has been positive for our overall health and our bank accounts, and we managed to accomplish it in small, progressive steps and without relying on subscription meal prep services. If you're trying to make cooking at home part of your everyday habits for 2019, read on for what worked for us!


3 Easy & Affordable Green Beauty Swaps

5 easy green beauty swaps to make: lip balm, lip/cheek colour, deodorant, body lotion, sunscreen

So you've decided 2019 is the year you're going to convert to natural beauty—good for you! Switching to natural beauty has been a positive and rewarding change in my life, and while I still test and use some conventional products, I feel better knowing the product swaps that I have made are limiting my exposure to parabens, phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting ingredients. Of course, I have to acknowledge my privilege here and state that being a beauty blogger has helped me on this green beauty journey, particularly when it comes to free samples of what are often expensive products.

But if you're a normal person with a normal beauty/grooming budget, and you're starting from scratch with replacing products, where should you start? What would get you the most bang for your buck in terms of making changes with maximum impact? And should you really spring for that $80+ natural face cleanser, especially when you're also trying to keep that New Year's resolution of saving more money?! Here are 3 easy green beauty swaps you can make right away, often with products that cost $20 or less.


Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo on Kobo

Who else has been obsessively watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix? The episodes are relatively short and easy to binge, and the show overall feeds into that "New Year, new you" momentum with its emphasis on decluttering and getting organized. Watching these people go through their KonMari journeys reminded me of our own KonMari experience four years ago and brought up a lot of thoughts.


Product Review: Veriphy Skincare

Veriphy Self-Absorbed Facial Moisturizer, Power Trip Facial Serum, and 20/20 Eye Cream

Having more natural beauty options is never a bad thing, especially when these options come in the form of a new Canadian luxury skincare line. Just before the holiday season, I had the privilege of previewing recently launched Veriphy Skincare and I've been testing their products on and off for the last few weeks. Here's what you need to know!


2018 Reflections & 2019 Resolutions

Flatlay featuring 2019 Rifle Paper Co. Maps of the World desktop calendar, bullet journal, Indigo notepad, Dior Addict Lip Glow, air plants

Happy new year, dear readers! True to form, we spent the night at home with a homemade roast chicken dinner and Netflix just like we did last year. The evening was pretty consistent with our entire holiday vacation vibe—low-key, nothing urgent to do, plenty of rest. And boy, did we need the rest.

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