A TRAVEL BLOGGER'S GUIDE TO THE BEACH

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A TRAVEL BLOGGER'S GUIDE TO THE BEACH


Summer is here! Break out your sunscreen and start looking for a bathing suit online, because it's about to get hot in here. If you're like me your ideal summer day includes lounging around, being tan and sipping on something cold (preferably brought to you by a handsome boy-toy) but if you don't have that, never fear, I have the perfect cure-all for your summer blues. A beach day. 

STEP 1: THE BASICS

Before we dive into the sand or into GLAM-BEACH-ing we need to start off with the basics. These are your essential, can't travel without, get 100% out of your trip items.


  1. Sunscreen

  2. Beach Towels (You'll need two or more of these if you plan to get into the surf.)

  3. Sunglasses

  4. Hat

  5. Bathing Suit (Not essential but recommended as comfortable and cute. Every body is a beach body when you put on a bathing suit.)

  6. Drinkable Water (Remember folks, you can't drink the sea.)

  7. Book, music player and/or magazines.

  8. Portable cooler

  9. Change of clothes

  10. Snacks

STEP 2: UP YOUR BEACH GAME

 If you don't want to go full glam, but you'd like to add a little spice to your beach day, don't forget these must-have items.

The must-haves:


    1. Freezies, and other sweet treats.

    2. Cover-Up

    3. Beach bag

    4. Lip balm

    5. Portable phone charger

    6. Beach Umbrella

    7. Volleyball, other sport equipment.

    8. Sandles

    9. Wet-wipes

    10. Flashlight



    STEP 3: GLAM-BEACH-ing

    Somehow Glamping and Gleaching don't have the same appeal, but we're working on it. These items are your non-essential essentials for those of you who want to up your beach game and, in turn, your beach aesthetic. #goals

    The glam-haves:


      1. Fire (Portable or otherwise. Note: Depending on your beach regulations, always call ahead.)

      2. Beach tent

      3. Battery powered lights

      4. Kayate (SEE NUMBER 5)

      5. Lifejacket

      6. GO-Pro, phone, waterproof disposable camera or instant camera.

      7. Floaties

      8. Hammock

      9. Music Player

      10. Hand held vacuum. (For cleaning up all the sand in your vehicle.)


    BONUS:


    1. Microfibre towel

    2. Sunscreen art



    SO WHAT ARE YOUR BEACH DAY MUST HAVES? COMMENT BELOW YOUR FAVOURITE ACCESSORIES FOR THE SEA?


    XOXO, 

    Susan


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    WHY I'LL NEVER BUY ANOTHER SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER AGAIN.

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    Recap: Function of Beauty creates customizable Shampoo and Conditioners. With billions of combinations available, they offer something for everyone. Check out my last post where I explain more about the process and my experience ordering.
    It had finally happened, my product had arrived. I will admit, my shampoo and conditioner took a less traditional route to my home. Function of Beauty only ships to the United States, so I had to purchase it and wait for a family friend to fly into Canada before I could receive my hair products. A quick side note for anyone else from Canada, the exchange rate hurt. It really did.

    But that didn't matter. My shampoo and conditioner were finally here. The pretty box being too big for carry on luggage, my shampoo and conditioner set arrived in a plastic bag with all the necessary tools required. Finally, I'd get to try out this brand that everyone was talking about.


    First Appearance: The bottles were a fair size with pretty pink formula inside. One of the bottle was slightly fuller and the other less so. Having done some research online, it seems the uneven product amounts are quite common. The shipment also came with two cute postcards, two pumps and an instruction manual with my personalized shampoo and conditioner ingredients.

    • Shampoo | Peachy pink.
    • Conditioner | Bubblegum pink.

    Having inspected the contents and read the instructions, I quickly opened the bottles to get a whiff of the fragrance. It was a strong mix of essential oils.

    • Fragrance | Strong. Essential oils.

    Finally, it was time to put the products to the test. Would Function of Beauty live up to the hype? 

    Would my split ends renew? Would my hair be strengthened? Would the frizz be gone? Would I gain gradual length, and lose some of my excessive curls? 

    Only time would tell.

    Final Conclusion: To be determined.

    Product Breakdown: I decided to divide the shampoo and conditioner into two different sub-categories as you don't necessarily have to buy them together and they both different products. I decided to break my rating into four groups: visual appeal, environmental impact, scent, consistency, overall effectiveness. Each category is out of 5.0 points. (Overall effectiveness will be rated out of 10.0.)

    Visual 4.9 | The packaging is neat, non-bulky and clear. Having your own 'specific' formula name is a cute addition to the packaging. Unfortunately, the dye free formula masks the actual writing on the outside of the bottles so it's only effective some of the time. The pumps are cute and non-bulky.

    The Pumps 1.0 | One of the pumps didn't work. It wouldn't unlock and after unlocking it, wouldn't disperse liquid. The circular ring that held it in place was loose and wouldn't fasten. The other pump, while unbroken was difficult to use at first. The amount of liquid dispensed was uneven.

    Environmental Impact 5.0 | Very low. A good rating. The containers themselves are 100% recyclable. The product itself is vegan, paraben and sulphate free, and doesn't contain any toxins.

    Scent 3.5 | The fragrance strength that I picked was strong, but the scent was barely noticeable once lathered. It smelt of eucalyptus and tea tree oil.

    Shampoo
    • Shampoo 4.7 | Very nice. Hair felt clean afterwards, and the tangles were minimal.
    • Shampoo Consistency 4.9 | The first use had very little bubbles but during the second rinse it was quite sudsy. The consistency was slightly thin and very little was actually needed to wash.
    Conditioner
    • Conditioner 0.5 | Hair was left tangled after use, neither soft nor straighter. 
    • Conditioner Consistency 0.4 | No bubbles. The conditioner was very thick, hard to spread throughout hair and didn't make locks feel any softer. It didn't coat the strands easily, if at all.
    Overall Shampoo and Conditioner Effectiveness 5.2 | The conditioner might have been lacking but the shampoo was decent. It cleansed the hair, if not very effectively. Had the conditioner coated the strands better and the pump been functioning, it's first impression might not have been so low.

    Post Wash | Dry Results

    Having spent a large portion of time attempting to open up the conditioner, the experience was overall unpleasant. Hot water used up, hair tangled, I got out of the shower rather unimpressed. Hopefully, once dry, the results would be better. I ran my fingers through my hair, got dressed and let it air dry as usual. I'd given up on putting product in after washing about a month ago or more and my hair was enjoying the break. It didn't make sense to add product, blow-dry or change up my normal routine in anyway. Once dry, the disappointment continued. My hair was limp, dry and brittle with none of it's former volume or healthy texture.


    Final Conclusion: What's not to love about the idea of beauty products customized just for you?
    Having the ability to directly target specific needs of your body in one easy container, that's genius. However, perhaps not everything customized is made quite right for you. Function of Beauty produces personalized shampoo and conditioner for the individual. And for most, it probably works. But not necessarily for everyone. While I haven't used the product for very long, I have yet to see any significant positive results. Perhaps my personalized formula wasn't the right one for me. Perhaps some of the ingredients don't go together very well? Or perhaps attempting to target five different hair goals is too much. Whatever the issue, I don't think I'd purchase Function of Beauty's products again. That being said, out of curiosity, if the products were less expensive, I might give another formula a try? I have mixed feelings. I wonder if perhaps that might make a difference in the results from the shampoo and conditioner? However, overall, I would only recommend this product with caution.

    I hope you've enjoyed this review. Let me know in the comments below if you've tried this brand and if you've had any success. I'd love to hear about your experience with Function of Beauty, and if you haven't purchased before, would you ever give custom beauty products a try?

    Subscribe, like and comment for more content.

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    WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT CUSTOM SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER?

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    In the last few months I've been hearing a lot of talk about beauty products. Specifically about companies that cater and create customized products for their individual customers. When I heard this idea, I couldn't help but think why? Why hadn't this been done before? The idea is genius. One of these pioneering companies is Function of Beauty. Function of Beauty creates customizable Shampoos and Conditioners. With billions of combinations available, they offer something for everyone.

    No toxins, sulphate and paraben free, cruelty free, and vegan. Function of Beauty boasts many incentives to the customer especially those conscious of environmental impact and safe products. 

    Their mission? Function of Beauty states the following:

    "We believe your shampoo and conditioner should be as unique as you and your hair. You should have ownership and choice with the products you use. We put your name on your bottles because they’re developed and formulated for you. We celebrate you as the unique individual that you are; who you are and what you want - beyond your hair type, goals and preferences." https://www.functionofbeauty.com/about-us/

    While the idea of customizable products is a great one, it couldn't be achieved by a mere vision but by collaboration with science. Function of Beauty’s unique formulas are the handiwork of chemists, developers and MIT-educated engineers. They created the technology, developed proprietary algorithms, and analyzed data to create custom formulas.

    Curious about the company and it's amazing reviews, I decided to give it a try for myself. Because, really, can products off the shelf help you that much? Can they both create volume and curls? Can they fix split ends and create texture at the same time? Not that I've seen. Most products are targeted towards one or two areas of hair interest. Thus I began my foray into custom beauty products.

    Using the Function of Beauty quiz, Creating my own custom shampoo and conditioner turned out to be simpler than expected.

    First you must input your hair type. You are given four options.

    Straight  Wavy  Curly  Coily.

    I have a combination of curls and waves, and went with curly.

    Next you pick your hair structure.
    Fine  Medium  Coarse

    Then you identify your scalp moisture.

    Dry  Normal  Oily

    Select five hair goals. You have the option of selection up to five hair goals.


    Deep Condition |  Replenish Hair  | Fix Split Ends  | Strengthen
    Hydrate | Lengthen |  Volumize  | Color Protection
    Thermal Protection |  Anti-Aging |  Anti-Frizz
    Curl Definition |  Shine |  Straighten |  Nourish Roots
    Soothe Scalp |  Oil Control

    When selecting your hair goals, a list of key ingredients for each goal with appear. For example, some of the ingredients listed were soy lecithin, peppermint oil, panthenly ethyl ether, acai oil, algae extract. Not being a fan of heating my hair, I chose products to strengthen and tame my curls. In the past I've had to be cautious, currently I'm suffering from over moisturizing. A bigger problem than you'd think. It's created excess frizz, split ends, dryness and excess oil.

    Having selected your key hair targets, customizing the visual and scent of your formula is next. You're given the leeway to choose the colors, fragrance and strength of scent.

    Both the shampoo and conditioner colours come in blue, pink, orange, mint, purple and dye free. However, the shampoo and conditioner shades are slightly different and you can mix and match. I chose pink for both. Perhaps if I like the product I'll try another color next time.

    You're given the choice of four different fragrances.


    Essential Oils* | Cucumber Mint | Grapefruit Hibiscus | Sandalwood Violet.

    *Essential Oils is recommended for those sensitive to scents or with allergies.

    Your fragrance can come in three different strengths. Light, medium and strong. While I'm not a fan of strong scents, I decided to try it anyways, in order to be able to test longevity of the fragrance later.

    Your shampoo and conditioner's formulas name is the last step before you process payment and shipping. This is where you get to put your own spin on it. Call it anything you like. Within cap limit that is.

    Having finalized your products, it's now time to pick the size. The website gives you multiple options. You can choose between purchasing the shampoo and conditioner as a set or only one. You also have the option of 16oz, 8oz or a combination of the two. As well as choosing a frequency of product delivery. For those customers whom wish to purchase more than once, there is a 10% discount.

    The shampoo and conditioner range in price from $46 USD for 16oz set to $30 USD for a single 16oz bottle. Slightly pricey. Having decided on what combination, quantity and frequency you'd like, you've just got to select the free shipping option and process your payment.

    Now all you have to do is wait a few days and your product will arrive.

    Subscribe and comment below for the next instalment of this series. We'll dive into exactly what happens when Function of Beauty's formula was put to the test.
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    Harry Potter: 19 Years Later

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    It's hard to believe that it's been 19 years since the American release of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone. Today, September 1, 2017 marks both the release date anniversary and the last canon date mentioned within the series. (The U.K. release date was 20 years, 2, months and 17 days ago.) For people like myself who have grown up with Harry, this particular September 1st marks a bitter sweet moment. It marks the beginning and the end.  The epilogue "19 years later." The last recorded moment in the series, when Harry's son Albus boards the Hogwarts Express. On this day, a small glimpse of Harry's future is shown, of him and his family sending their children off on the Hogwarts Express. All is well.

    J.K. Rowling's magical world is beloved by millions of people worldwide. It's touched the hearts and souls of children, adults and everyone in between. Each year, muggles and wizards alike, prepare to board the Hogwarts Express, whether at Platform 9 3/4 or through their social media accounts.

    His adventures have been read across the world. Harry Potter has inspired us, brought us to tears, taught us valuable life lessons, morality and the ability to think for ourselves. 

    Today, 19 years later, I'd like to take a moment of reflection on a few of the many things that the series has taught us. Here are 19 wonderful quotes and moments from the series.

    ....

    "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."

    -Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    ....

    "It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."

    -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


    ....

    "Number the pain for awhile will only make it worse when you finally feel it."

    -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    ....

    "Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving."

    -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    ....

    "Difference of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."

    -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


    ....

    "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."

    -Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    ....

    "The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect."

    -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    ....

    "The thing about growing up with Fred and George, is that you sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve."

    -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    ....

    "It is the quality of one's convictions that determines success, not the number of followers."

    -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


    ....

    "It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

    -Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone


    ....

    "It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it."


    -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


    ....

    "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."

    -Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    ....

    "Hermione Granger was almost as nervous about flying as Neville was. This was something you couldn't learn by heart out of a book - not that she hadn't tried."

    -Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


    ....

    "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."

    "We can't choose our fate, but we can choose others. Be careful in knowing that."

    -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    ....

    "We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are."

    -Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


    ....

    "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far m ore than our abilities."

    -Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


    ....

    "The ones we love never truly leave us, you can always find them in here."

    -Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    ....

    "I am what I am an' I'm not ashamed. 'Never be ashamed,' my ol' dad used ter say, 'there's someone who'll hold it against you, but they're not worth bothern' with."

    -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    ....

    "Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, the most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it."

    -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


    ....

    Comment below and tell me your favourite Harry Potter quotes and moments. I'd love to hear them!


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    7 THINGS TO DO THIS FALL

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    Create a pillow fort/tent and have a Netflix marathon.



    There's nothing better than creating a fort out of pillows, blankets and lights and hunkering down to watch your favourite series.


    Have a bonfire.


    Eat s'mores. Hangout. Catch fireflies. Watch the sunset. Stargaze. Set up a sing-a-long. Use sparklers.


    Start a new skin care regime.


    Switch up your routine with the change of the season. After some time, products don't work as effectively as when first applied and often the change of weather can temporally cause breakouts, dryness and/or other effects on your skin.


    Take a road trip.


    Plan a day trip. Visit all the big statues, tourist attractions, deserted towns and perhaps a border or two.


    Girls night-in.


    Drink red wine, eat homemade dip and chips and spend the evening with your favourite people.


    Go dancing.


    Grab your best friends or your beau and go dancing. Find a class, group or event.


    Tech-free fun.


    Go to your local park, pack a picnic and have a wonderful technology free day. Or perhaps, enjoy the last of the warm weather and go swimming at an outdoor pool. Don't forget your sunscreen!


    .......


    There are a million things to do during fall, these happen to be a few fun ones.

    Love,

    Susan



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    Behold, Maybelline, the god of Matte Liquid Lipsticks

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    Recently I've been obsessed with anything lip related. Give me lipstick, gloss, balm and everything in between. For the most part I've sticked to brands like M.A.C. because I'm confident in their products. However, I've recently decided to expand and find some other brands. Today I'm going to talk about Maybelline New York's  Superstay Matte Ink.

    First things first, Superstay Matte Ink is advertised as a long lasting, matte liquid lipstick. The brand claims that this product lasts 16 hours. I don't know about you, but I've never had a product last that long without fading. Luckily for this lipstick, it keeps it's promise. Matte Ink doesn't fade. It doesn't take moisture from your lips. It doesn't result in odd lines, lipstick stained Starbucks cups or need twenty applications throughout the day. Matte Ink lasts all day, more precisely, it lasts until you scrub it off your lips and then wake up the next morning to scrub again.

    PACKAGING 
    At first glance, Superstay Matte Ink has a cute, clean design and trendy coloured bases that correlate with each of the ten colours available. Perfect for being able to quickly see what colour you're grabbing. It's a surprisingly accurate representation. There's nothing worse than purchasing a lip product the day of an event only to bring it home and realize that it's nothing like the package or like the dot on the bottom.


    COST 
    Maybelline's Superstay Matte Ink is extremely affordable. It costs under 10.00 USD and is available in Canada for slightly more. This is cheap. To get a proper comparison, Kylie Jenner's matte liquid lipstick costs 17.00 USD. A staggering difference in price.

    FIRST IMPRESSION - DREAMER
    My first test run was with Dreamer, one of ten available shades. Dreamer is a dirty rose. It applied smoothly and the consistency wasn't sticky or goopy. The applicator wand reminded me of a miniature soft bubble wand with a pointed tip and was extremely easy to use. Maybelline recommends that you start on the cupids bow and work your way outwards when applying the lipstick. I didn't use this method on my first wear but it certainly didn't hinder the results.

    Dreamer was a highly successful trial. It survived warm, humid weather, biting and licking my lips, drinking water and an Ed Sheeran concert. Pretty good for it's first night out. It managed to hold it's colour and finish for the entirety of the period I wore it for without touchups. It also didn't dry my lips out or leave them looking feathered. Two days later my lips were looking as soft as usual. (Matte lipsticks are known for their super drying ability. What makes Matte Ink an exception is it's micro-flex technology. It allows for constant moisture and a bright vibrant finish.)

    THE COLOURS


    Maybelline's Superstay Matte Ink hosts an array of fantastic colours. Everything from soft pinks to a rich chocolate brown is representing. Of course, there could always be more colours. A greater selection of nude hues would be an asset to this liquid lipstick.


    DREAMER is a dusty rose. 

    LOYALIST is a soft pink nude.

    LOVER is raspberry, medium hue.

    PIONEER is a classic dark cherry red.

    HEROINE is an orangy red infusion.

    ROMANTIC is a bright pink fuchsia.

    CREATOR is an intense taffy purple.

    BELIEVER is a dark red wine.

    ESCAPIST is a medium plum. 

    VOYAGER is chocolate brown.


    SWATCH TEST

    With flash.

    Without flash.
    Disclaimer: The above colours look less wet in person. They were still drying when the pictures were taken. As a testament to the longevity of the lipstick, my arm is still covered in the product. I used makeup remover wipes, toner, makeup remover and soap. It's yet to come off completely. Don't let this deter you, the lipstick is much easier to get off your lips. However, if you like your arms to look one colour, I wouldn't suggest swatch testing before an event.

    CONCLUSION

    PROS

    1. Long lasting.
    2. Cute packaging.
    3. Even application.
    4. Cheap.


    CONS

    1. Hard to remove from lips.
    2. Limited colour selection.

    RATING 4.5
    Overall I give Maybelline New York's Superstay Matte Ink a solid two thumbs up. If you're looking for a cheap, long lasting wear matte liquid lipstick, I'd highly recommend giving this product a try.

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    A TRAVEL BLOGGER'S GUIDE TO THE BEACH

    A TRAVEL BLOGGER'S GUIDE TO THE BEACH Summer is here! Break out your sunscreen and start looking for a bathing suit online, because ...

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