Products and Brands

Tea Please [from HealthSnap.ca]

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Nothing tastes better than a cup of coffee in the morning, except perhaps a warm cuppa tea at eight in the evening paired with a great book and freshly baked cookies. A few weeks ago, my friend Victoria over at HealthSnap.ca sent over a box full of teas for me to try out.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me ― C.S. Lewis

HealthSnap is a Canadian online retailer based in Toronto. They sell numerous products in various categories (Baby & Mom, Beauty & Skin Care, Diet & Fitness, Household, Medicine, Personal Care, Sexual Wellness, and Vitamins & Supplements). They have even partnered with several pharmacies for their users to order through them for Home Delivery or Pharmacy Pick Up. Since Victoria sent me the teas directly I haven’t actually purchased from the site. They do have some pretty wonderful reviews, free shipping over $50, and great pricing though so I may give them a try.

The Celestial Tea box came with 5 different teas; Chamomile, Lemon Zinger, Peppermint, Honey Vanilla Chamomile, and Sleepytime. I’ve tried them all and wasn’t a huge fan of the Lemon Linger but the Honey Vanilla is the equivalent to having an evening of solitude in the library of your choice (a.k.a HEAVEN). The Sleepytime tea was earthy and minty and worked like a charm! The best part about this brand of tea: no matter how long I steeped it for, the flavour didn’t become too bold or strong. Each tea stayed true to its mild, relaxing, delicious flavour.

I tried the Refreshing Mint the other day at work and was happy when it didn’t taste as though I was drinking a pack of gum. It is calming yet exhilarating (yes, tea can be that too!) and it woke me up enough to get through the rest of my afternoon.

I have yet to try the Detox teas – I’m waiting for a weekend that I know I’ll be at home (just in case) or the Cold & Cough tea since I don’t have a cold or cough! I’m sure I’ll try them another time and I’ll let you know how they were.

Have you tried HealthSnap? What did you think?

Xoxo,

Vanessa

P.S. I was sent these teas in exchange for an honest review, as per my DISCLOSURE, I only write about products I use and things I like.

Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle/Personal

Falling into a New Season

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” ― Truman CapoteBreakfast at Tiffany’s

I love the stillness that comes with Fall. I love the silence. I love the idea that hibernation is in the forecast. After a crazy-busy-beautiful summer I am ready for a change of pace. I am yearning for cooler weather, warm sweaters, dark nail polish, and pumpkin-spiced everything. Call me crazy but Fall is my favourite season. It has potential, it radiates happiness with modest charm, and although I’m officially not in school anymore, it still has that air of change, growth, and excitement.

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I’m looking forward to a Fall filled with new adventures, exploring different styles, and creating new goals. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, long drives surrounded by trees with leaves ignited by colour. I’m looking forward to cool evenings with my laptop on my lap, words floating around in my mind, and a hot cuppa tea nearby.

I’m looking forward to it all.

xoxo,

Vanessa 

Fashion & Beauty

MaskerAide Virgin #sheetmaskselfie INCLUDED

When it comes to taking care of my face, my daily routine is simple:

  1. wash face with water in the morning + moisturize with no-name cream
  2. wash face with Dove soap in the evening + moisturize with no-name cream

Seriously. That’s it. I tend to spend more time primping my nails than taking care of my face. The reason: the more I put on my face, the worse it looks. I have very sensitive skin that breaks out easily. I can’t use harsh-smelling lotions or face wash and I refuse to wear foundation or powders. That being said, sometimes my face is in need of some serious TLC.

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Karen Viray is the wonderful woman who sent me four MaskerAide sheet masks – All Nighter, Weather Warrior, Beauty Restore, and Pre Party Prep. I’ve wanted to try them our for a long time (#sheetmaskselfies have plugged up my newsfeeds for months) and I don’t think Karen realizes just how perfect her timing was!

After trying all four sheet masks I am happy to announce that I didn’t break out at all! My skin is a little more radiant and insanely smooth; it even looks hydrated! **EVEN THE FIANCE NOTICED*** MaskerAide sheet masks are easy to use, super gentle, and give you an excuse to close your eyes, blast a Sam Hunt playlist on Youtube, and just unwind. We seem to forget how important it is to have these little moments to ourselves. I promise that twenty minutes with a MaskerAide sheet mask will leave you feeling rejuvenated both facially and emotionally.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

**Photo from the MaskerAide website**

Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle/Personal

The Bride’s Diary – The Dress

The Bride's Diary

Every girl dreams about is the moment they put on a white gown and are so overcome by emotion (and their own beauty) that they weep incessantly. Every girl except me. I’ve never dreamt about my wedding nor the dress I would wear that day. I’ve never obsessed about it and had no idea what style I even wanted. I also had no idea that I had to look for my dress at least a year in advance. Call me the Clueless Bride I guess.

I made an appointment at Ritche Bridal and brought along my mother, sister, and future mother-in-law to help me decide on a dress. I came prepared with ideas, photos, and a do not ever put me in a dress like this list. As usual we were a little early for the appointment so my sister took the opportunity to pull out a few dresses she thought would look good on me. One of which I wasn’t 100% sure of.

In no time my bridal consultant ushered us into the room with a few questions; budget? style? colour? The first dress I tried on just so happened to be the one that my sister pulled out. It was gorgeous. Simple. Sweet. Classic. Stunning. Even though I didn’t want to get out of it, we put it to the side while I tried on about 6 or 7 more gowns. None of which suited me the way the first dress did. Even the bridal consultant couldn’t get that dress out of her head, so just for fun, I tried it on again. Immediately a smile rose to my lips; this is my dress. For the finishing touch my consultant put a simple veil on my head which lead to an intense crying session starting with me and ending with my mother-in-law. Cue hand waving and mascara running.

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“Are you saying yes to the dress?” asked the consultant. 

“YES!” I replied. 

And THAT is how I found the dress, the dress I didn’t want to take off, the dress that I pictured Alex seeing me in when I walked down the aisle, the dress that my parents would “give me away” in, the dress that I would dance the night away in. I’d like to thank Ritche Bridal and especially my consultant Naima, for making dress shopping easy, memorable, and relaxing. Thank you for listening to me, for sticking to the budget, and for really understanding the kind of bride and person I am. I would recommend you to anyone!

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

film, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Rainy Sunday Movies

COOL CAT, GUESS WHAT YOU'RE INVITED TO.

Although I normally spend rainy days curled up on the couch with a great book, last weekend the only thing I felt like doing was losing myself in a movie or two. I am no movie connoisseur, in fact my fiancé doesn’t let me choose movies because my taste is THAT bad. Thankfully he’s usually pretty good at finding a movie that we both like. I’ve compiled a few of our favourites from the last weekend (and prior rainy days).

Inside Out: not the BEST Pixar movie I’ve ever seen but it has a great concept. I may or may not have shed a few tears when Riley started going through all of those awful teenage angst filled emotions. I may or may not have cried when her imaginary friend finally said goodbye. I may or may not have cried at the very last frame when the family embraces.

Mad Max Fury Road: Intense, weird, innovative. I’m still not quite sure what happened during this film. There was a lot of driving, shooting, blowing things up, and special effects. If you’re looking for a laugh, this isn’t the right film, but if you’re looking for something to keep you guessing, keep you on the edge of your seat, this is it! Charlize Theron kicks ass and Tom Hardy is amazing (and not bad to look at).

Home: Cute, funny, memorable. Rhianna and Jim Parsons are the voices of the main characters. I preferred this film over Inside Out – it had more laughs and the characters were more loveable.

This is Where I Leave You: Tears, laughter, and all of the feels. Great cast with an excellent script.

Jurassic World: Probably the best combination of action, romance, adventure, and humour I’ve seen in a long time. Oh and CHRIS PRATT!

What are your favourite movies to watch on a rainy day?

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo 

 **movie posters from imdb**

Just for Fun, Products and Brands

5 Simple Rules [on trb blog]

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You may not be seeing posts as often as you’re used to on My Pen, My Voice, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing. I’ve started contributing to The Red Bow Blog and my first post went up yesterday!  Check it out here and stay tuned for another short story in Passion8 Mag, as well as, some new posts right here on My Pen, My Voice.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo 

Fashion & Beauty, Giveaways, Products and Brands

The Red Bow: Newer + Simpler

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I love pretty things and this love brought me into contact with The Red Bow almost two years ago. Since then I’ve written about them several times, shopped on the website on numerous occasions, and even teamed up with them to host a giveaway or two. The mastermind behind The Red Bow is Karen Viray : a smart, passionate, kick-ass woman who has been a source of inspiration time and time again.

I connected with her recently to talk about Th Red Bow. When I asked her what her favourite pretty things are she replied: It is really difficult to choose but I love pretty books, desserts and wallpaper. On The Red Bow, I’d have to say our new macaron-shaped mini boxes. They are honestly so pretty and real looking, I love just having them on my desk or on my vanity. They are actual macaron-size and can hold small things like earrings or breath mints (or Advil, if you’re like me and keep them at your desk – it’s definitely a way prettier way of storing them lol).

When I heard that The Red Bow was getting a facelift and a complete relaunch my excitement was taken to the next level. When I asked Karen why she decided to change things around she told me that since she wants to keep The Red Bow a small business, she thought it would be best to make it as uncomplicated as possible. Simplifying the website and narrowing down the products to better reflect who she is will not only give her time to connect with her customers in a personal way, but it will also help her manage life/work and everything else in a more sane and (healthy?) way. It also gives her the time she needs to keep up her hand-written notes and personal wrapping for her customers.

That, that right there is why I’ve continued to be a huge fan of The Red Bow AND Karen. She says, I see The Red Bow as more of a community, rather than just another dime-a-dozen online shoppe selling similar things as everyone else. I want to grow the trb community with more online engagement, collaborations, blog content, local events and charity outreach.

The store will include three simple sections: PRETTY ACCESSORIES (statement pieces, old favourites, and new goodies), PRETTY BEAUTY (yummy fragrances and the very best Korean beauty products), and PRETTY HOME (art prints, stationery, journals, and even home decor accessories). I have earrings, a clutch, a bracelet, notebooks, art prints, and an iPhone case from The Red Bow and cannot wait to see all of the new products they have in stock. Karen is super excited to share some NEW favourite things with her customers too. Karen divulges that she’s MOST excited about the pretty beauty section, since beauty, make-up and skin care have always been an obsession hers. The newest products that the red bow will be carrying is a small selection of my favourite, and a few cult favourite, beauty products from Asia, she says. I for one cannot wait to get my hands on some of these products!

As for the future of The Red Bow, Karen says; I definitely look forward to seeing how it will transform in the next 5 years. Small businesses grow, just as the people behind them grow as well.  It’s a creative synergy. I couldn’t agree more! I was given a sneak peek of the new site – which will officially launch on June 1st, 2015 – and was blown away by the sheer beauty of it. Everything Karen set out to accomplish with the relaunch has been brought into fruition and I cannot wait for other lovers of pretty things to check it out!

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo