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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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Ugh.  I swear, this is the winter that just. Won’t. End.  Every time I think it might start getting a little better and we might get a little bit of a break from this brutal dry cold, we get hit with another day of -30 will wind chill weather (in the Toronto area, at least).  Now, there are more than a few things I dislike about winter – and right at the top of my list is the dry, flaky, dehydrated skin that comes with this frigid season.  I’ve rounded up some great products and tips to help keep your dry skin hydrated while you try to wait for spring.

So, first off, here are a few of my favourite tips for keeping you skin soft and hydrated in the cold:

  • Keep your shower/bath lukewarm and to a minimum.  I know in the middle of winter all you want to do is have a 20-minute long steaming hot shower to warm up, but unfortunately this is no good for your skin as the hot water dries your skin out even more and gets rid of its natural oils.
  • Apply lotion right out of the shower, before your skin is completely dry.  Pat yourself down with a towel and slather on your moisturiser.  It will use the “leftover” water to moisturize more deeply.
  • Keep drinking water!  I know this is a tip that I have a tendency to bring up quite often, but it really is one that I cannot stress enough.  You have to hydrate yourself from the inside to help hydrate yourself on the outside.

Now, onto a few products that can help you give your skin back the moisture it needs.

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For Extremely Dehydrated Skin: I’ve recently been introduced to Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula and it really couldn’t have come at a better time.  My body is so, so dry and needs a little extra TLC.  I’ve been using these three products and man, do they ever work.  The moisturizing body oil has been a great addition to my shower routine (make sure you wipe down your tub after using it), and when followed up by the original cocoa butter formula or the concentrated cream, my skin is in heaven.

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For the Scent Obsessed: I’m absolutely a sucker for a delicious smelling body product, so this Fruits & Passion 24H Moisturizing Butter in Grapefruit Guava is right up my alley.  The scent isn’t overpowering but is beautifully tropical, while the creamy lotion gives the skin great moisture.

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For the Luxury Lover: Those of you who love the finer things in life will appreciate these Moroccan Oil body products, formulate with argan oil for a deep, antio-oxidant rich experience.  The Moroccan Oil Body Butter is thick and creamy, and feels divine on the skin.  The Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Treatment, with a gel formula that deeply penetrates the skin.  It does leave behind a bit of an oily feel – my suggestion is to apply this before bed so it it allowed to penetrate overnight – you’ll wake up to skin that feels fantastic.

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For the Eczema Sufferer: I personally don’t have eczema, but I have a few friends who breathed a sigh of relief when I introduced them to the Polysporin Eczema Essentials line, comprised of a daily moisturizing cream, daily body was and anti-itch cream.  I know how irritating eczema can be in the winter, with painful, dry, itchy skin coming as a result of it.  Give this line a try and based on what my friends have said, you can expect to see some major relief from these symptoms.

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For your Dry Hands: I think the part of my body that suffers the most during the winter is my hands.  Between being out in the cold and working at a bar, my hands take a beating this time of year.  I’ve been a fan of eos lip balms for years now, and fell in love with these egg shaped eos Hand Lotions as well.  They can fit in the palm of your hand and are the perfect purse size so you can bring them around wherever you need to go.  They’re moisturizing but don’t leave your hands greasy (a big pet peeve of mine) and yeah, they’re pretty cute.

How do you keep your skin moisturized during the winter?  What are some of your favourite products?

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