BISC Vol. 15: How do you overcome blogger’s block?

Sunday, September 13, 2015


AGATA | USA | Her and Makeup

In my opinion “blogger’s block” can mean two things. One, like a writer’s block, having a hard time with writing itself. You do have pictures and the idea in your head but words just won’t flow. If that happens, I usually try to just jot down some loose ideas on a piece of paper, start with a short few sentences and later on build up on that. I think a bigger problem though is running out of ideas in general. That can happen quite easily in blogging, especially if you don’t receive PR samples and you cannot buy every new makeup item that comes out. Then I usually read a lot of other beauty and lifestyle blogs to look for inspiration, I check Pintrest to see if there are any looks that tickle my fancy that I could recreate.

RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog

Honestly, I’m not the person to ask about blogger’s block. When it comes, I often just kind of… let it come. I’ll take a little bit of a break, posting minimally as it happens, and just wait patiently for something to grip me again! Travelling always helps, and so does testing out a really great new collection, but I’m more likely to try and wait it out than I am to try and “overcome” it!


SUNNY | Belgium | Mostly Sunny Blog

Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to sit it out. I used to push myself really hard. However, with my increasing workload, my options really come down to finally getting some sleep and writing a blog post on some days. Learning to let go is a big part of staying happy as a blogger (for me). Other times it’s good to read, talk to people, go out for a coffee, or admire some stunning photos. You never know when inspiration might come to you!

MATROMAO | Philippines | FoodWorldMe

I don’t force it, because that only burns me out faster. Usually, if I take one or two days on break, I’m okay to start writing again. I also accept that some posts can’t be finished in one day. Sometimes, I’ll just start with an outline, then I’ll come back tomorrow with “renewed vigor” and the ability to edit and finish immediately. It also helps to switch up topics every now and then. I also do restaurant reviews, so I can just transition back and forth.

JAA | Thailand | Hello Jaa

I usually just let it be. Sometimes I even think of it as a blessing because I’ll have more time to spend with my friends and family doing “life” things. I’ll try to stay off social media, too, if possible. I find that when I’m happy, I’ll have a lot of energy, and ideas will flow naturally. I also find it easier and more fun to write about things I’m genuinely happy and excited about!

[Interested in joining BISC Network? Send your request to jaa*at*]

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD (shade Y225=117) foundation photos, launch party

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD liquid stick foundation range shades

While I was in Toronto this summer, I got to check out a pretty cool new product: the new Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($50 CAD), which launched this July in liquid format, and the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation ($50 CAD), which launches this month.

I wanted to share a really quick little recap of the event, because (a) blogger love!, and (b) the new foundations are pretty darn cool.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation review, stick foundation

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD liquid & stick/cream foundations

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD steph fun size beauty

I’ll just be over here, pretending to be one of the cool girls… | with Zubie, Steph, and Jenn

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Amy Bratty B

Amy (who just started Bratty B)! I can’t even put into words how much I love this girl.

Made for use with 4K camera technology, the new Ultra HD foundations are an update on Make Up For Ever’s original HD foundation, which has been the top selling foundation at North American Sephoras since it launched in 2008. (Unfortunately, like the original, both of these foundations contain silicones!)

The key makeup artist at the event demonstrated both of the new “invisible” foundations on his model Ashley, pairing them with the brand’s correcting primers — the translucent Skin Equalizer primer in the centre of the face to reflect and bounce light, plus the yellow primer to add brightness.

UltraHDGeneration launch party

The technology: the new Ultra HD foundations use hyaluronic spheres to make the foundation blend automatically, so the makeup artist at the event recommended a bit of a traditional application method: apply (2 pumps of the liquid is enough for full coverage), let bake, then blend. 

The foundations also include light-diffusing sericite, made to “act like an Instagram filter!” as well as amino acid coated pigments, which blur flaws as they cover. They pair well with the brand’s matte skin equalizer, too: just pat it on top (yes, on top!) of your foundation when you’re finishing up your makeup.

MUFE Ultra HD launch party

The utterly gorgeous Chelle, from Makeup Your Mind

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Jenn a beautiful zen

Jenn, as in “A Beautiful Zen Jenn”! (The beauty blogging world has more Jenns than we know what to do with.) I’m so sad that this girl isn’t gonna be there the next time I go to TO :(

MUFE Ultra HD Zubie

Zubie is pretty much the coolest cool girl. She basically always (ALWAYS) looks like she’s just fallen out of a photoshoot.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation 117 y225 review photos

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid Foundation in Y225 (117 shade match)

The formulas: Make Up For Ever recommends their Ultra HD Liquid Foundation for a natural finish in a lightweight, oil-free formula, and their Ultra HD Stick Foundation for medium-full coverage, touch-ups, and contouring.

The liquid, which is lighter than the original HD liquid, is supposed to be better for normal to oily skin, while the super-smooth stick formula is targeted toward normal to dry skin.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD stick foundation 117 225 review photos

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Stick Foundation in Y225 (117 shade match)

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD launch party shades

The shades: The new foundations have a wider shade range than the original, and a new shade numbering system to go with it. I was matched to Y225 Marble (the old 117) in my summer tan, which was the brand’s lightest yellow-based shade… until now.

Y225 is still the lightest shade in the stick foundation, but for the super-pale guys and gals out there, Make Up For Ever now also offers Y215 Yellow Alabaster and Y205 Alabaster in liquid format! (The pink-based equivalents are R210 Pink Alabaster and R220 Pink Porcelain.) The stick foundation will be available in 15 shades, and the Ultra HD liquid is available in a whopping 40 shades

Additional photos & more »

The Detox Market Scollard St. Toronto tour & haul | BEAUTY DESTINATIONS

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Detox Market Toronto review tour about Scollard St

Tucked away in the heart of Yorkville, just a couple blocks north of Bloor, is The Detox Market’s newest location. A quick five minute walk from the Bay metro station, this tiny Scollard Street shop houses some of the best finds in all-natural and Canadian beauty.


Lotus Wei The Detox Market Scollard St review

The shop, which opened early July, is narrow but long (and carries about 80% of the brands that the King St. location does, with more products still arriving each week). It’s hidden in a row of gorgeous white storefronts at 96 Scollard St., just above a salon and a stone’s throw from Holt’s.

(And, more importantly, within walking distance to the largest Indigo I have ever seen in my LIFE. We’re talking multi-staircase book buying, people. This is not a drill.)

Detox Market Scollard St Toronto without polarizer

Detox Market Scollard St Toronto hours

May Lindstrom Honey Mud The Detox Market Scollard St review

I was in twice during my trip last month–once to grab these photos and do a little travel haul; once to stock up on Odacité–and walked away each time with lots of great product recommendations and tips.

I make it a habit to ask sales associates what they’re loving whenever I check out a new shop (who better to tell you what’s awesome than the people who’re surrounded by it all day?), and The Detox Market Yorkville was no exception. Marisette recommends Ilia lipsticks, Rahua and Sudsatorium products (both of which I picked up and am LOVING, so thank you, Marisette!), and the Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer, which I also really like.


Odacite Pure Elements serum concentrate review The Detox Market Scollard St

I also took a moment to poke at some of the other Odacité products that I hadn’t tried yet, and here’s what I found:

  • Po+R is definitely the only really viscous oil. However, Moringa + Petitgrain feels really comforting as well (I need to try this!!), and would be a great place to start if your main problem is dryness, not dehydration.
  • Their Blueberry and Jasmine oil is thin, clear, and light. It would be a great starter oil for someone with oilier skin (both Marisette and Kim really love this one!)
  • Their Hydration Mask, according to Marisette, makes an awesome sleeping mask for dry skin. I haven’t tried it out yet, but I have a small sample and I’m gonna give it a go soon!

The Detox Market haul

And, finally: my tiny travel haul! I picked up some Rahua Shampoo and Voluminous Conditioner to start, which my hair is loving (paired with my Klorane dry shampoo, I’ve been going three days between washes!!) I might have to order their regular conditioner online, though — I sniffed the volume line in-store and it was totally fine, but something about it makes my stomach turn when I wash with it.

I also picked up Sudsatorium’s Dirty Thirty bar soap, which I’ve been dying to try ever since they released it for Laura’s 30th birthday. It is, as expected, divine: coffee-scented and super scrubby, with a thick, non-stripping lather. Marisette also threw in some Rahua samples (so I can try a regular-regular wash and the voluminous-voluminous wash), the aforementioned Odacité mask, and the line’s new Hand & Heel Therapy, which is supposed to be great for dry hands!

The Detox Market Toronto review tour Scollard St green beauty

Have you been to the new Detox Market yet? What’s your favourite beauty boutique?

30 (free!) hair braiding tutorials | The Couture Book of Braids by Kérastase

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kerastase the Book of Braids tutorials

My hair–like most Asian hair–is a braiding nightmare. It’s fine, flat, and almost incomprehensibly smooth, which all sound like they’d be good attributes… except what they add up to is hair that, unless you apply product first or start with wet hair, just can’t hold a braid.

Kérastase aims to fix all us straight haired gals’ problems this fall, though, with a brand new Matéraliste Thickening Spray Gel ($38 CAD) and a 100-page e-book full of tips, tricks, and tutorials. 

braided chignon tutorial

Nowadays, I only really give hair tutorials in person (compulsively and enthusiastically, but uh… only after at least three shots of tequila), so you’re going to have to rely on Kérastase’s Book of Braids for your late summer/back-to-school braid training.

The book is “for all those who dreamed of artful braids but couldn’t,” so in the spirit of dreaming, here’s a special, 30-braid gift for all of you guys, illustrated by Jessica Durrant.

» Click here « to access your complimentary copy of the Book of Braids!

beachy braided bun tutorial

Keep reading! »

Guerlain Boutique & Institute Toronto photos, Complete Facial review | BEAUTY DESTINATIONS

Monday, August 10, 2015

Guerlain Yorkville Toronto Boutique and Institute review

The most unexpected adventure I’ve taken so far this year was a trek into the gorgeous, glossy depths into Toronto’s Guerlain Boutique & Institute at 110 Bloor Street West.

I wandered in one fine Tuesday, expecting to just take a quick sniff of Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille–could it really be as gorgeous as I remembered? (Spoiler: it is, and then some.)–and walked out with some seriously sharp bronzer and a facial appointment for that Friday.

Guerlain Boutique Toronto tour review

The Boutique 

As a fragrance junkie, the only thing you need to know about Guerlain boutiques is this: there is only one in Canada, and it contains all of the brand’s current fragrances…

Les Exclusifs and all.

Guerlain les exclusifs perfumes

From bee bottles to tailor-made fragrances (you know, if you have a year, time for a trip to Paris, and a spare $75 000 lying around), this is the place to be. The staff here know everything there is to know about Guerlain’s recent launches as well as their classics, and can tell you about everything from Guerlinade to Theirry Wasser (Guerlain’s in-house perfumer).

Scents you must try while you’re there:

Guerlain Boutique Toronto Yorkville review

Guerlain exclusifs perfumes boutique

The Institute

Tucked discreetly in the back of the boutique is a small treatment room and all the necessarily amenities — a gorgeous glass shower, a mirrored change room, and the boutique’s secret weapon: a petite esthetician named Sakien Teymouri who, I swear, has magic hands.

Guerlain Institute Spa facial review Toronto Bloor

Guerlain facial review Toronto Yorkville

I was lucky enough to experience a complimentary Complete Facial ($170 CAD), which is a 1h30 treatment that can be customized to match your skin’s needs.

As someone with extremely touchy skin, facials aren’t usually something I can indulge in, but the boutique’s manager took the time to double-check ingredients lists and customize a gentle, silicone-free regimen just for me. (Thank you so much, Jamielee — your kindness and attention to detail really made my day!)

Continue the adventure!! »

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