Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Perfect Summertime Picnic

When summer rolls around, all I want to do is sit outside, drink lemonade and chat with friends. So one of my favourite things to do is have a picnic!

 I recently invited a few friends over and set up the perfect picnic - without the grass and ants - and I wanted to show you how I plan and create a backyard oasis. 

The first thing you need is an outdoor space, whether you have a back porch like me, a yard or even a local park. You can use picnic tables or outdoor furniture or even just a blanket on some grass. 

Next you need a theme, it can be anything you want but I chose to do a shabby chic garden party. Once you have a theme locked down, then try to find some inspiration around you. Use dishes and knick knacks that you already have, you will be surprised at what you can create with everyday items. Don't be afraid to DIY! 

Next, check out Pinterest for printable banners and labels, they can really add a pop of fun and bring the theme together.

Then, hit up stores like Target, Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Dollartree for the little accents. My plates, cake stands, straws and napkins are all from the PoppyTalk collection at Target and they were such a fun and inexpensive way to add some floral inspiration. 

Of course, I couldn't have a garden party theme without some flowers so I made sure to decorate with plenty of fake flowers - my cats eat real ones - as well as ones made from paper! I was also so lucky that my friend offered to bring her gorgeous hand painted floral wine glasses! 

And of course, you can't have a picnic without some yummy food! This is where Pinterest is going to be your best friend, because there are so many creative ideas for simple summertime snacks that you would never think of. 

I wanted to keep my menu really fresh and lightweight to counteract the amazing desserts that were bound to be eaten!So I started out with a super yummy but simple strawberry lemonade and then carried that theme through with a watermelon and feta salad, strawberry and greek yogurt parfaits and fruit and timbit (donut holes) skewers. I also offered two types of sandwiches, starting with my favourite cucumber and cream cheese and then Italian salami and havarti. 

Then of course to top it all off, I had red velvet cupcakes, and donuts - my favourite treat!

Once you have all of those steps down you are ready to invite some friends over and have an amazing day in the sun! Don't forget to play some music and maybe play a game or two. 

I hope you found some inspiration and that you throw your own picnic! I have linked as many things as I can but check out my Pinterest for more fun ideas and DIY's. 


Monday, 28 July 2014

The Perfect Summer Salad | Recipe

I bet I know what you're thinking, that's not a salad! But I promise, it is! It is an amazingly delicious, super refreshing, perfect for summer, watermelon and feta salad! 

I first found this recipe on Pinterest last summer and kind of forgot about it, but this year it has been one of my absolute favourite lunch time snacks. The recipe is so incredibly simple and you can customize it to your preferences, so it's perfect for parties as well! 

Watermelon Feta Salad

-1/2 a medium seedless watermelon
-1/2 cup crumbled up feta cheese
-fresh mint leaves to taste

Cut up your watermelon into small chunks and pat with a paper towel to take away excess moisture. Then place into a large bowl with enough room to mix! Cut up your feta into small chunks and then crumble them into the bowl with your hands. Combine into the bowl and mix slowly to coat the watermelon in the feta. Lastly top with some chopped up mint leaves and mix again. And that's it! 

You can always personalize the recipe by sprinkling with balsamic vinegar or using basil instead of mint. No matter what you do, this dish is so perfect for summer. It is light, fresh and seriously delicious. The saltiness of the cheese is the perfect contrast to the sweet watermelon and the mint adds a bit of a refreshing bite. 

Try it out for yourself, you might love it!


The Sunday Post

After years of not understanding the hype with Nutella, I now get it. I've been snacking on berries and Nutella all week long!

I've been really ill for the past week and this little one has been keeping me company with cuddles and kisses. 

I had a photoshoot with a friend the other day, she was modeling for a future post. Little Snow really wanted to join in on the fun. 

Can you say oh my god? Tim Hortons recently released an Oreo donut and I am a sucker for Oreos so I had to try one. I think it was sweet enough to last me a lifetime. 

How was your week?


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Style Stunner | Emma Watson

Welcome to a new series on La Belle Sirene - Style Stunner. I don't know about you but I am always keeping an eye out for the latest fashion and upcoming trends. I can find bits of inspiration everywhere either from a blog, in a magazine or on a celebrity and I like to combine them to enhance my own personal style. 

I've not actually ever talked about my personal style or inspiration in depth so I thought it might be fun to start a new series where I disect the current trends and make them more applicable to you - and me - while also highlighting my favourite fashionistas. Starting today with one of my style icons - Emma Watson. 

Emma Watson is someone who has inspired me since I was a teenager, growing up I loved her carefree feminine style and now she has really proven that fashion is a part of her identity - as it is with mine. Emma has no qualms about dressing for herself, she has always been very individual in her choices and not one to follow the crowd. She has embraced her style whole-heartedly and I admire that. No matter what she is wearing - a formal gown or a casual outfit to run errands - she always gives off a vibe of sophistication. Emma's outfits are always classicly fashionable with a feminine silhouette but she is not afraid to experiment with the unusual. She likes to mix soft and hard textures and create interest with different fabrics and colours. Overall she is a risk taker but in a classic way, she interprets trends and makes them her own by sticking with a modern chic base and then playing off of that foundation. 

I hope you enjoy this new series and I hope it will help you find inspiration and feel more confident in your style choices to become your very own Style Stunner. 

If there is a person or trend you would like to see highlighted, please comment below! 


Friday, 25 July 2014

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge | The Review

Every girl wants flawless skin, no matter the age, skin type or problem areas, the skin is where it all counts. It seems like it should be so easy, cover your face with foundation and voila perfect skin, but we all know that is not reality. I have very uncooperative skin that is prone to patchiness and foundation tends to have trouble adhering to my nose and it will rub straight off. I have tried countless foundations and I've always had the same issue so I assumed it was due to application techniques. After doing a bit of research I decided to order the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge and hope that it would answer my prayers, well it did. 

The idea of applying my makeup with a sponge had never appealed to me before, I had heard of the Beauty Blender but I shied away from the high price tag and all of the "dupes" just had too many negative reviews. It wasn't until I came across the Real Techniques option that I decided to bite the bullet and I am so happy that i did. 

The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is a dense orange sponge with a specific shaped design that offers three different purposes, the rounded sides are intended to blend large areas of the face, the flat edge is for around the nose and the eyes and the pointed tip is for covering blemishes and imperfections. It is intended to be used wet to stipple or pat foundation into the skin. When you wet it down, the sponge grows to about double in size and becomes much squishier and more flexible. It develops quite a soft texture that is really gentle on the skin and makes application really enjoyable. You can cover large sections of your face really quickly and it blends beautifully, even sticking to my pesky nose! The finish it provides is simply stunning, your skin looks airbrushed to the point of perfection and I think it really draws out the best aspects of your foundations, giving you truly perfect skin. I also love to use it with concealer to blend out the edges of my under eye corrector and to smooth out the look of any blemishes. 

The Real Technique Miracle Complexion Sponge is truly a miracle, it has completely changed the way foundation looks on my face and I am no longer suffering with patchy uncooperative skin. It does take a bit more time and effort to pat into the skin than it does to use a brush but I find the finish is far better and well worth it. If you are looking for a change or if you are dealing with application issues then give this sponge a try, it really will change your world. 

You can purchase the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge on the Real Techniques Website for $6.00. 


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

James North Art Crawl | A Hamilton Tradition

A couple weeks ago I met up with a few friends to partake in a Hamilton tradition, the James Street North Art Crawl. I've attended Art Crawl since I was in highschool and it has always been one of my favourite things to do in the summer - not so much in the freezing snow - but this night was probably the best yet! 

The James North Art Crawl is a street festival that focuses on the celebration of art and local businesses. On the second Friday of every month, art galleries along James Street North open up their doors to welcome the public inside to view their exhibitions free of charge. Apart from the established galleries, live art exhibitions "pop up" on the street and artists of all ages and backgrounds set up stalls to sell their work. You can even participate in community projects where you can paint on the sidewalk or even the walls of an old building.

While you wander down the street you can visit local shops and restaurants and some even have sales for just that night. My friends and I decided to have dinner at one of our favourite spots, Charred, a rotisserie chicken house, and I got the amazing piri piri chicken poutine. Once we were completely stuffed we headed out to check out a few of the vendors.

 Art Crawl is an experience, walking around you are thrown into an intense atmosphere that surrounds you in excitement and an energy of creativity. There are hundreds of people on one small street, all with individual identities and opinions on art and together they help to create a familial feeling. Art Crawl brings everyone together to support and celebrate the community in which we live, it really is quite magical. One of my favourite places to immerse myself in this feeling is the James North General Store with their secret art gallery in an alley behind their shop. 

Live music is a must for Art Crawl and there is definitely no shortage, I spotted at least 6 different live bands not to mention the DJ's and music playing from shops. 

We walked around for a couple of hours and then ended up at the old Tivoli Theatre, which is now a community garden of sorts. As the sun started to go down we watched a dance off and shopped for vintage treats in an old camper van before topping the night off with a fire dance! 

Art Crawl is one of my favourite events in Hamilton and it definitely sets us apart from other cities. As a community we have grown to appreciate creative arts and it is such a beautiful thing to be able to participate in. I always have such an amazing time and I can't wait until next month!


Monday, 21 July 2014

New In | Maybelline New York The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

Can we just take a minute to squeal in delight? A 12 pan palette from the drugstore? It's about time! Thank you Maybelline for listening to us beauty addicts and stepping up the drugstore game! 

Following in the footsteps of the big name high end brands like Urban Decay and Lorac, Maybelline has released a multipan eyeshadow palette and it has more than 5 shades! It was an incredibly smart move on their behalf, they obviously did their research and discovered what their consumer really wanted - neutral based eyeshadows in a convenient palette that provided options. Us makeup lovers like to play with our eyeshadows, we don't often follow the diagrams on the back of a quad in favour of making it up on our own, so we want group of good quality shadows that we can mix and match. The question is, did Maybelline pull it off?

Maybelline's The Nudes palette has pretty fantastic packaging. It is a sleek, black plastic palette with a sturdy closure. It feels quite well made and all of the pans seem really well attached. The slim design is very classic and chic making the palette feel timeless and more expensive. 
For those of us who are not yet confident enough to design our own combinations, Maybelline has split the shadows into quads, trios and duos with corresponding diagrams on the back of the palette. 

The shadows themselves come in varying shades of brown, taupe, gold and beige with a mixture of matte and satin finishes. The best bit is, there is absolutely no glitter to be seen! When it comes to quality, there is a little left to be desired. The texture of the shadows varies from one to the next, most of them are nice and creamy while a few are more powdery and dry. The same can be said in terms of pigmentation, some are vibrant while others are quite sheer. The interesting thing is that the shadows seem to transform when applied to the eyes, they become incredibly creamy and smooth and they blend beautifully. 

Overall, this palette leaves me a bit confused. While I LOVE the concept and the palette itself is incredibly well thought out with its mix of cool and warm tones and lighter to darker shades, I am a bit disappointed by the formula. I know that Maybelline can create beautifully pigmented shadows - their Color Plush Silk Eyeshadows for example - so I expected better. Then the fact that they magically transform on the lids leaves me excited but again confused. 

So in my opinion, I think that The Nudes palette is a great big step in the right direction for the drugstore and I think it is an awesome addition to any makeup collection, big or small, but I do not think you need it. If you are an avid Urban Decay Naked Palette collector, you might be disappointed but for eyeshadow novices or even people just starting to build up their confidence, I think it is the perfect place to start. So good job Maybelline. 

The Nudes Palette is available now at drugstores in the US and Canada - I purchased mine for $14.99 and they will be two more palettes from this series - The Brights and The Smokes - releasing in the coming months. 


Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Sunday Post

Found this beautiful milk jug trio at Accoutrement on Monday, for only $7! I have been looking for something like this for so long, you can do so much with it! For now it holds flowers but it can also be used for cutlery! 

Monday was also my beautiful friend Heather's 24th birthday and we spent the day shopping and then watched way too many movies and devoured some yummy cheesecake! 

This beautiful package arrived on Thursday and I was so excited! I love the pink and blue tissue paper, it was such a fun package to open. I can't wait to play with these beautiful Trust Fund Beauty nail polishes. 

I was seriously excited to find this at the grocery store and I had to try it! I'm obsessed with Kale and I love a good salad so I thought it would be amazing, sadly it was not very nice. 

How was your week?


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Style Saturday | Forties Flare

Another day, another vintage inspired outfit. I really quite like a simple silhouette with classic vintage inspired aspects. I loved the days when women wore very clean but feminine dresses with gorgeous patterns and colours that flattered their natural beauty, it can be difficult to find such pieces today so instead I look for inspired items. This dress is something I've had for a few years and it continues to be one of my favourites. It is a slim fitting dress made of silk, that is a deep navy blue with a yellow, pink and orange floral pattern. It has a faux wrap neckline that has a bit of a cowl to it and also a tie at the waist. It also has pockets that are amazing but they do add some bulk at the hips. I have worn this dress in many ways, it can be dressed up for work or a night out, it is formal enough for a wedding or you can dress it down with sandals and casual makeup.

Dress - Aritzia / Shoes - Old Navy / Handbag - Globo Shoes


Friday, 18 July 2014

New In | Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains

Ever since YSL came out with their groundbreaking Glossy Stains, both drugstore and highend brands have been desperately trying to replicate them. The hybrid lipstick-gloss-balm formula was completely unique and unknown to the beauty world and while many have tried to recreate it, no one has truly succeeded. The quest for the perfect "dupe" is now over because Revlon's new Colorstay Moisture Stains are in a league of their own. 

Revlon has knocked it out of the park with their newest release, the Colorstay Moisture Stains. They are available in 12 stunning shades and they promise "the shine of a gloss, moisture of a balm, longwear of a stain and the opaque coverage of a lipstick". The difference between these and other hybrid products on the market is that Revlon actually got it right. 

Can we take a minute to talk about the packaging? It's amazing. The Moisture Stains are housed in rectangular acrylic tubes with black trimming and a clear center to show off the colour inside. The concept is so simple and sleek and it lets the focus lay on the product inside. In my opinion, Revlon chose the perfect packaging to set themselves apart and to portray a high end feel. The applicator is pretty amazing as well, it is an angled doe-foot with a wedge shape and a pointed tip that is literally the perfect shape and size to line and fill in the lips. 

Now, while the packaging is beautiful, the formula is even better. The Moisture Stains are thicker in consistency, leaning more towards a creamy gel or a liquid lip balm that just glides on leaving a bright bold glossy lip. I like to apply by lining the lips with the tip and then filling in the middle in thin layers to achieve full opacity and a smooth finish but i can also just throw it on in one swipe and achieve the same intensely pigmented colour. When on, they are incredibly moisturizing and they feel amazingly comfortable, there is no drying, feathering or migrating whatsoever. I find that you need to let this product set so it is best to leave your mouth open and not touch your lips for a minute or so. This will prevent any transfering. The glossiness lasts a good 3-4 hours before it just fades away cleanly and you are left with a beautiful stain. 

The three shades that I own are (L-R) 025 Cannes Crush (a bright orangey coral), 001 India Intrigue (a cool blue based pink), and 015 Barcelona Nights (a bright fuschia). They are all equal in pigmentation and formula and all apply beautifully.  

The Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains deliver on everything they promise, they are the most beautiful lip product you can get at the drugstore right now. The pigmentation is out of this world, they are insanely comfortable to wear and the stain they leave behind is gorgeous. If you can only buy one thing this month, pick one of these up and you will not be disappointed. 

The Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains retail at $12.99 and are available now. 

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