I Tried Beauty Products From Dollarama and Here's What I Think

I Tried Beauty Products From Dollarama and Here's What I Think

I’ve always been afraid to try a beauty product from the dollar store, but today I’m trying it out and letting you know if it’s worth it, or if you should stick to your name brand products. In this video I also give you an update on how I’ve been dealing with the traumatic events in my leading that happened this summer.

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To My Former Best Friends: It's Not Okay That You're A "Lousy Communicator"

Hello Lovely,

It’s been a year since I gave up on one of my former best friends. We met in our first semester at college and were best friends ever since. We went everywhere together and told each other everything. Even when we moved on to different colleges, we still spoke to each other everyday. But things soon began to change. I became the friend she only talked to when she needed to complain about something. And once she got a boyfriend, I just didn’t hear from her at all. Even when I needed to talk to her, she didn’t take my calls and barely returned them. I was hurt, so I took some space. Some advise I’m sharing today comes from Irene S. Levine, PhD, freelance writer and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Break Up With Your Best Friend.


“If problems are chronic and keep recurring despite your best efforts, it’s probably prudent to at least take a break (I call it a friendship sabbatical) from the relationship,” Levine says. She suggests holding off on the blaming and instead focus on expressing your desire to spend some time apart. Just like “lovers need a holiday,” so do friends. Levin says it’s a myth to think friendships are perfect all the time without their natural ups and downs. At the same time, like any relationship, they are also not guaranteed to last forever. In fact, Levine explains that most friendships don’t, “because people change over time and it’s very rare that two friends, even very good ones, will change in the same direction.”

 A few years later, she had an issue that almost prevented her from graduating. I did my best to help, but there was so much she wasn’t telling me. I couldn’t figure out why, but once she went back to school, I didn’t hear from her any more. Even when I was in a neighbouring city to her last year for a week, she made no attempt to see her. It was then that I realised I was the only one in the friendship. After that I stopped making any attempts to communicate. She reached out to wish me a happy birthday but it’s been radio silence since.

I used this example of a friendship gone wrong, but I have other friends who also ghosted me and there’s so much I wish I could say to them.


You've changed

I'm not stupid. I know people change. I'm not the same person I was when we met. But our friendship was based on mutual sharing, support and constant communication. I couldn't go a single day without talking to you. Then, slowly, you stopped calling and texting. I didn't want to read too much into it, we were in college and busy. But college ended and you still stayed away. You started keeping things from me but somehow expected me to know what's going on in your life.

Reciprocation is key

I can't tell you how many times I've been there for you. No really, I can't tell you because I haven't been counting. But there have been many times you've come to me for help, you dumped your problems on me, only to dump me when your "problem" decided to love you again. I have you advice, resources and did everything I could to see you healthy. But birthdays have come and gone and you haven't called. I've ended meaningful relationship and really needed support but you weren't there. I buried my step dad but you probably assumed I'd be fine with it. You probably don't even know that I changed jobs, or got that certification I always wanted. But it’s fine.

You Don’t Actually Owe Me Anything

In the end, you don’t owe me an apology, an explanation or anything. Your absence helped me to make new friends and I’m sure it’s because you’ve already replaced me. I used to feel like I was owed a conversation about why you didn’t want to be my friend anymore. I used to feel like I needed to know if it was something I did or didn’t do that pushed you away. I used to think that knowing any of this would make me a better friend. But it won’t. No matter how you feel, I’m beyond the point of caring about it. So why the open letter? Sometimes it just helps when things are official, and this is the closure that I needed.

For some of you reading this, you may be thinking about one or a few friends. So how do you know if you’re just hitting a rough spot in your friendship or you’re growing apart?


Here are four signs it is time to say goodbye:

  1. If you are experiencing consistent un-resolvable arguments, misunderstandings and disappointments.

  2. If you feel tense, anxious or uncomfortable in her presence.

  3. If a friendship is destructive and hurting your self-esteem.

  4. If your biggest problem is you can’t find time to spend together. Levine says, “It may suggest that one or both people don’t consider the friendship a priority in their lives any more.”

So if it is time, how do you say goodbye?

Ghosting your friend is a really shitty thing to do, because not only is it hurtful, it leaves room for them to thing you’re actually still friends. There are many ways to end a friendship and I want to make it absolutely clear that ignoring the other person is NOT the way to do it. It may be tempting to bust out your iPhone and send a WhatsApp. Without the intensity of an in-person meeting, technology makes the process a whole lot easier. But is it a major faux pasto end a friendship that way?

Not necessarily. Levine says that it may be acceptable to end a long-distance friendship through technological means. And even an email might do. It’s all in the way you do it.

“Sometimes a text can give someone time to think and react to the bad news. Just because you’ve mulled over the breakup and made a decision doesn’t mean that the other person is psychologically prepared to react. A text can give them time.” Just be careful to keep your emotions in check when typing. Since your friend won’t be able to see your empathetic face or your caring eyes, be cognisant of the words you choose and how it may be interpreted by its receiver.

No matter how you do it, remember the person you’re ending with was a friend at one point of your life. Stifle the urge to blame, be defensive or attack. Instead, take responsibility for your part in the relationship. If you’re having trouble deciding what to say, Levine suggests writing out a script and practising it aloud.

Above all she says, “Ending a friendship is never easy. The closer the friendship, the harder it is to acknowledge it’s over.” But sometimes breaking up with a friend could be the best thing you ever did for yourself. “It leaves you more space and time for healthier and more satisfying relationships.” She also reminds us about the gift of the friendship itself. “We take something away from each friendship, hopefully, that will empower us to be a better friend and make better choices in the future.”

Post-Hurricane Trauma: How to Heal Emotionally

Hello Lovely,

As a school counsellor, it breaks my heart that on Monday I have to be prepared to talk to students who lost contact with family members on impacted islands as well as material belongings due to flooding. It took some staff members days just to be able to leave their homes because their yards were so flooded and a lot of people had no electricity for more than 12 hours.


For those who live in hurricane-prone states, you are familiar with the level of frenzy and amount of panic leading up to the arrival of a storm, as well as the residual stress, recovery, and fatigue that remain after the storm. For other types of natural disasters, like earthquakes and tornados, there isn't the same preparation frenzy since these weather events occur with little to no warning, but the aftermath of these weather events are equally, if not more, devastating.

Natural disasters are one of the often overlooked, but psychologically (and physically, financially, socially) devastating types of trauma. Natural disasters can lead to PTSD. Many people relate only combat experiences/war with PTSD, however PTSD can occur from any life, integrity, or body-threatening experience.  

While many survive a hurricane with little to no threat to their physical self or property, there are still many individuals who are deeply impacted by the devastation of these storms; we can all turn on the television and see the destructive aftermath of these weather events. If you have personally been impacted by a hurricane or other weather event in the form of significant home damage or loss, or even the impending fear that you will lose everything, you know all-too-well just how to destructive and devastating these storms can be.


There are a number of steps you can take to help restore emotional well-being and a sense of control in the wake of the hurricane or other traumatic experience, including the following:

  • Recognise that this is a challenging time but one that you can work to manage. You've tackled hardships at other times in your life. Tap into the skills you used to get through past challenges.

  • Allow yourself to mourn the losses you have experienced. Recognise that you may experience a variety of emotions and their intensity will likely less over time.

  • Take a news break. A friend of mine told me on Tuesday that she has to turn the news off because she just couldn’t bear to see any more of the devastation. Watching replays of footage from the hurricane can make your stress even greater. Often, the media tries to interest viewers by presenting worst case scenarios. These may not be representative of your home or community.

  • Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen and empathise with your situation. But keep in mind that your typical support system may be weakened if those who are close to you also have experienced or witnessed the hurricane. There are lot of organisations and people donating goods and services. Find your way to an outreach centre.

  • Find ways to express yourself when ready. Communicating your experience through talking with family or close friends, keeping a diary, or other forms of self-expression may be a source of comfort. Find out about local support groups led by appropriately trained and experienced professionals. The Family is the perfect place to start. I lead the teen support group that meets every Wednesday at the office on East Street (across from the Police Headquarters). Support groups are often available in communities following large-scale disasters. People can experience relief and comfort connecting with other hurricane survivors who have had similar reactions and emotions. These can be especially helpful for people with limited personal support systems.

  • Engage in healthy behaviours to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. I know this is going to be difficult and probably impossible if you’re relying on donations. If you experience difficulties sleeping, you may be able to find some relief through relaxation techniques. Avoid alcohol and drugs since these can increase a sense of depression and/or impede you from doing what is necessary to be resilient and cope with events.

  • Establish or reestablish routines such as eating meals at regular times and following an exercise program. Take some time off from the demands of daily life by pursuing hobbies or other enjoyable activities.

How You Can Help The Bahamas After Hurricane Dorian

Hello Lovely,

On Sunday we began to feel the effects of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. I had friends in America reaching out to me to check on and I had to tell them that the hurricane was impacting The Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama not New Providence. While we experienced a lot of rain and flooding, the devastation was felt far beyond that. On Monday I woke up to someone stealing the entire front end of my car. Even my brand new battery was stolen. My brother scared the person before he could take anything else and at least he left behind my bumper. I was angry, I was sad, but I was mostly numb. I was even more angry to see people telling Nassuvians to stop flooding the timelines with their problems when so many people on the islands had it worst. It angered me because no one has a right to tell anyone their pain is insignificant; everyone’s pain is relevant to their own struggles. I had friends who hadn’t heard from their parents in hours and had no idea where other family members were. Some friends home flooded, and some people were still expected to return to work despite everything going on. At this point, I am still waiting to hear when I am expected to return to work. But I know once I do, my entire Guidance department is going to hit the ground running in relief efforts.


While some people have already offered assistance like the U.S. Coast Guard and Dominica offering $100,000, there are still many way you can assist. For those who are home, please make productive use of this 'down time' to prepare care boxes and bags from our own possessions. We need to go through our wardrobes and sort clothing. Label them according to size and gender as you pack them, for ease of distribution. Put together a few bars of soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, ladies' sanitary items etc. (many of us shop in bulk and have more than we need). Share a few face cloths and towels, a sheet or two. You may even have an air mattress that you can give! Give tins of tuna, sardines, corned beef, Vienna sausages, crackers, cookies, snacks, water and any non perishable items that require minimal/no preparation. Remember those items you stocked up on in preparation for the storm? They are needed!
Water, disposable items such as plates and napkins as well as hand sanitizer are useful. In fact, anything that you use or want, can be helpful. While this list is not exhaustive, it's simply suggestions for response in this crisis. And we cannot forget how important sanitary pads for women are as well as any pain medication, baby food, diapers, toilet paper, bed sheets - all of the things people often overlook when donating. Think about it, these people are rebuilding - they’re going to need more than just food items.


If you are in Florida this is how you can help:


Why give?

Because we already have 5 confirmed dead in Abaco and the death toll is expected to rise. Because people have lost EVERYTHING. Because this is a major financial setback for many people. Because the PTSD is real with these people. There are people who had to hide in their ceiling while they awaited rescue because of the flooding, some waited on the roof, some in their car. We are grateful for all of the help we’ve already received but there is so much more to be done. So please do what you can. Every donation helps.


What To Eat Every Night This Week

Hello Lovely,

We’re officially in the Back to School season. School has been in session for one week and the adjustment can be rough. Early morning wake up calls, congested morning commutes, afternoon pickups and the dreaded dinnertime. It’s easy to want to skip this part and settle for a pizza or bowl of cereal, but there are so many easy weeknight meals you can try that’ll satisfy the whole family. These recipes are minimal effort with maximum effect!



  • ground chicken

  • cooked quinoa

  • ¼ cup finely diced onion

  • fresh arugula

  • sauteed mushrooms

  • egg

  • fresh mint

  • 1 lemon, for juice

  • 1 1/2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

  • 2 tablespoons Pesto

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • honey

  • smoked paprika

  • ground red pepper

  • ground cumin

  • garlic powder

  • Italian seasoning

  • kosher salt

  • sweet potato chunks (or 2 sweet potatoes cut into chunks)

  • frozen riced cauliflower

  • olive oil

  • lean ground beef (turkey or chicken works too)

  • yellow onions, chopped

  • minced garlic

  • dried oregano

  • crushed tomatoes

  • spaghetti sauce, homemade or store-bought

  • lasagna sheets

  • ½ cup any red wine

  • shredded mozzarella cheese

  • parsley and parmesan cheese for topping

  • campanelle pasta

  • frozen cooked shrimp, thawed

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • unsalted butter

  • minced fresh chives

  • white cheddar

  • ½ cup evaporated milk

  • Ball of Store-Bought Pizza Dough (use gluten-free if needed)*

  • Feta Cheese, Crumbled

  • Avocado or Olive Oil

  • red pepper flakes

  • balsamic vinaigrette

  • Cubed Acorn Squash

  • Dried thyme

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Chicken Quinoa Burgers with Arugula and Mushrooms

Turn burger night upside down with these new burgers! They’re so flavourful, tender and deeply satisfying. Throw caution to the wind and make up a batch of Chicken Quinoa Burgers with Arugula and Mushrooms this week for burger night and you’ll see what I mean.

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A super simple recipe to make lazy skillet lasagna! No need to make tons of layers, this one pot lasagna combines and cooks everything in one pot!

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Lemon Pesto Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower Rice

This recipe was a complete mistake, but requires so little work, dinner will appear to be done in an instant By using store-bought cauliflower rice you save a lot of time because all you have to do is pop it in the microwave once everything is done. The sweet potatoes are easy to cut into cubes and roast in the oven. You can put the chicken breasts in the marinade in the morning and drop it in the slow cooker as soon as you get home. After only 1-1.5 hours in the slow cooker, you’ll have a complete meal that you didn’t need to supervise.


Campanelle with Shrimp & Mushrooms in White Wine Cream Sauce

Earthy, delightful mushrooms are front and centre in this seafood dish. It’s hearty and deliciously interesting and affirms once again that mushrooms, seafood and pasta are great companions. The addition of a dry white wine to the sauce makes this indulgent dish too good to stick to one serving!

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Acorn Squash Pizza with Spinach and Feta Cheese

Win dinner with the perfect Autumn-themed pizza. No one would expect this combination, but everyone is going to ask for more! This pizza recipe would be perfect for a Friday night, date night or potluck. Who doesn’t enjoy a wholesome, veggie-packed pizza?

How I've Come to Embrace Eating Out Alone & Why You Should Too

Hello Lovely,

The first time I ever ate out alone was completely by choice. I was in my mid-20s, travelling by myself to Miami for a church conference that I randomly decided to go to. I had some time before my flight and felt like treating myself (looking back I really don’t know how I did it financially). I saw a restaurant in the airport called Cafe Kalik. I confidently requested a table for one, sat down with my Joel Osteen book and ordered (I no long read or care for Joel Osteen). I remember eating a fettuccine with a bottle of Kalik beer. It was delicious and an excellent start to my trip! Since then, I’ve had breakfast alone in London, and solo lunch dates in Miami, North Carolina and others.


Although I love a day in my own company, I’ve never been confident enough to eat dinner by myself. I don’t want to work on this as I really enjoy cooking my own dinners. I know some of you reading this may be thinking, “What does it say of me if I had no one to enjoy a meal with?” Don’t feel bad I used to think the same thing. In fact when travelling, I often buy groceries a) to save money and b) to avoid looking for a spot to eat. But on my recent Toronto trip, even though I bought more groceries than I ended up consuming, I made time for myself to enjoy the city’s cuisine. From a poke bowl from Lahuna Poke at Union Station to a beautiful Indian lunch at Aroma Fine Indian cuisine, I wanted to taste the diversity of the city!

It seems that I’m not alone in being comfortable with my own company. Recent research suggests that millennials are driving a trend in eating out alone and are more comfortable than any other generation doing so. For women this step is particularly significant — research suggests that women feel that they have less of a claim to public space and are judged more significantly than their male counterparts for doing such activities alone. Feeling empowered to eat out without a dining companion overturns the age-old stereotypes suggesting that women’s significance comes from being part of a family unit that still subconsciously pervades modern thought. Although ordering the cheeseboard for one might seem like a simple act, it in fact flies in the face of centuries of social conditioning that orders you to do otherwise.

Of course, the specific circumstances of why we are eating out alone are likely much more complex. We are also endemically lonely. We are more likely to travel alone than previous generations and don’t want to compromise on the quality of our experience when doing so. The rise of smartphones means that you can sit across from an empty chair and still feel connected to hundreds of people. The next time that you’re dying to tuck in to a delicious dish, consider booking a table for one. In a world where self-care is a way of life, you might find that there is nothing more indulgent than taking yourself out for dinner. You deserve it.

Which restaurant are you excited to try on your own after reading this article? Tell us in the comments!

Why I Chose To Downsize My Wardrobe + How You Can Do It Too

Why I Chose To Downsize My Wardrobe + How You Can Do It Too

Most people have much more clothes than they need or even use and this summer I had enough! I don’t know about you, but what’s inside my wardrobe is nothing short of unnecessary. It’s mostly a mess of clothes that get rarely worn, but saved nonetheless. Because maybe one day I’ll have a hot date to a gala in the Maldives where that l sexy white dress or feathered (and sequined) green dress that’s still hanging up.

I’m guessing that, while you might not have a feathered and sequined green dress like mine, your closet is full of similar stories. So let’s commit right now to sorting through it once and for all. This project can be kind of a doozy, so you can take the weekend if you need to.

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