I (wanna) Whip My Hair Back & Forth

 

If you’ve read any of my skincare posts, you’ll note that I am a *wash, go, glow* kinda gal. I don’t like to spend a ton of time with LED gadgets and sheet masks. I’ll pay the ADHD tax: if it works and saves me time, I’ll use it ’til it doesn’t. My haircare routine needs to be simple and straightforward. This year, my haircare routine has been from the inside out.

Until October of 2019, my main mane had really never given me any attitude. I would have been pleased if it grew a little faster, but ultimately it was pretty resilient given that I had been nearly every colour under the sun (click here for my pumpkin head and the creamsicle fix). I had been platinum blonde for about 3 years. The upkeep was insanely time consuming, it was (of course!) drastically damaging, and I was starting to feel really feel inauthentic.

How anyone thought I was anything but a bottle blonde was beyond me, and in October of 2019 I not only returned to my roots (well, not the gray ones), but I chopped a good chunk right off. This is when my stress really started to catch up with me. For the next year or so, my Leo locks were limp and listless. Not quite the kind of wild and untamed I aimed to be.

Like everyone else in Toronto, 2020 was a year with few haircuts. I dyed my hair at home every 3 months or so; whenever the gray started to be more prominent than I could bear. If you click the image above, you can see on the left that my hair was falling out in chunks and I was clinging to the notion that it looked layered rather than entirely unhealthy.

In August I had wanted to get a trim to rid myself of split ends, but ultimately had to take the length to about my chin. My hair was falling out in clumps in the shower and I was getting scared.

 

Nature's Bounty, Biotin, 10,000 mcg, 120 Rapid Release Softgels

Biotin

Biotin (vitamin B7) is one of several vitamins that play a role in the growth of thick and healthy hair. Studies have shown that use of biotin produces a significant increase in hair growth in people with a deficiency. Biotin stimulates keratin production in hair and can increase the rate of follicle growth. Bonus: My nails have finally gotten to a length where I can get cute nail art!

Viviscal

While biotin is an important ingredient in most effective hair growth vitamins, it is not the only one. In the summer of 2019 I was introduced to Viviscal. I heard many stories about women who were working with entirely new bodies after pregnancy – including their hair. I didn’t think my life had really changed all that much, I mean – I hadn’t birthed life or anything.

Stress can manifest in some pretty intense ways, and I guess this was how my body was handling what my heart and mind refused to let in. I had a couple of packages of the supplements kicking around, and thought I should give it a go.

“Viviscal Extra Strength dietary supplements contain the exclusive marine complex Amino Mar C™ as well as Iron, Niacin, Biotin, Zinc, Vitamin C and Horsetail Extract to nourish hair from within. Viviscal Extra Strength has been scientifically proven to nourish thinning hair and promote existing hair growth.”

Truth be told, I’m very sensitive to scent, so the topical products aren’t 100% for me. I take 2 tabs of Viviscal (of the recommended 4) and supplement with additional biotin every day. I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I’ve noticed a big, bold change in the way my hair has responded.

9 Reasons to Try A Deep Conditioner | Biolage

Biolage

My bathroom looks like a small-town drugstore. I have a shelving unit packed to the brim with skincare and hair products, and you would think that I had 5 roommates if you looked in my shower. I get a sent a plethora of products to review, and they’re not always great. Biolage was a pleasant change. I use the products to follow every time I wash and style my hair.

Biolage All-In-One Coconut Infusion Multi-Benefit Spray

All-In-One Coconut Infusion Multi-Benefit Treatment Spray

This product is for all hair textures and types. It can be used on wet or dry hair, but I spray my brush with as a leave-in conditioner to detangle my hair before blow-drying, but you could rinse it after a minute or two. It helps to enhance shine, fight frizz, detangle, protect from heat, prevent split ends. The scent is very mild and features notes of mandarin, rose and sandalwood.

Ultra HydraSource Shampoo and Conditioner for Very Dry Hair

Travel Size Argan Oil Treatment 3.4oz

Argan Oil

I get my Argan Oil at Sally Beauty Supply where I also pick up my Wella hair dye. I think my stylist might kill me if I used box dye, but it’s a Global Panna Cotta and at-home styling is the only option. Agran Oil is high in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E. It helps to hydrate and soften hair.

John Frieda Weightless Wonder Smoothing Crème

This aloe water-infused formula is designed for fine frizzy hair, but it tames my thick tresses well. If I’m not looking for the ultra-shine from argan oil, I’ll use this product to smooth and hydrate my hair without weighing it down. While it can be used on wet hair, I actually prefer to use a tiny bit for problem areas once my hair is dry and has been styled.

Water

I drink about 4 litres of water at my desk throughout the course of the day. Since I upped my water intake, my hair and skin have really responded. Think about it – we’re made up of 70% water. We’re really just houseplants with complicated emotions.

A year ago I would have been nervous to put my hair in a ponytail for fear of the elastic ripping it out. Now I practically live with a top knot. Hair loss is a strange and foreign thing. Until I experienced it myself, it just wasn’t on my radar.

What are your holy grail hair products? Let me know in the comments below!

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2020: I Dated More During a Global Pandemic Than I Did the Last 2 Years

Toronto Dating Stories

I’m 33 and a half and am still single. I know – shocker! As we wind down the year, I tend to be reflective. All year I’ve been telling people that 2020 wasn’t as bad as 2019, because 2019 really and truly was a shit year for me and plenty of people I know. The end of 2020 is really giving me a run for my money, however.

Toronto Dating Stories

I’d say it takes at least 2 years to really ground yourself in new surroundings. Even though I’m a Torontonian born and raised (yes, real Toronto, not GTA) every time I’ve returned it’s been like I’m brand new and all kinds of lost. 2018 and 2019 I met a lot of people, and in 2020 it appears I’ve tried a few on for size at boyfriend auditions.

Toronto Dating Stories

I’ve met some really shitty people here. I’m sad to say my hometown is full of ’em. Hell – I’ve been a pretty shitty person on plenty of occasions. Perhaps that’s why I was recently the target of a catfishing affair. I think I know who it was. This person will feel very vindicated for the aforementioned declaration that I was a shitty person, but in that scenario I was only the villain because they adore playing the victim. They are selfish and toxic and though I’m sad to have had to create a boundary with them, I really don’t miss their energy and how it effected me. Scroll down to the end for more on that *fun* story time.

Toronto Dating Stories

Since February 2020 I’ve lived alone. My home office from which I’ve worked for the past 9 months is 5 feet away from my bed. My “home gym” consisting of two pathetic free weights, a kettle bell, and a stationary bike I had the foresight to buy the first week of the pandemic are tucked away kiddie-corner ten feet from my bed. It’s close quarters here and hard to feel lonely because imagining more than one person’s stuff in this space makes my muscles tense and my heart beat faster than I’d like. Still, this year I’ve dated more than the last two.

Toronto Dating Stories

2020 has been a busy year for finding out exactly who and what I don’t want. Maybe I’ll feel possessed to make this a series down the line, so let’s make a link-able list:

  • Before I moved, I gave the newly-minted lawyer with mommy issues another try. Once was enough this year.
  • My self-proclaimed “Crazy Rich Asian” made appearances up until May, but after two and a half years it just wasn’t going to go anywhere.
  • There was the guy who showed up drunk and heckled the headliner at a comedy bar designed for stoners (genuinely – the quietest comedy bar in existence) pre-covid.
  • Virtual dates never amounted to anything, but made me feel like I was doing something new and cool during a time where the entire world was on pause.
  • One virtual date escalated to a socially distant walk. He talked about toilet paper brands for at least 4 blocks.
  • There was the Hollywood Director who came back to Toronto to finish his feature film. He had ghosted me in November 2019 and by June 2020 was ready to make amends. Candidly – his movie sounds corny with overdone themes. He was so comfortable to be around and I really did like him. Alas, if it could have turned out any other way it would have.
  • The psychiatrist who just wanted to make out on TikTok (I wish this one was a joke, but he’s up there).
  • Mac – the one who ruined Thanksgiving had me commit to exclusivity because of covid while he was putting his dick in whatever would let him up at Yonge & Eglinton. Not giving it up has done me no favours.
  • The date who drove to a coffee shop a 5 minute walk from his place only for me to cut things short after 3 blocks of our “distance date”.
  • A personal trainer who wanted to appear “woke”, but really, really enjoyed his male/ white privilege. Tons of Daddy issues with this one.
  • Kiwi, who I’m pretty sure had the best of intentions, but thought Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and leaving me on read for 3 weeks were pretty cool. Granted, I was in Vancouver for a weekend and didn’t reach out either, but I had kind of assumed things were over.
  • A dude whose entire personality was board games.
  • The one who brought red wine from the freezer and wanted to make-out in a TTC roundabout 15 minutes after meeting.
  • 13 year itch. When I lived in Vancouver this dude took up all the real estate in my heart and mind. He found out I was visiting and asked me out, but bailed the day of, only to attempt a 1:30 AM booty call. Nah, b.
  • A commodities trader who walked with me at a safe distance, then took me somewhere with Christmas lights, Frank Sinatra, and bad dance moves. He claimed there was no spark and he didn’t want to see me the next day. It’s cool – I don’t what what doesn’t want me.
  • The worst texter on the planet. We’re still kind of seeing one another, but I figured if he didn’t text me “Merry Christmas” I’d release the ghost. He did reach out. Santa was good to him. We’ll see if he decides to reach out in 2021.
  • The Catfish. I didn’t send him (her?) any naughty pictures or incriminating information, so sorry if you thought this would be juicier! Just disappointing to have been targeted – especially during the holidays.
@thatgirlcartierStory time/ ##tiktokdoyourmagicplease ##tiktokdoyourthing ##catfished ##catfishedandghosted ##catfishedchallenge ##toronto ##yyz ##dating♬ Whoopty – CJ

Toronto Dating Stories

So there you have it. I may have forgotten some other really boring distance dates (or pre-covid dates – I can barely remember a world without masks and eau de sanitizer), but you have the gist of it all. I have certainly learned what I absolutely do not want, as well as what I do. First and foremost, the vaccine. Baby, I want it. If it was on Tinder I’d swipe right in a heartbeat. Hit me with that love shot, ASAP. Secondly, I’d like an adult man with a kind heart, good communication skills, ambition, and who can make me laugh. My inner child is in a state of perpetual panic these days, so I’m looking for that twin-flame energy that can put my heart, mind, and body at ease. Pretty eyes and nice arms wouldn’t be the worst either.

Cocktails, Highballs, Drinks, Toronto

While most of my closest friends are already happily married and quite established, one of my dearest friends is newly single. Normally, I’d have taken her out to shamelessly flirt with cute boys we’ll never, ever see again. I’d have told her to hold off on downloading the hell-on-Earth apps until absolutely necessary. Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, let’s do this dance – preferably on a table at 2Cats vibrating at just the right frequency so that next year I’m only dating the one.

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Naked Cotton Sheets by White Rabbit Beauty

White Rabbit Naked Cotton Sheets

‘Tis the season for better skincare, ladies and gentlemen! I recently saw a post from a family member asking for skincare recommendations since she prided herself on great, but aging, skin using just soap and water. I can’t judge. Before I lived in South Korea, a 12 step skincare routine would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. To me, it would have been a waste of money. You live and you learn, however, and now I’m going to introduce you to yet another thing which may have seemed of no importance in the past. It’s essential to your essence and a must for micellar. This year, we’re asking Santa for cotton sheets. Specifically, White Rabbit Naked Cotton : biodegradable, 100% pure cotton pads that are lint-free and super durable (no pills or rips).

Why Are Cotton Pads Important?

I know what you must be thinking: “cotton pads are just a way to get me to spend more money on things I simply do not need.” Well, that’s not the case. Read on – these little bunnies will actually save you money! If you’ve been using tissue or toilet paper to remove your makeup (or even just the pollution/ grime of the day), you’re at risk of irritating your skin and your eyes. They also have a tendency to rip, which means you’ll be missing residue all over. Cotton sheets are the most hygienic way to remove makeup and apply skincare products. They will also save you product since you can control application and spread evenly in a way that’s impossible using your hands.

I remember getting a huge box of cotton sheets as “service” when I purchased skincare in Seoul for my entire family for Christmas. It was the first time I had used cotton sheets, and have to admit that I was a little irked I wasn’t given additional product as I had spent a lot. I gave them a go and they were game changers.

Ethical and Sustainable Production

In Toronto, up until now I’ve been using circular cotton pads. The other day I pulled a nice long fibre from my eye having thought for hours that I had an eyelash floating around. My baby blues were bloodshot and I had to shoot later. It wasn’t ideal, let me tell you. I had no idea that the cotton products I had been buying had been bleached and contained rayon and viscose (harsh chemicals which can trigger allergic reactions). NAKED COTTON™ sheets are chemical and plastic-free and made of sustainably-sourced 100% pure natural cotton that is unbleached, untreated and grown without pesticides. They are also 100% biodegradable.

NAKED COTTON™ offers two kinds of cotton sheets depending on your sensitivity and goals. The “textured” sheet is just as soft as the “classic”. It has tiny holes which make it ideal for cleansing. Its perforated surface will make your skin feel extra clean.

DIY Sheet Mask

The “classic” version is an extra soft cotton pad. It can be used when applying toner and/ or essence. When they’re folded, each cotton pad is approximately 2 by 3 inches. When they’re unfolded, the full size is 4 by 6 inches. Apply a liberal amount of toner or moisturizer and you can turn the pads into a DIY sheet mask!

Where to Buy?

NAKED COTTON™ products are available on their website, their instagram @whiterabbit_official, Soko Glam, and on Amazon (where they are currently ranked #20). They have also been featured in glam magazines and online publications such as Allure, Bustle, the Strategist, and the Klog. The prices are affordable (200 cotton sheets for USD $14.99) / 100 for USD $10.99). Just in time for the holidays, they’re running a 10% off special for all orders, and *free shipping* for US orders over $35 throughout December 2020.

Go check out my recent skin analysis where you’ll find that my skin is dialing in at almost 5 years younger than my actual age! Thanks for letting me try out these Naked Cotton pads, White Rabbit Beauty. They’re created and manufactured in South Korea. The products are tried and true and you’ve got a loyal new customer in me.

@thatgirlcartierA ##staycation doesn’t mean a ##vacation from a good ##skincareroutine! ##yyz ##skincare ##kbeauty♬ More Yellow Hearts. – Oxy_gin

Skincare Review: Leegeehaam has quick-drying formulae which I love when I'm in a rush.  My skin feels soft and there's never any hint of shine.

This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review.  ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
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Seasonal Skincare: Summer Sun to Autumn Leaves and In-Between

Seasons Change – So Should Your Skincare

As much as I hate to see the end of summer (and the beginning of Lockdown 2.0) I am excited to try out new skincare products. I have tried and true products which I always keep on my shelf, but feel the need to switch things up every now and then. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned I love going out with a fresh face. Many of the following products are designed to soothe irritated skin, which is often a problem for me as the seasons change. As autumn becomes winter I know I’ll be adding more moisturisers. For now, just like fall clothing, I’m keeping things light, but just adding more layers as temperatures fall. Hold on tight – it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Skincare

Vivier Medicated Wash & Cosrx Cica Cleanser

I alternate this medicated wash with the Cosrx Cica Cleanser. Vivier‘s medicated wash (active ingredient being – 2% Salicylic Acid USP) is designed to be an all-in-one cleanser (so you don’t have to use toner -I still do, though). Both of these products dispense as a light cream. A little goes a long way to foam up. They both wash off leaving no greasy films. I tend to use the Vivier wash if I’ve had makeup on, whereas the Cosrx product I’ll use to gently wipe away my day.

Skincare Cosrx

Cosrx Pure Fit Cica Toner & Powder

This toner contains seven types of centella asiatica extracts which are said to aid in accelerating skin cell production and collagen synthesis. It’s also said to protect the skin’s barrier. The powder (which contains maritime pine bark extract and green calamine) comes out quickly, so definitely be careful when shaking it out of the packaging. I mix it with my toner and apply directly with my fingertips, but you can use a cotton pad as well. These paraben-free and cruelty-free products help with inflammation and, as someone with occasional redness, I can attest to their calming properties.

Clean Skin Club - Vitamin C Brightening Booster 30mL

Clean Skin Club – Vitamin C Brightening Booster

I love the mild scent of of pineapple, watermelon, and green tea and the silky smooth texture of this serum. It comes in a dark bottle (as all vitamin C serums should) with an eyedropper so that the perfect amount can be distributed each time. It goes on evenly and soaks into the skin quickly. I’ve noticed an almost immediate glow using this product, which also claims to protect against UV damage, and helping to reduce eventual signs of ageing.  I use it as a standalone serum, however it can be added to a moisturiser or night cream for a vitamin-c boost.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Seasonal skincare

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

This Advanced Snail Gel Lotion protects skin from moisture loss and keeps skin smooth and healthy. Snail Secretion Filtrate improves damaged skin through moisture, promotion of collagen production, and elasticity. It’s said that proteins in the snail goo can have anti-aging properties proven through clinical trial. It can also reverse sun damage. It’s a great choice for dry skin and sensitive skin, which is typical for me as the seasons change. It’s not going to make great strides for deep, deep folds, but I’ll lather it on with the promise to improve my skin’s texture.

Vivier Derma-V Repair Cream

Derma-V is a blend of 5 skin repairing ingredients: Prebiotics (to help repair and strengthen skin), Antioxidants (anti-aging properties and skin protection), Peptides (for strength and elasticity), Hydration Boosters (for smoother and more radiant skin), and Repairing Boosters (Teprenone – increasing skin hydration and improving barrier integrity). I use this product after my toner, essences, serums, and retinol, but before any other creams. It has a mild scent (I’m often sensitive to scented products) and I always look forward to applying it and smelling the bright, natural citrus fragrance from Orange Peel Oil.

This item is a perfect stocking stuffer – click here to shop Vivier’s Holiday offers.

Farmacy - CHEER UP brightening vitamin C eye cream with acerola cherry

Farmacy – CHEER UP Brightening Vitamin C Eye Cream with Acerola Cherry

I’ve been using this product for about a month and (granted, I do get botox every 9 months or so) I’ve noticed that my crows feet haven’t been returning quite so quickly, and my under-eyes haven’t been quite as puffy. This product has a mild, fruity scent and a very smooth texture, thicker than most of my eye creams.

Discussion] Any thoughts on the COSRX pure fit cica cream? Anyone tried it?  : AsianBeauty

Cosrx Pure Fit Cica Cream

I like to use products from the same set and switch things up when I have empties. This Cica Cream is very mild and isn’t quite as moisturising as I would like, but on your warmer autumn days this product will offer a nice layer before your sunscreen and does offer a number of soothing properties.

 

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Waterproof, 400 mL |  Walmart Canada

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water – Waterproof

I absolutely hate using makeup remover, but it works better and is significantly less irritating to the skin than cleansing wipes. Micellar water is a gentle alternative to makeup remover. In my experience, it’s a little too gentle, so even though I refuse to wear waterproof mascara, I need to use Micellar Water designed with waterproof cosmetics in mind. It can be used on the eyes, lips, and face. I prefer is to the irritating makeup remover which is typically astringent or oily.

Beauty Treatment, Face Mask, Spa, Face, Skin, Treatment

Gifted Product Acknowledgement

Some of these seasonal skincare products were PR samples sent to me for honest reviews, while others came as part of Boxy Charm. I would NEVER recommend Boxy Charm. Their customer service is non-existent, their billing system is confusing, and the boxes do not align with the quiz answers you provide upon registration. As always, these honest opinions are my own and not for sale.

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Repat Dating Diaries: The Trash Takes Itself Out

If there’s one thing a man should know when dating me, it’s that I have a very close relationship with my parents. While they don’t know everything, they know most things. I try to avoid telling them things which will hurt them or make them worry. Sometimes they’ll surprise you when you do end up over-sharing.

dating diaries alley

In this episode of the Repat Dating Diaries, I can’t decide whether he was a cheater, cheater pumpkin eater or if this was a turkey dump. I’ve been seeing someone for the past couple of months. Things were going well! I’d see him once a week, we’d text nearly all day, and I was actually mildly hopeful. I loved waking up to an article or cute video from him, and made sure to say goodnight before crashing. I enjoyed the whole “taking it slow” thing; not just due to trying to let a relationship grow naturally rather than the warp-speed I encountered dating other expats, but also due to the global pandemic. Hugs make people nervous, understandably. Anything more than that is, of course, even riskier.

dating diaries red flag

Red Flags

When we discussed dating exclusively I wasn’t actually all that excited, but I thought it was wise since both of us have parents in their 70’s. What came as a mighty surprise was when yesterday, on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, I received a text from him giving me a glowing review, but saying that he was “progressing” with someone else.

dating diaries thanksgiving train

I wasn’t aware the real reason he was sending me off on a horrible guilt trip rather than saying bon voyage for a 45 minute Go Train journey from Toronto was not due to the fact that he thought my conservative outdoor activity would put my parents at risk. In fact, the real reason was that he clearly expected all of the ladies he was dating to be monogamous. Bit unfair that he couldn’t return the favour, no?

dating diaries turkey dump

Love Lockdown

Not only did he make me unable to see my family on Thanksgiving, he ensured that as we go into Lockdown 2.0 I’ll be alone. He restricted my opportunities and put me in danger of getting Covid-19 with an extended bubble I wasn’t aware I had. I’m glad he’s got a girlfriend for the upcoming cold and lonely nights, but I resent that he limited me from being able to have someone, too.

dating diaries trash

Trash

Once a mother has written you off, there’s no getting back in her good graces. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. Mum says that she won’t be wishing anyone “Happy Thanksgiving” this year because “Mac ruined it”. I FaceTimed with my parents this afternoon and my Mum asked what I was up to this evening. I told her I had some blog maintenance to do, Netflix to watch, some leftovers to reheat, and trash to take out. Her words?

“I thought the trash took itself out last night.”

dating diaries trash

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Dating During a Pandemic: Virtual Dating or Bust

If Love is Blind was any indication of what was to come, virtual dating is the new normal. We’re going into week 6 of social distancing and isolation. Covid-19 has changed everyone’s lives in some way, shape, or form. I think we’ve all put on a few pounds, questioned whether some hypothetical socializing method out in the world is okay (newsflash: sadly, it’s not), and romantic relationships may never be the same again.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The first week of the Great Canadian Quarantine, my Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder were busier than ever. These Toronto skeezbags were using the coronavirus as the ultimate wing-man. I’ve never had so many offers to “Netflix and Quarantine” in all my life. As we learned more about the virus and its severity, it became really easy to just unmatch those who wanted to bring beer, wine, and germs over to my place.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

Week two I experienced a change in the behaviour of men on these apps. Conversations were longer. Men were opening up, being vulnerable about their emotional fragility during this uncertain time, and sharing their hobbies and interests on a deeper level. Chats like these can seem amazing and fulfilling, but don’t get caught up in the excitement. Both sides have time to come up with a response, and Prince Charming may only be able to sweep you off your feet due to preparation time and good old Google.

Chrissy Teigen's Cry Face

This past week I finally gave virtual dating a try. I had 1 phone and two video chat dates. The phone date was uncomfortable. The guy was definitely already wasted, talked about giving up on his freelance work in favour of CERB, and told me I was going to marry him.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

My second virtual date was through an instagram video chat. At first, things were flowing pretty well. While he did seem to look like his pictures, right away I felt as though I wasn’t attracted to him. We have actually worked in the same industry. I worked for a company (years ago) that developed the first iteration of the platform about which he was complaining. You have to give someone the benefit of the doubt with technology which can lag, but it didn’t take too long to realize that he was just talking over me and wasn’t willing to let me get a word in edgewise.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

I would ask him questions – a pretty normal practice to engage in conversation. He would answer, but would not reciprocate with a question for me. Eventually we just sat there nodding while I waited for him to bring something to the table. Lags in conversation can be really unbearable in person, but when virtual dating it’s really tempting to just X out of the chat.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The last virtual dating experience actually went really well. I poured a glass of wine and immediately spilled it everywhere. He laughed, but was cool about it. Conversation flowed really well. None of it was the standard small talk. We talked about our families, our passions, and what we would do on our first “real” date once extreme social distancing ends. He was rugged and masculine. His mannerisms and body language were chill and relaxed. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m into it. It might not be magic in person, but at least I know that he’s not going to cut me off each time I go to speak on “in-person” date #1.

Love Is Blind

Ultimately, the virtual date is going to be awkward and tense at first. The new normal requires a change in perspective. You can either adapt or get reaaaal comfortable with isolation. Online dating can be a colossal waste of time, but I’ve had a couple of nice relationships thanks to their help. If you’re getting butterflies, kick things up a notch. Love is not blind, as we’ve discovered. The pods can only last so long. Save yourself some time and energy. Virtual or bust.

Love Is Blind

Have you tried virtual dating throughout the pandemic?

Let us know what app and method of virtual dating you’ve given a shot (and how it went!) in the comments below.

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Candidly Cartier – Pressing Life’s Reset Button

I left Toronto in 2015 because things just weren’t going my way. Every time I took a step forward, life pushed me two steps back. No matter how hard you try to change your perspective and have a positive attitude, sometimes you have to change your actual surroundings to press reset.

I moved to Korea and spent 3 years living and working abroad. During those years I fell in love once and fell in like twice. Living in Asia gave me the opportunity to experience culture in my own new home country, but also in so many others. I built two brands and worked independently in a variety of industries.

Pressing the reset button, heading away, then returning home, I was terrified to come back to the environment from which I had fled. He was almost brought to justice, but Lady Justice is often told to go back to the kitchen, isn’t she?

I’ve had some wonderful opportunities and have really settled into my life here. That said, I’ve definitely settled through settling down. I wonder if I’ll ever find the same excitement and sense of liberation that I had living abroad ever again.

I wrote the above in October of 2019. Last year was ROUGH, but my self-quarantined ass (and ratchet shellac nails) with 2020 vision would like to apologize for all the opportunities in 2019 that I didn’t take. The “new normal” is going to change over and over again as we make our way to 2021.

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The Case Full of Seoul: Korean Beauty in a Few Easy Steps

The Case Full of Seoul

I would have never, ever guessed that the first place from which I’d get legitimate Korean beauty and skincare products would be Costco. I’ve found some products in stores along Bloor Street in old Koreatown, and even a slew of products from Shopper’s Drug Mart which had writing in Hangeul (Korean characters). Until now, none of these products have actually been made in Korea.

“Discover all that K-Beauty has to offer with The Case Full of Seoul. K-Beauty is a skincare regimen designed by beauty experts in Korea. Korean skincare is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

It is a daily routine rather than a one-off treatment – It is a commitment. UMMA has gathered 8 skin-changing products that work best when used together, and has designed a beauty plan to help you get the most out of each product. Follow these beauty plans and get ready to see results.”

Step One: 9 Wishes Rice Foaming Cleanser $20.90

Step one in any Korean skincare routine I’ve ever heard of is cleansing. The scent of this particular cleanser reminds me of wandering through rice paddies in Bali. It’s light in every sense of the word. The formula features micro-ground rice texture which lightly and gently exfoliates dead skin cells. I wouldn’t use it as your make-up remover (again – it’s light), but the formula is designed to cleanse oil, sebum, blackheads, and other impurities from make-up. The design is to even out skin tone and hydrate the skin.

Step Two: MayCoop Raw Sauce Mini $28

The product is a combination toner and an emulsion. As step two, it prepares the skin to absorb the hydrating formulas you’ll apply throughout the rest of the process. The scent and viscosity are both quite light. The description is that it “hydrates and revitalizes dull skin” and “uses ingredients that mimic molecules in human skin, such as maple tress sap, to help retain extra-high absorbency”. This was a step I really enjoyed as it wasn’t sticky and it was absorbed very quickly.

Step Three: URANG True Rose Repair Essence $47

The rose scent on the repair essence is quite a bit stronger than the other products, so take note if you’re sensitive. This formula contains organic Bulgarian rose water and rose essential oil. The substance is thicker than the previous step. The texture is designed to have a cooling effect. It should calm down redness, although I found it just wasn’t all that effective in balancing my skin tone especially around particularly dry areas like my nose.

Step Four: Tov Camellia Wrinkle-free Eye Solution $25

This product was hands down one of my favourites. This formula contains shea butter and macadamia nut oil. Obviously, it’s safe to use around the eye area which can be quite delicate. The product goes on so smooth it’s almost like a primer in an of itself. It’s quite thick and a little goes a long way. My under-eye area calmed down almost instantly. This is a holy grail item I’d definitely purchase on its own if it weren’t already in The Case Full of Seoul.

Step Five: MayCoop Raw Moisturizer $40

I found this product to smell quite clean and fresh. My guess would be something close to fresh linen, but even that would be too strong a scent. The description states that it “uses moisture balls filled with oil that pop onto the skin to provide the ultimate hydration experience” – I didn’t experience that. It went on like my regular day/ night moisturizer. I would use this in the spring as it’s not quite thick enough for winter, but it would be too much for summer.

Optional: Touch In Sol No Poreblem Primer $18

This is another fabulous find I would have never heard of without The Case Full of Seoul. I would say this primer (at least for me) is another holy grail. I typically use Smashbox Primer, but felt it just wasn’t working with my skin lately. This product goes on like the first time I ever used a primer. My foundation works over it like silk it’s so smooth. I’ve never has any film from it either. It conceals my pores and nearly all my wrinkles for a really even complexion. I love the way my makeup looks when I use this primer!

Optional: URANG Vitamin Oil Serum $57

I wasn’t a huge fan of this oil, to be candid, and found myself swapping in my Chantecaille Rose Oil instead. With so many rose infused items, it made sense to me. The fragrance of this product (with rosehip and jojoba oils) was so overwhelming it gave me headaches. The idea is to seal in all the aforementioned hydrating ingredients to hide discolouration, reduce fine lines, and give an overall brightening effect.

I Woke Up Like This All-In-One Concentrate Treatment Mask

Most of the sheet masks I’ve tried in Korea have some sort of gimmicky ingredient. Some have gold or diamonds, some wine or beer, others have snail serum. This sheet mask is made with pearl powder, Vitamin C and Niacinamide to (again!) boost hydration, provide a brightening effect and even out skin tone. The fit is good, but I wouldn’t say there’s anything insanely exciting about this mask. Pop it on for 20 minutes, then remove and massage the excess essence into your skin.

This kit is easy to use for even the most sensitive skin and the newest K-Beauty user. The case itself gives directions for morning, evening, self-care Sunday, and even “get ready with me” and also comes with a booklet full of ingredients and instructions. The case brings huge discounts vs. purchasing each product individually (on Costco’s website the price listed it $79.98). If you’d been doing your math along the way, you’ll note that the value of the case is upwards of $235 USD.

I enjoy taking care of my skin and enjoy trying new products – especially those from my old home, Seoul. The proof is in the pudding, however. Go check out my recent skin analysis where you’ll find that my skin is dialing in at almost 5 years younger than my actual age! Thanks for letting me try some of the hot commodity products which came out directly after I left Korea!

Skincare Review: Leegeehaam has quick-drying formulae which I love when I'm in a rush.  My skin feels soft and there's never any hint of shine.

This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest reviewThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
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Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic: Medical Experts in Toronto

Photo: Robert Evans

When I lived in Korea, I was absolutely astounded by the number of cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery clinics there were just in the Sinsa-dong area of Seoul. 1 in 3 women in South Korea have had plastic surgery. South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgeries per capita in the world. That’s why they say Seoul is the plastic surgery capital of the planet. I spent 2015 – 2018 in South Korea; two of those years living in Seoul.

Photo: Robert Evans

Cosmetic Surgery in Toronto

Since returning to Toronto two years ago, I have been invited to visit several clinics. My first question is always, “Do you have a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon performing injections and cosmetic surgery procedures?” Until a couple of weeks ago, 100% of the representatives for the clinics replied that they only had medical esthetic practitioners, or nurse injectors. I don’t know about you, but if someone is sticking a needle near my eye, I want to know that they have more experience than a handful of Saturdays of training.

Image result for dr. diego delgado

Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic

I met with Dr. Diego Delgado, Medical Director of Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic who is also a Clinician Investigator at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, an Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiology and Cardiac Transplantation at the University Health Network, and a faculty member of the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Procedures at Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic are carried out by medical professionals who are certified by both the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Ontario Nursing Association.

The Team at Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic

I also met with Managing Director, Olga Olenka, and Nurse Anna, who you can see in the video above talking about some of my favourite skincare products from Vivier Skin. We discussed some of the procedures I’ve had in Korea as well as those I’ve tried out since returning to Toronto. I’ve had Dysport (a competitor of Botox) twice (forehead and crow’s feet once each), a facial peel, dermaplaning (an exfoliation technique to rid the face of hair and the first layer of dead skin), a Fire and Ice facial, and an IPL.

VISIA Facial Assessment Report

Since I do take care of my skin fairly well, the team suggested that rather than going straight for the lasers, I should have my skin analysed by their VISIA Facial Assessment machine.

“IntelliFlash®, cross-polarized and UV lighting are used to record and measure surface and subsurface skin conditions. UV photography provides the most complete data set available for sun damage assessment and analysis, including UV fluorescence imaging to reveal porphyrins.

Canfield’s RBX® Technology separates the unique color signatures of Red and Brown skin components for unequaled visualization of conditions that result in color concentration, such as spider veins, hyperpigmentation, inflammation and other conditions.”

My VISIA Facial Assessment Report at Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic was actually a lot better than expected. You never really know what’s going on with your skin until you can see deeper into the layers on skin. The ideal score is 100%, but that would be wild considering most skin damage occurs in the first 5 years of life.

My scores:

  • Spots: 66%
  • Wrinkles: 61%
  • Texture: 79%
  • Pores: 67%
  • UV Spots: 61%
  • Brown Spots: 58%
  • Red Areas: 67%
  • Porphyrins (Bacteria): 89%

The system suggested a number of treatments to get my skin to its best. They’re fairly non-invasive treatments which I’ve already been doing. Looks like if I continue with my current regimen and add just a few more treatments, I’ll have the best chance of great skin as I age.

My Custom Suggestions:

  • Botox (a 10-minute treatment which can last for up to 4 months)
  • Latisse (an FDA-approved treatment to grow fuller, longer lashes)
  • Silk Peel (a 3-in-1 dermatological treatment that exfoliates, extracts, and infuses skin with condition-specific serums for a one-step all-inclusive treatment)
  • Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing (laser technology which generates collagen and elastin to improve fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and other surface imperfections)
  • Platelet-rich plasma Vampire Facial (An injectable treatment that will increase rebuilding of tissue by stimulating new collagen and blood vessel formation. Helps with acne scars, wrinkles, sun damage, dark circles, and overall skin tone).
  • Photofacial IPL (Laser treatment for brown spots, sun damage, and vessels without harming the surrounding skin)
  • Skin Tightening (Multi-polar radio frequency and pulsed electro magnetic fields to produce heat under the skin’s surface. The process helps icrease collagen and elastin fibers while also shrinking the volume of fat cells)

Trust

Any type of procedure – be it elective or emergency – requires a high degree of trust between the patient and the Doctor of Nurse. Having visited Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic yesterday for my VISIA Facial Assessment (as well as an other procedure I’m excited to tell you all about) I think I’ve found my new spot. The team is dedicated, present, and friendly. I felt very well taken-care of by Dr. Diego, Olga, and Anna throughout my visit!

How to Get to Vita Cosmetic & Laser Clinic

  • Address: 27 Rean Dr Unit 7, North York, ON M2K 0A6
  • Phone: (416) 639-1882
  • Hours:
    Sunday: Closed
    Monday: 9 AM – 7 PM
    Tuesday: 9 AM – 7 PM
    Wednesday: 9 AM – 7 PM
    Thursday: 9 AM – 7 PM
    Friday: 9 AM – 7 PM
    Saturday: 10 AM – 3 PM

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Miracle 10’s Kabuki Brush – Worth the Splurge

Kabuki Brush

“This super soft multi-purpose Kabuki brush can sweep, finish, bronze and mattify. Safe for even the most sensitive skin. Plus, it’s totally cute and fits in any makeup bag (even the tiny ones).”

Adding a Kabuki Brush to my Standard Rotation

Adding a Kabuki Brush to my kit changed my relationship with foundation. I suppose my skin had adapted to the pollution in Seoul, because I rarely wore all-over makeup when living in Korea. In Toronto, however, my skin just doesn’t look as bright or flawless, and I’ve been finding myself wanting to smooth things out more and more. I hate the caked on look of foundation. When Miracle 10 Cosmetics offered me a chance to scoop up a few items from their brand new line, I figured I might as well give it a try. It’s not such a crazy splurge as a Kabuki Brush from Fenty or Mac Cosmetics will run around the same price (or higher).

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Take your pick 🤔😍 ⁣#miracle10 #glowgetter

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How to Use the Miracle 10 Cosmetics Kabuki Brush

I’ve been using this brush exclusively with foundation, and am obsessed with the results. Other brushed have left broken bristles (and black flecks all over my face – no thanks). This one has held strong. As opposed to a makeup sponge, with the Kabuki brush I get that ultra-smooth look. I don’t have to use too much product, either. I haven’t used it with bronzer or blush, but the website suggests the following if you choose multi-use:
“Using this brush is an absolute dream. It can be used with your bronzer, powder, blush or to create an airbrushed look with your foundation. When switching between products, spritz with a little Rejuvenating Mist and dab onto a tissue. When applying blush tighten the surface area of the brush by pinching the bristles together a bit (as opposed to holding the handle).”
What does she really want for Valentine’s Day? If she’s like me, probably not chocolates; maybe roses. Definitely some great-quality, locally-sourced (Yorkville, bébé) skincare and cosmetics from an innovative, nimble company like Miracle 10 which is led by and largely run by women.
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