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Spring has finally sprung! Which means it’s time for me to shake off the dust from hibernating for the winter, and start being a little bit more of a human being. Spring for me means spending time with friends, especially this year; my boyfriend and I are going to be getting a place together next month (yay adult things) and we really want to make the most of our place and be able to enjoy having company over. That being said, I’m sharing some of my entertaining on a budget essentials with you, to hopefully help make your next get together a little more fun!

For me, there are four things that I think you really need to make sure your next shindig is perfect – plus some of my amazing finds from Dixie Outlet Mall that set up the perfect ambiance:

Great Snacks – Is it really a party if there isn’t any cheese? For me, having tasty snacks available is an absolute must (like these amazing pepperettes & aged cheddars from TJs Meats and crunchy pita chips I snagged at Winners). Whether it’s something simple like a cheese tray and chips & dip or a fun app that you found on Pinterest, your guests will thank you.

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Perfect Serving Ware – I totally believe that good snacks taste that much better when they’re displayed nicely. A gorgeous marble slab or wooden plank (I found this one at Winners) makes for a great cheese board, and quirky, clean dishes (Hello – how cute is this pineapple one from Urban Planet?) are perfect for housing bite-sized snacks and chips.

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Killer Décor – Make sure you add some decorations to add a little life to the party – and if they’re Instagrammable, it never hurts 😉 Before you know it, you’ll become renowned for your entertaining skills. If you decide to go with a theme, try hunting down fun little things that add to it, or freshen up a little with cute items. These little faux plants from Dollarama are super cheap but look so lux, while this pretty diffuser from Fruits & Passion adds a little floral flair and fragrance.

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Tasty Cocktails – If your guests are planning on imbibing a little, make sure you give them something interesting to drink. My boyfriend and I love coming up with a cool signature cocktail for the evening that we know our friends will enjoy. There are tons of recipes online if you want to find a combination that you know works, or take some time and experiment with some different flavours (aka the fun part) until you find something you like. Make sure you have non-alcoholic versions available for any DDs as well! And of course, as with the snacks, mix them together and serve them in cute glassware (Winners is great for this – I love these cocktail glasses and found super appropriate cocktail napkins to go with them).

What do you like to do to make your get togethers perfect? Share your entertaining essentials below!

 

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Tired of being the girl next door? Take your look from sweet to sexy with these tips on your next night out:

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Change your locks. Add a bit of colour to your hair with L’Oreal Professionnel Hairchalk ($25, available at salons). Try throwing a fun colour like pink or red into your hair. If you’re not ready to commit to a bold shade, this washes out after about 2 shampoos, so you can go a little wild without permanent colour.  A bit of colour on the lower layers of your hair makes for a trendy surprise.

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Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a health kick. Between getting ready to head to Costa Rica for a few weeks (helloooo, I’m going to basically be living on the beach), coming out of winter and just generally trying to focus on myself a bit more, I’ve been trying to make some changes for a healthier and more positive lifestyle. Of course, part of this means eating properly and adding foods into my daily life that nourish and give benefits.  If you’re in the same boat, you’ll love this post, because I’m talking about how to make the perfect smoothie bowl (with a recipe!).

I love smoothies, and turning them into a bowl full of goodness is super easy – and fun! I really like having them this way, as it turns them into a fun snack. You can add different ingredients to get exactly what you want out of it and to make it taste the way that you want, and if you feel like getting creative, you can turn it into a bit of an art project.

I recently had a chance to get some insight into what makes the perfect smoothie bowl from Joy McCarthy, Holistic Nutritionist and the brains behind Joyous Health. In order to maximize the potential of your smoothie bowl, it’s important to ensure you have a combination of protein (which helps with things like metabolism, muscle recovery & healthy hair/skin/nails), good fat (to build healthy cells & regulate sex hormones), fiber (because your body needs to detox) and phytonutrients (for improved short and long-term health).

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And now, because I’m sure you’re all itching to have your own benefit-packed smoothie bowl, check out this recipe from Joy + a few of my favourite add-ons to make it even better!

Funky Monkey Smoothie Bowl Recipe

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 medjool date
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 scoop Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+ in chocolate flavour (because this powder is fermented it is more easily absorbed for better nourishment – and it doesn’t cause bloating!

Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and pour into a bowl, then top with your favourite ingredients!

What do I like to add on?

  • Strawberries – full of polyphenols and Vitamin C to give my immune system a boost
  • Pumpkin seeds – packed with zinc and magnesium
  • Pomegranate seeds – antioxidant-rich
  • Hemp hearts – protein for improved metabolism
  • Raspberries – full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber
  • Coconut – protein and fiber
  • Kiwi – high source of Vitamin C and helps improve skin and digestion
  • Dragonfruit – rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • Genuine Health greens+ Extra Energy – jam-packed with phytonutrients with a clean, natural source of energy – you’ll honestly notice a change with regular use!

What would you add in for your perfect smoothie bowl?

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Disclaimer: This post contains PR samples sent for editorial consideration, but as always opinions are 100% my own! xo

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As you may have noticed, makeup this spring is all about colour; adding bright pops of it into your look is a really easy way to update for the new season and freshen up. The new L’Oreal Paris Infallible Paints Lip are a surefire way to inject a little more of this springtime trend into your look without having to go too far out of your comfort zone.

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Available in a variety of shades ranging from deep plums to neutral nudes to popping pinks, with a side of bold (there’s a killer navy shade available, not pictured here), they’ve created a really nice selection of shades to flatter different styles and skintones. I’ve personally been on a bit of a nude kick and have been loving lip shades with a bit of a dusty rose feel, so Nude Star (312) has been a favourite of mine. When I feel like being a bit bolder, I also like to swipe a bit of Sultry Sangria (326) on.

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The lip paints come with a curved applicator with a bit of a pointed tip, so application is really comfortable and it’s easy to perfect your lines. I’m a big fan of the formulation of these; they’re creamy and soft, so your lips never feel dried out. They have a soft, slightly shiny finish that gives the lips a bit of a plump look.

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Another win with these comes with their pigmentation. The colour is exactly what you would expect from looking at the tubes, and they provide really strong colour that blends easily. Some of the darker shades can be a bit streaky if you apply a little heavily, but they can be easily blended by patting with your finger or a tissue.

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L’Oreal Paris Infallible Paints Lip Swatches from L-R: Lilac Lust, Violet Twist, Bewitching Bordeau, Taupeless, Nude Star, Spicy Blush, Wild Rose, Fearless Fuchsia, Cool Coral, Orange Envy, DIY Red, Sultry Sangria

Will you be trying any of the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Paints Lip out? What shades are you drawn to?


Disclaimer: This post contains PR samples sent for editorial consideration, but as always opinions are 100% my own! xo

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Spring may finally be here, but in Toronto it still feels like it’s a little ways off – we actually had some flurries a few days ago and the skies have been pretty grey and cloudy for the past few days. I’m ready for some sunshine (thankfully, my next trip to Costa Rica is only a couple of days away), but in the meantime I’m cheering myself up with the new essie Spring 2017 collection.

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The 6 shade collection is full of bright and vivid shades, inspired by a sun-filled road trip down the coast and a trip to Baja. The creme shades take notes from the waves, sandy beaches, colourful sunsets and cactuses of the desert.

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“The vivid colours of Baja provide the perfect palette for spring. Baja’s warm and inviting hues evoke and idyllic backdrop for a road trip with your best friends, with lots of photos and memories along the way.” says Rebecca Minkoff, essie Global Color Designer.

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Excuse Me, Sur (sun-kissed coral mango – 3 coats) is probably my favourite shade in the collection. This pastel shade reminds me of orange sorbet and is the perfect shade for spring after a long winter. I love this vibrant shade that borders on neon, making it an essential for the festival circuit. The forst 1-2 coats to have a tiny bit of streakiness to them, but 3 coats are perfect.

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Backseat Besties (delicate pink plumeria – 3 coats) is the quintessential bubblegum pink and fills the girly quota for this collection. It’s such a pretty, princess shade. It does apply more on the sheer side, and is almost a little watery at first coat, but three coats locks in the colour to its full potential.

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On the Roadie (vibrant kelly green – 2 coats) is a bold shade, and applies like one. It’s packed with a ton of pigment and slides right on to the nail before drying to gorgeous shine. I’ll be honest, I’m not really one for green polishes, but this is perfect if you’ve been trying to embrace greenery for this year. (side note – she will leave a bit of a stain, so make sure you start with a base coat!)

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All the Wave (sapphired indigo – 2 coats) is such a stunning shade. This bold blue is so pigmented and only needed one coat for full colour (I did two for maximum shine). I did have a bit of trouble with shaking & combining this polish – for some reason it just doesn’t want to completely mix – but it’s not that big of an issue when it comes out looking like this. Just like with the green, make sure you use a base coat before application to avoid stains.

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Designated DJ (plum sangria creme – 2 coats) is a nice moody plum. I found that it did apply a little streaky and needed two coats to fill it in, but the end result is really nice and shiny.

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B’aha Moment (enlightening pink pomegranate – 2 coats) is definitely another favourite from this collection. Once applied, it’s such a stunning shade and really only needs one coat – it’s hella pigmented and applies like a dream. This one is definitely a winner.

What do you think of the shades from the essie Spring 2017 collection?


Disclaimer: this post contains PR samples sent for editorial consideration, but as always opinions are 100% my own! xo

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