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life in blush | beauty, health & fashion blog

Gloomy, cold weather doesn’t need to leave you, or your skin, feeling gloomy too.

It’s the time of year for leaf crunching, puddle jumping, knitwear cuddling and soaking in luxurious hot baths.

It’s also a great time to have a seasonal check-in on your body care products to get rid of the empties, give up on stuff that just didn’t work and treat yourself to a little something new that’ll ensure your skin stays soft and protected all winter long.

So, I’ve come out of a bit of a writing hiatus to share with you an overview on the latest release from Kari Gran that’ll take your skin from grey to… well, technicolour!

Winter Skin Care Rescue Set

Princess Margaret  was infamous for her lavish morning routine which included an hour bath followed by someone doing her hair and makeup. Pretty rough morning right?

For me though, to be able to have an hour bath every day I’d have to somehow stop time, so being the busy gal that I am I instead leave those luxury moments for the weekend.

When I do find time I usually just run the bath, throw in some bubbles, hop in and wait for the feeling of utter relaxation to wash over me and erase my tough day – like so many other people talk about.

Black And White GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

What always ends up happening is that I keep thinking about all the things I have to do and I get annoyed at how hot the bathroom is becoming and how sweaty I am so I hop back out.

Bath Soak+ Bath Oil

Having read a lot about the benefit of adding mineral-rich Himalayan pink salts and magnesium flakes to your bath to soothe muscle soreness and correct magnesium deficiencies in our body, I decided to give the idea of a ‘long, luxurious bath’ another go.

I’ve tried a few blends but I really like Kari Gran’s new Bath Soak because not only did it have the salts and flakes, but they added in jojoba oil to help soften the skin.

In the winter my legs always get dry and itchy, which is super annoying, but after one soak I could feel the difference. It was silkier and less itchy. The effect didn’t last long, as this is something I would need to do on the regular in conjunction with exfoliating and apply body oils, but it made me want to stay in the bath longer. Small wins right?

Now, the new Bath Oil is where I feel my new bath-time ritual is being taken up a notch.

Bath oils have been popping up in the beauty scene in a big way lately and the blend by Kari Gran, made with organic jojoba oil and Bulgarian lavender oil, is so simple and so lovely.

Jojoba oil is the closest oil to your own skin’s natural sebum, so you can imagine how nourished the skin feels after being exposed to its silky texture, and lavender can famously calm the mind.

Combine the bath soak with the bath oil, light a candle or a stick of palo santo, and you’re in for a real end-of-day or weekend treat.

The Ritual: add 2 capfuls of Bath Soak crystals followed by 5 dropperfuls (not drops) of Bath Oil under running bath water. 

Essential Balm

The scent of lavender, frankincense, rose, jasmine and ylang ylang has cast a spell on me. I just can’t get enough! I find myself going about my morning beauty routine and I’ll jam my face into the pot to just breathe it in.

Kari Gran formulated this balm in response to customers who wanted something a bit heavier than the serum to address real dehydration concerns.

I’m not one to use balms on my face, unless I’m spot treating my cheeks, nose and forehead to protect against harsh winter winds, so I’ve been enjoying this velvety new creation, made with camellia, rosehip, calendula, seabuckthorn, arnica and olive oils to name a few, in other ways:

  • On my elbows to soften rough patches
  • On my fingers and toes fresh out of the bath or shower
  • On my hands in the morning, as a rich moisturizer, or at night before I slip on some cotton gloves as a hydrating treatment

That’s it for now, if I come across anything else I think you must know about I’ll do another post.

In the meantime, stay warm, incorporate some superfoods into your diet, drink lots of water (especially lemon water in the morning), go for lots of walks and treat yourself as you would a best friend. It’s amazing how wonderful you’ll look and feel if you start thinking of compliments rather than put downs every time you look in the mirror!

xo Sonja

Double Happiness Skincare

Two and 3/4 years, three notebooks filled with scribbles and countless cups of coffee later I’m finally ready to introduce you to Double Happiness Skincare – a women’s organic and sustainable skincare line!

My business partner, Young Lee, and I created the line with the intention of changing the way people think about natural skincare. We didn’t formulate our products with the goal of making them ‘natural’ because they are in fact nature itself.

The Double Happiness Skincare collection launched with four easy to use products that contain only uncompromised ingredients from the earth to allow the skin to thrive and not just merely survive. Plus all products work in synergy to help re-store the skin’s microbiome and strengthen it back to a healthy, happy and beautiful state.

Locally made in Toronto by Young and I, all Double Happiness products contain ingredients that are sustainably sourced and are harvested by organizations that pay their workers a fair wage.

I’m so in love with each of our creations and can honestly say my skin has never felt or looked better.

Here’s a little bit more about each product in the collection:

Double Happiness Face Oil Cleanser and Exfoliator

Restart Face Oil Cleanser – pumpkin seed oil, rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, effectively removes makeup and deeply cleanses, leaving the skin soft, clear and blemish free. Evening primrose oil nurtures damaged skin cells and the calming scent of rose and neroli relax your mind and senses so you can face a brand new day.

Ingredients: pumpkin seed oil**, rice bran oil, evening primrose oil**, fractionated coconut oil, jasmine flower oil†, rose otto flower oil*, neroil flower oil, sandalwood oil‡

*organic **certified organic †social enterprise ‡sustainably harvested

Refine Face Exfoliator – a joyful blend of rose petals, calendula flower and lavender uplift your senses, while natural oat and brown rice gently remove dry skin for a more refined complexion. Add on the softening magic of sea kelp and you’ll be left with a healthier, brighter glow.

Ingredients: white kaolin clay, oat flour, brown rice flour, olive oil^, flax meal powder, kelp powder, rose petals*, calendula flowers*, lavender flowers*, rose otto flower oil*, lavender oil*, grapefruit oil*

*organic ^certified organic

Double Happiness Face Oil and Face Mist

Restore Face Oil Potion – inspired by the finest ingredients available in the natural world, the Double Happiness Face Oil Potion was created to re-balance, strengthen and nurture your skin so that it could thrive in any condition.

Mindfully formulated and hand blended with powerful active botanicals and ancient elixirs of schizandra berry, magnolia leaf, pomegranate and seabuckthorn. These elements work harmoniously together to revert your skin back to a youthful, radiant complexion.

Ingredients: pomegranate seed oil, jojoba oil*, broccoli seed oil, rosehip seed oil**, seabuckthorn oil, jasmine flower oil†, sandalwood oil‡, rose otto flower oil*, ylang ylang flower oil, magnolia leaf oil, schizandra berry oil*, neroli flower oil

*organic **certified organic †social enterprise ‡sustainably harvested

Refresh Flower Shower Face Mist – discover the magic of our botanical face mist, made with rose hydrosol and mindfully selected essential oils to calm inflammation, hydrate the skin and help prepare it to receive nutritious face oils.

Ingredients: rose otto flower water, jasmine flower oil†, rose otto flower oil*, neroli flower oil, sandalwood oil‡

*organic †social enterprise ‡sustainably harvested

Double Happiness Founders

Curious to know more about Young and I and the story behind the brand? Swing by Double Happiness now and get the scoop here.

And while you’re there be sure to check out our blog and sign-up for our newsletter! I’ll be keeping you guys in the loop on news from the green beauty circle, skincare and health and wellness tips and lots of DIY ideas. My latest article – Your Guide To Wedding Day Skin – is perfect for anyone in the midst of preparing for the big day as it gives you tips on how to get your skin in top-notch shape.

I’m so excited to be sharing this incredible adventure with you and am looking forward to what’s in store for Double Happiness this year!

~Sonja xo



Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas from Healthy Fresh Salads

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Salads for some reason always taste better when made by someone else!

I have friends who can magically whip together the most wonderful tasting salads by getting creative with whatever happens to be in their fridge, but I’m someone who needs a recipe to follow.

And this one, from Jesse Lane Lee’s new cookbook Healthy Fresh Salads, truly is the simplest of recipes.

From the crispy chickpeas to the fresh dill, creamy dressing and avocados that add those healthy fats our body needs, this is one salad I’ll never tire of.

Want to win a copy of Jesse’s new cookbook?

For details on a special giveaway jump below the recipe!

Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30-40 minutes | Serving size: 4 large sides


  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander, whole
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 large head kale, stems removed and chopped/torn into bit sized pieces
  • 2 avocados, diced

Creamy Cashew Dressing

  • 3/4 cups raw cashews or ¾cup sesame seeds for a nut free version
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (1/4 a lemon)
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat
  • In a large bowl mix the chickpeas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, pepper, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper
  • Spread out on the baking sheet and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes
  • Place the cashews (or sesame seeds for a nut free version) and garlic in a food processor and pulse until minced
  • Add the remaining dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. The dressing will be much thicker than regular salad dressing but you can add water as needed.
  • In a large bowl massage dressing into the kale
  • Top with the avocado and sprinkle with the crispy chickpea and seed mixture


Healthy Fresh Salads by Jesse Lane Lee contains 30 recipes that everyone will love. All of the recipes are gluten free – 28 of the recipes are vegetarian – 27 of the recipes are dairy free – 27 of the recipes are soy free – 17 of the recipes are vegan and 11 of the recipes are completely sugar free.


To win a copy for yourself and a friend simply follow these steps:

  1. Head to my Instagram page now and like it
  2. Click on the Kale with Crispy Chickpeas salad photo and like it
  3. Tag a friend in the comments whom you want to win a copy for
  4. Click over to Jesse Lane Lee’s Instagram page and like it too
  5. And that’s it!

The giveaway is open to everyone worldwide and the winners will be chosen on Friday, July 29th. Good luck!

spring skincare essentials_life in blush

Happy Friday everyone!

I think it’s safe to say that winter is truly done and over with and summer is so close I can almost smell it. Birds are chirping, I can feel the warmth of the sun through my window as I type, and my weather app is happily reminding me that double digits await me all next week.

happy excited victory yas hell yes

It’s time to step out from winter’s shadow, and from under all of those heavy winter layers, and embrace lighter clothes, make-up and nail colours. And when you’re in the midst of purging winter for spring don’t forget to switch up your skincare regime too!

It can be easy to settle into a skincare groove, but just like you swap your parka for that cute belted trench you also need to bring in skincare reinforcements to help your skin rebalance itself after harsh winter temperatures and dry indoor heat.

Ok let me explain.

Our skin is alive and is sensitive to the environment around us. Harsh winter conditions strip our skin of its natural moisture and that lack of moisture can seriously irritate its balance leaving our skin dull, dry and itchy.

Luckily our skin has an amazing ability to heal and regain healthy stability with just a few adjustments to our skincare ritual.

life in blush guide to spring skincare essentials:

CLEANSE: your springtime cleanser should work to repair winter’s damage without further disrupting the delicate balance of the skin’s acidic mantle. Opt for gentle cleansers that won’t strip the skin of its naturals oils like this oil cleanser, cleansing powder or this plant-based liquid cleanser.

If you prefer to use a soap based cleanser make sure to apply something acidic, like a face oil, afterwards. Soap depletes the skin’s natural oil protection, removes beneficial microorganisms, and makes the skin alkaline. To remain balanced and happy your skin needs to be slightly acidic.

Whatever you choose though, just be sure to wash it off with purified water, never water that’s heavily chlorinated/fluorinated like tap water is.

EXFOLIATE: you can’t show off a luminous complexion if it’s trapped under layers of dead skin! Gently slough them off 1-2x per week (2-3x in the summer) with a natural exfoliator. I prefer dry powder versions like this onethis one, this one or this one.

MOISTURIZE: if you’ve clung to thick creams all winter long it’s time to swap them out for a lighter formula, or opt for a face oil, the will let your skin breathe and replace the oils winter stripped of you.

For face creams or oils I like what Josh Rosebrook, Province Apothecary, Leahlani Skincare, Alitura, Living Libations and LILFOX are selling, and remember if you’re going to use a face oil make sure to mist your face immediately prior. Oils can’t add hydration to your skin, it can only help retain the moisture that’s there, unless it’s mixed with water or a hydrosol.

CONDITIONING MASK: all masks whether they be hydrating, clarifying or detoxifying can speed up the skin’s recovery process and are highly effective when use once per week.

You can make your own mask with fresh ingredients like oat flour, avocados, yogurt and honey or you can opt for natural ones like this one, this one, this one or this one.

Sound good for an updated spring skincare routine?

Oh and one other thing now that I’m thinking about dry skin and switching things up.

I for one am guilty of letting my razor blade last as long as my conditioner (which I’ve basically had since high school), but dull blades are one of the quickest ways to irritate the skin on your legs so be sure to change it often.

And you know what that just made me think of? This ad for the Dollar Shave Club. 


I literally laugh out loud every time I watch it. Literally.

If you want to double down on blades for you or your guy you can take a peek at them here. (I wonder if there’s a special member category where the guy from that ad will actually come shave your legs for you?)



original photo source.