Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sephora VIB Sale Haul

This is a little late, but I still wanted to share what I got from Sephora during the VIB Sale. I am really trying to use up my makeup, rather than adding more, but there were a few things that I consider staples that needed replenishing.

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation
Phew! That's a long name. I actually haven't used this foundation in over a year, since I have been using up foundations I have on hand and have found others that I really like, but I recommended it to two friends that I will be doing wedding day makeup for, so I decided to order some for myself again. I bought two shades, one which is for those two friends (they have similar skin tones) and one that I thought was perfect for me, but it turns out I'm actually not the palest ever when it comes to this foundation - who would have thought?! I was already planning on mixing the two to get the perfect colour for my friends, so that's what I've been doing for myself too. I like it a lot, but I'm not sure if it's actually a favourite.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
This is my absolute favourite concealer. I typically have two shades on hand: Chantilly and Vanilla (the two lightest shades). Chantilly is my winter colour/perfect for undereye highlighting and Vanilla is my skin tone matching shade. Since we're heading in to the warmer months, I only picked up Vanilla this time around. It's always so satisfying to me to have a newly opened product - it's such a big shift going from scraping the sides of the container (only to have to dip in a couple times) to having a brand-new, super full tube.

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream
I have to admit something. I have really been off my eye cream game lately. I have been a huge fan of eye cream since I was 18 or so. I generally have 2 or 3 different ones on the go at a time. They're fun to try, and they're that little bit of luxury in your everyday routine. However, I have really been trying to actually use the beauty items I have on hand as well as save my money for a few different goals. I guess that turned in to me finishing up my last eye cream and not replacing it? I don't even know when it actually happened, all I know is that it's been a few months or more. It was fine for the first little bit, but lately I have definitely noticed my eye area being more dry, concealer not applying as well as it should/usually does, and the fine lines have been really prominent. Once I made the connection I knew I needed this eye cream to help get me back on track. Within a few applications I was already seeing a difference in hydration and now, a couple weeks in, I already feel back to my usual smooth, healthy, and hydrated place.

Did you get anything from the Sephora Beauty Insider, VIB, or VIB Rouge Sale? What items are your essentials to stock up on when this sale comes around? Please let me know in the comments!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pre-Wedding Events - To Gift, or Not to Gift?

I'm continuing on from my recent post about Bachelorette Party Gift Ideas and bringing you an overview of gift-giving for pre-wedding events. I hope to hear about your experiences in the comments!

There are many pre-wedding events these days; I have heard of engagement parties, wedding socials, combined stag and does, separate stags and stagettes (or bachelorette parties), wedding showers, and a quick Google search turned up even more festivities. How does one decide which events to bring a gift to? And what is an appropriate gift for each event?

The short answer is, it's completely up to you! The bride and groom are honoured by your support and attendance, and expect nothing more. That being said, if you desire to give the couple a gift (or multiple gifts for different events), what is appropriate?

Each geographic area and social group has a slightly different set of guidelines when it comes to gift-giving at these pre-wedding events. If you are truly at a loss, you could ask someone in your social circle what they think, or you could do a Google search including your particular area.

I am from the province of Saskatchewan in Canada, and I have found some generalities that usually ring true, but there are still some slight differences that I will try to note.

Engagement Party
The engagement parties that I have attended have usually been pretty low-key; it's an excuse for everyone to get together for a good, prairie party, and gifts are generally not given. Close friends and family have sometimes been known to bring a card which can be accompanied by marriage advice or preparation books, a bottle of wine, or something small to help the party along (think a cheese board, food for the party, a specialty liqueur, etc.)

Wedding Social / Stag and Doe
To be honest, I had never heard of these until some of my friends and family from Manitoba and Ontario were getting engaged and married. This just isn't really a Saskatchewan thing. However, from what I've been able to gather, these events serve as a fundraiser for the wedding where both the bride and groom attend with their friends and family. Guests purchase tickets to attend and there are fun activities at the event such as casino games, carnival games, 50/50 draws, a cash bar, and more. These activities vary based on the provincial licensing board (which may explain why Saskatchewan doesn't really have these events). This event often (but not always!) takes the place of both the engagement party and the next event I'm going to talk about, the bridal shower.

Bridal Shower
The bridal shower was once a pretty big deal around here, but in more modern times it is sometimes skipped in the pre-wedding festivities. Traditionally, this event was hosted by the bridesmaids and/or the mothers of the bride and groom for the bride, and a very wide and general invitation was sent out to women of the community (the older ladies from church and the little girls once babysat by the bride included), whether invited to the wedding or not. The gifts for this event were typically purchased off of the registry, or were simple/small things that are often overlooked but quite necessary to help a home function (lots of tea towels and wooden spoons!). These days, houses are often well-equipped by the time a wedding happens, so gifts of this nature are not as necessary and sometimes the event does not happen altogether. I have still attended quite a few bridal showers, but they have usually been for brides that have not lived with their fiancĂ© before marriage. Even if the couple has not created and filled a home together, they often have their own household items to combine, so the gift giving has still changed. Gifts directed more towards the bride are extremely common, like aprons, beauty products, spa gift certificates, date night packages, hobby sets, etc. Sometimes the person organizing the bridal shower will give ideas for gifts, if you wish to bring one, or else it is appropriate to ask them if nothing is shared directly.

Stag & Stagette/Bachelorette Party
These are the parties for the groom and the bride where the other is typically not invited. Seen as a "last wild night" for the soon to be married, these parties come in all shapes and sizes. Gifts are rare for the male parties, but the stagette (or bachelorette party) sometimes has a gift-giving component. If there are gifts at the bachelorette party, it is typically lingerie for the bride, or something in that vein. If this is something the group does, there is usually mention of it by the bridal party or the person organizing the event. They will typically share the brides sizes and mention what her tastes are. This party is usually for the younger women, and those closer to the bride - but sometimes the mother of the bride, the mother of the groom, and other important, mature women are included (which might affect what type of gifts are received lol). Check out my post on Bachelorette Party Gift Ideas to help you decide on a gift!

That's my experience with pre-wedding festivities and gift-giving! How about you, what are your experiences? Are there any pre-wedding events that are typical for your area that I didn't mention? Topics such as this fascinate me, so I would love to hear what your areas and groups of friends do!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

We Are Engaged!

Daniel and I are engaged! He completely surprised me and I wouldn't have it any other way.

We had talked about marriage, and we knew that was where we were heading, but I had no idea about the timing. When Daniel asked me to marry him after Mass and Adoration on Holy Thursday, I was completely surprised and said "Yes, of course!" We tried our best to properly observe the solemnity of Good Friday, while still rejoicing and telling our family. With this in mind, we held off telling our close friends until Easter Sunday (okay, maybe a few were on Saturday!) when we could properly rejoice and celebrate.

We're still in the early stages of planning, but are looking at a December 2016 wedding. If any of you have planned a winter wedding, please share your tips!

I have mentioned Dan in the past, though not by name, but, for the most part, I kept him off the blog. He's not really that into social media and it just made sense. It will likely stay that way going forward, but he gave me the go-ahead to announce our engagement here :).

We are super excited to take this big step together!

P.S. I did not mean to time this post so well with other wedding-related posts! (Bachelorette Party Gift Ideas yesterday, and Pre-Wedding Events - To Gift, or Not to Gift? tomorrow) I have quite a few very close friends getting married in the next few months, so that was the inspiration for those posts. Kind of fun how it worked out!
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