Self-Care Advent Calendar

This time of year can make it hard to remember to take care of yourself. So in the spirit of the holidays, I have made a self-care advent calendar for December. Feel free to alter any of the activities if you need to, and remember to take care of yourself.

1. Make a list of holiday activities you want to do

2. Make your favourite seasonal clothes easy to find

3. Drink your favourite tea before bed

4. Make a list of things you’re grateful for

5. Turn off your phone for the evening

6. Meditate before bed

7. Have delicious brunch

8. Spend time with friends

9. Do something you love

10. Go for a walk

11. Take half an hour for yourself

12. Go to bed early and read

13. Meet up with a friend for hot chocolate

14. Write about your day

15. Do a holiday activity with someone

16. Do yoga

17. Have a bath

18. Reward yourself with a treat for being awesome

19. Walk or drive around your neighbourhood and look at the lights

20. Eat a good breakfast

21. Read a book by the fireplace

22. Take a long shower

23. Watch a holiday movie

24. Give a gift to someone

Happy holidays!

The Happiness Project: Solo

I’ve never been a person who’s had problems doing things alone. When I lived with my parents I would go to the movies by myself every week. I don’t mind going to eat by myself or go sit in a coffee shop and write. So I thought this month was going to be a breeze. I went into it with a plan. Both my best friend and my girlfriend were going on vacation at the same time and I thought that would be a great opportunity to take myself on some nice dates. I’d go to the movies, out for dinner, stuff along those lines. 

Then November came around… With Christmas coming around, funds are a little low, not to mention time. I’ve been spending a lot of time working on Christmas gifts and all my money on the rest of them. So dates by myself weren’t exactly going to happen. 

Then there was the other factor. For anyone who listens to my podcast, you’ve probably heard my episode on Favourite People. I’m not going to sum it up here (but I recommend you go listen to that episode if you want to learn more). Anyways, Andrea is my favourite person and I was really struggling with the idea of her going away for a week and a half. Everyone else was so excited and happy for her, and I was too, but underlying it all was an overwhelming sense of panic and abandonment. Yes, I’m aware it was only a week and a half. I know most people would think I’m being completely unreasonable, but it was a big deal to me. I was talking to another woman with BPD beforehand and she completely got it. 

Anyways, before Andrea left she made sure to remind me that there are other people who love me and that I should leave the house every once in a while. I like to think I succeeded. I went to my friend’s Caffe one night, went to a show with one friend, out for coffee with one, for lunch with one, and I even hung out with a few friends to watch a movie. And yes, I did end up taking myself out for dinner one night too. I also let someone help me when I was having a really hard day. She came over and really lifted my spirit. It’s hard for me to admit when I need help, so I’m really proud of myself for admitting that. 

I’ve really been working on expanding my support system. Reaching out to more people, taking on a lot more myself. It’s hard but therapy, DBT, and CBT are working wonders.

I thought this month was going to be about me doing things by myself, but it wasn’t at all. It ended up being about doing things without Andrea and also accepting help. The theme of the month may have been solo but even my childhood hero Han Solo needed help sometimes. He had Luke and Leia and I have my friends too. Now, I don’t need validation for doing this. I needed to do it for myself. 

Join me next month for joy. Yes, an appropriate theme for December, I’m aware. 

Cult Classics vs Dupes: Part Three – Blush and Highlighter

This was the shortest category, but that didn’t make it any less fun. I’m not much of a blush person but I do love a good highlighter.

Blush
I tested NARS Orgasm vs. Milani Luminoso.

There is no doubt that Orgasm is gorgeous. It’s beautifully subtle and has a lovely shimmer to it. It costs $40cdn.

Luminoso is also lovely. It’s far more pigmented than Orgasm so it had to be applied with a light touch. It’s also matte. It costs $11.49cdn.

Orgasm vs. Luminoso

Winner: While I loved Orgasm, Luminoso wins simply for being a great product with a great price.

Winner: Milani Luminoso

Highlighter
I love highlighters! I tested Jeffree Star Skin Frost in Peach Goddess against AOA Wonder Baked Highlighter in Cupcake.

Skin Frost was so creamy and pigmented even though it’s a powder. It was long lasting as well. It costs $38cdn

Wonder Baked Highlighter was a surprisingly good product for the price. It didn’t apply as easily though. It costs $1.36cdn

Skin Frost vs. Wonder Baked Highlighter

I wanted to be able to pick AOA but Skin Frost was just so nice.

Winner: Jeffree Star Skin Frost in Peach Goddess

Highlighter 2
I tested Benefit High Beam against NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam.

High Beam was kind of underwhelming. I expected it to be more blinding but instead, it was rather subtle. Not a bad highlighter though. It costs $24cdn.

Born to Glow was very similar to High Beam. Didn’t last quite as long but looked the same. It costs $11cdn.

High Beam vs. Born to Glow

They were so similar that I really had to go by price and NYX is half the cost.

Winner: NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam

Join me next time for my last of this series, where I compare my favourite makeup: lipstick!

Cult Classics vs Dupes: Part Two – Eyes

Eyes had the most products but it was also the most fun. I love eyeliner and eyeshadow and it was super fun to test them against each other. 

Brows 1
The first brow test I did was a brow pencil. I tried Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz against NYX Micro brow pencil.

ABH Brow Wiz was really fun because I don’t own it/didn’t buy it so I may have used the tester in Sephora so I could test it out for this blog post. I felt kind of anxious about it, but isn’t that what testers are for anyways? I really liked the product. It lasted a long time and looked really natural. Brow Wiz costs $28cdn. 

NYX Micro Brow pencil was another product I didn’t own before I started this blog series. I was on vacation and I ran out of brow product and I didn’t want to buy something expensive since I had more at home, but I needed something so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to test out NYX Micro Brow. Now, the drug store I was at only had a small selection so the one I got ended up being slightly too light for me. It was still okay though. It didn’t stay as long as I would have liked but it did look fairly natural. Micro Brow costs $12cdn.

Brow Wiz vs. Micro Pencil

I wonder if I had have had the right shade of NYX Micro Brow if I would have picked it, but with the two products I tried, I just preferred Brow Wiz. It lasted longer and looked great. Micro Brow is a good cheaper alternative though.

Winner: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

Brows 2
The second brow product I tested was brow pomade. I used Benefit KaBrow and ELF Lock On Liner and Brow Cream.

Benefit has always been my go-to brow products because they look natural and are long-lasting and KaBrow is no exception. It costs $32cdn.

I only had ELF pomade in my apartment to apply stubble for cosplays, and now I know why i don’t use it as an actual brow product. It was goopy to apply, looked awful even though it was my colour and rubbed off easily. However, it only costs $5.26.

KaBrow vs. Lock On Liner and Brow Cream

Benefit was the clear winner here. A lot of the tests were hard to pick a winner but this one was the clear choice. 

Winner: Benefit KaBrow

Eye Primer
I tested the extremely popular Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion against ELF Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer.

Eyeshadow Primer Potion is a classic for a reason. It goes on smoothly and makes eyeshadow last all day. It costs $32cdn.

Shadow Lock wasn’t as smooth as Primer Potion was. It was harder to apply shadow over it and I found that it had more of a colour to it than Primer Potion did. However, it’s a decent product for $3.95cdn. 

Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer
Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer under eyeshadow

Both were great products but you just can’t beat the staying power of the Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

Winner: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Eyeshadow
I tested the Urban Decay Naked Palette against the Ellen Tracy Nudity Pallete (even if it is probably closer to the Naked 3 Palette, a lot of the shades are still very similar).

Naked goes on smooth and is highly pigmented and long-lasting. It is truly a beautiful palette, but unfortunately, Urban Decay no longer sells it. It used to sell for $68cdn.

The Ellen Tracy Palette is also lovely and is a great dupe for a great price. It isn’t as pigmented and doesn’t last as long but it’s only $14.99cdn.

Naked vs. Nudity

For its beautiful pigment and how long it lasts I must say that I prefer Naked.

Winner: Urban Decay Naked

Eyeliner 1
For the first set of eyeliners, I tested Kat Von D Tattoo Liner vs. NYX Epic Ink Liner.

Tattoo Liner lives up to the hype. It went on smoothly and stayed on all day even though it definitely rained the day I wore it, and let’s be honest, I probably ended up crying at some point too. It costs $26.50cdn.

Epic Ink had been my go-to eyeliner for a long time until I noticed it had started bleeding all over my eyelid whenever I wore it. It is a more pigmented black than Tattoo Liner is, and it stays pretty well once on, but the bleeding is a huge downfall. It costs $12cdn.

Tattoo Liner vs. Epic Ink

I didn’t even want to try Tattoo Liner because I am morally against Kat Von D, but begrudgingly I have to admit that it is the better product.

Winner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Eyeliner 2
For the second battle of the eyeliners I tested Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil against Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal Eyeliner.

27/7 Glide-On Pencil stays on well but I found that it wasn’t that easy to apply. It costs $29.50cdn.

Kohl Kajal is a more intense black. It doesn’t last as long but it’s easier to apply. It costs $13.99cdn.

24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil vs. Kohl Kajal Eyeliner

I wasn’t in love with either one of these eyeliners but because it was easier to use and much cheaper, I must say I preferred the Rimmel one.

Winner: Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal Eyeliner

Mascara
For the last test of the eye products (and the dupe test that started this entire blog idea) I tested Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara against L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara.

Better Than Sex is not only fun to say, but it’s also a great mascara. It makes your lashes super long and beautiful. It costs $32cdn.

Lash Paradise, while not as fun to say, is also a great mascara. It doesn’t make your lashes quite as long as Better Than Sex does, but it still works great. It costs $10.96cdn.

Better Than Sex vs. Lash Paradise

Both were great, but since you’re supposed to replace your mascara every three months, Lash Paradise might be the better choice.

Winner: L’Oreal Lash Paradise

Join me next time for blush and highlighters!

 

 

The Happiness Project: Passion

Let me just start by saying that this month didn’t go exactly as planned. I love October and I love Halloween so I had planned to dress spooky all month and live my best witchy life. I tried but over the course of the month, I had a bad migraine, the flu (well, flu-like symptoms from my flu shot), and food poisoning. So, I spent a lot of time at home in bed instead. 

My love of Halloween stressed me out this year. The past few have kind of sucked so I decided to go all out this year but it just ended up putting too much pressure on it. I found myself getting upset if things didn’t work out my way. My costume, spooky makeup, making my rats’ cage spooky (they destroyed that real quick). I’m writing this before October 31, so I’m not sure how actual Halloween is going to go yet, but so far I’m disappointed. I was having way too much social anxiety to enjoy the Halloween party this year, and I couldn’t help but be disappointed with my costume. It was fine, I guess, but everyone else had far better costumes. I’m a cosplayer, you think I could up my Halloween game a bit. That’s fine, I’m not going to give up and you won’t believe what I have planned for Halloween next year.

Okay, that’s enough of me sounding petty and bitter. I promise there were good things this month too. I decided to watch as many fun Halloween movies as I could and even though I didn’t completely get through my list, I watched a lot of them and got to live my best witchy life. 

Now the real highlight of my month was how many books I read this month. I love reading and I wanted to read 50 books this year. Well, after I passed that number, I had a new goal. I wanted to pass the 100 books mark during October since it’s passion month and I am very passionate about my reading. I am happy to say that as I write this I have officially read 117 books so far this year. 

Another thing that happened this month was a couple of blog posts of mine got published. I finally published the first of my own makeup dupe blog posts on my blog: Cult Classics vs. Dupes: Skin. Even more exciting, I had an article on Disneybound makeup for Halloween published on the Sartorial Geek website. I was so excited when I got accepted to be a contributor for the website and I’m even more excited now that I have an article published. You can read it here

Anyways. It wasn’t the best month but it’s behind me now. Onto Solo month. 

Cult Classics vs. Dupes: Part 1 – Skin

I know makeup blog posts aren’t a thing I do very often but this month I’ve been trying to do more things I’m passionate about and this is one of them. Last month I tested a bunch of cult classic makeup products compared to their dupe and here are the results. I’ve decided to split my findings into four posts and this one will be focused on skin. I apologize in advance for the unflattering photos of me to follow. Most of the time I did my makeup before I got dressed and did my hair. 

Primer
Let’s start with primer. I tested Benefit POREfessional vs. NYX Pore Filler

POREfessional had a creamy texture going on. It was thicker than the NYX one was. My face definitely felt softer and smoother and my pores looked smaller. POREfessional costs $43cdn. 

NYX Pore Filler had a smooth satiny feel on the skin. My pores didn’t look much smaller, but my makeup went on much smoother than it did on POREfessional. Pore Filler costs $16cdn. 

POREfessional vs. Pore Filler
POREfessional vs. Pore Filler under foundation

After wearing both, I decided I actually prefer NYX Pore Filler. It felt nicer on my face and the price point is far more affordable. My pores aren’t that big, to begin with, so it didn’t bother me that it didn’t cover them. However, if you have large pores you might want to go for POREfessional. 

Winner: NYX Pore Filler 

Foundation
I tested Urban Decay All Nighter vs. NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. For this test I decided to wear them both without primer, setting powder, or setting spray. 

 

All Nighter was a thinner formula than Can’t Stop Won’t Stop was. It was also higher coverage. It went on smooth, blended well, and looked flawless. However, it costs $53cdn. 

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a thicker formula but it goes on smooth. It also looks really natural which is great. It’s also $18cdn. 

All Nighter vs. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Choosing between these two was hard because I love my Urban Decay foundations. All Nighter and Naked Skin are my usual go-to foundations. I love how flawless All Nighter makes my skin feel. However, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a great product for much cheaper. 

Winner: NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop 

Concealer
I tested the wildly popular Tarte Shape Tape against Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser

Shape Tape is creamy and stayed all day. However, personally, I found that I could still see my dark circles under it. Shape Tape is $35cdn. 

Dark Circle Eraser did just that. It covered my dark circles. It moved a little bit over the course of the day but not too bad and there wasn’t any creasing. It costs $12.99cdn. 

Shape Tape vs. Dark Circle Eraser

I was really excited to finally try Shape Tape since everyone speaks so highly of it, but I was actually really disappointed. I found Dark Circle Eraser worked better and was more reasonably priced. 

Winner: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser 

Setting Powder
I tested Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder vs. Coty Airspun Loose Powder

Lock It was fine. Went on smoothly but I noticed it was cakey by the end of the day. It costs $31cdn. 

Airspun has a light scent but it’s nice. It goes on nicely and costs $19cdn. 

Lock It Setting Powder vs. Airspun Loose Powder

Admittedly I went into this biased against Kat Von D because she’s kind of the worst, but even aside from that, I preferred Coty Airspun. 

Winner: Coty Airspun Loose Powder

Setting Spray
I tested Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray against Milani Make It Last Setting Spray

All Nighter dried quickly and had a nice most. It lasted all day and kept my makeup looking amazing. It costs $40cdn. 

Make It Last had a stronger spray that took longer to dry. It didn’t last as long but it was still pretty good. It costs $10cdn. 

All Nighter Setting Spray vs. Make it Last Setting Spray

I wanted to love the Milani spray since it’s $30 cheaper, but I didn’t. It was fine but All Nighter was a superior product. 

Winner: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

I went into this thinking I would prefer all the more expensive products but out of the skin products, I only picked one cult classic over the dupe. Join me next time for eye products.