Aaptiv Workout App Review

I love working out. Wait, did I just say that? I was never am not athletic. I am uncoordinated and forever banging into things. I joined a workout group from work a few years ago and saw the same trainer for 6 or 7 years. She constantly pushed us, forcing us to do squats and lunges until our butts hurt, and encouraging us to push ourselves when we thought we had nothing left. She is amazing trainer and an amazing person, and I miss her all the time.

When our group all got laid off, we went our separate ways and our group stopped meeting. I kept working out on my own and looked for a something to keep me inspired. I found Aaptiv formerly called Skyfit. It’s a monthly subscription workout app that puts trainers, programs and music inside your phone, ready to be played at the push of a button. It’s affordable at $10 USD per month and you can do the workouts outside, at home or at a gym. In the fall I used it to run outside and when it got too cold for that (I’m a fair-weather runner), I bought a cheap gym pass and use the app inside.

The category section of the app

It has 15 categories including: Treadmill; Outdoor Running; Elliptical; Strength Training; Indoor Cycling; Stairclimber; Yoga; Walking; Stretching; Meditation; 5K Training Program; 10K Training Program; Half Marathon Training; Full Marathon Training; and Monthly Challenges. So you can see there’s something for just about everyone. I’ve tried lots of different ones but there are still lots that I haven’t tried. I also love the monthly fitness ones where you can try something new for the month.

Some yoga workouts you can try

Things I love about it

I am lazy. I get distracted watching other people working out, I forget what I planned to do, I do half the workout and figure that’s good enough. I have lots of excuses. This program pushes me. I have sore muscles after doing dozens of squats. I can see my stamina increase after doing several runs/treadmill workouts in a row. It also pushes me harder than I would’ve pushed myself (see above: lazy). I really like the variety available. There are literally hundreds of workouts in various intensity levels (using green, yellow and red dots to easily decipher which is which) to choose from every single time you workout. And you can’t beat the price of $10USD per month (closer to $15CAD with taxes) considering you don’t need a gym membership to do over half the workouts. The price also goes down if you choose to pay upfront for monthly or lifetime subscriptions. Click here to see the options and to sign up for a 7 day free trial.

Each workout shows you a quick description and some stats on duration, calories, etc.

 

Things I hate about it

If you use this and your gym doesn’t have wifi (or has terrible wifi), you should increase your download plan on your phone as you can’t download workouts, you have to stream them. For me, this isn’t a huge issue except that one month I was playing RollerCoaster Tycoon4Mobile (yes, I am a huge nerd) and streaming workouts. My husband texted one day and told me to cut down on whatever I was doing as I was using a significant portion of our data plan. I stopped playing the game and have been fine ever since.

Conclusion

Overall, I really like Aaptiv and will continue to use the app to help push myself towards my fitness goals. I don’t think an app will ever replace a person so if you have a great trainer, I would recommend keeping them. If you are like me, and looking for a way to keep your motivation high while working out by yourself, then Aaptiv may just be the app you are looking for.

Have you tried this? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!

My friend Amy and I pretending to be tough before Spartan last year

First Impression: Bite Beauty Multistick in Biscotti

I love Bite Beauty lipsticks. The handmade, Canadian lip products are a great luxury item, in my opinion. They smell amazing, they slide on easily with full-coverage and are made of food and food-grade products. What’s not to love?

But I have to admit that I was skeptical of the Multistick they released in the fall. One product that works equally well on lips, cheeks and eyelids? Seems too good to be true. Here is my first impression of the multistick, which I picked up in Biscotti.

Bite Beauty Multistick in Biscotti (Note: Sephora’s website describes this colour as “deep, muted mauve”)

Other products used in my look:

NARS Pore Shine and Control Primer

Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer

Tarte Light of the Party palette

Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Powder in Classic Ivory

Gosh Eyebrow Pencil in Grey Brown

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper

Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara mini

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Soft Focus and Show Gold Review

Duochrome, shiny, shimmery highlighters have stolen my heart so I was actually proud of myself that I only picked up two of the MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish powder highlighters: Soft Focus and Show Gold. I hope you enjoy my review. Happy Shopping!

Links:

NARS Pore Shine and Control Primer

Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer

Tarte Light of the Party palette

Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Powder in Classic Ivory

Gosh Eyebrow Pencil in Grey Brown

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper

Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara mini

Tarte 12 HR Amazonian Blush in Paarty (Sephora’s limited edition birthday gift)

Tarte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit (Sephora’s limited edition birthday gift)

Review of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I picked up Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last summer, read it and plunged into tidying the KonMari way. She has a particular method that she insists works for all people and as long as you follow her method, you will have a clutter-free home and a changed life. Hmm… I could use a clutter-free home whether or not it changes my life. I figured it was worth a shot.

She insists on starting with clothing, specifically your sock drawer, move on to underwear and other clothing. Then do books, miscellany and momentos last. I feel like she leaves out big sections of the modern North American home (like the basement, movie collection, kitchen stuff, outdoor clutter, etc) but since she is based in Japan, I am assuming that these aren’t big categories there and to her, all this stuff would fit under miscellany.

I did do my sock drawer first but I didn’t really take pictures of the process so we are going to look at pictures of my makeup collection being tidied.

The Method:

So, as a (part-time) makeup blogger, you would expect me to have tons of makeup. Well, I think I fall in the middle. I have lots of makeup, more than the average person, but not as much as the average beauty blogger. I kept the majority of my makeup in the top dresser drawer of my husband’s dresser but it didn’t all fit inside the drawer and was always spread all over the top of the dresser in a big mess. The goal was for all of my makeup to fit inside the drawer.

I did Marie Kondo’s first step: find all the similar items from around the house and spread them all in one place. In this case, the floor.

I tried to group them by item: brushes, palettes, lipsticks, eyeshadow singles, blushes, sponges, eyelashes, etc. There was a big mess in the middle-right where things didn’t really have a category so mascara tubes are mixed in with concealer and foundation and primer.

The easy part was then to throw away anything that was broken, almost empty or not useful. Next I took each item in my hand and carefully measured my reaction to that item, looking for items that “spark joy”. This is the part that sounds totally hokey when you read it in the book but when you are doing it, it makes a lot of sense. You can tell when you hold something what your emotion is about it. Excited, wonder, exasperation, disgust, guilt, anxiety… it’s kind of amazing how many emotions you have about the stuff in your home. Then, based on my emotional reaction, I sorted the items into two piles. If my emotion wasn’t a positive one then I put the item in one pile. If it was positive, I placed them in another pile.

To decide my emotions about each lipstick, I did swatches on my arm and sorted according to my reaction to the colour. Daughter was super pumped that we were playing with lipstick and also did swatches on her arm. I can’t remember why I didn’t take pictures of that as it was adorable.

Initially I didn’t think my giveaway/discard pile would be that large but I was pleasantly surprised to see two small MAC bags bursting with beauty items to give to my friends.

I then sorted the items I decided to keep further into categories to decide how best to store them. I put the drawer on the floor along with some Ziploc reusable containers and a couple small glass candle holders that I had re-purposed into makeup or brush holders. Within a short time, the items easily fit into the containers and started to make sense in how they would go into the drawer.

Eyeshadow palettes, on end on the left; eyeliners in a glass jar; mascaras in a glass jar (because I use minis/deluxe-sample-sizes, they stood up easily, this didn’t work for full-size mascaras); lipsticks and glosses together in another glass container; the two boxes in the middle are a mis-mash of items, concealer, foundation, primer, sponges, samples, false eyelashes, unopened items, etc; the big container on the right bottom was eyeshadow singles; above that was MAC pigments; above that was blush and highlighter singles. My brushes continue to stand in two glass containers on top of the dresser but they are the only items whose “home” is on top of the dresser. Everything else has a space inside the dresser drawer and while it can get left on top of the dresser occasionally, it now takes less than five minutes to put everything away in it’s place.

Things I love about the KonMari Method:

  • I enjoy the new concept of discarding that she provides, that items should be discarded if they don’t bring you joy even if they are still useful. I was able to get rid of items that I had been previously hanging on to because they of possible, future usefulness. Now I understand that if items aren’t useful to me then maybe they can find a new home to give someone else joy.
  • Marie Kondo doesn’t encourage buying organizational or storage items. She believes that most people have already bought enough storage items and you can usually use something around the house to store the items after you have finished discarding.
  • I really love how the few areas in my home that I have used the KonMari Method to tidy make me feel when I look at them. My underwear drawer is literally a heart-warming place for me. My sports bras are separated from my everyday bras and my full-coverage panties are separate from my thongs and there is even a place for all of my swimsuits. I can open the drawer in the dark and still find the type of underwear I am looking for.

I’m happy to report that this drawer still looks like this and it’s been six months. I don’t think I will ever go back to the mess that was this drawer before.

Things I don’t love about the KonMari Method:

  • She constantly talks about throwing things away. It wasn’t until the end of the book that she talked about giving away things in a positive manner. She makes an excellent point about not pressuring relatives and friends to take the items as then it is likely that the items will not bring them joy. Perhaps in Japan they don’t have the same kind of second-hand economy that we have in North America? I’m not sure. While I threw away items that were not useful to anyone, I did sell some of my clothes to Plato’s Closet, put items in the Salvation Army bins, donated old books to the Children’s Hospital book drive, and took my bags of makeup to book club to be picked through by friends. While throwing out things would’ve been faster and easier, it was much more rewarding to find new homes for the items.
  • The way she recommends folding clothes is really smart. She teaches you how to fold all clothing items so they are small rectangles and can be stored on their side so you can see all your clothing items at a glance in the drawer instead of piled on top of one another (pick up her second book, Spark Joy, for a more indepth guide to folding). The storage of clothing I really love…. the folding is another story. Don’t get me wrong, the folding isn’t hard. What is hard is that I have folded my clothes the same way for more than 25 years. I can do it watching tv and not even really paying attention to folding. Consistently using the new folding method is hard. I have to pay attention to what I am doing and it takes much longer than my old method. It’s getting easier the more I do it but I still grump every time it’s folding day.

Overall, I give the book two thumbs up and have already recommended it to friends. I am currently re-reading the book to help motivate me to continue with the KonMari Method for other areas of my house. She recommends spending six months discarding and tidying your items. While I started this method just over six months ago, I am still far from completing my house. Writing this review has reinforced the memory that in the areas of my home that I did the hardwork and took the time to use the KonMari Method either still look perfect or are less than five minutes from perfect (and one of those places is under my bathroom sink!).

Have you read this book or tried the KonMari Method? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!

How to Dye Your Hair Crazy Colours

So this really more a post about how I dyed my hair pink. I wasn’t planning on doing a post but there has been so much interest in the products and process I used, I thought I would do up a quick one. Apologies for the quality of the photos, they were meant for Instagram.

So, after tinting my hair lavender for the 42nd time around New Year’s, I decided it was time to branch out into other colours. I’ve done pink before:

but it’s been a long time. And back then (almost a decade ago), the colours weren’t pastel. Pastel was not a colour range that was in style in the 2000s.

This time, I definitely wanted more of a pastel pink and not the bright pink I’d had before. Husband was stopping by Chatters and I sent fairly specific instructions of what I wanted. He sent back photos of this colour range and, despite my protests, had me speak to the colourist on staff there to confirm what I was looking for.

On her advice, I purchased a tube of Soft Pink (far right) and Rose (second from right). She mentioned that while Rose was the pastel shade, it had turned peach/orange after a couple of washes on a client’s hair. She suggested mixing the darker pink in to help keep it pink and combat the pastel colour’s tendency to fade poorly. I understood what she meant. I picked up the Lilac colour in this range and when it faded, it faded to kind of a denim blue, which ended up turning green. Light, pastel green but green nevertheless. Green is not a colour that one hopes their hair turns when aiming for purple.

Again, apologies for not taking any pictures of process but I wasn’t planning to turn this into a post. Here is the one picture that I posted on Instagram where you can clearly see I was mixing the two shades of pink:

Stay tuned #pink #pinkhair #diy #joicocolorintensity

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While this shows about a 1:1 ratio, I actually varied ratios around my head. At the back, I did about 75%:25% Rose to Soft Pink ratio, about 1:1 in the middle section around my head and 25%:75% Soft Pink to Rose ratio around my face and the top of my head. It’s a subtle differentiation but if you look closely, you can definitely see the variances.

Don’t rush putting the dye on your hair and make sure you have enough. I used both 4oz tubes completely on my hair and had to go back to the store to get another one for my daughter.

Like mother, like daughter #latergram #pinkhair

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The process of putting dye on my hair took about an hour. After I was done, I put a shower cap on my head to help keep the heat in. The directions suggest leaving the colour on for 20-25 mins. I left mine on for about 4 hours. Because it’s not bleach, it doesn’t damage your hair so it’s not harmful. When I used to colour my hair with Manic Panic, I even used to sleep with in and rinse in the morning.

So here we are with freshly coloured hair. I think the colour was actually more vibrant than shown in the picture as it was evening and there isn’t great lighting in our bathroom.

 

Better pic of how the dye is really vibrant on the ends of Daughter’s hair, where it’s the lightest. Excuse the laundry in the background.

I felt the real test would be to see how the dye held up after I washed it. It’s suggested that to keep your coloured hair more vibrant you should wash it in cold water. And even though it’s Winnipeg in February, I did exactly that. Brrrr!

The cold shower was worth it – the colour faded slightly but into an even more beautiful rose-toned pink.

No filter on this photo but it was taken in direct evening sunlight.

Overall, I’m really happy with the way my hair turned out. I’m a little worried about my next hair wash as I always feel like the second wash is the one that strips the most colour from your hair but I think this will fade nicely. I will definitely be trying more of the Joico Color Intensity dyes in the future.

Tried a candy-coloured look? What dye did you use? I’d love to hear from you. Happy Shopping!

Feb 26, 2017 UPDATE:

Here is the colour after five washes and two weeks. It’s very faded but still pink and I’m still really enjoying it.

Oil Cleansing Video

Hey folks! Anyone know where January went?? I felt like I wrote the resolutions, turned around twice and January was gone. Anyways, here is a quick(ish) video on cleaning your face using oil.

Links:

Crunchy Betty post referenced

Products worn:

NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Chocolate

Milk Makeup Ubame Mascara (which I swear I bought in a Lashstash but can’t find in my Sephora purchases and Sephora.ca won’t fess up to having… )

New Year’s Resolutions 2017

Hey folks! Welcome to 2017! I hope you had a wonderful holiday time.

My first resolution builds upon one that I did last year, which was to not wear plain ponytails to work anymore. I feel like that was good enough in my 20s but now in my 30s, I gotta step it up a little. That was going fairly well but this year I would really like to challenge myself by trying a minimum of one new hairstyle per week. I’ve been playing with curling irons, which is something I’ve never done before, with quite good results but right now it takes me an hour to curl my hair so I would like to also practice to cut that time down to under 30 minutes. I feel like my part-time job at MAC Cosmetics will help with that as the women (and men) there are always doing interesting things with their hair and this will provide a lot of inspiration.

Curly hair, don't care #maccosmetics #blondegirl #makeupaddict

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My next resolution is to get organized. One of our family goals is to buy a new house this year and this requires a lot of planning, cleaning, organizing and small handy-man jobs. We did the renovation to our house last year, so this year our house needs a bunch of small things, paint touch-ups, half-finished project completions, etc. To this end, I have purchased and read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I will have a review for you soon.

My last resolution is only partially a resolution. I’m going on a no-buy for the next three months. Being unemployed for most of 2016 forced me to evaluate the things I purchase. To really think about what is essential and what is not. I buy a lot of unessential things and I don’t appreciate the things I have as much as I think I should. Also, my birthday is in January and I tend to go a little crazy buying things I don’t really need. I will blog about my no-buy as I think not buying things is just as important a story as the things you do buy. And I feel blogging about it will help keep me honest and less likely to go crazy and not buy random stuff.

What are your resolutions, I’d love to hear them! Happy (Not) Shopping!

Quick Eyelash Tutorial

Hey folks, in honour of New Year’s Eve, I whipped up a quick tutorial for putting on fake eyelashes. Happy New Year and Happy Shopping!

Products used:

MAC Maleficent lashes (Maleficent packaging was limited edition but according to Temptalia, these lashes are #36 and permanent in MAC’s collection)

MAC Fluidline in Avenue

Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation in Ivory

L’Oreal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer

Makeup Geek eyeshadows in Shimma Shimma, Ritzy and Havoc

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12Hr Blush in Amazed

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Show Gold

Gosh eyebrow pencil in Brown Gray

MAC Versicolour Stain in Energy Shot

Buxom Lash Mascara

Note: While I am an on-call MAC employee, none of these items were provided for my consideration or at a discount. My opinions continue to be my own. 

Experience Gifts for Kids

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent say, “My kid(s) has/have too many toys!”, well, I’d have even more makeup than I do right now. I asked friends for ideas for Gift Guides and “Gifts for Kids that Aren’t Toys” was one of the top ones.

My first suggestion when I hear this complaint, is to buy “experience” gifts vs. physical gifts. Winnipeg is a great city for finding things to do in all seasons as long as you know where to look. (Note: prices quoted below are for an individual child’s admission or membership. For more information on family, adult or senior rates, please click on the links).

For a learning experience:

We’ve taken daughter and cousins to the Children’s Museum (admission $11+GST; membership $45+GST) several times and it’s always hours of fun. With such a wide age range (oldest is 5 years older than the youngest) it has always been a challenge to find something that the littlest ones can do that won’t bore the older ones. I feel the museum appeals to all the age ranges, especially at the water table.

Other ideas: Manitoba Museum (admission $7 – $17.50; membership $35+GST, note: memberships are 15% off until Jan 8) and Winnipeg Art Gallery (admission $8; membership $30).

For an outdoor experience:

I think the majority of people in Winnipeg have been to the new Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo (admission $10.50; membership $40) but if you haven’t made it yet, I highly recommend it. Definitely go in the morning if you go in the summer, the animals are much more active than in the afternoon. Also, Daughter and I recently went to a birthday party at the zoo at the end of November and wandered around afterwards and were surprised at how active most animals were in the wintertime, especially the tigers! The zoo is open 364 days per year and we really enjoyed the wintertime experience. When you visit, take a rest at the Tundra Grill to have some lunch and check out the Polar Playground.

Polar Playground: play structure and interactive displays

Other ideas: Fort Whyte Alive (admission: $6; membership $55) and Oak Hammock Marsh (admission: $6; membership $15)

For a playdate:

Photo courtesy of GreatBigAdventure.ca

For those days when it’s -30oC plus wind chill and the kids just need to run around, we’ve had a great time at Great Big Adventure (admission: $11.95 + taxes; special promo for unlimited 2017 visits $129.99 + taxes). There’s climbing, slides, a small structure for babies/toddlers and a large sitting area for parents. While they don’t allow outside food or beverages, there is a variety of food options including pizza, popcorn, veggies & dip, yogurt, pop, etc. We love going first thing in the morning and meeting other friends and their moms and dads there. Excellent playing time for the kids and visiting time for the adults.

Other ideas: Sky Zone (admission: $12 for 30 mins; $16 for 60 mins; $20 for 90 mins; and $24 for 120 mins) and Kid City

To relax:

I love going to the movies. I would go to the movies all the time if I could. My favourite thing to do is occasionally sneak away from work early on a Tuesday, pick up Daughter from daycare early and go to a 5 pm movie. We get hot dogs and popcorn and have a great time together! For the Christmas season both Cinplex and Landmark are having extra deals on their giftcards: with the purchase of the giftcard, get coupons and/or extra freebies. (See links for details).

Any experience-type gifts that I missed? Please leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!