March 2020 - Pretty In Bronze

Monday, March 30, 2020

Winter Empties Mini Reviews - Would I Repurchase?
March 30, 20200 Comments

I thought I'd do a beauty/lifestyle related post rather than talking about wedding things, even though I have an update post surrounding that, which will likely be up next or in two posts! Today I wanted to share my empties from the past few months. There aren't many as I've rarely been wearing makeup and even more rarely buying new things. I want most of my content to be on this blog and Instagram since during this time I won't have easy access to my camera (self-isolation and all that) and this is much more manageable for me.

My first category is makeup + tools

The Beauty Blender makeup sponge is my favourite sponge that I've used so far. I've tried sponges from Quo, Real Techniques, and a few other affordable ones and they just don't compare to the Beauty Blender in my opinion. The BeautyBlender Pro is my favourite and I've used this one for a bit more than two years (I know, that's crazy!) I clean mine really well and have never had a problem with them growing any mold. Even when I used the pink original ones, I made sure to check and would normally keep one for an entire year and cut it open when throwing it out. Never any mold, but the sponge itself would start to disintegrate and leave little pieces all over my face.

The L'Oreal Bambi mascara was really nice for an everyday mascara when not wearing a full face. It definitely gave a doe eye effect and was really good at separating my lashes. I received that one for free to test out, which was also the case for the Revlon brow pencil. I really like the Revlon pencils and so far it's my favourite from the drugstore. This was the thin pencil one (I'm not a fan of their chubbier one), but I wasn't a fan of the powder portion that  is easy to miss. That's a bit too messy for me. The spooley works, but nothing compares to my ABH eyebrow brush spooley.

Now for the lips!

 I go through lip-balms quite quickly and rarely lose them anymore. Out of these three there's only one that I would re-purchase and that's the Cuter Cuticles lip balm. I have two more of these in different flavours. This was the watermelon flavour, which wasn't my favourite in terms of scent since it's a natural watermelon scent instead of the fake candy scent that I love. The lip balm itself is amazing and I bought it at the 2019 Indie Expo. I'm on the vanilla one now!

The Laneige sleeping mask is nice, but I don't understand all of the hype around it. I personally don't think the price tag is worth it at all, and much prefer my Catrice Shea Butter lip treatment, at a fraction of the price with MUCh nicer packaging. It just works way better. The scent is nice and I might consider purchasing if it was in the $5 range, but it's not so I wouldn't recommend this one.

The Softlips lipbalm is really old, but I decided to finish it up. It's nice and smells really good and at one point was a favourite, but it doesn't compare to my Cuter Cuticles and especially not to my favourite lip balm of all time from Surya Brasil. Natural lip balms work way better for me, which isn't a big shocker.

Face and body moisturizers

These were all samples, which makes it difficult to give a proper review. Out of these three, the Caudalie (which I got as a Sephora Birthday Gift a few years back) is my favourite. It was great for the daytime and I kept it in my bag for days that I forgot to moisturize, or needed extra hydration.

The North American Hemp Co face cream was good for night time, but the sample was too small for me to be able to tell if it actually helped much with lines. As a regular moisturizer it's nice, but I don't love it as much as my The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors (which is super affordable too). I got this one for free in an old Blogger Box that I received for consideration.

The Renewed Hope moisturizer was all right, but nothing special. It was super small so I think I only got a handful of uses out of it, only using it on trips where I brought my travel skincare bag. It was so small that I can't recommend or not recommend it.

I've purchased and have been sent so many moisturizers these past few years, but my favourite has always been Cetaphil. I know there are mixed opinions on the brand. Some people absolutely love and swear by it and I fall into that category as it's great for my sensitive skin, doesn't contain added fragrance and their face care products have helped majorly with my acne issues. Some people hate it because of their parent brand (not cruelty free I'm pretty sure), the higher price tag and it doesn't seem to work the same for them. I love it and will always recommend it, but like with everything else, do your own research!

The North American Hemp Co. body lotion is the same size as the face cream sample I reviewed above. I maybe got two uses out of this so it definitely wasn't enough for me to give a review. It didn't irritate my skin, likely because it doesn't have added fragrance. I can't tell you much else so I'll end it on that note.

Face and body wash!

I think I've reviewed this on this blog (and if not, I have a review on my Instagram page), but this is a huge favourite for both myself and especially my Fiancé Steven. I love this for when my skin is extra greasy, sometimes after a bigger workout or on a heavy makeup day (which are rare). It's a bit too drying for every day use, but Steven loves it because he believes drying your skin out is better for acne, despite my years of begging him to moisturize (he absolutely refuses).  This smells nice, foams up a lot (so a little goes a long way) and I repurchased one to put in Steven's stocking before this one ran out. We're staying at his parent's house as during this self-isolation period since I've been working from home (a week or two before it even started) and Steven ended up taking vacation days before finally being given a laptop to work from home as well. We live in a condo building, so it isn't as safe considering we have to leave to walk the dogs a few times a day, and this is the only face wash we brought since it's less bulky. I've been putting on more moisturizer to combat it, but it's been nice because my skin has been a huge break-out filled mess from all the stress of re-scheduling our wedding and being on my period, etc. This is also affordable so we highly recommend it!

I got this body wash for free either from Influenster or from Topbox a long time ago. I used to be bad about using body wash and would just use whatever bar soap was nearby, but this winter I was good about it and finally went through this big boy. Steven uses his own body washes so this large one took me a while to go through myself. I LOVE how this one smells and it's not only fairly affordable but it's very natural, cruelty free and vegan! If we hadn't bought a costco-sized package of a different body wash months ago (on sale) I would've likely purchased a new one of this, or one of their other scents. It'll probably be another year or so before I go through all of the bodywash I currently own, but when I do I'll be sure to look out for this. I highly highly recommend it and I'm curious about their other products!


One of the products I've most been sent to review has been Shampoos and Conditioners. This is great for me because I don't use regular drug-store shampoos on my hair since it's been very damaged in the past, and it's naturally curly. I also only wash my hair once a week to keep it as healthy as possible, so I need a good shampoo to do its job. I was originally sent a set of Saryna Key haircare products a few years back, but I loved them so much that I repurchased the Shampoo, which I'm already halfway through as I've exclusively used it for the rest of the winter since finishing this one up. This is hands down my all-time favourite shampoo and likely the one I'll use on my wedding day because I know it'll make my hair look and feel its best. There are many others I love, and my hair is the type where it needs to switch products every once in a while so for self-isolation I brought a different set to give my hair a break from this one, but once the wedding is near I'll definitely switch back to this one a week or two before so my hair is ready to look its best! This is very natural and is great for damaged hair and even though it's not drug-store priced, it's 100% worth it. I highly recommend and will continue to repurchase!


Ok this is a bit of a weird category, but recently I've seen a lot of people talking about these types of products again. The Secret gel antiperspirants are my favourites for how it feels and smells. They don't make the underarms of my clothes go all weird and they feel fresh (with many different available scents. Whenever they're on sale I'll buy them because I'm a super sweaty girl.

The Degree motion sense aerosol antiperspirant was really good, but I almost choked every time I sprayed it. It worked really really well, but I know aerosols are bad for the environment, and getting it in my lungs at a time like this isn't the best idea so I likely won't repurchase. I hope they can make a stick or gel version of this that works the same way because I'd definitely purchase it myself for workout days. I'm currently using a completely different brand I've never tried before so we'll see how that one goes.

I'm excessively sweaty so I NEED an antiperspirant to keep my clothes from not being completely drenched, so simply using a natural-deodorant isn't an option for me unfortunately. However, do your research into it. Some people say they're deadly and others say they're completely safe. Look into actual scientific data so you can make the best decision for you!

That's all for this empties review / would I (re)purchase. I hope you enjoyed and will stick around to see my future posts!

See you soon!

Thursday, March 05, 2020

How to Keep Track of Expenses and Budget for Your Wedding
March 05, 20200 Comments


I have a very different type of post for today. This is purely related to wedding planning and budgeting, so if that's not your thing, that's ok! Keep an eye out for future beauty and lifestyle related posts coming soon!

One of the most stressful parts of a wedding is how expensive they can be. Even the best budgeters will have trouble not going over in any categories and unexpected expenses seem to pop up every now and then.

The Government of Canada actually has a very useful spreadsheet available on their website, free of charge. I modified the spreadsheet a lot to cater it towards my wedding. Here's a screenshot with some of the totals blocked out for privacy reasons.

If you open up the original, you'll see that I've made quite a few changes based on categories we do and don't have. We mainly moved rows around to different categories (For example, decor is all one category). We also eliminated many selections and added a few that pertain directly to our wedding. The numbers include tax and shipping costs as well.

If you look close, some of the boxes under the 'Actual Expenditure' section have a small black triangle on the upper right. These are notes that I inserted to break down the expenses that led up to the total cost. And example of this is the 'Makeup' row. In the notes I included the total price, including the gift cards I used to purchase makeup. The main number is what came from out of pocket. The 'Suit/Accessories' section was edited for you not to see the total numbers, but I broke things down by total cost of each item. The suit, shoes, bowtie, socks, etc. were all added up.

Steven and I are actually considering starting a YouTube channel together that focuses on finance and budgeting since it's something we take very seriously compared to most people our age. Because of that we're obsessed with spreadsheets. Once the wedding is over and we have the final costs, we'd be open to walking through each category with full transparency on how much each item costed us. We'd also like to share our gift/money tracker, which is the next image in this post.

A gift tracker is always a good idea to make life easier when writing your thank you cards. In my opinion, it's a bit impersonal to order a bunch of cards that say the same thing. Our plan is to order cute cards with some pre-determined text, but write out a personal thank you to the guest, and include mention of their gift so they know we're putting effort in.

We have a small registry for those who don't feel comfortable giving cash, but we know a majority will give money so we've made an estimate of what we'll receive from each guest or family unit based on what point of life they're at. By this we mean that we wouldn't expect a teenager or student to give as much as an older family who is in a good financial situation. We also added a notes section in as there are a few guests that we specifically told not to worry about getting us anything at all.

 We under-estimated for the most part (and I blocked out the total guess vs the actual amount so far) so it'll be interesting to see how much we do get! Some family members have already committed to giving a certain amount, or providing help (for example, making a wedding cake and a bunch of sweets for the night), so we count that as a gift and still added it. So far a large portion of the venue and food costs have been provided by my Aunt, so I tweaked the total 'planned" and 'actual' amounts to subtract that number, since that isn't money we're physically receiving after the big day.

Spreadsheets are an amazing way to keep track of expenses. While Steven and I both know how to create formulas on excel/sheets, it was much easier to use a free spreadsheet and tweak it to what we want. Even if you're not Canadian, you can use the free spreadsheet provided by the Government of Canada and erase the flag and notes in the first row in case it would make you feel weird!

That's it for this post! I hope this helps anyone who is currently planning a wedding or at least gave you some ideas on how to get started. Please let me know if you would be interested in an update surrounding the budget once the wedding is over, and especially if you might be interested in a channel that focuses on budgeting. We thought it'd be cool because we're both in our early twenties (well, I'm basically mid) and have very ambitious goals that we've worked hard towards since we were still teenagers due to living in a very expensive part of Ontario (Yes, Im talking about Toronto and the GTA housing prices).

I hope to see you soon!