Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Essentials: Clarins High Protection Sunscreen for Face Review

I like to make the most of summer by spending a lot of time outdoors, soaking up some sun and sipping a cold drink but the beautiful weather also comes with an increase in the UV index. Prolonged sun exposure can take quite a toll on skin and may cause sun spots and premature wrinkles. Clarins has developed a wonderful sun protection line that includes some great beach bag essentials. The line focuses on preserving the skin’s health and beauty while efficiently protecting against sun damage.

Today I will review the Sunscreen Control Face Cream with very high broad spectrum protection and SPF 30. The sunscreen is also available in SPF 15, 20, 50+ and includes lotions, body milks, sprays and sticks. Tanning occurs naturally with prolonged sun exposure and Clarin’s sunscreens are designed to promote an even tan to ensure a beautiful glow.

Unlike many sunscreens this one smells great and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and supple with no need for additional moisturizers. The formula is non-greasy and non-sticky which works well under makeup. It is formulated for sensitive skin or those exposed to intense sunlight and it even protects against wrinkles and sun induced age spots. The texture can feel thick if applied too heavily so I use a thin layer and blend it well for a lighter consistency.

Last week when I was in Jamaica this sunscreen was front and center while I was lounging on the beach and swinging lazily in a hammock under a big mango tree.

The directions indicate that you should apply the cream 15-20 minutes prior to exposure and reapply after swimming and excessive sweating. The cream is formulated with natural plant extracts to nourish skin and it has done a great job protecting me this summer.

The sunscreen retails for $34.00 and you can find it online by clicking HERE and at select retailers including Shoppers Drug Mart.

**Disclaimer: This product was provided for review. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ceramic Glaze Island Paradise Collection Review

Today I have a review on some fun, tropical nail colors by Ceramic Glaze. If you haven’t tried this line yet you are missing out on some seriously gorgeous shades that are perfect for bright summer manicures and pedicures.

Ceramic Glaze is created by the makers of China Glaze and their Island Paradise Collection is available in 24 playful colors. The polishes are formulated to be available in both shiny and matte finishes however despite the label "long lasting shine" the shades were all matte. Simply applying a top coat will result in glossy nails if you prefer that effect. 

Aside from the brilliant color these polishes dry very quickly which is big selling point for impatient home manicurists like me. By the time I am done painting my second hand, my first hand is dry and I can add my fast drying top coat and be out the door!

The colors apply as vibrant as they appear in the bottles and although the formula is a tad thin I had no trouble with application. Because the polish dries so fast you do have to be quick with making corrections but two coats was enough for opaque coverage.

The shades I have are: 400 Exotic Dragon Fruit which is a lively bright pink that is great for a pedicure! 402 Watermelon Cooler is a pretty blue that reminds me of the Caribbean and Moji-Toes is a neon green polish with a touch of yellow. I added a glossy top coat to enhance the colors and I recommend using a good non-chip, long-wear top coat if you want your manicure to last a few days.

In Canada the polishes retail for $11.00 each exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.

**Disclaimer: These products were provided for review 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jamaica, Photos, Travel and Tourism

Last month I traveled to Spain and Italy visiting Barcelona, Venice and Rome and I showcased some of my favorite photos from my trip. Last Friday I made my way to sunny Jamaica for a 4 day mini getaway that was picturesque and relaxing. This wasn't my first time visiting Jamaica, in fact I have been there about 7 times and it remains one of my favorite Caribbean destinations due to the abundance of beautiful tourist sites, attractions, festivals, beaches, shopping and food. While some small islands lack enough activities and sites to keep you stimulated  for more than a few days, you could spend weeks in Jamaica and not run out of things to see and do! 
Emancipation Park-Kingston Jamaica

I began my journey in Kingston which is the capital and largest city in Jamaica.We rented a car to get around but be advised that driving on the island is not for the faint of heart. The pace is fast and people tend not to display much patience before cutting you off and weaving in front of you! Car rentals are a lot cheaper in town than at the airport and if you stick to the main roads and follow a navigation system it can be safer than public transportation. Shuttle services may also be available from your hotel.

We stayed close to Emancipation Park which is a charming spot to spend an afternoon in the warm Caribbean breeze. The average temperature last week in July was about 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit.  

Emancipation Park

The hotel I stayed at in Kingston is called The Spanish Court and for $170 per night it offered a beautiful patio and pool, breakfast, posh modern decor, internet and a spa. Security is high and the service is great so I definitely recommend this hotel if you are staying in town.

The Spanish Court hotel patio

No visit to Kingston is complete without stopping at the famous Devon House, a mansion that was owned by Jamaica’s first millionaire. Devon house serves some of the best ice cream I've ever tasted, my favorite flavor being grape nut. Jamaica is also famous for their spicy jerk chicken, slow cooked over a bed of wood and covered with tin to seal in the flavor! If you are ever in Kingston I recommend stopping by Scotchies for some fall-off-the-bone, delicious chicken.
Devon House

After a couple nights in Kingston we drove through the lush green mountains towards Ocho Rios before our final stop in Runaway Bay. The drive was gloriously scenic as our car circled up winding mountain roads with plunging views of the beaches below. The air was warm and clean, sparkling rivers cut through the trees and wild horses grazed the fields.

Along the way local merchants sell fragrant bags of fresh fruit by the road and because the exchange rate is about $1.00 Canadian to $100.00 Jamaican dollars you can purchase bags of mango, plums, banana, and pineapple for just one dollar! If you are in the mood for a spicy Jamaican patty my favorite is Tastees restaurant which can be found in almost any town.

roadside fruit stand

Driving through Fern Gully in Ocho Rios where the vegetation surrounds the road is like passing through a rich jungle teeming with the shrill sounds of wild birds and other unseen animals. Goats and wild dogs graze by the roadside and the thick treetops block out most of the sun. If you look at the photo below you can just make out the road winding its way through the foliage. 

Fern Gully

If you stop along the way you can find some hidden treasures like this little waterfall tucked away from view.

When we reached the resort I was relaxed and ready to enjoy the final days of my vacation. Although it was very warm the cool breeze blowing off the water and the shade of palm trees provided instant relief.

My husband and I stayed at the Royal Decameron All Inclusive Beach Club in Runaway Bay and the grounds were spectacular. Private bungalows, fruit trees and colorful flowers adorned the resort and each night offered great entertainment. The resort  also offered two restaurants, a small buffet, night club, water sports and all the delicious cocktails you can drink! There is room for improvement however since the service was inconsistent and the check in process and room preparation took a long time.  

Royal Decameron Beach Resort

Banana tree

seaside dining

We spent two days lounging on the beach enjoying the warm sun and cool salty breeze, swimming in the crystal water and gently swinging in a wicker hammock hanging from a ripe mango tree, it was the epitome of relaxation! 

The dinning atmosphere was incredibly romantic; we ate our meals by candlelight on the beach, sitting under a canopy of stars and listening to the calming waves crash against the shore. We watched the sun set and took leisurely moonlit strolls along the beach while enjoying the cool sand and the soothing sounds of reggae music. 

It was definitely a fantastic trip! If you haven’t experienced the wonders of Jamaica add it to your bucket list! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mary Kay At Play Bold Fluid Eyeliner - Review

A bright streak of green, indigo or pink eyeliner can really make eyes pop for playful summer looks. Colorful eyeliner is fun and trendy this season and Mary Kay has recently launched 4 fabulous shades. Since I love playing up my eyes with vibrant color I was excited to enhance my traditional winged liner with these bold beauties.

The dramatic shades contain a subtle hint of shimmer and are available in: Blue My Mind, Hello Violet, The Real Teal and Gold Metal. The applicator is thin and designed with a flexible tip for creating fluid, precise lines. The formula dries quickly for long-lasting color and although they are not categorized as waterproof they hold up well in damp and humid conditions. They are also smudge-proof and tend not to feather or bleed.

Although I love the colors, especially the gorgeous teal and blue, the formula applies inconsistently at first appearing thick in some areas and thinly transparent in others. Some shades are easier to work with than others and the teal liner tends to stain skin. To achieve solid pigmentation I go over my line a few times and once you have your line drawn the effect is pretty.

For those who are new to liquid liner or still in training mode, the applicators and formula is not the easiest to work with and takes a little patience to get the hang of. I recommend drawing on one layer, allowing the line to dry and then going over it with another layer, filling in spaces until the color appears consistent.

For a flashier look you can get creative and pair some of the shades together to create a multi-colored line or mix it up with different shades on the upper and lower lash lines! The liners retail for $12 each and you can find them on the website by clicking HERE.

**Disclaimer: These products were provided for review.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wantable Beauty Box Review July 2014

With so many beauty subscriptions circulating it can be difficult to choose one that suits your preferences but a box packed with a variety of great products is a good way to explore new brands. Wantable offers three different boxes tailored to your beauty needs, your love of trendy accessories and an intimates box which includes items like leggings, tank tops, camisoles and bras.

Today I am reviewing the Wantable makeup box with a range of items handpicked by a personal stylist. Unlike some beauty boxes that offer small packets and inconsistent sample sizes Wantable includes 4-5 FULL size products for $36.00 per month. The great thing about this service is that it is customized to your style and you have the option of keeping what you love and returning what you don't. Upon sign up you are asked a series of fun, comprehensive questions relating to your favorite: products, colors, finishes, textures and formulas and based on your answers the box is individually packaged to impressed! 

This month the focus was on accentuating the eyes and cheeks with fabulous color. The total retail value of the box is $99.00 and includes products from Ofra, Mica Beauty, Vincent Longo and Tarina Tarantino.

Ofra Loose Blush-Color: B29 Pink ($35.00) 

This blush is a gorgeous deep pink that is suitable for a wide range of skin tones and the ultra fine texture blends smoothly onto skin. The color can be applied subtly or built-up for deep, seamless coverage and it offers a velvety matte finish. I like this shade because the rich pigment adds beautiful contour, definition and a healthy, rosy glow.


Mica Beauty Mineral Eye Shadow- Color: Reluctance ($15.00)

I prefer working with loose pigments and this one by Mica Beauty blends like a dream! This shade is a shimmery blend of silver and green with light reflecting particles for a dazzling finish. It offers eye catching, rich pigmentation with a non-creasing, long-wear formula. It is also designed to be gentle on the eyes and skin with no chemicals, dyes, oils, fillers or preservatives. The smooth, light-weight particles appear bold and glamorous even without a primer!

swatched over primer

Vincent Longo Foundation Brush ($30.00)

This brush is designed for the application of liquid products and although I don’t usually use flat brushes for foundation the large tapered shape and plush bristles are great for patting on product precisely where you need it. This is my first experience with the brand and the quality of the brush is impressive. The bristles are soft yet firm and flexible enough for consistent coverage. It feels very light and soft against the skin and there has been no shedding!

Tarina Tarantino Fleur De Lash Mascara- Color: Black ($19.00)

If you like the effect of thick, glam lashes then this is the mascara for you! The flexible wand grips lashes to lengthen and separate while creating fanned out, non-clump volume. The trendy gunmetal tube beautifully reflects light and the mascara is formulated to “thicken for traffic stopping lashes.”

Overall this subscription is a great value and I like that Wantable complied with all of my preferences to put together a unique box that I absolutely love! For more information on this subscription click HERE.
**Disclaimer: These products were provided for review.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Maybelline Baby Lips Crystal Lip Balm Review

If you read my post on the Maybelline Dr Rescue medicated balms then you know I have a Baby Lips obsession! I always have at least one on these balms tucked away in my purse or rolling around in my office drawer. Over the years Maybelline has continued to develop a delightful variety of formulas to improve the appearance of lips by combining fun colors and marvelous ingredients!

Recently the new Crystal lip balms were added to the Baby Lips family and these shimmery beauties are developed to provide 8 hours of moisture! I love products that diminish dryness and these do just that with the infusion of shea butter and healing vitamin E.

The balms are available in 6 shades which include: Beam of Blush, Twinkling Taupe, Crystal Kiss, Pink Quartz, Gleaming Coral, and Mirrored Mauve. Each contains a hint of subtle color and smell delectably fruity! The micro shimmer is not too glittery or excessively shiny but rather soft and iridescent.

(145 Beam of Blush)

With just a few swipes lips look glossy and luminous and the formula is comfortable and non-sticky. The Crystals bathe lips in radiant moisture making them feel soft and supple.

(130 Crystal Kiss)

These also work well under your favorite lipstick or gloss to increase and prolong hydration and they even hold up quite well after eating and drinking. Since using these I did noticed an improvement in the appearance and texture of my lips and the soft soothing formula helps alleviate cracked, peeling skin.

The balms retail for $3.99 each and are available in most drug stores.

**Disclaimer: These products were provided for review. 
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