Monday, December 5, 2016

2016 Holiday Gift Guide For Him

Holiday shopping can be stressful and some men can be a little difficult to shop for. If you are searching for the perfect gifts for guys, keep reading to discover my top picks for 2016 including: cologne, skincare, shaving essentials, jewelry and gadgets!


Jack Black sells popular skincare and shaving essentials and this year the Power Pack includes a complete grooming routine he is sure to love! The products come in a chic travel bag that is perfect for his busy schedule and includes: the Beard Lube Conditioning Shave with jojoba and eucalyptus, the bestselling Daily Facial Cleanser with aloe leaf and sage, Turbo Wash Energizing Cleanser for Hair & Body and the Clean Break Oil-Free Moisturizer with organic white tea. Many of these products are fragrance and paraben-free which makes them suitable for sensitive skin and easy to gift plus the nourishing elements sooth, refresh, hydrate and protect for soft, healthy skin. This collection retails for $79.00 at jackblack.ca and Hudson’s Bay.



For the tech savvy man who prides himself on capturing the perfect shot, the Limelens Kit may be just what he’s looking for! It comes with a nice case, 2 lenses, attachment clips, instruction manual and everything you need to get started. The Supreme Fisheye Lens has a 190˚ viewing angle and the Dual-Purpose Lens offers a 10 x macro perspective and wide angle view to capture intricate details beyond the capability of a Smartphone camera. It also offers a greater choice of photo angles, framing and composition plus it fits over 40 devices including leading phones and tablets.  


At first I had a little trouble aligning the lens over my device but once in place you can start snapping away with ease! Photo edges may appear slightly blurry and your phone may not fit in it's case with the lens attached but overall I found it particularly useful for shooting landscapes and travel photos. The kit originally retails for $99.00 at limlens.com but is now on sale for $49.99.



Avon always has a great selection of gifts including stylish, well crafted Elgin watches. This particular piece stood out because of its sophisticated design, smooth lines, classic embellishments and versatility. The silver and black combo with shiny finishes and large face is perfect for daily life or formal events. This is a watch he can wear to a board meeting paired with a trendy suit or with jeans and a t-shirt for guy’s night out. It retails for $100 but is currently available for $49.99 at avon.ca.


Les Industries Groom produces handcrafted grooming products from the finest natural ingredients without the use of parabens, perfume or coloring agents. The Travel Kit comes in a jar containing: the 30 ml Shaving Cream that creates a rich lather for a comfortable shave, a 15 ml Aftershave Balm for a invigorating blast of hydration, 7 ml Aftershave Splash and a 7 ml Shaving Oil that nourishes, protects and softens while reducing ingown hairs and cuts. The products are small but effective and this is a good brand introduction for men who seek a more organic option due to skin sensitivity or irritation. Since the products are made with plant ingredients and essential oils, the botanical scent is very strong but also quite fresh and healing. The set retails for $32.00 and is available at lesindustriesgroom.com


Wanted is like no other cologne on the market and the scent is my favorite release of the year! The bottle is sleek, sophisticated and dangerous - designed to resemble the cylinder of a loaded gun. The aroma evokes themes of passion, raw masculinity, ambition, power and bravery - qualities most men strive for. The exotic ingredients form a complex blend including: spicy ginger, zesty lemon, vibrant cardamom, French juniper (for a warm amber undertone), vetiver and tonka bean which balances the composition with vanilla, cherry and almond aromas. The cologne retails for $92.00 per 100 ml and is available at Hudson's Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and Sears.


~Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Avon 2016 Holiday Collection: Mark Eye Daydream of Glam Eye Shadow Palette Review

Many of you know that Mark is my favorite Avon brand and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of a new eye shadow palette. Just in time for the holidays they launched this jaw-dropping color collection - a sequel to the bestselling Eye Dream of Glam Palette which I still use all the time!


When it comes to unique design, pretty pigment and cool packaging this palette takes the cake! There are 16 large eye shadows in shimmery marbled finishes that resembles a multicolored galaxy. The casing is sturdy and even when closed you can see every shade through clear peek-a-boo circles on the lid.


The shade selection is fascinating with a beautiful array of gold, blue, silver, champagne, pink, garnet, purple, deep green and more. Although each shade has a swirl of color, the most dominant hue in the circle is the one that shows up and I should also note that they do not appear multi-toned on the lids. You can alter the shade slightly by sweeping your brush over certain areas of the shadow to pick up different tints.



Overall the pigmentation and color pay-off is good and only a couple shades have a sheer base. The consistency is silky enough but still quite textured without much creaminess. To achieve more intensity I usually layer over primer or dampen my brush to pick up more shadow and swipe on heavier to enhance the color. Using a base also helps prolong wear and allows for better adhesion.



The finishes are mesmerizing with some shades applying iridescent, luminous and metallic. The vibrancy and bold effects pair well with matte crease colors that are blended to perfection. With a flattering mix of everyday hues and lavish tones you can use this palette for soft looks or glamorous creations and the shadows compliment all skin tones.

This palette is a holiday exclusive so it may not be around for long. It makes an amazing gift or a nice treat for yourself and retails for $50.00. You can find it at avon.ca or through an independent consultant and this collection also includes a brush set, nail polish and fragrance with the same packaging design. To see more of Avon’s holiday collection click HERE.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Arbonne 2016 Holiday Collection & Gift Guide

The stocking are hung, the tree is up and it’s time to get out the wrapping paper! Every holiday I know I can count on Arbonne for great gift ideas and luxurious skincare that my family is sure to love! This year the brand has released a beautiful selection of festively packaged sets and trendy pigments.


Let’s start with something to satisfy the beauty junkies on your list – pretty eye shadow! These refillable palettes are totally customizable with magnetic backings and mini mirrors. You can simply select your favorite single shades for $20.00 each to create your own palette or purchase an expertly paired duo for $50.00 (including compact). Most of the hues are deep mattes, vibrant shimmers or flattering neutrals – perfect for daily wear or bold festive looks.




The shadows are silky, smooth and long-lasting with buildable color that can be intensified nicely for professional results. The crease hues are all very blendable to create contrast and shape with little fall-out and good coverage. Because you can mix and match the palettes any way you want by changing the shadow parings, the possibilities are endless! I love that the brand offers sophisticated, rich hues that compliment all skin tones and age groups to make gift giving simple.

For those who love a pop of vivid green - Amber Forrest is a great palette. The bright gold and dark green contrast beautifully to make the eyes pop!


Sequoia is my favorite duo because I wear these colors most often. The gold and bronze combo is one that every woman can pull-off effortlessly.


Storm has a gorgeous deep brown crease hue offset by a shimmery gold that is simply stunning!


One gift that is always popular during the cold winter months is a good hand cream with loads of natural ingredients. The Shea Butter Collection with nourishing oils, extracts and luxurious butters is just what dry skin craves on frosty days. The set comes with three wonderful scents – Apricot Vanilla, Lavender Mint and Shea. Each formula softens, and repairs dry rough skin and damaged cuticles to protect, and deeply moisturize. You can gift this collection as is or break it up to create 3 individual gifts or stocking stuffers. It retails for $50.00


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – bold lipstick on chapped, peeling lips isn’t cute. The Lip Therapy Set with Tahitian Coconut is lush and tropical with a delicious soothing scent. It comes with a creamy Lip Smoother with sugary granules and a super moisturizing Lip Salve with a luminous, non-greasy finish. The Smoother contains meadowfoam oil, coconut extract, shea and grape seed oil to rejuvenate and hydrate while exfoliating rough skin for supple, healthy lips. I usually rub it around with my finger or apply some to my lips while pressing and rubbing them together. The balm provides long lasting results to heal and alleviate on contact. You can pick up this great set for $61.00.


You can find these products at arbonne.ca or through an independent consultant.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Burt’s Bees 2016 Holiday Collection: Gift Sets & Stocking Stuffers

I’ve already begun wrapping gifts and putting them under my Christmas tree and this year I’m giving wonderful skincare and lots of beauty surprises! If there are loved ones on your list sensitive to fragrances, synthetic additives, dyes and parabens, Burt’s Bees is an excellent choice for the holidays.


What girl wouldn’t love a pampering mani-pedi set with amazing natural ingredients?! This kit comes with an invigorating peppermint foot lotion, moisturizing hand cream (for very dry skin), lemon butter cuticle cream and an exfoliating foot brush for just $19.99. The skincare is infused with nourishing sunflower, coconut oil, witch hazel, rosemary, orange, parsley, tea tree and a long list of fruit and plant extracts that soften, heal and rejuvenate rough hands and feet. The foot brush is double-sided and comes with a pumice stone for sloughing away rough skin cells and the creams are non-greasy and refreshing.


The Facial Cleansing Cloths are fantastic because they remove dirt, oil and heavy makeup while gently conditioning the skin with aloe, cucumber and white tea extract. I love that the cleansing formula doesn’t burn my eyes while removing crunchy, waterproof mascara and this little pack (10 wipes) is great for travel. You can stuff these in stockings for just $3.99.


Burt’s lip balms are cult faves and are now available in fun flavors and tints. The Kissable Color Collection is another great stocking stuffer idea. It comes with three juicy shades – apricot, watermelon and grapefruit with sheer radiant finishes and a pop of shimmer.


These light, luminous tones hydrate parched lips and shield them from winter’s wrath with loads of oils and supple butters. The set retails for $9.99 and is also available in deeper hues.


Burt’s Bees is available at major drugstores, grocery stores and mass market retailers. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Girls Night In with Calgon, Lypsyl, Finesse & Sensationail Gel Mani

Every so often I need a night of rest, relaxation and cocktails with the girls and once a month my sister and I get together for some sibling time. We order take-out, watch movies, sip champagne and occasionally indulge in a little pampering. Our night often includes facials, hair care, manis, exfoliation, eye treatments, serums, creams and more until we are polished, glowing and ready for more snacks.


Recently I got a few new products to incorporate into our spa day including the Calgon Hawaiian Ginger Skin Nourishing Body Cream and Shea Sugar Scrub! If you can’t travel to the tropics this sweet, exotic scent will awaken your senses and transport you to a white sandy beach. The body scrub softens rough winter skin with a velvety, cleansing lather and invigorating exfoliation granules. It also makes an awesome hand scrub and I use it on dry skin without dampening to enhance friction and slough away dead cells. After a warm shower the body cream moisturizes without a greasy residue and absorbs quickly for light, fragrant hydration. Initially the scent is a bit strong but it mellows over time. The cream and scrub retail for $7.99 each.


Keeping with the vacation theme, the Lypsyl Tropical Oasis is very Caribbean and moisturizes dry lips with the power of coconut oil. It glides on with a nice creamy texture, soothes on contact and provides long lasting protection against harsh climates. The balm retails for $2.29.


I have have little patience for doing my nails but when I paint with my sister while watching a movie time seems to fly by. The Sensational Polish to Gel Kit contains everything we need for professional results. 


The box contains an LED lamp with plug so you don’t need batteries, cleanser, primer, polish to gel transformer - (turns any nail polish into a smooth, smudge-free gel formula that lasts up to 2 weeks), lint-free wipes, mixing pot, nail buffer, manicure stick and an instruction booklet. The kit is great for extending the life of your favorite polish and you can do it right before vacation so your mani lasts through your trip. It retails for $49.99.


Nothing rejuvenates my hair like a good deep conditioning treatment and the Finesse MAX Protein Shot strengthens and repairs damage from heat styling, chemicals and daily stress. This little pack is great to take on getaways or girls night and retails for $2.37.

You can find all these pampering products at Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Walmart and Loblaws. 

Beauty Box Five Review: September, October & November

Recently there have been a lot of media events and I’ve been on a few press trips which left little time for Beauty Box Five updates. Today I’m featuring the last 3 boxes which will give you a good idea of the variety and quality offered. 


Before I delve into the box let’s review how the service works. Beauty Box Five is a subscription that starts at $12 for the monthly box, $30 for the quarterly subscription and $99 dollars for a year. You receive a mix of luxury items and common brands with products for: hair, skin and nails as well as fragrances and beauty accessories. The box contains 5 products and usually includes 1-3 full sized items. It is a great way to sample a variety of new brands!

September’s Box


*Pur~Lisse Blue Lotus Essential Moisturizer with SPF 30 (sample size)
This brand has been included in many previous boxes and I like that the cream is formulated with nourishing white tea, soy protein and algae extracts. It is also safe for sensitive skin and the light finish is ideal for use under makeup without leaving behind a white, sticky residue.
*Be A Bombshell Smooth Criminal HD Finishing Powder (full size included - $7.00)
I didn’t expect to like this setting powder as much as I do but it smoothes and mattifies expertly for a flawless finish. When applied over foundation I don’t need a makeup base and it makes my complexion look poreless, even and silky!
*Simple Skincare Cleansing Wipes (sample included with 7 cloths)
I love these makeup wipes from Simple and this little pack is perfect for my next weekend getaway. The formula is gentle and removes makeup, dirt and oil efficiently.
*Happy Hair Tuban (retail value - $18.00)
Micro-fiber towels are great because they help dry my hair without causing frizz or breakage. I can pop on a shower cap, wrap my hair with the towel and use the heat generated to enhance deep conditioning treatments. This one is large enough to handle my long, thick hair.
*Go Smile Teeth Whitening Gel (sample included)
I’ve been looking for a non-painful teeth whitening solution for a while now so I'm excited to try this out.

October’s Box


*Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil (full size - $18.00)
This multi-purpose, creamy pencil can be used to highlight and conceal under the eyes, brighten the inner corners or waterline and define the brow bones.
*Color Me Femme Gold Perfume (sample included)
I’m definitely a perfume lover and this scent is bold, sexy, robust and elegant. The composition includes citrus, floral notes and fruit with hints of spice. I just wish the sample had a little spray top because the tube is difficult to open.
*Emery + Ivory Custom nail Appliques (full size - $12.99)
If you want to add some nail art to your mani these decals are an easy way to do it. The appliqu├ęs stretch and stick with the ability to be filed down to fit your nails and the marbled design is currently on-trend.
*Real Her Moisturizing Lipstick (full size - $18.00)
I was hoping to get the deeper shade that went out in the October box but I received the neutral hue instead. Although it isn’t my favorite color the pink undertone makes it more wearable and I like the creamy texture.
*Amlactin Ultra Hydrating Body Cream (sample included)
I’ve never heard of this brand before but the sample is a decent size. For winter the rich formula does a great job at deeply hydrating rough, dry skin but the scent reminds me of stale coffee.

November’s Box


*Briogeo Deep Conditioning Hair Mask (sample included)
When the weather gets cold I love a good deep conditioner and this one contains no parabens, sulfates, artificial colors, silicones or fragrance but it smells fantastic and has a nice creamy texture. It is formulated to repair damage and breakage for a strong, healthy mane.
*Manna Kadar Lip Lock Stain in the shade Shae (sample)
I love the creamy, full coverage pigmentation of this saturated lip color but the shade isn’t my favorite. I would have preferred a rich hue but at least I know the formula is great for future reference.
*Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes (sample included – 7 wipes)
I’ve used the Neutrogena grapefruit wipes before and they stung my eyes so I hope this formula is gentle and effective.
*Peony Shadow Trio (full size included - $17.95)
Finally an eye shadow palette! I wish BB5 would include more shadow compacts since I love the colors in this one. The shadows are soft and velvety with good pigmentation.
*BB5 Cut That Crease Angle Brush (retail value $10.00)
A sharp cut crease is definitely trendy and although I don’t know if this brush will help you achieve that curvy definition, it does a decent job blending pigment.

For more information or to sign up for the subscription visit the website by clicking HERE

Monday, November 28, 2016

Winter Hair Care: Lisap Top Care Repair Collection Review

With the holiday season right around the corner many of us will breaking out the flat irons, blow dryers and curlers to achieve the perfect festive do. When you combine styling with extreme temperatures, pollution, indoor heating systems and frequent washing, hair can become dry, brittle and weak. That’s where Lisap’s new Repair Collection comes in. This salon quality, advanced system is designed to replenish, strengthen, hydrate and soften dry, sensitive hair.


The treatment is free of sulphates, artificial coloring and parabens and consists of several steps with each product doing a different job to recuperate and nourish. The Hydra Care Complex is formulated to seal raised cuticles for noticeable conditioning and detangling effects. The system also contains Papyrus - rich in minerals, sugar and moisturizing agents, Japanese seaweed - to fortify the hair structure and Ceramide A2 which restores cellular cohesion for vibrancy and shine. You may also notice that the writing on the bottles is in Italian because they are manufactured in Milan.

You begin by shampooing to cleanse the roots and lengths. The gentle formula is free of harsh soap additives but still lathers into a rich, fluffy foam to eradicated dirt, build-up and excess oil. It leaves the scalp and hair fresh, revitalized and lightly scented. (The shampoo retails for $11.95)


The conditioner is fragrant and light so it doesn’t add weight or cause limpness. You can leave it on for 5-10 minutes, detangle and allow the shower steam to activate the formula and soften. For my long, thick hair the conditioner didn’t provide quite enough slip for combing out tangles and I would have liked more richness for moisture and retexturizing. (The conditioner retails for $13.60)


The Mask Treatment is thicker and creamy so I prefer to use it as a regular conditioner after shampooing. I leave in on for 15-20 mins and apply a generous amount on my lengths and ends for body, bounce and smoothness. It does a good job at softening parched, stressed strands for silky, manageable hair that smells fantastic! (The mask retails for $17.95)


Before styling I apply a few pumps of the Nourishing Cream Leave-In for a blast of hydration. It doesn’t provide thermal protection but it does seem to prevent fly-aways and frizz for a glossy, sleek finish. I also like to apply some sort of serum after styling for extra smoothness. (The finishing cream retails for $15.75)


You can find Lisap Hair Care in salons throughout Canada or visit lisap.ca

Friday, November 25, 2016

Quo 2016 Holiday Gifts: Colour Wonderland Eye, Lip & Cheek Collection Review

If you really want to impress the makeup lovers on your holiday list, surprise them with an all-inclusive, multi-purpose palette that will knock their socks off. The Color Wonderland Set is impressive! There are a whopping 52 eye shadows, 6 cream liners, 18 lip glosses, 2 blushes, 1 bronzer, a face powder, liquid eyeliner, mascara and applicators – everything you need to create a wide variety of amazing looks!


At first glance the palette looks like a simple black box but as you lift the lid, three large trays of makeup slide out one after the other revealing a wide array of pretty pigments in complexion flattering hues.


The first layer contains 26 eye shadows in neutral tones, gold, purple and pink with both shimmer and matte finishes. Usually I’m attracted to sets like this because of the amazing variety but from experience I know that quantity doesn’t always equal quality. In this case I was pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation. Overall the shadows aren’t super saturated but they do have decent color pay-off when layered over primer. Some start off sheer to medium with the ability to be intensified nicely when applied heavier and the deeper hues reach full-coverage for pretty contrast against the softer shades.


The silky, soft texture blends nicely so you can contour, define or fade them out for a beautiful gradient. Although the palette comes with old-school sponge tip applicators that loosely sit in their slots, they are actually quite effective for grabbing loads of pigment at once. The small, flimsy blush brush didn’t fare so well but I have a ton of other options in my collection and to be fair there isn’t much room for anything larger.


The blushes are very sheer and the colors didn’t work for my complexion. I would have liked at least one rich shade and a lot more pigmentation. The bronzer is way to light for any type of sculpting and actually works as very subtle highlight.


The second tray slides out from underneath the first to reveal another 26 eye shadows. The blue row (as I like to call it) contains a gorgeous navy and pretty grey tones for a fabulous smoky eye. In the adjacent row I love the cranberry, deep brown and light rose but the shades are quite neutral and there are a few that seem to repeat including a couple creams, gold, pink and shimmery grey. It would have been nice to see a bit more color variation but there are a lot of usable basics and everyday hues.



The third tray at the front of the palette slides out to display a pretty selection of lip colors. I expected these shades to be very sheer but to my surprise they are vivid and beautiful! There is a great range of deep berry, bright red, orange and nude plus a unique selection of gold, soft pink, bronzy-pink and a stunning rosy-bronze-mauve that I can’t get enough of! The finishes are not as glossy as anticipated (which is great) and most have a creamy, comfortable formula with a hint of shine. Some shades show up metallic, shimmery or satiny and most have good color pay-off from medium to full with just one or two sheers. I should also mention that most of these look much better applied and some don’t show up on the skin like they appear in the palette.



Once all the trays are open there is a sunken compartment in the middle containing 6 gel liners in grey, blue and black. The cream applies smoothly to create fluid, lines but the formula isn’t water-resistant or smudge-proof which have been ideal.


Overall I think this set makes a wonderful gift for any beauty junkie starting out with makeup or anyone who craves a large variety of pigment to experiment with. I like the eye shadow and love the lip color so I will definitely be using this to create fun looks for the season. The collection retails for $65.00 exclusively available at Shoppers Drug Mart.
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