Co-founder of LoveMom.ca, Tracey Ho Lung shares the essentials in her holiday survival kit that are helping her get through the holidays.
The holidays can be—ok, who are we kidding—is always, a busy and stressful time, which is why I’m heading into it with some mom-approved essentials to minimize the hair-pulling/swearing that takes place around this time of year. While most of them are beauty-related (I used to be a beauty editor, so I come by it naturally), there are a few things that are creating some peace and calm in my daily life and I thought it would be nice to share. Now who doesn’t want that?
My Mom-Approved Holiday Must-Haves
I confess, I’m a lip balm addict. I have a rotating selection—three in my purse, two at my desk, one by my night table, one in the bathroom and one in each jacket pocket. But a lip balm has to be really spectacular to impress me. This one is one hundred percent natural with no artificial colours or fragrances and made with loads of moisturizing goodies: coconut oil, shea butter, virgin olive oil, beeswax, calendula flower extract, vitamin E, rosemary extract and essential oils. Even better? You can find it at @someoftheparts — my new fave store (and shop owner Anna Maria) in Leslieville.
Facial oil has become a regular part of my skincare regimen so when my ex co-worker/work-husband, Daniel MacKinnon and (real) partner Ben MacDonald decided to create Crambé, I was desperate for a sample. Made from abyssinica seeds grown in Prince Edward Island—Daniel’s hometown— this all-natural, oil softens, hydrates and soothes skin (even eczema-prone), plus is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and antioxidants. For those searching for a #cleanbeauty find, this oil is 100 percent abyssinica. Even better? I has a two-year shelf life without the need for preservatives.
Sure, I’m a mom now but I didn’t always want to be. I had many reservations, and this book perfectly writes about all of those fears. Shortlisted for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, Heti talks about voluntary childlessness and a journey that the narrator takes in order make a decision. While I’m not the type to tsk-tsk women who choose not to procreate, I hope this book gives pause to those who do.
I’ve reached an age where this has become necessary. One of my fave scientific-based Canadian brands has come out a treatment dedicated to neck crepey-ness. PS: They’ve also reformulated their entire line and I’m obsessed with the Enlighten collection that tackles uneven skin tone and dark spots.
I don’t go anywhere without concealer. And these have saved me from looking like a haggard beast. This Nars version is creamy, and Medium 2 is my perfect shade. I was also recently introduced to Jouer, whose concealer boasts hyaluronic acid (moisturizing) and resveratrol (anti-aging) to deliver a matte, yet creaseless finish (and avail in 25 shades!).
Whether you’re strapped for time or need an easy dinner for the kids and the babysitter, this collection of sauces are your besties in the kitchen. Created by Montreal chefs Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione (they run Impasto, Pizzeria Gema and Chez Tousignant in Montreal), these all-natural, made-in-Quebec sauces use Italian tomatoes (really, the most flavourful) and have no added preservatives or sugar. Sidenote: My family’s fave are Rosée and Arrabiata.
Founder Lisa Mattam is a sweetie, and we’ve been a fan since we met her here. Her new toner (all of the products are formulated using Ayurvedic science) keeps our obsession alive. Moringa oil, rose water and orange, lemon and bilberry extracts helps brighten tired skin, and even calms our tired nerves.
Recently, I attended a beauty event founded by the talented Graydon Moffat (the beauty brains behind Toronto-based Graydon Beauty—we even featured her here). Hosting over 25 all-natural beauty brands, we were introduced to some clean beauty producers that blew us away with their enthusiasm and products. One of them was Boosh. Sarah (Boosh’s founder) creates her hand-crafted lipsticks on her Ontario farm. Highly pigmented (almost unheard of in the natural-beauty world), these lippies are hydrating, plus leave a sexy stain after a few drinks.
At this time of year, I love cookbooks that showcase easy-to-make food and recipes that don’t require a billion ingredients and stages. Because really, who has time for that? Author Claire Tansey (like me, another Chatelaine mag alum), and Gina Homolka both have ideas perfectly suited for any busy fam (Gina’s recipes are healthy, packed with flavour, and can be cooked in one-vessel, whether it’s a sheet pan, large pot or pressure cooker).