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I'm really down with this "hygge" idea. 

If you haven't heard this Danish word, get yourself acquainted. My Danish colleague pronounced it for me ("hooghe") and its so adorable when she says it. It's sentiment of surrounding oneself with warmth, coziness and the good things in life is something we should all take part in.


I have a few moments of true hygge and one of them is singing along to random songs while lying on the couch. It sounds really lame. I spend an hour laying about, acting as my own karaoke venue. It's not exciting but it makes me feel rested and free of concerns. 

It was during one of these times that I realized hygge must also be a moment of true contentment. I wanted to intentionally focus on these little content moments because I rush through my day and miss noticing them. Thinking more about it, I came up with: 

Hygge #1: Throwing on my robe in the morning. 
My robe is nearly always the first thing I throw when getting up in the morning and when leaving the shower. The sharp distinction between bared skin and fleece protection makes my robe a little treasure of daily comfort.

Hygge #2: Stockinged feet stuffed quickly into rain boots.
Not all cozy feelings need to be indoors. I get something like coziness when I see the pouring rain outside and put on my rain boots. My feet are nice and snug, and the boots make them impermeable to the rain. The rest of me though...maybe not so hyggeligt.

Hygge #3: Talking for three hours on the phone.
I am a phone talker and thankfully my closest friends are too. Spending 2-3 unrushed hours laughing and reconnecting reminds me that there are some really awesome people out there and that they are a part of my life.

Hygge #4: Sitting in a cafe, staring out the window, and reading the newspaper. 
Going to a cafe with a newspaper or book is one way I allow myself to pause. I often visited Lit Espresso Bar in Toronto but I have yet to find a niche coffee location near  me now that isn't super crowded and serves good drink/food. Granted I haven't had much chance to look but I love the relaxed feeling I get when I allow myself this activity.

What are some ways you get that cozy feeling?
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The Annabelle Big Show Mascara* ($10CDN) was an unexpected surprise! This basic plastic tube and pink cap amped up my lashes. What's more it performed much better than the waterproof version, which I had tried previously.



When I received the latest Annabelle Mascaras, I considered passing this on since the waterproof version didn't build or do great things for me. Somehow though, this original version performs much better! Though rated as one of Annabelle's volumizing mascaras, it also gave me really good length. Each stroke built upon the last and I could see additional millimeter of product extending my lashes. 


The $10 price is a perfect amount to pay for this great drugstore option. I recommend this to anyone though the downfall is its waterproof-less properties.  The last additional quality necessary in my mascara's of choice, is the one that strangely makes this version less awesome!


Even so, unless you expect a tear filled day, this is one to keep in mind the next time you're in for a drugstore mascara option.
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My brother, Arthur, has a special kind of lazy. The skin on his face might be bone dry, using anything like cream might cause stinging, and he would really rather it all just be better but...he won't moisturize. "I just don't like the way it feels!" With his logic, the feeling of lotion on his face, is worse, than knowing the top layers are mimicking the topography of the Atacama Desert. 


The situation must have gotten bad enough because he finally reached out to me. When I asked why he didn't just moisturize, "It's just like, this weird layer of stuff. I don't like it." Really, what did he expect? So I put my mind to what could be minimally detectable when applied and easy to use. 

The answer is sprays.

Hydrating formulas in a spray or liquid form fit both criteria and digging through my stash, I found travel sized items which would give him a small moisture boost. Watching his eyes widen when I told him that all he needed to do was spray made me feel something close to a eureka. I also threw in a light cream in case he wanted to "graduate" to something that would actually solve his problem more efficiently.

I chose:
Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner: An ultra light toner with humectants that helps smooth and refresh the skin.

Etude House True Relief Moist Mist Toner: This line has the full set of emulsion, lotion etc but the mist option seems to be the only thing Arthur wants to tolerate. The line is supposed to provide deep moisture for dry and sensitive skin.

Hada Labo Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Lotion: This had a key ingredient I felt Arthur needed to use. If Hyaluronic Acid can't help him...then we've all be drinking the Kool-Aid. 

Etude House True Relief Moist Emulsion: I added this just in case Arthur decided to try something more effective. Still though, I had to make sure it still had the lightest texture possible. An emulsion fits that bill.

Arthur hasn't reported back and I'm sure I'll have to check in to see if he bothered to try but it felt nice to be unexpectedly asked for help! I'm hoping I can save another male from trashing his skin/not caring about skincare. We'll see!
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David has had to convince me of frozen fruit a few times now. Always a fan of blueberries, his fridge tended to have the usual frozen fruit varieties of berries and mangoes. He would freeze bananas (which I readily loved with huge slathers of peanut butter) and most recently, he suggested that persimmons were great frozen as well.



I really love persimmons but sometimes I lose the waiting game of "when is it ripe?" and reaching for one will see my fingers depressing just a bit too deeply into the skin. A lumpy blacked persimmon doesn't sound all that appetizing but we've chucked them whole, skin on, into the freezer. A day's wait turns the ripened persimmon into, basically, fruit sherbet.

The skin comes off amazingly easy if you leave it out for a few minutes. Easily peel-able by hand in large strips, the remains are a huge globe of creamy sweet fruit, that isn't ice-like. I wasn't a huge fan of the first one I ate but I'm coming around and these are definitely delicious.

Give it a try!

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Sharing my struggles in achieving a fitness balance.

This morning I planned to do a yoga and HIIT class at the gym but I couldn't get myself out of bed. In bed, I hated myself for being "lazy" and while I knew that one missed work out wouldn't be the end of the world, I felt guilty about staying home. Worse, I had thoughts about my weight, how I was missing a chance to develop muscle and how I should eat less during the day to compensate (and realizing that I wouldn't, added onto the guilt). 

I read an article about Movement Cleanses (stick "cleanse" onto the end of anything, and it gains instant credibility). I want to believe in what it was telling me; its OK to slow down, always stretch and, focus on progress and a peaceful mind. But even on self imposed "rest days" I still want to lift, jump, run, etc because I want to maybe get those abs just a day sooner. Sometimes I realize that I need to slow down when soreness makes it hurts to sit/walk or when my gym schedule means have time to see friends or read a book. Even then, I'm thinking about when I can return to the gym.

I love how I've gotten stronger and healthier over the years and I love working out and being active! I don't love how I feel when I'm letting, forcing, myself to rest. I don't enjoy feeling stressed that I decided to do cardio instead of lift, or x instead of y, or that I only did 6 exercises when I was shooting for 8. And I don't enjoy that I spend so much time thinking about what I put into my stomach ("but I need protein for the gainz!...When can I have carbs?...I should stop eating so much peanut better").

Focusing on "progress not perfection"is something I'd like to achieve. I'm really enjoying my fitness journey and I'm looking for ways to be more accepting of what my everyday body looks and feels like. I still want to keep pushing myself while appreciating the benefits of my efforts. Not only do I want to be still full mobile at 90 but to also have healthy mindset about fitness as well.

If you have any tips or if you've been in the same place, I'd love to hear your story!
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A review of the Bio Beauty by Nuxe Refreshing Deodorant.

The Bio Beauty by Nuxe Refreshing Deodorant* ($13CDN, 50ml) landed in the mailbox and I was faced, again, with the struggle of appreciating natural deodorants. I really want to like you!

Some people do crazy things to reduce sweating, like injecting botox into their underarms (botox...in your underarms...seriously!) or using treatments where aluminum strength leaves burn marks on the skin. No-one thinks sweating is attractive but come on, its a necessary body function. Completely cancelling sweat or allowing it to flow freely are both unappealing, and that is my dilemma with natural deodorants. I still haven't found a natural deodorant that can keep me dry when compared to a conventional product. 



"Effective for 24 hours, this odor-neutralizing deodorant does not contain alcohol or aluminum salts." It's not supposed to leave white marks or stains and 85% of users did not find it left a damp feeling.



Ingredients: Organic corsican citron oil extract. 10 essentials oils and 5 floral waters. Absorbent botanical powder. Aloe vera. 98.9% ingredients of natural origin. 44% ingredients derived from organic farming. 


The Bio Beauty Refreshing Deodorant doesn't work for me. The rollerball deposits a clear cool feeling liquid that smells lightly green and of sweetened lemons. I can smell the scent during the day; I can't say I enjoy it but this feature is forgivable. The deodorant prevents me from smelling bad but my main issue is the absorbency. The liquid doesn't seem to absorb or dry down and my under arms getting slightly more damp from my own day-to-day light sweating. Some days, I used tissues to dry my underarms during a bathroom break and this was slightly annoying. 

There is some internal grimacing about how I deposit aluminum into my pores to slow down sweating but so far, that's the main way I've experienced keeping consistently dry. I want to really like you, Refreshing Deodorant. You check the boxes with the whole natural ingredients thing  but I just don't stay dry enough.

I may have to let go of being dry if I really want to shift to a natural product but I obviously am not enjoying it. There may yet be something out there that can do what I'm looking for but I haven't found it (though I'm really not looking that hard). So, if you know of a natural deodorant that also works well as an anti-perspirant, please give me a heads up!
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I really am hopeless; best intentions aren't enough to hold me back. It happened. Even when I said I would buy less, and especially buy less makeup, I made a beauty purchase.

The re-promotion of my favorite face wash drew me into Sephora but what really cinched the purchase was seeing a little red box of BITE finally restocked. My hands shot out faster than my mind could caution and my feet took me swiftly to the check out.

I bought:


Philosophy's Purity Made Simple (at the sale price of $15!): At this price point, Purity has become my HG cleanser. I think I showed restraint by just getting one. It takes a little under half a year to finish a 360ml bottle and I'm still near full on the one I started last month. Along with the other cleansers still in my skincare drawer, I'm pretty stocked up.

BITE's Perfect Bite Set ($29CDN): The Bite sets really have to be one of the best holiday buys and though I've barely made a dent in the one I bought 3 years ago (for shame, Jenn...) I've been giving serious woo-y eyes at the latest. This thing has been sold out for months (which was such a god send)! And then I saw it, just two, set inside its own little recessed display...and my brain went fuck it and that was that.

Tatcha's Kyoto Cleanse Set ($32CDN): Powder cleansers were a new discovery this year and as Tatcha grew in popularity I've wanted to try their Classic Rice Enzyme Powder. While only holding the two above products, I saw this set along the cashier aisles by the cashiers and became a living example of why visual merchandising and relying on human impulsivity works.



Overall, I don't feel too bad, though David gave a rather long "Why.........?!" when I showed him the lipsticks. I don't know why I keep bothering to show him but I get too excited and have to tell someone. I know its crazy but in my perfect world, I think I would get rid of all my make up products and get "better for me" items...but then I get caught up in the marketing and such and I find myself falling in love with more conventional makeup items and having a hard time ridding myself of anything in my possession. The struggles.

Daily Zen: Something I'd like to do is to live more "real life" and not the "internet life" but there is a lot about apps, phones, the internet that is purposefully designed to be addictive. Here's an interesting article about a movement towards "time well spent" and whether programmers have an obligation towards maximizing life experiences rather than in-app time. 
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Even with the best of efforts, there is a high chance that I will get sick. Sickness can hit me from nowhere, a big wallop that lands me in bed, snot running out of my sinuses. You're welcome for that image.
Low and behold, a couple weeks ago, I was shaking my fist at the goddamn person was who had infected me with germs. If you find yourself in such a situation, there isn't much to do except wait and sleep. But while you wait, you can use a few items to help ease the pain. These are my top "Jenn is Sick" comforts:

Puffs Plus: There is magic in Puffs Plus tissues and if you haven't tried them yet, you must. My nose gets extremely dried when blowing it 100+ times a day and I will pay the extra premium for these lotioned tissues. I've tried Kleenex with Lotion but they don't compare. Puffs Plus are soft, thick, and don't dry my nose out as quickly or almost at all.

Halls: I like to keep my lungs inside the body with either the honey or eucalyptus Halls. I have no idea why anyone would choose Cherry, the memories of cherry cough syrup are quite enough for me.

Soup and Tea: Staying hydrated is never more important than when you're ill.  Drinking lots of water, warm tea and soup are the ticket during this time. Miso or Doenjjang soup, Super Ginger of Cold 911 David's Tea are on repeat in times of sickness. 

Drugs: I used to forgo taking over the counter meds when I could but there are some colds that can only be fought with the power of the gods, and any little bit of mortal aid is welcomed. 

Carbs: I don't always have an appetite when I'm ill but when I do, I crave carbs. Bread, rice, cereal, sometimes that's all I can keep down or eat. 

I hope you haven't gotten ill lately but if you have, give the Puffs Plus a try and I hope you get better soon!



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I get stressed when ingredients sit around unused for a long time. Letting food go bad is wasteful. Letting something sit forever, even if its not going to go bad, feels like clutter. I bought a gigantic tub of Medjool dates about....3 months ago, and we still haven't gotten half way through it. I stared at the box for so long, I had to find ways to use them and which didn't involve making more balls (there are two different ball recipes on the blog now...two! Here and here).


Enter the granola bar, or just granola if you want to break them up and eat with milk/yogurt/whatever.

Recipe stolen from Deliciously Ella and modified to suit my laziness and ingredient availability. This makes about 20 bars (about 3×1 inches big).


Ingredients:
4 tablespoons of chia seeds with 16 tablespoons of water

20 medjool dates (400g)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
300ml of water

400g of oats

Add ons (choose about 300grams of add ons):
craisins
shaved roasted coconut
sunflower seeds
chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Mehthod:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Start your chia seed + 16tbs water mixture. Set aside and leave to develop a gel.
3. Melt coconut oil and dates in a pot. Break apart dates with a spatula. Add in the 300ml of water and whisk until smooth.
4. In another bowl, combine oats with your add-ons.
5. Combine date/oil/water mix into your bowl. 
6. Add in your chia gel.
7. Spread into a pan. Bake for 35 mins.
8. Let rest 15 mins then cut apart.

The original recipe called for sunflower seeds and raisins. As always, with bars and stuff, I always choose whatever add-ons I have around. 


I eyeballed the water when mixing the date/oil mixture and wish I hadn't since I ended up with less binder than I needed. I would probably have upped this recipe by at least 1 or 2 more dates as well.

If you wanted, you could probably bake change these into granola instead of bars. If so, I might consider using less water with your dates and not press them down too hard into the pan when baking.
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I know you can highlight your cheeks. I know you can also highlight the inner corners of your eyes. But when I highlight, there are a few more places on my face that I like beaming up and I have found stick/tube highlighters, like the ones photographed, to be the perfect tool for those areas.

Above and below my brows: Instant brow definition


 Cupids bow: The easiest game changer



Lower lash line: A perfect eye brightening trick


It's self evident why a stick highlighter works well for my brows, cupids bow and lower lash line. No brush necessary, a swipe with a stick and a blend with my finger tips makes for quick work. 

I don't always find the same ease with other stick-like products. Thinking of all the stick shadows I own, I only really use Burberry and Maybelline consistently. Even then, its probably only because they're the only shadows in my gym locker makeup kit.

I have lots of powder highlighters but by far, a stick highlighter is my most preferred format. I've been using the Burberry Highlighting Luminous Pen in Nude Radiance*, Estee Lauder Hi Lo Stylo* (which is also a great contouring stick) and a really old Benefit Watt's Up sample (or was it a birthday perk from Sephora...I can't even remember now). These are all the perfect color and shape to give my brows, cupids bow and lower lash line highlighted and might give you reason to reconsider the lowly stick highlighter as a necessary item in your kit.
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