Julianna Yu's Blog


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Summer Snippets

Dear Blog and Readers, I’ve missed you. As cheesy as it sounds it’s true. I took a much needed blogging break this summer but I’ve been itching to blog.
When I compare this summer to last year, I can’t believe I blogged as often as I did. I remember editing into the late wee hours of the morning. Crazy.  This summer was definitely different in that respect. I didn’t spend as much time in front of the computer.
Instead of doing a big big post today, I’m going to keep this one short and give you a taste of my summer through pictures. I’m thinking of it as a way for me to ease myself back into the blog groove.
Chicago

Chicago

I went to Chicago to celebrate my 28th birthday.

Egg, Avocado and Mixed Veggies

Marinated Tea Eggs, Avocado, Carrot, Cucumber, and Spring Mix

I wanted to UP my veggie intake and balance out the inbalanced meals out. So, I started packing more salads for lunch.

Salmon with Red Leaf Lettuce, Cucumber and Red Pepper

Salmon with Red Leaf Lettuce, Cucumber, Red Pepper & Sunflower Sprouts

Green Juice

Green Juice

I started making green juices at home. I’m a wee bit obsessed.

Green Darjeeling Tea, Chocolate Croissant and Pistachio Petite Choux

Green Darjeeling Tea, Chocolate Croissant and Pistachio Petite Choux

Food & Memories. Had this exact tiramisu 7 years ago with the same friend I had it with on this summer's night.

Food & Memories. Had this exact tiramisu 7 years ago with the same friend I had it with on this summer’s night.

I had some delicious cakes and pastries.

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Cocktails

BBQ Cocktails

I went to a few BBQ’s. Nothing like a night of DEELICIOUS ribs and cocktails.

Fountain. Make a wish.

In Berczy Park, I made a wish and tossed a penny into this fountain. Hope it comes true.

I looked around more.

The thunderstorms and hot humid weather of July only made me appreciate the cooler weather in August that much more.  Overall, I cherished blue skies and was thankful for the sunny moments.

How was your Summer? 

– Julie


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My Blog-iversary and 28 Facts About Julie

Happy Summer Everyone!

Hope you are enjoying the great weather with family and friends.

I celebrated a couple things this past June: My 4 year Blog-iversary on June 26th (WP remembered), my 28th birthday and hence 28 facts. Whether you’re new to my blog or you’ve been a long time reader, you might be wondering more about me. I’ve put this piece together to give you tid bits about me. I had a conversation with my friend Shaza in back in November about this idea (she did hers) and thought it was a good a time as any for me to share as well. These are listed in no particular order.

1. I got my first perm before I started junior kindergarten. I was visiting my family in Taiwan and one of my aunts was concerned about my lack of hair and perhaps lack of volume. I had a big forehead then with very thin hair. She took me for a perm as she wanted my head to look fuller. She probably wanted me to look my best so I could start school looking presentable. I think she was hoping that eventually my hair would grow in and my baby bangs surrounding my forehead would grow out. They haven’t and I still have a big forehead. Take me as a I am. 

2. I spent 8 years without my four front teeth. I was about 3-4 when I was jumping off a chair (for fun) and landed face down on my mouth. I was called all kinds names. Kids can be so mean. When they grew in at 12, I was ecstatic, also got my growth spurt that year… shot up to 4’11. From the shortest kid to the 5th shortest kid. Life was looking up. 

3. I’m a foodie. For me, that doesn’t mean that I gravitate towards fine foods, it means that I enjoy eating and trying different foods, learning about them, reading about how to make them and talking about food. It means that food isn’t just fuel, it is a way to enjoy and live life. Food gets me excited. The possibilities. The flavours. The textures. The stories behind the dishes. If I could have a dream job that incorporated planning, cooking, eating, dining out, learning, writing without having to actually run a restaurant (don’t think it’s for me) all the while allowing myself flexibility to have time with family and friends and take regular vacations without the guilt… well, well that sounds like a dream! SIGN me up! haha

4. There’s really nothing like handwritten cards. It’s the one time that I get to read what another person wrote in their own words what their thoughts are without having to respond right away. They tug at my heart strings. They remind me of why they are thankful for having me in their lives. And they remind me of why I’m thankful to have them.

5. I don’t like change. It’s a truth about me, that I’ve only recently discovered/accepted. Sure, I know that change is inevitable, often necessary for things to improve or grow and it’s only natural in the ebb and flow of life. But I usually feel unprepared/unsettled and wish I had more time to adjust (get my act together) when changes happen that I have no control over but have to accept. I’ve gotten better at it but it’s taken time.

6. I’m a Gemini. From what I’ve read gemini’s are lighthearted and eternally youthful and can be two faced or have dual perspectives. I agree with all of that. I don’t think things are always as easy as black and white. I like to think I can understand and appreciate different perspectives.

7. My MBTI personality type is an ISFJ. This comes as no surprise to me. I have a strong sense of responsibility and duty. I tend to be very in tune with my own feelings and the feelings of others. For the most part I’m warm, considerate and friendly.

8. I did the Strengths Finder Test this year and learnt my top five are: Empathy, Developer, Deliberative, Analytical and Individualization.

9. My favourite foods are french fries and pizza. I also really love home cooked and slow cooked foods. Lasagna, mac and cheese, dumplings, chicken soup, congee, stews, pulled pork, ribs, lamb shank, roasted turkey, roasted chicken and greek roasted potatoes.

10. I have a weakness for Kit Kat and M&M’s Peanuts. I had a lot during university in classes, while studying, and watching movies at home. They are my stress foods along with cake and chips.

11. I love a good noodle dish. Soupy, stir fried, saucey, spicy, no matter how you eat it. Thick, thin, hand pulled, freshly made and hot to order…Deelish!

12. My sister frequently says I do/say things that remind her of Tina Fey’s character “Liz Lemon” on 30 rock: mysterious food stains on my clothes and love for food. I don’t mind, I think she is talented, beautiful and hilarious. The whole package!

13.  I don’t eat sushi or sashimi b/c both contain raw fish and the thought of the uncooked fish making it’s way down my throat or even chewing it grosses me out. I won’t say I’ll never eat it though. I may change my mind one day. I chewed into a piece of maki with raw salmon recently and spat it out bc the texture threw me off  as I was expecting cooked shrimp.

14. I took ballet during all my years of schooling before university. It was hard work and enjoyable because I got to use my body to express music and to see myself progress throughout the years. I completed my RAD intermediate in my last year of highschool. My favourite syllabus was The Grade 8 Award because it involved learning variety of dances and the exam felt like a performance.

15. I don’t play sports or follow any.  I’m the only non-sports watching and non-athletic one in the family.

16. I also hated gym class and being active for the longest time. The only reason I got a gym membership was because all my friends got gym memberships in high school, I could use a some toning and it was something to do. Now, I do it to build strength, tone and offset my eating habits.

17. I watch a lot of TV shows. My current faves: Suits, Homeland, Dexter, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Fringe, Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Girls.

18. I love hanging at coffee shops although I don’t drink coffee. Caffeine gives me headaches. I didn’t notice it until I reintroduced it after my elimination diet. Since then, I have caffeinated teas on occasion.

19. Having the operation (this is my by far my most commented post) made me stop and think about my life. The recovery made me appreciate what I had and what I’d like to get out of it.

20. I wish I had a soundtrack to my life and a narrator. Think the show “Scrubs” the early seasons. I just think it would be some kind of wonderful. While we’re at it, the ability to say “cut” and freeze time, and do-overs. I’d also like the ability to fly.

21. If I could get away with it, I would love to have time for meditation, journalling, yoga, BCBD, delicious home cooked meals, playing with cats, and hanging with my favourite people everyday. While we’re at it, perhaps some junkie treats too.

22. I can spend hours chatting with a good friend. I can go months, years without seeing someone and pick up right where we left off. I don’t have many close friends but for me it’s always been about the quality of my relationships rather than the quantity. I love them all dearly. I feel so lucky to know them. They are all special in their unique ways.

23. I’m indecisive. It’s hard for me to pick favourites. I told someone that my favourite colours are purple and green. But also, blue, yellow, teal and coral. She said to me, ok, that’s like all the colours.

24. I love cats. These furry animals make my heart sing. When I pass one that stops to purr and play with me, my whole world stops.

25. If I had heard about no poo in highschool or university, I’m pretty sure I would’ve said “That sounds gross”. After finally trying it out, I realized I actually kind of like it. It has been over a year since I started and other than dabbling in shampoo these past couple of months, I’ve been no poo for the most part.

26. As a young child I use to wish I was a musical prodigy. I loved watching movies with Shirley Temple and I wanted to be a triple threat. My top 3 careers in grade 6 was actor, singer and dancer. Even though I didn’t become a star, I did get opportunities to perform. I was part of a competitive choir in Highschool and sang at Massy Hall as part of a huge multi-school choir. It felt incredibly powerful. I have the urge to sing sometimes while watching musical performances. But I don’t want to be THAT girl. lol! And I might sound better in my head than in reality.

27. I can make my ears wiggle without touching them. Just sort of figured it out while in the dining room of Voices Camp in Grade 7. HAHA. I remember focusing on raising my eyebrows and pulling back my ears. I did it enough times that they started to move. Since I wear glasses, I can see my glasses moving back and forth too.

28. Starting this blog was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I get nervous before clicking publish every time. I love getting comments and hearing feedback from others. I love reading other people’s blogs. It is crazy how much work can go into one post before it gets published. Thank you loyal followers and stumblers. 🙂

Did you get all the way to the bottom? Thank you for reading all the way through. 

Now, tell me about yourselves. Don’t be shy. Share your questions/thoughts in the comments or via your blog and comment and link back to your post. 

Would love to hear from you. 🙂

– Julie


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Lip Care: Lip Moisturizer Love

Lip Moisturizer Line Up

Lip Moisturizer Line Up

Happy FRIDAY!!

I’m looking at my agenda and this weekend is going to be busy… dinner out with family, meeting up with friends, Sunday BCBD class (cannot believe we’re 5 weeks into this session. Madness!) and an ever growing to-do list. Until, then, a light fun topic for today. Lip balm or lip moisturizer, whatever you wanna call it. 🙂

I’ve never been much of a lipstick wearer. Other than wearing it for ballet performances or playing dress up, I don’t remember gravitating towards it. It just had this smell and my lips always ended up dry. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s gosh darn attractive on people. I’m just not a daily makeup kind of gal. At least not yet. So, as far as colour and lips is concerned, I would always pick plain lip moisturizers for everyday life and tinted lip moisturizers for special occasions.

I’m one of those people that can’t just have one when it comes to lip moisturizers. I hate chapped lips. To prevent this, I usually try to make sure I have a moisturizer on hand. As I’m sure many of you can relate. At any given time, I probably have about 5-7 in rotation.

I remember back in highschool I used a lot of the sparkly colourful Bonne Belle stuff. I was hooked on that stuff buying singles and mutli-packs. Then, just stuck to Vaseline for the most part and occasionally Chapstick (strawberry) in university and mainly Vaseline in my post university years. Finally, just last year during my switch to greener productsI started trying out other alternatives which included lanolin because it sounded like a good alternative to vaseline. At the time, vaseline (petroleum jelly) was my main lip moisturizer. I had 2 little containers of it at home and at work. It was a no fuss simple routine and I was hoping I could do an easy swap with lanolin.I found out about lanolin because of Tsh’s post about natural beauty (last section).

It was also hard to give up Vaseline because I had been raised on this stuff. My mom use to smear vaseline on my face focusing on the nose to keep it moist in the winter. Of course this would happen right before I went to school. I have a big forehead which already draws enough attention, but nothing draws attention to your face like a shiny nose coated in a thick covering of Vaseline. Attractive!! haha

I found Lanolin to be very thick and it has a strong odour (which isn’t surprising because it’s made from sheep sweat – pretty cool and sort of gross huh!). It’s actually a very common ingredient if you look at your lip moisturizer’s. I have used it on my lips overnight but wanted something I could use easily on the go. I just decided to try lip moisturizers from the health food store looking for moisturizers with plant oils, shea butters, cocoa butters, and essential oils and without the dirty dozen.

My Current Moisturizer Line Up

Current Line Up

Druide – CitrusI love the scent of lemons. This lip moisturizer has a very luxurious feeling one because of how smooth it glides across your lips. The jojoba oil and shea butter helps it go on smooth and keep my lips moisturized. This is my absolute favourite lip moisturizer right now.

Kiss My Face’s – Peach with SPF 15: This one is probably my second favourite. It moisturizes well and it has a soft scent. My friend told me she thought I smelled nice while we waited in a crowded line for seats at a restaurant and we realized it was because of this lip moisturizer.

Badger’s– Pink Grapefruit: I like this about the same as the peach one as it is light, does a good job of moisturizing and has a nice scent.

The Chillin’ Cherry by Bee 23: This has a blend of oils and although I liked it at first, I got sick of the scent after a while and realized, maybe I’m just not a fan of cherry coke. I got this at the Green Living Show last year and after meeting Michelle the sweet creator behind these products, I felt like I couldn’t walk away without taking home a couple of the products. Main reasons why I bought her products was because she makes her products herself, they didn’t have any toxic ingredients and this was lightly scented (at the time that’s something that appealed to me).

Scentuals Tinted Lip Moisturizer (Passion) – Berry: Scentuals is based out of British Columbia. Their lip moisturizers are free of lead, petroleum, and synthetic fragrances. I love the Berry scent and that it moisturizes and gives my a nice subtle colour. I ordered a pack of three through Ethical deal in the spring and I also liked the Bombshell one (red). The Bombshell is really rich in colour and I’ve worn it out at night and to weddings. I wish I had these when I use to wear lipstick for ballet recitals.

Flirt (natural rose flavour), Passion (berry flavour) & Bombshell (classic cherry flavour)

Flirt (natural rose flavour), Passion (berry flavour) & Bombshell (classic cherry flavour)

Scentuals Tinted Lip Moisturizers

Scentuals Tinted Lip Moisturizers: Can’t help but laugh at these quotes.

Do you have a favourite moisturizer? What scents do you like? Any ingredients you look for in a moisturizer? Please share! 

– Julie


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Ridiculously Easy Pulled Pork

I love pulled pork. It’s one of those things that when I go to an eatery and realize it’s on the menu, my eyes zero in on the words “pulled pork” and that’s what I’m ordering.

A few months ago, I had lunch with a good friend. A fella who also really loves to cook and eat. He asked me what I had been cooking lately and if I had any new recipes to share. I tried not to let my mouth drop open. I hadn’t been cooking much to be honest. His question caught me off guard. I didn’t have anything “new” to share. With life changes in the air, I was happy if I got a meal in. I did cook a few things, so I told him about my kebab recipe and how I’d made italian meatballs the other night. His face lit up as he talked about his latest favourite meat to make: pulled pork. He raved about how tasty and easy it was and how much people he could feed when he made it. Hearing that my friend made it, made me think maybe it was time I gave this a shot. haha

Lately, I’ve been pan frying fish and baking chicken with simple seasonings and having beef stews but I wanted something with more flavour. The thing that was bugging me was that there’s just so many ways to do pulled pork and I didn’t want to make a variation that was too sweet or too tangy for my liking. What’s a girl to do… I wanted it to be big on flavour and with a good amount of kick, I also didn’t want it to be sticky or sweet (at least for my first attempt). I also didn’t want this thing to dry out. I wanted to cook it low and slow in my handy slow cooker.

With all of these wants in mind, I googled “paleo pulled pork recipes” as I’ve been doing a paleo detox for the past few weeks and wanted to try as much as possible to avoid recipes that were full of bottled bbq sauces (usually has sugar in it) and I didn’t want to have to make a paleo bbq sauce as tasty as the recipes I’ve seen sound, I wanted something that didn’t require a lot of “active” time (active = me having to stand). Lazy? Yesss. At least this week, I’ve been feeling like I want to rest more.

Seared. Put into slow cooker on top of diced white onions.

Seared. Put into slow cooker on top of diced white onions.

10 hours later. Pulled Pork greets my nostrils as I enter the house.

10 hours later. Pulled Pork greets my nostrils as I enter the house.

Pull all that pork apart. Using 2 forks. I also removed any fat that I saw - I prefer eating crispy fat or fat in liquid/saucey form.. :)

Pull all that pork apart. Using 2 forks. I also removed any fat that I saw – I prefer eating crispy fat or fat in liquid/saucey form.. 🙂

10.5 hours. Cooking juices and onion

10.5 hours. Cooking juices and onion

Throw all that lovely pulled pork back into your slow cooker and mix it around.

Throw all that lovely pulled pork back into your slow cooker and mix it around.

I was ecstatic when I came across this easy pulled pork recipe by Sarah Fragoso at Everyday Paleo. I adapted it based on what I had on hand and also decided to marinade and sear the pork before adding it to the slow cooker after reading about 5-7 other pulled pork recipes. I tend to do that for most recipes that I tackle. I can’t help but play around with it.

Note: Additions/Substitutions I made have an asterisk(*) after the word.

Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe

Adapted from Beyond Easy Pulled Pork by Sarah Fragoso at Everyday Paleo

  • 3 lb pork butt roast* (made 6-7 servings)
  • 1 white onion, diced*

Dry Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin*
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder*
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper*
  • 2 tsps sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper*

Substitutions/Additions

  • I had a 3 lb of pork butt whereas the original recipe called for a 4-5 lb pork butt but didn’t want to change the amounts of the spices (too much math for me at the time). So this recipe is good for a 4-5 lb pork butt as well.
  • 1 White onion (diced). I figured since I had a smaller pork butt I would use just one onion and I just diced it out of habit. haha (can’t always follow instructions).
  • Cumin: I ran out of cumn and only had 1 tsp left so I used half of what was called in the original recipe.
  • Garlic Powder: I felt like I could use some garlic flavour to balance out the onion flavour so I added this.
  • Cayenne: I wanted a spicy substitute for chipotle which I don’t own.
  • Black pepper: Thought I’d throw this in for the heck of it.

Steps

1. Gather all of the dry rub ingredients and mix it into a bowl.

2.  Rinse and pat dry your pork butt. Trim off as much fat as you can.

3.  Rub the dry rub mixture all over the pork butt and get into all the crevices.

4. Optional (Marinade). Put the pork butt as well as any of the leftover spices into a big ziplock bag. Take out as much air as possible. Alternatively, you can wrap your pork butt tightly in saran wrap. I let mine marinade for 24 hours.

5. Optional (Searing). I put some olive oil in a pan large enough to fit the pork butt in. When the pan was hot, I seared the pulled pork on each side.

6. Put the onions on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the pork butt. Optional: If you seared the pork, I put a bit of water into the pan to get the spices that were stuck to the pan into the slow cooker. Sarah’s recipe did not include any liquid.

7. Put the slow cooker on low for 10 hours.

8. After 10 hours, take out the pork butt and shred by using 2 forks to pull apart the meat. Remove any excess fat if you wish. When all the meat is shredded return to slow cooker and mix with remaining cooking juices.

9. Serve with any sides you like.

Serve with sides to round out your meal. I had some leftover veggies.

Serve with sides to round out your meal. I had some leftover veggies.

I felt really proud when I was done making this. I was really worried about dry unflavourful meat. I’ve been recently overcooking chicken – gross! So, I’m kind of sick of chicken – at least the way I make it (dry rub and baked). This pork was a welcome change and was total flavour country!! It was spicy… which I liked. After the first bite, I was already thinking of other possible flavour combinations. Perhaps a spicy Chinese version? Jamaican jerk one? mmm… spicy!! :)If my slow cooker was a person, I’d hug it. What a huge timesaver and helper in the kitchen. 🙂

Pork butt was also economical. This hunk of meat cost me less than the price of 2 chicken breasts.

How do you like to make your pulled pork? Do you like saucey or dry rubs? What do you put in yours? How do you serve it and what do you serve it with?

Let’s chat it up in the comments.

– Julie


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{DIY} Face Moisturizer

The other day, I shared about my simple 1-ingredient oil moisturizer. Today, I’m sharing a DIY recipe I made up with a friend this past summer. Disclosure: I’m not an expert on skin care and everything I’m sharing is based on my experience and what I’ve read online. To be on the safe side, please contact a medical professional for advice prior to experimenting with oils as with any change in skin care regimen, you may experience adverse reactions. Thanks for stopping by.

After my initial visit to buy face oils, I found myself going back to the health food store and researching online about making my own moisturizer. I read many recipes which intrigued me but I was nervous about taking the leap and actually doing it on my own. This past summer, I made my own moisturizer from a combination of oils (coconut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil, grape seed oil, vitamin e oil and lavender essential oil).

I had been collecting glass jars and recently used up a raw honey jar. I washed it a few times with hot water and dish detergent. If there was still any odour I would’ve removed the odour from the glass jar before sterilizing. Since it was a moisturizer I wanted, I decided to use my honey jar to store my DIY moisturizer.

I went to my friend Cherry’s house after work to make it one friday night (one of my favourite nights this summer!). We had been talking for weeks about our big Green Beauty night. LOL! At first I was hoping we’d be able to make some lip moisturizers and body butters but as the days drew near we were both realizing we probably should just focus on one product. This face moisturizer took priority because we were thinking ahead about cold fall and winter months.

Naturally, I researched recipes other people had and printed 2 and told her I wanted to do a combination of 2 of them and just add whatever she had that sounded interesting (avocado oil). That’s pretty much my approach for cooking too. If I have a particular type of food in mind and I haven’t made it before, I’ll research about 2-5 recipes and do some combination of the ones I like the best.I wanted to incorporate grapeseed oil and coconut oil. Prior to this, I was just using grape seed oil or sweet almond oil on my face.

DIY Face Moisturizer Ingredients

DIY Face Moisturizer Ingredients

DIY Face Moisturizer

Ingredients

When I made this, I wrote down everything but the shea butter and cocoa butter amounts. I am guess-timating my shea and cocoa butter amounts.

  • 4.5 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp shea butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil (good for sensitive skin)
  • few drops of vitamin E oil
  • several drops of lavender essential oil
Before Melting Shot

Before Melting Shot

Instructions

  1. If you are reusing a glass jar, remember to sterilize your glass jar. I did this the night before actually making it to save time.
  2. Put your empty jar into the pot and fill with cold water with enough to cover about 1/3 of it. Make sure not to get any water into your jar as we’re attempting to make a face moisturizer not a lotion.
  3. Bring water to a boil. While water is boiling, combine oils into jar.
  4. Once water comes to a boil, bring it down to low heat.
  5. Once the oils in the jar become translucent, everything has melted.
  6. Take the jar out of the hot water carefully and set it on a trivet. Add essential oils at this stage.
  7. Let the jar cool then place in the fridge.
  8. You can leave it overnight and when you take it out, you can store it in a cool/dry place. If it begins to liquify, just stick it in the fridge. I’ve been able to keep mine just in my room all winter and it has remained soft. There you have it, you’re own very unique DIY Moisturizer, made by you! Woohoo!! 🙂

Ideas for Next Time

  • The only thing I would do next time is cut back on the coconut oil and try using more butter or incorporating some beeswax and perhaps trying different combinations of essential oils to change things up.
  • As I edited this post, it occurred to me, I could probably have just melted the butters with coconut oil then added the other oils when the melted mixture was off the stove and cooling since the other oils didn’t need to be heated. Something that I didn’t really think about until I was writing up this post.
Oils are all melted

Oils are all melted

This was a lot of fun to make. Cherry is a “go by feel, what’s the rush?” kind of girl. I’m more of a “precise and cautious” person when it comes to doing something new. We talked about this and laughed because she was so cool with just “eyeballing” and I wanted to track every spoonful/step. 🙂 I told her I wanted it to be as precise as possible so if I wanted to tweak it next time, I could compare and see how my adjustment effected my outcome and it would be easier to share (with you lovely readers) how I made it. She told me that a little bit of coconut oil goes a long way and she was right. I would like to try cutting back on the coconut oil next time to see if it will make it less oily.

Cooling

Cooling

DIY Face Moisturizer: Ready to use!

DIY Face Moisturizer: Ready to use!

When using this, I only needed a small pea size amount for my whole face. A little bit goes a long way. This is the same reason why this is such an economical thing to do. I use to probably spend around $80-90 for my facial moisturizers for the year. Now, I can spend about $30-35 on oils and butters and use it towards more than just my face and for more than a year.

I was so happy that Cherry was cool about having me over to learn how to make my own moisturizer. I told her I was nervous about melting oils in a glass container at home. LOL! YUp, I still get nervous about being alone and MELTING stuff on the stove and since we were melting oils in glass, I just had this fear that something could go wrong if I was on my own.

I was incredibly excited to try this when it was done. When you open the jar, the scent of lavender hits your nostrils. I ADORE this moisturizer. It took a lot for me not announce it to everyone I talked to. That level of excitement people. haha

I primarily use it on my face on cold fall/winter days and on my hands overnight. I can pretty much use it all over but I mainly use it for my face.

My recipe didn’t use water but if you wanted to use water in a DIY beauty project (perhaps making a lotion or spray) definitely take a look at this very informative link on DIY 101: Working with water by Crunchy Betty.

Check out my friend Cherry’s post on her DIY moisturizer.

What scents do you like in your moisturizer? Do you have a DIY moisturizer recipe to share? What’s in your favourite moisturizer?

Please share!


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Skin Care: Moisturizing Your Face With Oil

Grape seed oil and Jojoba Oil.

Grape seed oil and Jojoba Oil.

My old face moisturizing routine included using a Vichy moisturizer during the winter months and a La Roche Moisturizer during the summer. I started this in university and before that I don’t remember (maybe a cream by Nivea). My face has always been on the normal/combination. I use to have dry areas around my nose and mouth and my forehead was on the shinier side. I would occasionally get pimples around my hairline or around my mouth.

It wasn’t until one cold fall day two years ago, that I applied my Vichy moisturizer after a summer of using La Roche and felt a burning sensation on my cheeks. At first, I didn’t think too much about the burning sensation, reasoning that it was because I took a break from using it in the summer. Then I thought “moisturizers shouldn’t hurt”, I don’t want to get used to this. I wanted something simpler and nourishing for my skin. I went to my local health store and asked one of the associates to recommend a daily moisturizer face cream. Unfortunately, this face cream still left my face with the same dry spots I had when I used my old Vichy moisturizer. I felt like I needed to apply it more than once during the day. I felt like my skin needed something stronger that would absorb into my skin and help it stay moisturized. I didn’t want to have to reapply during the day.

I researched online and learned that we could use oils to moisturize our faces. Just oil? Lotion and creams involve a combination of water and oil, take out the water and all I’m left with is oil. Definitely sounded like this would work. I figured, if I didn’t like it, I could always go back to experimenting with new facial creams. I started using grapeseed oil, then sweet almond oil, and am now using the jojoba oil. I’ve found that my skin looks and feels softer using these oils. Going this route wasn’t just good for my skin but for my wallet too! I use a few drops to cover my entire face.

Naturally, I went into work and couldn’t wait to share it with my two blogger friends. One of them started out with grapeseed oil. The other one tried sweet almond oil and has since made her own DIY moisturizer. I’ll share her link in another post where I talk about my own DIY moisturizer (Stay Tuned! It is on the way!).

Now, you might think it sounds a bit weird to put OIL on your face. Especially because there are products that are suppose to REMOVE oil off our faces (i.e. those oil blotting sheets). However, contrary to popular belief that oil is bad and we need to get rid of it, oil is very good for our skin as it moisturizes it without drying it out. As for which types of oils to use depends on your skin and preference.  There are lots of oils to choose from, I decided to start with these three because my skin was a combination of dry spots and oily areas. I’ve included some of the benefits of each oil. I feel like my skin has become softer and stays moisturized.

Grape seed Oil

  • Great for dry or sensitive skin
  • Light moisturizing oil
  • Helps protect collagen
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Easily absorbed and won’t clog pores
  • Can use on hair and skin

Sweet Almond Oil

  • Good for all skin types
  • Easily absorbed and won’t clog pores
  • Helps retain or restore glow
  • Nourishes skin and keeps it looking soft
  • Improves skin tone and complexion
  • Helps get rid of dark circles under eyes and reduce puffiness
  • Can use on body as well

Jojoba Oil

  • Good for dry skin and oily skin
  • Combating fine lines and wrinkles
  • Very similar properties to sebum 
  • Helps with oil control
  • Won’t clog your pores
  • Can be used on hair and body (dry lips and on cuticles)

Application

After washing and drying my face in the morning, I use few drops of oil (about 1/3-1/2 tsp) and spread it over my face using my fingers or a cotton pad. That’s basically it when it comes to my moisturizing routine. I’ve thought about trying out moisturizing at night too but I haven’t felt the need to.

I’m very happy I made the switch to oils and it was so easy to do. What do you use on your face? What’s your favourite oil? 

Disclosure: I’m not an expert on skin care and everything I’m sharing is based on my experience and what I’ve read online. To be on the safe side, please contact a medical professional for advice prior to experimenting with oils as with any change in skin care regimen, you may experience adverse reactions. Thanks for stopping by.

– Julie


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Busy Bee & Spreading Some Blog Love

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Macarons to finish the end of a very long work week.

Hello!! How are ya’ll doing? It’s been a while.

I’ve been busy as a bee. I can’t go into detail, but in short, there’s been a lot of changes I’ve been dealing with in my personal and work life. I’ve been in this place of transition for what feels like a lifetime (September – Present). Just this past week there was one evening I fell asleep at 8:30pm, barely had any appetite and was just EXHAUSTED from my day.

Naturally, this blog takes a back seat to my real world responsibilities. There are jobs to do, people to take care of, laundry to be washed, groceries to be bought, food to be cooked and eaten. An endless cycle. With chocolate & chips, noodles, dumplings, banana bread baking, laughs, conversations, emails and  love sprinkled in between.

During this time, I missed blogging and tried my best to keep up with posts in my reader and email subscriptions for blog posts. Which only made me miss blogging more.

Nonetheless, I wanted to highlight some great posts that have made me smile in the past little while. Hope they bring you a dose of joy in your day or that little bit of escape you need to shake things up.

1. Lindsey’s Nuts and Bolts

A post that reminded me about how simple card making can be.

Tissue Paper Banner Tutorial

All That Glitters is Pink & Gold

Great ideas for party decorations! What a smart idea to use paint samples to make confetti.

2. Sarah’s Daily Nibbles

Sarah is taking part in the JET program teaching English in Japan. Sarah’s tagline is “always thinking about my next meal” –> ME too! 🙂

I love reading her updates in my email and seeing all the lovely photos. Here are a few I really enjoyed this month.

Six Months in Japan

Video: Six Months in Japan

Miso soup, by real Japanese school girls.

3. Shaza’s Scrapbook

Nouman and Shaza’s Shaadi. Shaza is my co-worker, friend and a blogger. I was lucky to attend her Shaadi to see her in all her beautifulness. Check out her blog as she shares about weddings, food and thoughts.

Hope you enjoy these blog posts. Wishing you a great rest of the weekend and week ahead!

– Julie