Giving Back

When you shop Avon, you get more than just great products you help make a difference in the lives of women across Canada and Worldwide by supporting campaigns like Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Crusade, Hope for Speaking out against domestic violenceProtecting the Environment and with the current campaign Share the Power of Lipstick.

Avon has partnered with Dress for Success a non-profit organization that empowers women across Canada to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

On Share the Power of Lipstick, for every 2 lipstick sold, Avon will donate a lipstick to help another woman making a fresh start. That is a great opportunity not only to stock up or get a new shade for summer, but you are also helping another woman to succeed in work and life.

For a limited time, you can choose from 70 shades, 2 lipstick for only $9.99. Usually, they cost $10 each. You can order from me at bit.ly/ShopAvonwithMonica if you live in Toronto area or you can go to Avon.ca to a find a local Representative in your area.

At the Avon.ca you can also find all the products that support the other campaigns; Pink Ribbon and Hope. Shop & Help and give something back. This is one of the reasons I’ve been working with Avon for the last 14 years in 3 different countries. What a better company for a woman to work with, than a company that supports a woman in all path of life? I am proud to be part of 6 million representatives around the globe. Join Us.

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Makeup Tips and Hacks

Since I’ve joined Avon and started selling, many customers ask me for advice and tips about makeup and skin care products. So I’ve decided to write this post about some tips that I think they are very practical and useful for your daily needs.

    1. Skip the powder if you are older or have dry skin. As we get older, the skin will become drier and when you apply powder, it will get into wrinkles and crevices in the skin and will make you look even older. So, I suggest you replace the powder with a Setting spray. Avon True Color Makeup Setting Spray has a micro-fine mist that dries quickly to an invisible finish. It helps set foundation, blush and eye makeup without drying skin. The ultra-lightweight formula is also fast-drying. I’ve been using mine for more than 2 years and I love it. Another great option is to use a Liquid Foundation with reflecting particles like the mark. Get Even All-Day Moisture Liquid Foundation, its an oil-free liquid foundation with a tone-correcting formula that promotes natural-looking skin and a radiant appearance and there is no need to use powder.
    2. Tinted Moisturizer is a great option for summer, its the perfect “no makeup” makeup look, for a fresh, light option to keep skin even. You can even hack this at home with what you already have, just mix your regular moisturizer with a bit of your foundation to make your own Tinted Moisturizer, you can work the tone by adding more or less foundation. But if you prefer to buy a tinted moisturizer, Avon Solutions Moisture Shield Tinted with SPF 15, helps retain moisture and gives skin a sheer hint of colour for a sun-kissed glow at the same time protects against sun damage. Its light formula, makes it perfect for summer.p277250_1_ca_en_ca_pd
    3. Cream Blush is a great alternative to powder blush because it lasts much longer and it avoids emphasize wrinkles, great for all the older ladies out there too. But hold on, don’t rush to the shop yet, you can try out by using your own lipstick as cream blush. Just avoid using too bright lipsticks and use the subtle shades that you have for a natural look. Apply a dot or two and use your finger to blend it well in a circular motion or apply with a brush blending. Avon True Color Be Blushed Cheek Color has 8 shades option with a soft, sheer formula for a natural look, if you really want to go into cream blush.p294968_1_ca_en_ca_pd
    4. Start Multimasking your face for more effective results. Every area of your face might have different needs, that’s why applying different masks to different areas of your face is more effective. Sides of your nose might have clogged pores from dirty so a clay mask will help purify your skin by unclogging the pores. Clearskin® Pore Penetrating Black Mineral Mask has an oil absorbing mineral clay that pulls like a magnet and leaves the skin feeling clean and soft. For irritated cheeks from dryness or sun exposure, a gel mask will do wonder to calm and hydrate it. Anew Clinical Overnight Hydration Mask is a mask that you apply before bed and stays overnight with it. In the morning your skin looks vibrant, supple, dramatically hydrated and visibly younger. For the famous T-zone: chin, nose and lower forehead, oil can be a great problem, so the best masks are charcoal for those areas. Anew Purifying Clay Mask with White Charcoal Powder (coming soon) has pure kaolin clay that helps remove impurities from pores. And last but not least, for dull skin mask with citrus extract can brighten up your skin for a radiant and refreshed look and the Anew Brightening Clay Mask with Citrus Peel Extract will do that (coming soon). From the masks above I use regularly the Anew Overnight Mask and my skin feels amazing in the morning. I usually use once a week, but you could use more often if you need. The other mask that I have used frequently was the Clearskin Black Mineral Mask and it definately cleans your skin and leave it so soft. I really like that one. The others that I’ve mentioned above they are coming soon, but I will have my review very soon and let you guys know about it.
    5. It seems that Contouring is here to stay and as many people already got into the techniques of mastering the contouring, there are still many people out there, including myself, that still have to get know and practice the art of contouring. As we would expect the market is already full of products specially designed for it, but the truth is, you don’t need a special product for contouring, you can use foundation sticks instead, in a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone. For those with little or no skills in contouring yet, this is the safer start point without going to deep on the shades of contour sticks. Avon has contour sticks, Avon True Color Transforming Contour Stick, with 2 shades on each stick, one light shade for highlighting and a darker one for contouring. I will try it out, even that I am not into contouring, and then add my review here later.

      Well, that’s it for today, if you want to know more about a specific Avon product, or would like me to do a review of a specific product, please let me know because I love to try different products. Until next time.

      Shop Avon with me at http://www.bit.ly/ShopAvonwithMonica

      All pictures used in this post are from Avon web site.

 

How to hack your bullet journal with washi tape

I have started using a bullet journal in August last year and so far I’m really enjoying and able to keep my daily goals on track and manage my time more efficiently. The last year journal was more of a trial and error and a journal to try different spreads, tracks and see what would exactly work for me.

For this year, I’ve decided to buy a new journal to start the new year afresh and with a brand new notebook. I know some people prefer to continue using the same journal until all the pages are used, but as I said, the previous journal was a tryout and not quite beautiful to look at. Some spreads were quite messy and not very effective. The notebook itself was a very inexpensive one because I didn’t want to spend too much money on a very expensive notebook for the first time around, so I didn’t bother to finish all page. I can still use the remaining pages as tryouts and to test new spreads without messing with the new and current journal. I like a clean and beautiful journal, and who doesn’t?

Who doesn’t like to see all those beautiful bullet journals on Pinterest with effective spreads and skilled drawings, doodles, brush lettering, calligraphy and so on? But we all know that sometimes is quite hard to achieve them when we are preparing the spreads for the week ahead. Not all of us are very skilled in drawings or fancy letterings, etc. But one thing for sure that all of us can do, is a heck of a hack by using washi tapes.

These beautiful Japanese style adhesive and decorative tapes are the best way to hack your bullet journal with an A+. Today we can find an infinity of these tapes with drawings of buildings, landscape, lettering, plants, animals, prints of vintage newspapers and letters, daily life objects etc. You just have to use your imagination to apply them to your bullet journal and make those spreads a proud showing on Pinterest. Here below you can find the best that I have selected from my online shop.

  1. World famous buildings washi tape is perfect if you will be travelling and want to adorn your journal with drawings from the country you will be visiting. You can also use to create tags to mark a wall map with the places that you have been already.

 

 

2. Another great one for bullet journal are these wide washi tapes that come with 2 themes one with fashion items and the other with life products items. Fashion and Life Products washi tape is wide enough to cover your phone case or other home accessories as well.

 

 

3. One of my favourites so far is the Country Series washi tape with 20 variations, from building, furniture, plants, animals, clouds and other finishings to create a whole scenery in your bullet journal spread.

 

 

4. Another favourite is the Vintage Travel Map that is 20cm wide and you can use not only on your bullet journal but also for any decoration idea around the house. It’s perfect to cover any boring surface, ideal for a home office decor, to cover phone case or simply be applied to a wall.

 

Those are my 4 favourite ones, but there are plenty more available online. From fashion accessories to floral, ribbons, vintage newspaper, people and buildings, letterings, frames and much more. Just have a look at our online shop for more inspiration. Decorative tapes or Washi tapes are certainly a great alternative to decorate your journal, not only they are beautiful but very easy to use. In a matter of a few minutes, you can have beautiful spreads across your journal without wasting much time.

 

How to find your style and have a closet de-clutter

About 6 months ago, I took the time and courage to finally de-clutter my wardrobe and get rid off of everything that I wasn’t using. One of the reasons to go into this crazy de-clutter was that I had lost 7 kilos (a bit over 15 pounds) and many clothes didn’t fit me anymore. The other reason was we were moving to another country and I wanted to reduce and minimalize the size of my wardrobe that I was going to bring with me.

But before start de-cluttering, I’ve taken some time to assert my own style and be more confident about what I wear and how do I feel about it. I keep on my bedside table a book that I’m always reading and there are tones of information about style and confidence when dressing up, “The Little Black Book of Style” by Nina Garcia.

If you are trying to figure it out your style and create a more streamlined wardrobe, I highly recommend this book, because you will learn the basics to create an essential wardrobe with loads of style without having to keep tones of clothes in your closet. The book tells you how to be confident and feel good about yourself and your body. Every one of us that loves fashion has a ‘Style Icon’ in mind that inspires us. I love Audrey Hepburn style because she is the most classic of all. Emma Watson is young but knows how to dress up beautifully and elegant all the time, and Sarah Jessica Parker, a petite woman like me that dress up perfect for her body time. They all inspire me when comes to fashion and style together.

In this book, Nina Garcia describes that a ‘Style Icon’ knows how to edit her wardrobe and invest in “the bones” which is the essential pieces for any wardrobe. She also knows how to buy with drama without being a ‘fashion victim’ and knows the importance of shoes and the power of accessories because those are the pieces that will make your whole outfit come together. A style is not about money because you don’t need to spend a fortune on clothes to be a style icon. And last but not least, mixing it up and being imperfect is key to give you the confidence to create your own style without following the herd.

I’m not a very big fan of following trends. I always prefer to stick with the classic that lasts forever and saves you money too. You don’t have to buy new clothes every season just because a new trend came out. But once in a while if a trend piece is good enough and could be a good addition to your wardrobe style, I guess will not make any harm, right?

Well, last summer, when we were still in the UK, we wanted to take our daughter to a day at the beach. I didn’t have any summer/beach dress in my wardrobe, so I went to a popular shop and bought this summer jersey dress with the cold shoulder trend. The moment I’ve bought it, the moment I’ve regretted, but I was glad that was a very inexpensive dress and didn’t cost much. After I’ve worn it at the beach, I only wore it a few more times at home as a loungewear, then went to my donate pile.

Now, this cold shoulder trend is everywhere. Isn’t this supposed to be just a summer trend? Since you have your shoulders bare? But no, it continued into fall and winter collection and it’s seams that will continue for some time yet. To be honest, I hate them, because every time I look through an online shop looking for a beautiful top to buy the only thing I see is this army of cold shoulders tops. Are they never going away?

So, anyway, when I finally asserted my style and knew what pieces of clothes I wanted, was much easier to eliminate the excess and create a wardrobe with pieces that are my style and complement my way of living.

Here is the step by step how I did it.

1. What is your style?

Once more I suggest you read the book ‘The Little Black Book of Style’ by Nina Garcia if you haven’t done yet. It will really help you to figure it out your style. A style is when your clothes make you feel confident about yourself and don’t follow any trend. I found out that style is very personal, doesn’t follow any rules and you can use in any season. If you have a Breton top, you can use during summer, winter, fall or spring because its simple and elegant, the same goes to a crisp white shirt that can be used anytime, anywhere, and mix and match with practically anything in your wardrobe. It never falls out of fashion, because it’s not fashion but a classic piece of cloth that had endured many decades already.

 

2. Create a journal for your fashion style

Keep a journal or sketchbook with notes about styles that you like, types and shapes of clothes that are flattering to your body shape, colours and fabrics that appeal to you. This notebook was a great idea for me because it really helped me to find my own style. Another great idea is to create a fashion board vision on Pinterest. If you already have a fashion board on Pinterest, create another board with only the pictures that really catches your attention and you can see yourself wearing it. Choose pictures that have colours or fabrics that you like, styles that you would love to wear and outfits that you are dying to try on. This board will be the basis for your style.

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3. De-Clutter

Now is time for the purge. Remove all clothes from your wardrobe/closet/rack and try on every piece in front of a full-length mirror and be very critical about how does it fit and look on you. Does it fit perfect for your body shape and lifestyle? Do you love it? Can you wear it with at least 3 other pieces in your wardrobe? If you answered yes to all the questions, then you should keep. Otherwise, I believe it’s a piece to throw on the donate/sell pile. I know how hard sometimes is to get rid off of clothes for whatever the reason.

I had in my closet a dress that I’ve worn in the New Year’s Eve of 2011 just before I’ve got pregnant. At that time I was weighing 56 Kg, so I’ve kept the dress with the hope that someday I was going to lose weight and be able to use it again. After 6 years I’ve finally managed to lose the weight, but when I’ve tried the dress on, it didn’t look good, it fitted but it wasn’t my style anymore. Why on earth did I’ve kept that dress for 6 years if I didn’t even like the dress that much? Just to prove to myself that one day I would be able to fit in it again? Sometimes we get attached to things that are not even important anymore.

So, please don’t get too sentimental, because it’s not worth it. Clothes are replaceable and you can buy a new one and even better than the one you had before. The woman body changes a lot and we have to be able to adapt to those changes during our lifetime. Clothes that have fitted you perfect before, might not fit you perfect now anymore. After pregnancy, the body changes a lot and even when you get to your before pregnancy weight, you still might not have the same measurements on your bust, waist and hips.

4. Make a shopping list

After you’ve decluttered, now is time to fill the gaps in your wardrobe. Make a list of all clothes that you will need to buy according to your style. Start with ‘the bones’ ones. These are the pieces that are very essential to any wardrobe, like a classic trench coat, a pair of black heels, jeans that fit you perfect and so on. Go back to the book and find out which pieces you don’t have and you will need to buy, list them in order of preference/importance. Don’t feel obliged to have every piece of clothing that is listed in the book. Buy what fits your lifestyle.

Add everything to the list, from clothes to shoes, accessories, jewellery, bags, hats and even underwear and activewear. I have a spread page on my bullet journal with the list of everything that I wish to buy. I have a section just for underwear, that I’ve called intimates, these are the ones that you have to replace constantly, so they are always going to be part of my list. But other items like snow boots, if you buy a good quality one that will last for a few years, you won’t need to have it again in your next year list and so on. Every year you will have to update your list with the items that you will migrate from the previous year, that you didn’t buy yet, plus new items that you might need to add to your new list.

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Editing your wardrobe will be a constant work that will require your attention, so you don’t end up with a cluttered closet again or with pieces of clothing that you are not using anymore.

A good way to keep your closet streamlined is to have a clear-out at least twice a year. End of winter and before spring is a good time to go through your fall and winter clothes, if there is any item that you haven’t used once on the last season, send it to a charity or donate. If you haven’t used now, you probably won’t be using next fall/winter season. Do this purge again at the end of summer with your spring/summer wardrobe. With this routine every year you will be able to keep a closet that will always work for you without unnecessary items that will be on your way every morning.

 

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Spring in Paris Capsule wardrobe

I believe we are all longing for a warm weather to make us forget about this long freezing winter in Toronto. Spring is all that we are looking forward now, and I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the word spring, Paris comes to my mind. I think there is no better place then spend a few days in Paris, during the spring.

But, not always is possible to go to Paris, especially those living on the other side of the Atlantic. When I was in London it was much easier to go to Paris, not cheap, but easier. Now, that I’m in Toronto, I just have to imagine I’m in Paris and dress like it.

I’ve been rummaging my wardrobe and preparing already some outfits for spring, and nothing is better than the classics to start off. What is more Parisian than a Breton top, a trench coat and a scarf? Complement them with a pair of leopard flat, a great neutral tote bag and navy trousers or jeans. There you are, the perfect outfit for sightseeing or an afternoon tea/coffee with friends or shopping at the mall.

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With some basic neutral pieces and a few colourful ones, you can create a great capsule wardrobe for spring. I went with beige, grey and navy as neutral, then I added the blush pink, royal blue, coral/red and yellow as my accents colours.
In this capsule wardrobe, I have 4 outerwear: 1 trench coat + 1 jacket + 1 cardigan + 1 spring coat. Then I’ve added 2 dresses, 4 trousers, 1 skirt, 6 tops, 4 shoes and 3 bags, but as the tote bag is also reversible giving you a total of 4 bags. Finally, I’ve added the accessories: jewelry, sunglasses, scarves and belt.

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With 33 pieces, I’ve created so far 13 outfits, but there is still room to create plenty more outfits, I could practically match the skirt with all tops from the collection, they would all look great with the floral skirt. Just adding one nice sneaker and one solid colour heel shoes will also give me more options to create extra outfits. The neutral tote from JustFab is reversible and turns into a red tote, which is amazing, two bags in one.

How did I choose these colour scheme? Well, most of the colour I already have in my wardrobe. For instance, the yellow trousers and bag, the red top, the jeans obviously, everybody has one, the Breton top I also already own one, along with the leopard shoes, trench coat, red shoes, sneakers and a few more. So it makes easier to work with what you have already, to avoid spending too much money. There are three items from this collection that I will definitely buy them, the Royal Blue Lily coat from Avon, the Floral Plunge Skater dress from Topshop and the Ace Reversible Tote from JustFab in cognac/red

This is going to be the colour scheme for my spring wardrobe this year and I will create more outfits out of all those clothes. The idea is to have at least 2 or 3 neutral base colour and then choose your accent colour according to your style. Don’t forget to also play with texture. In my collection, I have silk, cotton, chunky cable knit, chiffon and jersey. The mixture of different fabric and weight gives an interesting layout. There are no rules to follow just your instinct, if it’s working for you, it’s good.

If you would like to have a close look at each outfit that I have created on Polyvore, please click here. See you next week.

 

 

Forget about spring clean, if you are moving abroad you have to major declutter.

At this time of the year a lot of you are looking for tips and advice on how to spring clean and de-clutter your homes and closets, but for a few of you probably will need more than just a spring clean.

How to major declutter

As I said in my previous post, we just moved country, from the UK to Canada so you might already guess that we don’t have much with us at the moment. We only came with a few suitcases and most of our stuff were left in a storage unit in London, to be shipped later, when we find a permanent place to live.

My spring clean this year in fact started last year when I had to eliminate most of our things in order to be ready for the big move. We’ve decided that we weren’t bringing any furniture or electronics like TV and small kitchen appliances. Electronics wouldn’t work here anyway. Most of the things were sold, freecycled, donated or passed on to our family.

Here is how I did this major declutter and how you can do it too. I didn’t want to ship to Canada anything that we probably wouldn’t use. I would be wasting money and time to pack things that weren’t important. But, how do you select what it’s important and what’s not? Since you will be restarting your life in another country and you will need everything to furnish your new home, everything seems important, right?

Well, not exactly. Some things are important because you use it daily but you can buy new ones in the new country, those I’ve decided to call the replaceable ones. Others are not important to take with you because you are not using them anymore and some are very, very important to take because they are the irreplaceable items.

On the replaceable list, it’s everything that you are using at the moment and you will need to use at the new place, but you can buy those items in the new country.  A few examples would be furniture, electronics like TV, sound system and appliances, if the voltage is different you won’t be able to use them. Kitchen utensils, decor objects, rugs, lighting, printer, sewing machine, power tools, sports equipment and so on. Everything that doesn’t have sentimental meaning and can be replaced can go on this listing.

It’s important to keep a copy of this list with you because you will need it to buy all those items again when you get to the new country. You can even put them in order of importance to buy, because if you have a limited budget, or you don’t want to spend all your budget at once, probably you will want to buy first the items that are more important for your daily lives, like kettle, coffee maker, microwave, hair drier, bed and mattress, table and chairs, sofa, etc. Other things that are less important, like a sewing machine, printer, power tools, you can buy later on as you need it.

For the not using any more items, here you can add everything that you haven’t used for while and you probably won’t be using again. These are the items that you can get rid off and don’t need to replace them. On this list, I had my daughter’s toys that she wasn’t playing anymore, books that I wasn’t planning to read again, a drawing board that wasn’t using because I have another one, clothing, shoes, etc.

On this list, you have to try to add as many items as possible because here is where the de-clutter is happening. Without this list, you will not be doing any de-clutter, and de-clutter is very important on a moving because you are getting rid off of stuff that you don’t use it anymore, items that are taking up spaces, items that are gathering dust and not being useful at all. My major closet makeover went on this list. I’ve donated many clothes and shoes and I didn’t regret at all. I’m not missing them and won’t. It was such a relief to get rid off of clothes and shoes that were just taking up spaces. And why would I bring all those clothes and shoes to another country if I wouldn’t be using them right?

On the third list, the irreplaceable list, you can have everything that is important to keep and to bring with you, no matter what. Here you can add, photo albums, important documents, travel keepsakes and mementos, decor objects that have personal meanings, antique, vintage and retro items that have some value and/or sentimental meanings, like inheritance furniture. You can keep everything that you won’t be able to replace them or have an attached importance to you or your family.

I’ve kept some vintage and old books, a retro typewriter, antique picture frames, two small vintage chairs from my daughter’s bedroom, her toys, books and other items that she’s got as gifts from family and things that she still uses and plays with it. These are things that you won’t be able to find an exact replacement, so if you really like it, keep it.

Talking about my daughter’s toys and books, when you move to another country with children, for them will be a great impact to restart, make new friends, get used with food and other impacts that might have on their lives. So, to minimize this impact I thought that was important to bring most of her things to make her feel at home, even in a different place.

We’ve packed in our suitcases some toys, books and things that she was currently using it and the rest of them were left in storage. When we were selecting the items, I’ve let her choose what she wanted to keep and what she wanted to donate or sell. Letting them be part of the process can also help them to understand the meaning of moving to another country.

At the end, our storage unit was 15sq feet, about the size of a small walk-in closet. It’s not much, I know, but as I said in the title if you are moving abroad, you have to major de-clutter. It’s easier to de-clutter before moving because will make it easier to restart in another place with less baggage, less clutter. We are restarting our life, so let’s restart afresh.

One last note, every person and family is different. If you have a big budget and you have really nice and expensive furniture that you wish to take with you, go on, do it. I would do it too if I had a bigger budget and expensive furniture. Otherwise, if you feel that you can replace with a similar one, even if it’s antique or vintage than you can get rid off. It’s up to you what you decide to call important or not, what is replaceable or not.

If you have any question about how I’ve created my listings and other details that you would like to know, please get in touch. Until next week.