Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

New In Beauty

Although I don’t feel like I purchase all that many new beauty products these days, it always seems like quite a lot when I add it all up for one of these posts. In saying that, quite a few of these were point perks, gifts with purchase or Christmas presents from my parents, and since there are usually months in between these kinds of posts, I still don't really think that I place online orders or go shopping all that much. In any case, who cares! I love beauty and if you're reading this you probably do too, so lets get on with it!

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
New In Beauty
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Skincare & Body Favourites: 2017

I wasn’t going to do a separate skincare favourites post for 2017 because I talked through my whole routine and everything I’m currently using in my recent Skincare Updates posts (Part 1, Part 2), but there are a few products I wanted to mention that have been real standouts for me this year, and I wanted to throw a few other things in here that didn’t fit in my Makeup Favourites: 2017 post as well. When it comes to skincare, I tend not to have too many similar products open at the same time, which means I use products consistently until I finish them, so I’d be lucky to get through 2-3 similar products in a year (excluding samples) and I often go back to my favourites because I’m very picky when it comes to ingredients and efficacy. So as with my makeup favourites I’m not going to go through every category and try and pick a favourite, I’m just going to talk about the products that I really loved this using this year.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Skincare & Body Favourites: 2017
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Makeup Favourites: 2017

I’ve decided to do a different kind of makeup favourites for 2017, primarily because these days I’m much better at judging whether I’m actually going to like and use a product just by looking at it, which means I buy way less stuff than I used to. Because I know what I like and what looks I go for and the types of products I like to use day-to-day, I’m much less tempted to try something completely new because I’m very comfortable and happy with what I already have in my collection. Of course, this means that a lot of my favourite products have been in my stash for years, so there’s no point in telling you Luminous Silk is still my go-to foundation for special occasions, or that I love NARS and Hourglass blushes. So I thought rather than talk about my favourite product in every category, my makeup favourites could take the form of my favourite looks I’ve been going for and the products I’ve been using to achieve them, i.e. the ways I most commonly use my makeup, and therefore the products I reach for most often. I always like hearing about people’s favourite products at the end of the year so even though mine is a little different hopefully it’s still interesting and useful for you guys. 

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Makeup Favourites: 2017

All About Face Masks

When it comes to masks, I like to think of them as supplementing a good skincare routine. Doing a mask once in a blue moon won’t really make a huge difference if you don’t take care of your skin day to day, but a good boost every now and then is always nice, especially as masks tend to give instant results. I tried quite a few before realising that I don’t really use them as often as I think I do, so the fact that most of the masks I own these days are minis suits me just fine. I got my hands on several of these via a Sephora Favourites set that’s unfortunately gone now, but minis are my favourite because not only do you get a manageable amount of product that you can actually use up, but they’re also kinder on the bank balance (especially if they’re free with purchase) and they’re super cute too. Because you wash off your masks and they’re only on your skin for 10-15 mins (or sometimes less) I would rather invest my money into serums that you don’t wash off. So I’m not inclined to really spend big bucks on masks, but if you love them and use them all the time to help you relax then you might see value in splurging on something luxurious.

All About Face Masks
Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle

In My Secret Life

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas has been having a nice holiday, and that everyone who doesn't is having a nice time as well! My boyfriend and I had our first white Christmas, and because we don't have any family over here and didn't have anything planned, we had a really relaxed day. We found a list of restaurants that were open and went out for breakfast and then walked home through Trinity Bellwoods Park, which looked really pretty all covered in snow. We Skyped our families and took it easy for the rest of the day and then went to an Aussie/NZ pub called Hemingway's for dinner. They have Pavlova on the menu so naturally we had to have it for dessert since it's such an Aussie summer staple.

Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle
In My Secret Life

A Long Weekend In Montreal

At the start of November my boyfriend and I went to Montreal for a long weekend, and although it was rainy and freezing the whole time, we still made the most of it. We ate lots of good food, did a bit of sight-seeing, and I was very happy because it’s the home city of Leonard Cohen who is one of my favourite people in the entire world.

A Long Weekend In Montreal

New In Beauty

I don’t really buy a huge amount of new beauty products these days, but one of my fave things about living in Canada is having access to Sephora’s favourites sets, minis, and of course their gift-with-purchase offers. In fact, if I’m ready to place an order I’ll still hold off until a good code comes along so I can try out something that interests me. I bought all of this stuff over the course of the last few months, a couple of things were GWP freebies, and I also picked up a few things in the VIB sale, though I didn’t go crazy because I didn’t really feel the need to.

New In Beauty

A/W Style Switch Up

I’ll be honest, proper winter dressing is completely foreign to me. Although I complained about winter in Sydney every year, Toronto is on a whole other level, and it’s still technically autumn! In Sydney I would essentially wear my summer clothes with a pair of tights and a coat over the top, but that doesn’t really fly over here, so I finally understand the need to have distinctly different summer and winter wardrobes. In the interest of literally not freezing to death, I’ve had to push myself to try some new things when it comes to my personal style because Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore! What this means is most of my style “uniforms” that I’ve been relying on are pretty new to me, and they definitely aren’t things that I was wearing last year.

A/W Style Switch Up

The How & Why of Serums (Skincare Update Pt. 2)

In case you missed reading about Part 1 of my skincare routine I’d recommend checking that out to get the full picture in combination with this post. In Part 1 I mentioned that I was going to talk about serums separately because they deserve a post of their own, and you’d better get yourself a cup of tea because we’re diving deep. Along with reviews of the products I’m currently using, I'm also talking about how I use them, as well as the strategy behind my routine and why I use the ingredients that I do. I’m a firm believer that most of your money should be spent on the serum stage, and on products that contain key ingredients with proven results. Now, obviously I don’t use all of these serums on my face morning and night, but I do think it’s important to have a good combination of them all. I like to think of skincare as food for my skin, so I try to make sure I've got a well-balanced routine that provides my skin with everything it needs to look its best.

The How & Why of Serums (Skincare Update Pt. 2)

Skincare Update (Pt. 1)

Rather than try and squeeze in a post about the skincare I was finishing up before I left Sydney I thought I would do a comparison of my old and new products since just about everything has been changed up since the move. Most of what I was using back home was coming to an end, so either it got finished up or the last dregs were decanted into little pots so I could make do until I got my hands on some new stuff over here. I brought over a few things from my ever-dwindling backups stash but everything else is a new purchase. Also, this post ended up getting waaaay too long because ya girl loves to talk about serums, so I've actually split it up into two parts. This part will go through every step of my skincare routine except for serums, and part 2 will be serums because apparently I had so much to say that it warrants a post of its own.

Skincare Update (Pt. 1)

In My Secret Life

I hate making a fuss of it or even really giving it much thought at all, but it was my birthday recently and it fell on the Friday of the Thanksgiving long weekend, which was a nice bonus. To celebrate, my boyfriend and I had dinner at Fring’s which is supposed to be part-owned by Drake. Drake must have been held up with something really important because he wasn’t there to wish me a happy birthday, but I’ve still got my fingers crossed that we’ll be friends soon. Rather than worry about surprises, we decided my present would be for us to go to Montreal at the start of November because there’s a Leonard Cohen tribute happening and I’m going to cry my little heart out. If you’ve ever been to Montreal and have any hot tips I’d love to hear them!

In My Secret Life

On Being a Slow Blogger

This post has been in the works for probably something like two years now. I'd come back to it every so often, think I had it perfect, and then completely rewrite it. But I think I've finally managed to express myself the way that I want to, so it's seeing the light of day. Blogging has changed immeasurably since I first started using livejournal back in high school in the early 2000s. Whether you’ve had an online space for literally half your life(!) like I have, or if you’ve always been a silent reader, I feel like blogging has enriched my life in so many ways and I know I wouldn’t be the same person without it.

But in all the ways it’s changed, so has my relationship with it, and I want to talk a bit more about that. Of course I only have my own experiences as a frame of reference, and I don’t claim to be an authority on the matter, but I have a lot of thoughts about the way blogging has become an industry and how these changes have influenced me and my blog, and I think it’s important to talk about it. Side note: I went on a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon earlier this year which is where these photos are from – but back to business!

On Being a Slow Blogger
Jessica Bialkowskistyle

My Summer Wardrobe Essentials

There have been a lot of changes in my life this year that have had an impact on what I’ve been wearing, but ultimately I’m feeling far more inspired style-wise than I have been in years. I wrote about being in a style rut and not having a suitable work wardrobe for the job I was in, but now that I’ve moved countries and am working in an industry that doesn’t have a dress code, it’s a completely different story.  I know it's a bit late for S/S content since we’re definitely in autumn now, but I thought it would still be fun to do a recap of what I was into during the warmer weather, and I know this will still be relevant for anyone in the southern hemisphere as it warms up for you guys (jealous!). 

Jessica Bialkowskistyle
My Summer Wardrobe Essentials
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Beauty Anti-Haul

If you've not heard about them already, an Anti-Haul is the opposite of a haul, where you talk about products you're not going to buy and why. The original creator of the idea is Kimberley Clarke and in the last six months or so I've seen them popping up all over YouTube and on blogs. It's essentially a response to the unrelenting avalanche of new releases that brands throw at us, and I think it’s an awesome concept. It’s really important to examine our buying habits and really start to think about what we consume and why, and I know anti-hauls have definitely encouraged me to do that even more.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Beauty Anti-Haul
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Beauty New & Old

I figured rather than a traditional empties post I would try something new, where I talk about products I’ve finished up and what I’ve replaced them with, so it’s like an empties and a haul all in one. I got the idea from ttsandra who is a Canadian YouTuber who I think is awesome, and hopefully you guys like this new format.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Beauty New & Old
Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle

In My Secret Life

Well, things certainly have been busy around these parts. Not only do I have a job now, but we had a whirlwind trip back to Sydney for 5 days for my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding, which was hectic to say the least.

Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle
In My Secret Life
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

The Ordinary: Review & Guide

I've tried quite a few products from The Ordinary now, and since they're everywhere at the moment I wanted to write about my thoughts on the brand and my experiences with their products in case anyone was considering buying a few things but wasn't sure where to start, or wanted some honest feedback before purchasing.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
The Ordinary: Review & Guide
Jessica Bialkowskitravel

Don't Mess With Texas: A Guide

This is the final part of my travel posts from my US trip in Feb/March earlier this year. After New Orleans it was time for Texas! Honestly I didn't really know what to expect but I ended up absolutely loving the place, especially Austin. We were very lucky that Mark had made friends with a Houston local through his work so we got all the hot tips for the best places to go (mostly to eat) in both Houston and Austin. Our new friend's girlfriend was also vegetarian which meant the recommendations were perfect for us, and we caught up with them for dinner while we were in town and had such a lovely time.

Jessica Bialkowskitravel
Don't Mess With Texas: A Guide

A Curated Wardrobe: My Way

The notion of having a curated wardrobe, decluttering your possessions, and adopting a minimalist lifestyle is getting more and more popular in the online world these days, and for a long time I didn't pay much attention because I thought it wasn't for me. Although I agreed with it all in theory and I can appreciate it on an aesthetic level,  I also love displaying sentimental bits and pieces on my walls and in my living space, and I have never once found myself daydreaming about a monochrome capsule wardrobe made up of 30 pieces of clothing. It always seemed like there were too many rules you had to follow that don't fit with my lifestyle or personal tastes.

But after looking into it in greater depth and following some great bloggers and YouTubers for a while, I can see that actually, there are no rules, and that it's up to you to adapt the principals of minimalism to your life in a way that works for you, not the other way around. You don't have to be come a hardcore minimalist who counts everything they own and turns it into their whole life. You don't even have to feel comfortable with calling yourself a minimalist, but you can incorporate elements of the lifestyle at your own pace and see where it takes you.

A Curated Wardrobe: My Way

Glossier Haul & Review

Although I'm very excited that Glossier are finally addressing international shipping, it was a bit annoying that they announced they've started shipping to Canada in the same week that I'd already orchestrated an elaborate plan to get my hands on some of their products. We had a friend visiting from San Fran for a weekend and had plans to go to Niagara Falls together, so I had my Glossier order shipped to a mail holding service just across the border and I walked over the Rainbow Bridge to pick it up. You have to go through customs on both sides since you're walking into New York state, so I had to bring my passport with me. I mean, I did get to see both sides of the falls so it wasn't just for the sake of Glossier, but it's still a lot more of a hassle than just ordering something to arrive at your home, but fortunately my plan went off without a hitch. I know that's a lot  of effort to go to for some skincare, but I'm sure half of you reading this would at least think about doing the same. Anyway, on to the good stuff!

Glossier Haul & Review

In My Secret Life

More news from Toronto! So much has been happening lately but we've finally settled in to our new place and are slowly sorting out some finishing touches. I might do some sort of apartment tour in the future if that sounds interesting to you guys? We also squeezed in a trip to Niagara Falls which was awesome. We're hoping to do lots of travelling while we're here but we figured our priority should be getting settled in before we worry about where else we want to go just yet.

In My Secret Life