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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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Today I’m going to be sharing a few easy tips for better blog photos. These are quick ideas that you can put into action fairly quickly to take your blog and Instagram photography to the next level! Watch the video below and read on for more details.

Tips for better blog photos:

  1. Perfect your flatlays!
    • This means playing around with different props. I love the dollar store for finding different items to fit in with a photo’s theme or to give it a quick little boost. I find that they’re treasure troves of fun little items that you can use to accessorize or add a little character – think things like fake flowers, gems and home decor.
    • Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Play around with the layout of the products you’re focusing on. There’s not set way or formula to lay out your shot, so have fun with it and find something that works with your aesthetic.
    • Floor tiles make great backgrounds for photos and can add nice texture to the background of a shot. Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations, other reuse centers and hardware stores carry tons of different options and are usually pretty inexpensive. Other items like scrapbook paper, coloured construction paper and cutting/serving blocks are great for this as well. Try playing around with a couple different options at the same time to create a unique look!
  2. Play around with lighting!
    • Natural light is the best lighting your going to get. Try shooting in the morning when the light is pure if you live somewhere with access to lots of it!
    • If you don’t have a ton of natural light, like myself, you can purchase decently priced lighting sets online to make things easier for you. I use umbrella lights for my product photography and a ring light for face shots – they brighten your skin and give it a nice glow.
  3. Edit your photos before they go live!
    • Photoshop is  fantastic resource and one of the most in depth ways to edit your photos. Play around with your shots to make them as perfect as possible before you share them. If you’re new to Photoshop, there are tons of tutorials available online to help you learn how to properly edit your photos.
    • If you’re on a budget, there are many free alternatives to Photoshop that will give you great results. Try programs like Picasa, PicMonkey and GIMP to clean up your photos.
    • Shooting from your phone? There are many great photo editing apps available that allow you to edit directly from your phone. I’m a big fan of Snapseed, Afterlight and Color Story for my mobile editing.

How do you make your blog photos even better?

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I’m going to start this off by letting you know that I’m an absolute Halloween fanatic. October 31st is, hands down, my favourite day of the year, and I usually start choosing my costume for next year as soon as the holiday has passed. This year, I’m finally being a mermaid, and completely DIYing my costume (I can share deets on this if anyone’s interested!). In the meantime, I wanted to share this subtle Candy Corn Manicure. I do realize that not everyone gets as worked up about Halloween as I do or prefer to take a more subtle approach to Halloween beauty; this easy nail art will give you a chance to get into the spirit without going overboard.

Oh, and did I mention it’s easy? Because it really is. My dad could probably pull this off.

Start off by prepping your nails with base coat to smooth (Formula X Color Corrector is perfect for this) and one-two coats of white polish (I used OPI Alpine Snow for this one). Prep your cuticles with a hydrating moisturizer or apply white glue or a cuticle guard to make clean up easier.

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Next, take a triangular cosmetics sponge (you can pick these up at the dollar store) and trim it to get a piece that’s similar in width to your nails. Starting from the top, apply a wide stripe of polish in white, followed by a soft yellow (I used OPI Infinite Shine in Bee Mine Forever) and finished with a stripe of a soft orange shade (Essie Gel Couture in Looks to Thrill), layering them like a neopolitan ice cream that will fit from base to tip of your nails. Dab on a piece of paper a couple of times to blend the colours together a little, then gently dab onto your nails to transfer the polish and create the candy corn look. Reapply the polish to the sponge as needed, and try to do a couple of coats to build the colour. Once finished, apply a top coat (Seche Vite dries quickly and locks in colour) to blend the polish even more and secure the look.

Will you be trying this Candy Corn Manicure or any Halloween nail art?

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Caffeine addict? Today marks national coffee day, and Sally Hansen’s Global Colour Ambassador Madeline Poole created the perfect mocha mani in honour of it, using Miracle Gel polishes. Take a look at the mani and learn how to get the look below!

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Start by applying 2 coats of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Birthday Suit to all the nails.

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Using a striping brush, outline a semi-circle shape on the pinky nail using the color Sally Hansen Miracle
Gel in Totem-ly Yours. The shape should resemble the shape of a coffee bean – oblong and round.

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Fill in this semi-circle and repeat this process in a flip-flopping manner down the nails. The feel should be
organic and random in placement.

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After painting the coffee bean outlines. Allow the nails to dry a few minutes and then apply one coat of
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat.

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The look is super chic, and can easily be worn well past National Coffee Day. The nude look is timeless, or you can try switching up the shades to create your own colour combination. What shades would you try?

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Keeping your nails looking fresh is an important part of many of our beauty rituals, but for some that’s easier said than done. Spa appointments are nice once in a while, but it’s also much more cost effective to do your nails at home. Tom Bachik, L’Oreal Paris’ Celebrity Nail Artist and the MANicurist for stars like Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez, knows a thing or two about nails and let us in on some of his no-fail secrets. Follow his steps to avoid common nail mistakes and master your mani at home.

Skip the soak

We may be used to giving our nails a good soak before a mani, but this actually changes the shape of the nails and how polish adheres to them. Instead, try giving them a quick wipe with rubbing alcohol to prep the nail bed.

Care for those cuticles

Gently push them back with a cuticle stick, but try to avoid trimming them back since this can actually cause them to grow back thicker as they try to protect the nail base. Afterwards, just buff around the cuticle area for a smooth finish.

Find your shape

File the tips of your nails to your favourite length and shape, using a smooth file with a high grit (a file that is too coarse can result in peeling nails). Having trouble making your tips even? Try holding your hand fanned out, with your finger tips facing away from you, while you file.

Build a base

Before applying your polish, start with a layer of base coat. It acts like double-sided tape for the nail, giving the nail polish more to adhere to for longer wear. Don’t just use any base coat though, make sure you find the right one for your nail type, whether it’s to fill ridges or add strength.

Add your colour

The fun part! Apply polish to the nail (we love the new L’Oreal Paris Le Vernis A L’Huile since it contains a blend of four precious oils for amazing colour and shine), applying a little pressure with the applicator so the tip of the brush fans out to match the rounded shape of the cuticle. Use thin, even coats of polish, allowing it to dry for one to tow minutes before applying a second coat, and then a layer of top coat.

Clean it up

Dip a thin brush (a lip brush or fine paintbrush are perfect for this) into nail polish remover and use it to remove any excess polish around the nail or on the cuticles.

Hydrate!

There’s nothing worse than dry, ragged cuticles. Massage cuticle oil into them to hydrate, soften and smooth. Tom actually uses facial oil for this, and swears by L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil, as the blend of eight essential oils adds the perfect dose of hydration. Make this a part of your daily ritual, whether it’s first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed if you don’t want to walk around with oil on your hands.

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