January 23, 2018

My Accutane and Winter Skincare Survival Kit - 10 Must Have Products

If you recall a couple of years ago I was on Accutane because I struggled with acne for years. When you are on Accutane your skin becomes very dry, especially in the winter. It has been a couple of years since I stopped my Accutane treatment, but I continue to use these beauty products throughout the winter to keep my skin clear and protected from the harsh winter conditions. 

1.Clinique Moisture Surge Intense

This moisturizer is very deceiving. When you apply it on your face, it feels a bit sticky and like it is merged in oils, but it is actually oil free which is fantastic and essential if you have a sensitive skin and your face is prone to acne. I have been using this product for years now, but I found that even on Accutane it still gave my skin the right amount of moisture, and made me feel refreshed. 

2.Estee Lauder Daywear advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme Broad Spectrum 

This product caters to all skin types - Normal, Dry and Oily. It is a fantastic product because it does many different things for your face. It has an SPF 15 which protects your skin from damaging UV rays, it improves minor fine lines (it has improved mine), and it has some skin essential antioxidants that protect your skin from premature aging. I honestly love this product and its cucumber scent, but, I wouldn't classify it as a moisturizer. When I use it in the winter, I usually use another moisturizer on top of it or my fave Serum. Although it does many things for my skin, I just don't get enough moisture for it. This is an amazing product to use after you are done Accutane or in combination with your Serum as I mentioned.

3.Clinique Liquid Face Soap

Nothing cleans your skin like Clinique. I love this product because it cleans your skin, but leaves the right amount of facial oils on my face so that it doesn't feel super dry after each wash. Also, this product is amazing for taking off makeup. It rinses well, leaves no residue, it's fragrance free, and perfect for anyone who has sensitive skin. 

4.Refresh Liquid Gel 

My eyes get really dry in the winter, and if you are on Accutane during the winter months you will definitely need to keep your eyes moisturized. Keep your eyes moisturized with gel eye drops. I found the ones that were a gel worked best for me because they don't run down like the rest of the eye drops. The Refresh Liquid Gel will coat your eye and each time your use the drops they will not drip all over your face.

5.Nose Ointment

If you experience dryness in your nose and you get minor nose bleeds during the winter, A) You should tell your doctor, and B) you should be moisturizing your nose. When my nose was bleeding in the winter from dryness my doctor prescribed an ointment to keep my nose hydrated. If you do not have medical insurance, what also worked great was applying vaseline where my nose felt dry. That was a quick and affordable remedy. 

6.Vaseline Lip Therapy

To prevent dry, chapped lips you will need something that gives your lips constant moisture. Compared to Burt's Bees, Chapstick and Nivea, don't even get me started with EOS which did nothing for me, Vaseline Lip Therapy had a long lasting effect. I love all of the products I previously and I actually do use all of those, but when I was on Accutane and my lips were as chapped as firewood, the only chapstick that really worked was Vaseline Lip Therapy.

7.Vaseline Jelly

I don't think you're ready for this jelly, but old school Vaseline Jelly in a jar is my best friend. I used many body lotions while on Accutane, but the one that gave me continuous and lasting hydration was Vaseline Baby Jelly. Yes, it is sticky, but when your skin gets dry, stickiness is the least of your worries. I actually loved the hydration the Vaseline Jelly gave me so much that I continue to use it even now. I alternate between using the Baby Jelly and other regular body lotions like Nivea. 

8.Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Creme

Keeping your hands moisturized in the winter months is something you should be doing even if you are not on Accutane. Ensure you are constantly hydrating your hands, because if you do not your skin gets flaky and extremely dry. Any hand cream works just as good, but I like using the Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream. It made my hands feel very silky with the right amount of oils. 

9.Neutrogena Body Clear Wash

Another favourite of mine. I have been using the Neutrogena Body Clear Wash since highschool, and haven't stopped using it since. It cleans your body without leaving it too feel dry and as you may have noticed this is a must when I am looking for products to add to my skincare. The Neutrogena Body Clear Wash is a very effective product if you suffer from body acne, and if you want a product that is affordable, but actually helps to maintain a clear skin, this is the one. There is also a face wash as well, which I also highly recommend.


This is self- explanatory and your number one product while on Accutane and actually all year around is water. If you do not hydrate your body with at least 8 glasses of water each day, then let's be honest you are doomed and bound to experience dryness and flakiness of your skin. None of these products are going to work miracles for you if you do not drink water. Hydrate your skin as much as possible during the cold months of the winter.

As a final note, I want to point out that I still use all of these products as they have helped me maintain a healthy, moisturized skin.


January 16, 2018

How To Dress Like a French Girl

Bijuleni | How To Dress Like a French Girl  - Hat,  SheIN longline blazer, Vintage Chanel Handbag, Nine West maroon flats, Silver Jeans skinny jeans and Zara pink sweater.

Bijuleni - Vintage Chanel handbag

Who doesn't love a little Parisian flare when they are walking down the street? French girls are known for their effortless chic style. Basic styles yet nothing turns heads like a French girl's wardrobe. Sharing below my list of 5 essential wardrobe pieces you need to curate your perfect French girl outfit ensemble. 

January 12, 2018

The Benefits of Clean Eating and What I Learned

I wanted to give you an update and talk a little more in detail about my clean eating and the benefits that I have seen so far in my lifestyle. 

What I Eat

My 1 week of working with a nutritionist was very eye opening. I paid attention to every little detail of how my body was reacting to the dietary changes. Tracy creates meal plans that are based on a whole food diet. The diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, plus healthy proteins and fats. It also means cutting back on refined grains, additives, preservatives, unhealthy fats and large amounts of sugar and salt which I was eating a lot of. Although the meals are very healthy, they are in fact very tasty. I also love that I am trying foods I would not necessarily think to make, like butternut-squash soup or a kale edamame tuna salad. It is been very rewarding to try new flavours and foods that do not negatively affect my health. Tracy is also amazing with taking directions about the meals, so if there is a dish that I felt is just not for my taste buds I just let her know and then she eliminates the food item from my meal plans or finds a substitution. 

My skin

The first couple of days my skin went through a drastic change and I saw a difference right away. My skin developed a different glow and it seemed smoother than usual as well. I kind of plateaued after that, but my skin is still clearer than usual and I look less tired. I also decided to stick to my skincare regime every night before I go to bed. For me it was important to make changes in not just the way Ieat, but also in my lifestyle in general. I think looking and feeling fabulous goes beyond the food you eat.

My Weight

The past 10 years my life went through many unexpected changes which led my weight to be my living roller coaster. When my life was my so called normal I was an average of 123 pounds. Flash forward to 2017, my weight reached 135 pounds. This is my experience and the way I felt about my body and in no way I am body shaming anyone that is this weight. This is the heaviest I have ever been, and I just didn’t feel like me anymore. Aside from all the health issues, gaining this weight took a toll on different aspects of my life. I want to clarify that I did not hire a nutritionist to lose weight. My main focus is to improve my health and have a balanced gluten free diet. I wanted to be able to eat food without being constantly in pain. So far I have lost 5 pounds by eating healthier foods, eliminating gluten (as much as I can) and eating more consistently throughout the day. My goal is to gradually go back to my weight of 123 pounds, but I want to do it as slowly as possible.

My Overall Health

This comes as no surprise to me, but most of my symptoms are gone. I have not had any sharp stomach pains since I started eating the meal plans that Tracy creates for me, I am also not bloated all the time, and my overall health has improved drastically. I am still not where I want to be, and my hives still do surface, but only when I slip up and eat something that has gluten in it. Even though working with a nutritionist is amazing, I also need to be committed to the meal plans and not let myself slip up and be tempted by eating foods that are not in my meal plan. Like that gluten cookie... 

The Challenges I Face With Clean Eating

Clean eating is the best gift you will ever give yourself, but some days are really hard. Clean eating has really challenged me as a person to stay committed and persevere through temptation. I was doing such a great job sticking to the clean eating meal plans Tracy was giving me, but then it happened. I made eye contact with Mrs. Fields and I ended up eating so many milk chocolate cookies. You are bound to cheat once or twice. Do not feel too guilty about it. It is part of the clean eating process and the journey to be smarter about what you eat. There is a solution though to satisfy all of your sugar cravings. After my breakdown at Mrs Fields I had a chat with Tracy and expressed my need to include some snacks that substitute my unhealthy sugar cravings, so now she always adds yummy, healthy snacks. There is always a way around clean eating to satisfy all of your cravings in a healthy manner. 

Don't forget to read my post about Getting My Body Back on Track with Clean Eating


Email: tracylynnhoule@icloud.com


January 10, 2018

Survival Starter Kit to Being a Blogger

I remember that cold day in December 2014, when I purchased my website domain and I tackled the art of blogging. I had no idea what I was doing. I spent hours and hours googling tips about being a blogger and how to set up coding for my site. Some helpful tips, some not. Looking back, at my first year of blogging, I wish I had done some of these steps right away. So, for those of you that are aspiring bloggers, here is my Survival Starter Kit to Being a Blogger for the newbies out there.

Survival Starter Kit to Being a Blogger

  1. The name of your blog is important. Choose wisely.
  2. Define your brand; colour scheme, fonts, logo, blog layout etc. What is the vibe of your brand?
  3. Hire a professional designer to design your website. There are also tons of templates on Etsy you can choose from to ensure your site looks polished.
  4. Think about your blog categories; style, lifestyle, recipes... What will it be?
  5. Make blogger friends. No one will understand your struggles better.
  6. Blogger friends will also help you stay motivated and provide you with useful tips.
  7. Visuals are everything; Invest in a good quality camera or hire a photographer.
  8. Purchase a photoshop program. Turn photos from blah to fab.
  9. Stick to a few social media platforms. Don't over extend yourself.
  10. Be consistent with posting on both your blog and social media.
  11. Engage with your audience on Instagram, but don’t be on your phone 24/7. Life balance.
  12. Invest in automatic scheduling where possible. I use Buffer and Tailwind a lot. 
  13. Create folders on your phone with photo categories for posting on IG for rapid retrieval.
  14. Create a media kit and think about your rates right away.
  15. Evaluate and update your rates at the end of each quarter depending on analytics.
  16. Create an invoice template.
  17. Organize your emails into folders and sub-folders right away.
  18. Start a contact list.
  19. Keep spreadsheets of all your collaborations.
  20. Focus on building relationships with PR companies.
  21. The fact that a brand is reaching out to you automatically means they love your brand. 
  22. If you reach out to a brand for a collaboration, follow up if you haven’t heard back from them within a week.
  23. Don’t take it personally if a brand does not want to collaborate.
  24. Don't let brands take advantage of you.
  25. You can and should negotiate your compensation and expectations of campaigns.
  26. It is ok to say no to collaborations, and you should say no where you feel the fit is not right. 
  27. Don't ever post about a product you don’t like or would never use.
  28. Read through influencer agreements carefully.
  29. Find your niche: Who are your followers? What do they like?
  30. If it takes you longer than an hour to write a blog post then there is a problem. Time yourself.
  31. Dedicate 3-4 hours on the weekend and write next week's blog posts.
  32. Create a yearly strategy. What is your aim each year?Each month?
  33. Breathe. Have fun. Be yourself.


January 8, 2018

How To Choose Your First Designer Handbag

Bijuleni | How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag - GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag

Bijuleni | How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag - GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag

Bijuleni | How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag - GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag

Bijuleni | How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag - GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag

Bijuleni | How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag - GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag

Bijuleni | How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag - GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag

Bijuleni | How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag - GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag

Who doesn't love treating themselves on a luxury designer handbag? This is definitely not an impulse buy item, or a purchase you will just grab while you are on the go. At least not for me. Before you take the big step and spend thousands of dollars on a purse you will either grow tired of or a designer handbag that will not give you the timeless value  you are looking for, I recommend you consider the following before splurging on your first designer handbag.  

Set a Budget

This is the most important step in deciding which designer handbag you will purchase. There are so many different ranges of designer handbags out there. You can spend from $800 up to $10K+ so sticking to your budget is key. My personal opinion is that for your first designer handbag you want to stick to the lower tier of pricing. Dropping $4K on your first designer handbag to be quite frank sucks. Even if you have the savings for it,  letting go of money, especially for a handbag never gets easy. It will sting a little less if you ease yourself into it. 

 Pick The brand

Setting your budget and the brand you choose go hand in hand. Some designer brands are more expensive than other ones, so automatically some designer brands will not fall under your budget. For example, if your budget is $2K, you are not going to be looking at Hermes. If you do your research you will get a feel of what brands are within your budget and which are not. 

 Choose The Design 

Think carefully about the style of handbag you want and choose wisely. My tip is to choose a handbag that fits your lifestyle. If you are always on the go, travel a lot and want a bag that does not weigh a ton, you would probably go for a cross-body. Don't purchase a handbag just because it is pretty. Think if it is a practical handbag that coincides with your personal style. For example, when I chose to purchase the GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag it was because I love big handbags where I can put my entire life in. A mini crossbody does not fit into my everyday lifestyle.

Will the Bag Be a Classic?

When you are choosing the design, you may also want to consider investing in a handbag that will withstand the pass of time, and will remain a classic for years. Do not buy a  luxury designer handbag because it is in trend or the design is too gimmicky for your personal style. Considering how much designer handbags cost, you want the first designer handbag you invest in to be a classic piece. When I purchased my GG Marmont medium matelassé shoulder bag, no one I knew had it. Now, it seems the GG Marmont handbags are in every blogger's designer handbag shelf. EVERYONE has it. When demand for a bag is high that means it may pass into the classic category. Usually if a handbag is still in high demand after 3-4 seasons since its launch it means it will be a classic handbag. 

Pick a Colour

Another important thing to consider when purchasing your first designer handbag is the colour. Pick a colour that suits your wardrobe and you will be able to match with your wardrobe. Also, think of the practicality of the colour. For example, if you wear jeans often, you may want to stay away from handbags that are white or beige because your jeans will rub off on your purse. I wear jeans quite often and some of the colour has rubbed off on my GG Marmont. Imagine my purse was white. Oh the horror. Also, ask yourself do you want to choose a colour that is a classic or a bag with a colour that will be your statement piece? When I chose my GG Marmont in the bubblegum colour, I wanted it to be a statement piece. I just loved the colour so much, so I wasn't thinking if it will be a classic or not. 

Think about Re-sale Value

Shocker, but you may eventually get tired of your designer handbag. If your designer handbag splurge does not end up being an item you want to have for the rest of your life, you want to ensure that when you purchase it, it will be an item that will have a great re-sale value. Some brands have a better re-sale value than others. For example, the top leading brands in re-sale value are Louis Vuitton (especially the Neverful), Chanel, Goyard, Birkin. They always seem to hold their retail value. After some research, I found that Dior and Fendi have the worst resale retention value. Although, I do think that this also depends on the design of the handbag. 

Photography: Laura Clarke Photography

How did you choose your first designer handbag?


January 1, 2018

Focusing On What's Important

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

Bijuleni | Christmas Market in Toronto

A new year. A new you. Not quite. Neither should you see it that way. A new year gives you the chance to add lessons and build on who you. Don't change who you are. Rather improve or add characteristics that have already shaped you.

Here is on what I want to focus for the new year.

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