Sunday, March 29, 2020

25 Tips to Look and Feel Your Best While Quarantined and Working From Home

The Coronavirus pandemic is still escalating and many of us are stuck indoors under self-quarantine while working from home. The effects of this outbreak is unlike anything we’ve experienced before and the global recession may cause anxiety, depression, loneliness, fear and many other emotions.

It is important to be safe, stay positive and keep things in perspective. Although the situation is serious we must persevere. It is easy to lose focus and sit at home feeling lost, bored and hopeless so today I am sharing a few tips to help you look and feel your best during these difficult times.

1.  Create a daily routine that provides a sense of accomplishment. It is easy to turn on Netflix and become a couch potato so try to stay on track.

Make your bed every morning, take a shower, have a good breakfast and adhere to a schedule that allows you to complete personal and professional projects. Write down your goals and try to achieve a new task every day.

2. Start and end your workday at the same time or stick to the same work schedule you had before the lockdown. Make sure to check-in with co-workers and find the best ways to stay connected. 

3. If your schedule is flexible try an early morning workout routine to increase circulation, sweat out some toxins and boost energy. It is important to keep moving, burn calories and stay healthy.

If you don’t own a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike, use whatever you have. Go up and down the stairs a few times, lift weights, jump rope or use an exercise ball. There are free workout videos online for aerobics, yoga and more.

4. Create a workspace that is private and aesthetically pleasing. If you do not have a home office, set one up in a quiet area and avoid working in front of the television or on your bed. Get a cute plant for your desk and add personal touches to create a space you want to work in. It is important to use a comfortable chair and have proper lighting.

5. Working from home can be overwhelming so make sure to schedule breaks. Get up and stretch, have a snack and regroup. Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health so do some light exercise and try compression socks to improve blood flow.

6. While completing projects for work tune out all distractions. Turn off the TV and all non-essential electronic devices. Avoid engaging in conversations with friends and family until quitting time and only take personal calls on your break. It is important to stay focused and be productive.

7. Eat healthy. The food shortage at grocery stores has forced many people to stock up on non-perishable canned goods but that does not mean you should stop eating fresh fruits and veggies. Plan your meals and try new recipes. Maybe you’ll become a master chef by the time quarantine has ended.  

8. Take vitamins and immune boosting supplements. You may feel a bit sluggish while trapped indoors so take a daily multi-vitamin and stay hydrated. Check out my article - 12 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health.

9. Go to bed at a decent time. It is tempting to stay up all night scrolling through social media or watching your favorite show but resist the urge. Drastic changes to your sleep pattern may cause fatigue and lower your immune system. Read - 10 Tips to Improve Your Beauty Sleep.

10. Change your clothes! If you sit around in the same old bathrobe and pyjamas all day chances are you will start to look and feel grungy. To boost morale and self confidence change into clean comfortable clothes, comb your hair, groom and shower every morning. You can still look and feel your best.

11. Stay in contact with friends and family. If you are separated from loved ones during the pandemic make sure to stay in touch via Face Time, Skype, text or a good old fashion phone call.

12. Download the Netflix Party extension on Google Chrome to watch movies and group chat with friends. To see my list of binge-worthy Netflix series click HERE.

13. Go for a walk or enjoy a peaceful drive. Just remember to practice social distancing.

14. Plan special nights so you have something to look forward to. If you are quarantined with family plan themed dinner parties, karaoke, game night workout sessions, movie night etc.

15. Start a journal. If the pandemic is stressing you out, you’re not alone. Expressing your feelings can be very therapeutic so unburden yourself by writing about the experience or discussing it with someone you trust.

16. Don’t watch or read the news before bed. It is wise to stay up-to-date on current events but being bombarded with bad news and violence on a daily basis can take a toll on your mental health. Take a break from all the negativity and focus on the positive.

16. Meditation is a great way to release tension and alleviate anxiety. Free sessions are available online to help you get started.

17. Get dressed up and do your makeup to boost confidence and have fun. Why not plan a photo shoot to capture new selfies for the Gram.

18. Practice a hobby or try a new DIY craft/project.

19. Start your spring cleaning. De-clutter your home, organize your stuff and gather a few things for donation.

20. Start a new book

21. Plan a spa day. I do this once a week (COVID or not) and it makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Wash your hair, take a bubble bath, shave, do a facial, use luxurious body butter and put on your favorite pyjamas. Pamper yourself and relax. You deserve it.

22. The pandemic is causing financial strain on many families so it might be helpful to create an emergency budget and come up with ways to save money.

23. Take a free online course to learn a new skill/language or pursue an interest.

24. Have sex. Plan a romantic date night in the living room and use quarantine time to enjoy each other. Sex can relieve stress, boost the immune system, enhance intimacy, promote better sleep, lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health and burn a few extra calories.

25. Redecorate and add some cheerful accents. Sometimes the slightest change to your surroundings can be uplifting and renewing. Treat yourself to a new comforter set or a few throw pillows to spruce up your bedroom. Many companies are still shipping online orders. 

Stay safe everyone

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Powder Before Foundation Makeup Technique | Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve been on TikTok recently you may have seen tutorials of people applying setting powder before foundation. This trend is making a strong comeback and there is much debate on social media about who started it. Jackie Aina and a few other artists have been using this technique for years but for some reason I totally missed it.

Applying translucent powder before foundation is supposed to prolong makeup, minimize pores and prevent creasing, streaks and smears so your skin looks flawless all day.

Step 1:
Start by washing and drying your face so you have a fresh canvass to work on.

Apply serum and moisturizer on clean skin and let it absorb while doing your brows. Currently I am using Biotherm’s Life Plankton Elixir ($90.00) and I rotate between Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream ($38.00), It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream ($62.00) and Kiehl's Multi-Action Cream SPF 30 ($85.00).

Makeup Tip: Many tutorials will instruct you to apply eyeshadow first but don’t. It is much easier to clean up fallout on bare skin and you won’t mess up your foundation. Always use a good base to prolong wear and enhance vibrancy. Currently I am using the NYX Pigment Primer ($9.00) and Glitter Primer ($8.00) to keep my shadow in place and prevent lid to crease transfer.

Step 2:
Apply face primer to smooth skin texture, blur pores and camouflage imperfections. Urban Decay’s Longwear Foundation Grip ($42.00) goes on sheer, lightweight and hydrating with a supple finish that bonds makeup to skin for less transfer and smudging. I love the way it corrects and creates a silky, even surface.

I usually let the primer set for a minute or two before moving onto the next step.

Step 3:
Instead of applying foundation like you normally would, use loose translucent powder. My favorite is Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD ($48.00) because it smooths, blurs and perfects like no other.

Pat the powder on lightly and focus on your t-zone to reduce shine and create a natural finish. If you use too much your face might end up looking cakey or grey, especially in flash photography.

Step 4:
Apply foundation. I am currently using NYX Born To Glow ($14.00) with the original Beauty Blender. A few of my favorite liquid formulas include: MAC Studio Fix Fluid ($36.00), Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin ($50.00), Stila Hide and Chic Fluid Foundation ($51.00) and It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Oil Free Matte with SPF 40 ($52.00).

Since the translucent powder absorbs oil and minimizes pores, you may notice that your skin appears matte, smooth and even. I didn’t have to use as much foundation and the finish was flawless!

Step 5:
Apply concealer if necessary. My favorites are: Rodial Heavy Duty Foundation Paste ($45.00), MAC Prolongwear Concealer ($29.99), NYX Can't Stop Won't Stop Contour Concealer ($12.00) and Vasanti Liquid VO2 Color Correcting Concealer ($27.00).

Step 6:
Apply blush and bronzer/contour if you like and set foundation with a light dusting of powder. Don’t overdo it or you might look cakey.

My favorite is MAC’s Studio Fix Prolongwear Powder in NC 45 ($36.00). It is the same shade as my MAC foundation and provides light to medium coverage.

Step 7:
Apply highlighter and mist with setting spray.

For oily skin I recommend Urban Decay’s All Nighter Ultra Matte Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray ($45.00) with temperature control technology. This stuff sucks up excess oil like a sponge and holds foundation in place for up to 16 hours with no stickiness or shine.

The spray tends to leave a few droplets on my skin so sometimes I mist it on a flat powder brush and pat it on evenly. Make sure to focus on your t-zone where oil tends to accumulate.

If you have normal, combination or dry skin, try the original All Nighter Spray. It prevents fading, cracking and creasing without the ultra matte finish.

I love how even and clear my skin looks using this method. My pores seem invisible and my foundation looks seamless and fresh all day!  

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Best Netflix Series to Binge Watch if You’re Stuck at Home

These days life seems like a scary apocalypse movie. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many of us scrambling for toilet paper, non-perishable food and hand sanitizer but amidst the chaos it is important to remain calm, self-isolate and practice proper hygiene.

Hopefully life as we know will resume shortly but in the meantime those of us in lockdown need to be entertained so we don’t go crazy and start talking to the plants.

To help pass the time I’ve listed 21 of my favorite Netflix series that are great for binge-watching in your pyjamas. I will be updating this list frequently so you might want to bookmark it for later reference. 

Grab a snack from your COVID rations (if you haven’t finished them), whip up a delicious cocktail (don’t be stingy with the vodka) and let’s begin.

1. The 100
I don’t know why this show isn’t more popular because it kept me entertained for months. I love high-paced, action packed, end-of-days, futuristic stories and this series has everything! Suspense, adventure, war, treachery, betrayal, spaceships, artificial intelligence and so much more! There are 6 seasons (which should keep you busy) and the last season might be released this fall (fingers crossed).

2. Stranger Things – Because who doesn’t love a good alien invasion from a parallel dimension.

3. Outlander – Passionate love story about time travel set in the 1700’s and 1940’s. I just wish Netflix didn't take so long to release the new seasons. 

4. The Umbrella Academy – If you enjoy tales about misfit superheroes trying to save the world this show is quite good. 

5. The Witcher – This popular sci-fi series might not make sense right away but give it time. The story comes together at the end and there is no shortage of scary monsters for Geralt to hunt.

6. Sabrina – A dark twist on the beloved teenage witch series. The final season isn't great but it's worth a watch. 

7. Ozark - A suburban family is torn apart by crime, murder and mayhem. This show is well written, dramatic and always leaves you wanting more.

8. YOU – When it comes to manipulation, charm and persistent stalking, nobody does it better than Joe Golberg. This show is extremely creepy but oddly captivating.

9. Orange is the New Black – Women in prison...need I say more?

10. Once Upon a Time – Grab some popcorn and watch your favorite fairytale characters come to life.

11. Dracula (mini series) – Dark, scary and well executed. There are only 3 episodes but this version is eerily realistic and skillfully directed.

12. Sex Education – A raunchy teen show about surviving high school with the help of unconventional sex counselling.

13. Carmen San Diego (animated series) – Join Carmen on her crime fighting trek around the world and learn a few interesting facts along the way.

14. Hemlock Grove –  A sinister vampire vs. werewolf story with interesting special effects. Too bad the show wasn’t renewed for more seasons.

15. Marlon – Hilarious family sitcom sprinkled with a heavy helping of slapstick comedy.

16. Dead to Me - Two women develop a deep bond but shocking secrets threaten to destroy them both.

17. Breaking Bad – The story of a meek high school teacher turn drug dealer battling terminal cancer.

18. Van Helsing - A woman awakes in a fortified medical lab and discovers that she may be the key to saving humanity. 

19. Big Mouth (animated series) – A raunchy adult comedy that pokes fun at puberty.

20. Jane The Virgin – A comedic telenovela drama about a young woman who is artificially inseminated by accident.

21. Fuller House - If you grew up watching the Tanner family you'll love this funny, heartfelt sitcom.

New Additions:

22. The I-Land - A group of strangers wake up on a deserted island with no memory of who they are. Nothing is what it seems.

23. 72 Dangerous Animals of Asia (if you like nature documentaries that make your skin crawl).

24. This Is Us – An emotional drama that follows the lives of 3 siblings. Grab a tissue and get ready to cry your eyeballs out.

25. The Messiah - A political drama about a strange man who captivates a nation by performing miraculous acts of God. The story develops very slowly but leaves you wanting more.

26. Merlin - If you enjoy classic fairytales about kings, knights and sorcery, Merlin will satisfy your love of mythical adventures. Be warned, the special effects are terrible (a low-budget catastrophe) but each episode tells a bewitching story that is fun to watch.

27. The Final Table is a series for Food Network fanatics. Tops chefs from all over the globe face-off in an international culinary competition like no other. 

28. Snowpiercer is a fast-paced thriller about earth's last survivors living abroad a luxury train during an ice age. Chaos ensues as passengers fight for resources during a power struggle.  

29. Lost in Space - A futuristic tale about a family's journey to colonize a new planet after earth is destroyed. This show is well written, exciting and involves robots! What more can you ask for!?

30. Behind Her Eyes - This psychological drama starts off slow and mysterious but ultimately leaves viewers in total amazement. There is a plot twist that you won't see coming! 

31. Superstore - A comedy about a group of people who work at a Superstore. I love the subtle unspoken humor and laugh out loud moments. 

32. Bridgerton - A romantic period drama about eight close-knit siblings trying to find love and happiness in London high society. This is probably one of Netflix's most popular series of the year.

Popular series that didn’t quite make the list

I omitted Riverdale because I only liked the first 3 seasons. After that things got weird, boring and downright stupid.

Another series that I hesitated to include is 13 Reasons Why. The show highlights important issues like teen suicide and bullying but the second season was unnecessary and the controversial content is not for everyone.

Love is Blind is one of the most popular reality shows on Netflix right now. I didn’t include it because reality TV is not really my thing and the entire "experiment" (if you can call it that) is flawed. I did watch the first season to see what all the hype is about but I fast forwarded to avoid repetitive conversations and forced drama. If you like the Bachelor you'll probably find this entertaining.

The first few season of The Walking Dead are amazing but the story slows to a crawl and eventually fizzles out. Seems like the writers ran out of ideas.

Shadow Hunters - I couldn't get over the terrible acting.

There are many great shows on Netflix but these are the series I’ve enjoyed.

What should I watch next? Message me on twitter and share your suggestions - @EricaChristinaD

Thursday, March 19, 2020

L’Occitane Limited-Edition OMY Skincare

This winter L’Occitane kept my family’s skin soft, hydrated and healthy. When it comes to high-quality ingredients, luxurious scents and nourishing formulas – nobody does it better.

Recently the brand has teamed up with OMY – a French company that designs joyful graphic art. Together they’ve decorated our favorite L’Occitane products in fun coloring book drawings.

The OMY Manicure Set ($79.00) saved my hands this winter. It comes with Shea Butter Hand Cream, One-Minute Hand Scrub, Cuticle Oil and two permanent markers to customize the packaging.

The Hand Cream with 20% shea is a bestseller worldwide. I keep one in my purse, another on my beside table and my husband has one at work. The rich moisturizing treatment repairs cracked, peeling, rough skin including flaky areas between your fingers. It melts into all the grooves and lines between your joints and instantly relives dryness with no greasiness. 

The limited-edition travel-friendly tube (30 ml) with 5% shea is available for $12.00. It has a soft violet scent – very feminine and elegant. The larger size (150 ml) is also sold separately for $34.00.

My husband loves L’Occitane’s Hand Scrub because it softens, smooths and buffs away hard calluses. Frequent hand washing and alcohol based sanitizer can be very drying so we keep a tube of each (scrub and cream) on the bathroom counter, especially during cold and flu season. Squeeze a dollop of scrub on dry skin, massage thoroughly, wash with hydrating hand soap and apply the cream generously.

Cuticle Oil is highly underrated but when used regularly it strengthens the nail bed to promote growth and prevent brittleness. This repairing formula is infused with sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, shea butter, castor oil and apricot oil to soften and heal damaged cuticles. You can also apply the treatment on top of nail polish to maintain its flexibility and prevent chipping. The little brush delivers a generous coating to help nails recover from manicures and yellowing.

The Limited-Edition Shea Butter Ultra Light Body Cream ($50.00) smells amazing! Although I prefer the Ultra Rich formula for winter, this one has a fluffy whipped texture that absorbs quickly and quenches dehydrated skin. Use it morning and night as part of your daily routine to combat dryness, flaking and tightness. There is no greasiness or residue.

The OMY Collection also includes the Shea Butter Milk Extra-Gentle Soap ($9.00). 

These products are available at L’Occitane Boutiques and

Thursday, March 12, 2020

NEW Catrice Bae Eyeshadow Palettes | Review and Swatches

If you’ve been to Shoppers Drug Mart recently you may have noticed the Catrice kiosk in the beauty section. This trendy German brand offers a beautiful selection of makeup for all complexions at affordable prices. The quality is excellent and I’ve discovered a wonderful array of matte lipstick, setting spray, blush, highlighter and primer.

When it’s time to get glamed-up for the Gram, beautiful eye shadow is a must and Catrice just released 3 new Bae Palettes to help you get those likes. 

Each compact contains 12 highly pigmented shades with matte and metallic finishes. Own your girl boss status, channel your inner baddie and embrace your basic self – there is something for every occasion.

Let’s start with my personal fave – Badass Bae. These sultry hues remind me of autumn and pumpkin spice season. I love the range of vivid orange mixed with red and brown undertones. They look gorgeous with the coppery pink and shimmery gold. I didn't need another beige (#clapback) but the versatility is great for crease sculpting, highlighting and lid definition.

The shimmers are soft, velvety and smooth for effortless application while the mattes are creamy and saturated for seamless blending. There is minimal fallout, no creasing and the color payoff is good.

Self-Made Bae was the first palette I used because the brown-burgundy and plum shades are irresistible! The shadows are buttery and rich - perfect for contouring and accentuating. If you like deep bronze, pink and purple tones this could be your new go-to for simple everyday looks. The color scheme is cool and neutral with subtle pops of gold and champagne.

Basic Bae has a nice range of office appropriate nudes. These aren’t my favorite colors (I prefer bright hues and jewel tones) but they compliment many other shadows in my collection. Think of them as supporting shades – perfect for creating a neutral base, blending and transitioning. For a sexier look use black liquid liner to draw a bold wing and apply vibrant lipstick.

Catrice is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Avon x The Face Shop | Korean Skincare

Most Avon lovers have at least one Skin So Soft or Anew product on their vanity. These classic collections have been bestsellers for years but new trends emerge everyday and Korean Beauty has become very popular.

Avon has recently teamed up with The Face Shop to offer a great selection of luxurious skincare and cutting-edge treatments that rejuvenate the complexion. Today I’m highlighting a few of my favorite products.

The Mango Seed range is formulated to energize and deeply nourish with a blend of carrot root, hyaluronic acid, shea, sunflower oil and ceramide.

You'll love the dense, paraben-free Moisturizing Butter ($45.00). It softens, plumps and smooths so skin appears radiant and revitalized all winter. 

Layer the cream with Mango Seed Oil ($45.00) to protect skin from harsh weather, UV damage and pollution. The lightweight formula is fast absorbing, hydrating and non-greasy – perfect for a replenishing night treatment.

If you prefer something less dense and more refreshing, try the Dr. Belmeur Collection. The Advanced Cica Hydro Cream ($55.00) instantly soothes, cools, moisturizes, strengthens and protects stressed, irritated skin with a healing blend of ceramides, fruit extract, flower oil and hyaluronic acid. It feels great under makeup and I love the citrus floral scent.

The Cica Peptite Ampoule ($53.00) is a concentrated blend of peptides that revive and repair dull sensitive skin. When used frequently it may also firm, lift, smooth and promote elasticity to maintain youthfulness. Both products have a renewing water based formula that is light enough for daytime use. 

If you need a surge of moisture Belif offers two skin renewing textures. The True Cream Aqua Bomb ($50.00) is a refreshing weightless gel that increases hydration up to 70%. Formulated with a unique blend of herbs and antioxidants, it also rejuvenates normal/oily/combination skin while minimizing pores.

The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb ($50.00) creates a supple, lightweight veil that quenches dehydrated skin for up to 26 hours. The ingredient list has an impressive variety of extracts and oils including: macadamia, oat, calendula, raspberry, chickweed, rose, clover, willow bark, orange peel, rosemary, lime, mistletoe and much more. With repeated use skin feels silky, plump and healthy with a natural glow.

After applying serum and cream, pamper your skin with Avon's Eclat D’or Youth Activating Massager ($60.00). This simple yet effective tool is easier to use than traditional face rollers because the chrome balls are positioned to manoeuvre around the cheekbones, jawline, neck and d├ęcolletage with ease. The gentle kneading motion helps tighten, lift and stimulate circulation while promoting the absorption of skincare products.

These collections are now available at

Friday, March 6, 2020

Anastasia Beverly Hills X Jackie Aina Eyeshadow Palette | Review and Swatches

I did it guys! I actually bought an eyeshadow palette. As an Editor and Blogger who reviews and markets beauty products I don’t have to buy makeup.

The last palette I purchased (before my blog became lucrative) was at a Sephora in Las Vegas over 7 years ago. Since then I’ve been working with over 350 amazing brands and traveling the world. 

When the Limited-Edition Jackie Aina Palette went on sale for $42.00 (down from $60.00) I decided to see what all the hype was about. It quickly became a bestseller at Sephora with a 5 star rating.

Jackie formulated each shadow and undertone to compliment medium, olive, tan, golden and deep complexions so women of color have a gorgeous selection of skin enhancing pigments to work with. They also look amazing on fair complexions.

The closest dupe to ABH eyeshadow (in terms of shade selection, formula and popularity) is probably Huda Beauty but after testing the Dessert Dusk Palette ($85.00) I think ABH pigments are better quality. Huda’s mattes in this palette are bit dry and the shimmers are a tad flaky. The color scheme is similar but I expected more. 

The shades that caught my eye in this palette are Wiggalese (pink coppery garnet), Zam (bright foil gold), Pinker (deep pink-purple) and the sultry purples. These particular colors are vibrant, versatile and bold so I use them all the time. I really hope Jackie releases Wiggalese as a single shadow because I’m obsessed!

The matte hues are rich, buttery and ultra smooth with no ashiness. They blend effortlessly and fade beautifully so you get amazing contrast and definition. The shimmers are fantastic too. They glide on highly pigmented, velvety and dramatic with minimal fallout and impressive vibrancy. You don’t have to layer heavily and there is no creasing or fading.

A good base is recommended to keep the metallic hues in place and prolong wear but primer isn’t really necessary to showcase the incredible saturation. Most of the shadows apply full-coverage in a single swipe whether you use a brush or simply pat them on with your finger.

I love the pink and purple undertones but I wish there was a matte burgundy or deep brick red to tie everything together. Although Jackie worked hard to perfect the shimmery purple, I prefer something a bit brighter - the violet version of Wiggalese perhaps, maybe a royal purple with less silver.

The inclusion of Supreme (bright pink) was Norvina's suggestion and although I like the color, a deep dusty rose might have been a better choice.

I'd also replaced Dwollahs with something more unique (since the other gold is nicer) and I'm not crazy about Trust Issues. The icy white shows up as a pretty lime green-gold but it isn't a shade I wear frequently. 

I have a lot of great palettes in my collection but when it comes to color payoff, longevity and texture, Jackie’s formula with ABH takes the cake. This is the compact I will be traveling with to create stunning looks for all occasions and I'm pretty sure it will become your favorite too. 

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