Thursday, April 28, 2016

NYX Review: Pro Lip Cream Palette, High Definition Blush & Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick

When it comes to drugstore makeup, NYX certainly leads the way in trendy pigments and compared to high-end brands of similar quality, the products cost a fraction of the price. When I first laid eyes of the vibrant new colors, the beauty junkie in me just couldn’t resist and everyone knows that NYX has some seriously awesome lip products!

Let’s begin with the item I was most excited to try - the Pro Lip Cream Palette. I got The Reds Collection but it is also available in pinks, nudes and gorgeous plums! I’m not usually a fan of lip palettes for use on-the-go as many require a separate applicator and can be quite large, but this one is small and portable. The variety of flattering hues also makes it ideal for professional use but I do wish it came with a lip brush and mirror. If you don’t mind getting your hands a bit messy you can use a finger but I prefer to keep things sanitary.

The reds in this palette are so rich, bold and versatile, you may find yourself using it all the time! The selection is simply stunning and ranges from bright classic red to medium reds and deep sultry red with a burgundy undertone. If you are looking for a great range of color that you can mix, match and blend together to create a customized bombshell shade this palette is wonderful!

The two orange hues appear very bright and a little electric but once applied they are actually medium tone, soft and beautiful. The pigmentation seems to vary by shade - the orange hues start out sheer and can be enhanced to medium coverage whereas the reds are medium to full coverage with intense pigmentation when applied heavier. You do have to close the case securely because overtime the pigments can become dry, I also found this with the NYX Concealer Palettes. 

The smooth, creamy consistency makes the lip colors moisturizing and easy to apply. I expected a shiny finish but for the most part they seem to be semi-matte with a hint of luminosity and a solid, gloss-free base. The palette retails for $17.00 and is definitely worth the splurge!

Sticking with the theme of vibrant hues, my complexion needs a boost of color for summer. The High Definition Blush in Crimson instantly revives dull skin and although the texture is drier it blends and builds well without caking. This shade may look a bit daunting to those who shy away from striking color but it starts out sheer and you can control the intensity. The lightweight formula emits a beautiful orange-coral pigment with a hint of sparkle and it’s great for all skin tones. The blush retails for just $8.00.

Recently I’ve noticed the Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks all over social media so I thought it was time I got my hands on at least one. Of course I chose one of the brightest shades in the collection - Pink Lust/Passion Rose which is a shocking, Barbie doll hue that is quite intimidating. The pigmentation is seriously fierce and it builds to full coverage in just 1-2 layers. The applicator is a standard gloss paddle and the creamy texture keeps lips moist and comfortable for hours. The Suede Cream Lipsticks retail for $10.00 ea.

Since I first tried the Make Up For Ever brow gel I was hooked. I love the way liquid formulas seep into sparse areas between hairs and fill in spaces for a well shaped arch. NYX has released their own brow gel which is quite similar to the MUFE one I love but it costs just $9.00 instead of $25.00. It comes in an easy dispensing tube and is available 5 popular shades. I got the color Espresso, which is the second darkest before black. The deep, rich color is excellent for defining the brows to create a full, sharp look that inspired the phrase "brows on fleek." I’m not sure if the gel is water resistant but once dry I’ve never had issues with fading or bleeding and my brows stay in place all day!

You can find NYX at drugstores nationwide, Sephora and online by clicking HERE

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Essence Cosmetics XXXL Long Lasting Lip Gloss Review

If you see me in the city, chances are I'd be wearing well executed eye shadow with a unique color blend and a bold, vibrant lip color, (preferably a creamy matte formula) for a glamorous pout. It wasn't until I saw Kendall Jenner rocking shiny lips and a sheer dusting of glittery shadow did the minimal makeup trend catch my eye. For the first time in a long time I decided to try the "less is more approach" for a fresh summery look.

Photo obtained from Google images

To help me play-up the barely-there makeup trend I used Kendall’s new eye shadow palette from the Estée Edit Collection and a whole bunch of XXXL lip glosses from essence. If you’re looking for intense, lustrous shine for that beautiful mirrored effect, then head to the essence display in Shoppers Drug Mart. For just $2.99 ea you can have your pick of glistening pinks, reds, corals, orange, nudes and more with moisturizing, lip loving formulas.

These glosses provide layers upon layers of juicy color with a delicious candy scent and lightweight comfort. The applicator is easy to use and quite flexible, designed to work around the contours of your pout for plumpness. Although the texture clings to skin for prolonged wear, the gloss is non-sticky and quite cushiony.

The look I was going for used neutral tones but I couldn’t resist the petal perfect pinks for spring. The sheer color makes lips appear full and luminous plus they keep dryness at bay.

You can totally use these to replace your lip balm if you want pretty color without sacrificing hydration and you can layer them on top of lipstick for an instant boost of shine.

If you crave a tad more color essence also has some new Liquid Lipsticks with a lush, creamy consistency, and sheer to medium coverage. The moist texture drenches lips in dewy pigment (similar to gloss) but with a little more vibrancy and the mini size makes them perfect for smaller bags and clutches. The shade selection is a tad limited and the colors are mostly neutral and soft. The Liquid Lipsticks retail for $3.99 ea.

02 Beauty Secret, 01 Color Party, 04 Show Off, 06 Make a Statement, 05 Peach Party & 03 Almost Real

Peach Party, Show Off, Beauty Secret, Make a Statement & Color Party

You can find essence cosmetics at Shoppers Drug Mart and Ulta Beauty in the U.S

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Avon True Color Matte Eye Shadow Quads Review

The matte trend has been all the rage recently as the surge of shine-free, solid color and vibrancy continues to dominate the beauty industry. If you are totally obsessed with Avon’s Matte Lipsticks (like I am) then the Matte Eye Shadow Quads may be just what your makeup bag needs. The compacts are available in 5 unique color combos, designed to create a range of flattering looks that can take you from day to night and whatever you have planned in-between.

I had previously tested one of the Quads when I received it in a gift bag from a TV show but that was a few years ago and I wasn’t very impressed with the pigmentation. This time around I noticed a big improvement in the color pay-off and the shadows are vivid, easy to blend, well matched and silky.

The packaging itself is not very cute but it is lightweight and comes with a large mirror which is handy for touch-ups on-the-go.

Desert Sunset (camel, coral/orange, deep eggplant and cocoa)

I like the variety of warm hues and cool tones throughout the collection and aside from a very subtle, (almost undetectable) dusting of shimmer particles seen in a few shades, the majority have a solid matte finish. For the most part the colors apply smoothly but a few of the lighter shades (usually #1 in the palettes) are quite sheer and soft since they are meant to be used as highlight. Initially I found some of the white hues a tad chalky but once blended they do even out.

Smoke & Fog (soft vanilla, cocoa, blue grey and black) 

The deeper hues (labeled 2,3 & 4) are more concentrated and deliver full coverage, intense color. They work well for defining the crease and accentuating the lids plus they can be layered and enhanced for incredible boldness and smokey effects. If you require a little application guidance, the shadows are conveniently numbered to help you create a complete look.

Tranquility (snow, mystic, pool blue and midnight navy)

Admittedly when I first saw the palettes the colors didn't impress or appeal to me much but once swatched I saw how gorgeous they actually are and I love the deep burgundy, browns and rich blues! The quality is not quite on par with the mark eye shadows, which in my opinion are Avon’s best but with a good primer they apply beautifully and I didn’t have any issue with fading or creasing. The quads retail for just $12.00 each and if you haven't tried the matte formula, it is definitely an improvement on the previous compacts plus you can mix and match!

I've also been testing Avon’s MagiX Face Perfector and I absolutely love it. If you need a good base that smooths uneven texture and harmonizes skin tone then this is for you! The pearlized gel glides on ultra silky and transforms to a powder for invisible coverage and high definition results. It also counteracts shine, blurs blemishes and reduces the look of fine lines and enlarged pores with a blend of fleece flower and rose extract. For protection against the elements it contains SPF 20 and the formula is lightweight, non-greasy and suitable for every complexion! MagiX retails for $15.00.

You can get these products at or through independent consultants

Monday, April 25, 2016

Avon Little Black Dress Eau de Parfum Spray

Slipping into a little black dress and a seductive pair of heels for a night on the town can be just the confidence boost you need after a hectic week. There is something transforming and uplifting about dressing to impress and when you want to smell as sexy as you look, a scintillating fragrance is the perfect finishing touch.

Little Black Dress by Avon was inspired by sleek, stylish women everywhere who appreciate the finer things in life and are perfectly polished. The bottle is simple yet elegant with black and gold detailing, peek-a-boo pump and a midnight cap.

The scent captivates with top notes of sparkling Italian lemon, middle notes of fresh jasmine and bottom notes of creamy sandalwood essence. This tantalizing concoction is the perfect blend of light, playful aromas mingled with complexity and warmth for a touch of glamour.

Unlike some of the sweet daytime fragrances I own, this perfume evokes feminine flare and a bold, alluring essence for a higher level of sophistication. Although it smells expensive, it retails for just $26.00 and the body lotion and shower gel enhance and prolong the irresistible scent.

Little Black Dress is a great perfume for events, parties and soirées of every kind. It is also versatile enough for a day at the office, date night or an evening with the girls. With Mother’s Day around the corner this flattering fragrance makes a great gift! The shower gel and body lotion retail for $12.00 each. You can get this set at or through independent consultants. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beauty Box Five April

April’s Beauty Box 5 is all about embarking on a hydration vacation and taking your skin from blah to beautiful by revitalizing the complexion. From great skincare to bright, juicy color, I’m really digging this month’s collection of goodies!

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!

Jelly Pong Pong Paradise Pigment in the shade Fig Jam (full size included ~ $19.00)
This pretty pink pigment retails for more than the cost of the box! It also happens to be my favorite product and with a fun name like Jelly Pong Pong who can blame me!? As soon as I saw the vibrant shade of pink I knew it was a match made in lippy heaven and it doubles as a cheek tint! Simply layer on the lips from sheer to medium coverage or lightly dab and blend onto the face for a flush of color. The texture is pleasantly creamy, the pigmentation is great and it smells like candy! You may need a lip brush as finger application can be a tad messy on-the-go but the color is perfect for the season.

Soapbox Sea Minerals Body Wash (sample size included)
I don’t mind receiving sample size body washes because they are great for short getaways and this formula evokes a day at the beach with a soothing blend of aloe, shea butter, sea minerals and deep sea water! I absolutely love the scent, it smells as fresh and invigorating as a summer breeze and each bottle purchased gives soap to someone in need.

Maskeraide All Eyes On Me Hydrating Eye Gels (sample included 1 pair)
I am no stranger to Maskeraide, in fact I have reviewed many of their adorable masks in the past and they were all awesome! The gel eye patches brighten, firm, hydrate and reduce the fine lines and puffiness caused by annoying spring allergies. They make a great addition to weekly facials and can help you recoup after a long trip, sleepless night or a grueling day at work.

Chella Passionate Pink Moisturizing Lip Pencil (full size included ~ $18.00)
I’m not quite sure why this lip pencil retails for $18.00 because it’s mini (half a pencil really) and it doesn’t twist-up. It is also made of that plasticky feeling wood so it isn’t easy to sharpen. The color is nice but it’s more orangey red than pink and it glides on effortlessly with a comfortable formula and good color pay-off. I’m not familiar with this brand (the packaging says made in Germany) but a little more pencil would have been nice.

Global Beauty Care Green Tea Makeup Remover Wipes (full size included ~ $1.99)
When I saw that these wipes were only $2 for 30 I thought it was too good to be true and I expected dollar store quality. Thankfully I was wrong, they are moist enough to remove foundation, lip color and even most eye makeup which puts them on-par with common drugstore brands. The sheets are also infused with vitamins A, C and E to help tone and firm which is an unexpected bonus.

This month’s box was a definite hit! For more information or to sign up for the next box click HERE

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Estée Edit Collection - By Estée Lauder: Review & Swatches

A few weeks ago I attended the Estée Edit press event and launch party which showcased the collection’s innovative new products. Beauty junkies from all genres of media and entertainment gathered in downtown Toronto to sip cocktails and play with the gorgeous new pigments and formulas. The party vibe was upbeat, stylish and fun, just like the brand’s newest beauty editors - fashion muse Kendall Jenner and social media sensation, Irene Kim.

If you haven’t had a chance to stop by Sephora and check out the new products, sit back, grab a drink and let me give you a little introduction.

The line is divided into subcategories to represent different beauty attitudes. The edgy attitude pushes boundaries with bold color and solid pigments, the barest attitude consists of sheer washes of color and neutral hues and the skincare range includes illuminators, eye balm, moisturizers and Flash Photo Powder to create a radiant glow.

As I perused the collection and covered myself in swatches, there were a few items that really stood out. The new blushes are to die for and the daring teal lipstick is a hot trend that may even replace purple as the new “it” shade! Since the collection is coveted by editors everywhere, I only managed to get my hands on a few items but I’m totally obsessed!

First up is the Edit Eye Shadow Palette designed by Kendall herself. I knew I wanted to try this because I love Kendall’s high-fashion, chic style and she even signed the mirror which was a nice touch. There are 14 shades in the palette grouped in complimentary pairs from light to dark. The finishes range from soft matte, satin and shimmer.

When creating this palette, Kendall wanted to incorporate the colors she uses most for an eclectic, versatile selection, suitable for all occasions. She included light, everyday neutrals for that soft no-makeup look, deep sultry shades for smoky effects and dazzling glitters for a fun night out. Each duo is designed to be used alone or together and the two black light shade transformers (the large glitter squares to the left) glow in the dark! These babies are perfect when you want to get your glam-on at the club and can be layered over other shadows to create a dazzling veil of sheer glitter. 

The gun metal black and espresso duos are deep enough to accentuate and shape the crease plus they can be blended and smudged for a seductive smoky eye. Like Kendall, my favorite color is purple so it’s no surprise that I use those shadows most often. The shimmery taupe and rose gold are beautiful although the pigmentation is very sheer, more like a light dusting or glitter overlay.

Throughout the palette the color pay-off differs by shade, some are medium to full coverage with the ability to be enhanced while others are quite translucent. I usually prefer a lot of intensity from my shadows but I like the contrast of soft hues with bold, deep colors. The texture is not as silky as I expected but they blend smoothly and the glitter particles stand out to create beautiful dimension without being messy or difficult to work with. All of the shades are very wearable but they look best when applied over a good primer and the packaging is sleek and portable. The Edit Palette retails for $60.00.

The collection includes many pretty lip colors from vivid and daring to nude and subtle. I have the shade - You’re Welcome: a vibrant, classic red that never goes out of style! The shiny blue tubes are feminine and sophisticated but a little difficult to pop open at first.

When I tried this color it was love at first swipe! The formula is rich, creamy and luscious so it glides on without any drag and drenches lips in bright, high-impact color. I also like that the finish is true matte so you don’t get any of that glossy shine, just solid, true red. The nourishing formula is infused with jojoba to condition, moisturize and prevent dryness.

By now you are probably wondering why there are two odd colors on either side of the red or if sunshine lips are going to be a hot summer trend. Although some of us are bold enough to flash black lips when it isn’t Halloween, not everyone is prepared to enter sassy goth territory just yet. These two hues are actually the Lip Flip Shade Transformers that are made to work with any lipstick. The yellow can be applied to lighten colors and the black darkens them so you can create custom shades.

With the yellow I was able to achieve a pinkish-coral hue and the black gave the red a deep berry tinge. You may have to be sparing with the black because too much can totally overshadow the color underneath but you can pretty much layer the yellow on as heavy as you dare. At first I didn’t like that the yellow lipstick was left stained by the red but when I realized it was easy to wipe off it wasn’t a problem. I think this concept is fun and versatile plus I like the option of getting more from my lipsticks. Each shade retails for $26.00 each.

Last but not least is a product I’ve been using since I got it - the Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack. The mask delivers a blast of hydration as you get your beauty sleep with fresh fruit (goji berry, blueberry and cranberry), hyaluronic acid and flower extract. The water-gel formula feels cool and refreshing on parched skin and along with eradicating dry patches, it makes my skin feel soft, smooth and supple with glow-boosting antioxidants. It retails for $58.00.

You can find the Estée Edit Collection exclusively at Sephora locations and online by clicking HERE

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Eos Spring Collection & NEW Body Lotion

The first spring blooms have finally sprouted and it’s warm enough to show a little skin! I’ve been preparing for the season by slathering my lips in eos balms and moisturizing my body in their fresh new lotions that smell like a summer breeze. 

By now most of you are familiar with these cute, colorful balms and although I’ve tried my fair share of  lip treatments, eos is still one of my favorites! The iconic round shape has become quite trendy but it also makes the balms comfortable to hold and easy to find amidst all the stuff in my purse.

As you uncap the colorful little globes, there is an instant blast of delicious, fruity aroma including delectable flavors like blueberry acai, vanilla mint, coconut milk, pomegranate honeysuckle honeydew, strawberry sorbet and more!

These all-natural, organic blends are packed with lip loving, conditioning ingredients including antioxidant rich vitamin E, shea butter and jojoba oil to keep skin soft, supple and chap-free. I like that they are long-lasting so I can layer the rich formula on before bed and wake with the product still in place! They also work wonders under lipstick should you crave more hydration.

These lip treatments became so popular that they started popping up in the hottest music videos and films alongside some of the most sought after celebs. A few brands have even tried to replicate the design but the formula could not be beat! The balms can be found in most major drugstores and supermarkets nationwide and retail for just over $4.00.

The new body lotions have sleek, pastel packaging inspired by elegant perfume bottles and feminine flare so you can proudly display them on your vanity or dresser. They are 2 scents currently available - Berry Blossom and Delicate Petals, both very light, pleasant and refreshing.

During the summer months you may still require a high level of  moisture to counteract environmental conditions and these have a lightweight, fast absorbing finish with no greasiness or residue. The formula is enriched with nourishing shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia, soy bean oil, flower seed oil and vitamin E for a healthy dose of  antioxidants and silky, soft skin.

 The large bottle (350 ml) retails for $7.99-$8.99 and the smaller size (200 ml) retails for $4.99-$5.99.

eos has also teamed up with Kleenex to create a cute limited edition set that includes their pink grapefruit balm, berry blossom hand lotion and a wallet size Kleenex pack with pretty floral print. The collection makes a great gift and with Mother’s Day around the corner it is a fabulous edition to a gift basket! You can find eos products at Loblaws, Walmart, London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart and more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tips for Planning a Great Vacation: What Every Traveler Should Know

When speaking to other travelers or those who have never splurged on a dream vacation one thing is apparent, knowing how to plan your holiday is imperative. A properly executed itinerary can prepare you for all sorts of unexpected dilemmas and affect your overall experience. Although traveling the world is exhilarating, there are obstacles that can put a damper on your plans. I’ve had many mishaps along the way including lost luggage, cancellations, 14 hour flight delays, being stranded at an airport halfway across the world and grueling detours that consumed every drop of my energy. Today I am going to share what I’ve learned over the years to help make your journey smoother.

1. Do your Research

*Before making any reservations make sure to research the country/city you are traveling to. You can find a lot of useful info pertaining to safety concerns, the outbreak of any illness, environmental quality/weather reports (you wouldn’t want to travel during hurricane or rainy season) and anything else you may need to know.

2. Travel Season & Savings

*If you are looking to save money, book during low season and avoid holidays. With some vacations such as cruises, it can help to check prices daily (as they may fluctuate) and book when rates are lowest. Sometimes a flight+air bundle or flight-air-hotel package can also save you money. Airlines may offer last minute deals but it’s not always safe to wait especially if you have paid for other reservations. I prefer to book in advance.

*If you feel more comfortable booking with a travel agency despite their fees then do so but make sure they are registered and reliable. Personally, I make most of my reservations online through expedia or via a direct company website.

*It is common for airlines to overbook flights so if you have the option of checking-in online and choosing your seat, do so.

*Create a budget for your trip so you don’t overspend or run out of funds and have a contingency stash for emergencies.

3. The Company You Keep

*Stepping outside of your comfort zone and being open to exciting new experiences can be amazing. Keep an open mind, delve into the culture and travel with people who have similar interests. If you love museum hopping, cathedral gazing and history like I do then you may not want to travel with the party crowd only interested in bar hopping and night clubs. Don’t let anything spoil your trip!

4. Packing Tips

*To make sure you don’t forget anything give yourself enough time to pack and don’t wait until last minute. I have a thorough checklist on my iPad which I use for most trips. You can create a main category for must-have essentials and sub categories that relate to different destinations. I include things like over the counter meds for upset stomach or general pain plus toiletries, clothing, electronics, beach gear, makeup etc. Make sure not too over-pack as not to exceed your weight allowance (usually 50 lbs) but be prepared.

*Adhere to the cultural guidelines and customs of the city you visit. Some religious buildings and certain areas require a more modest dress code so be prepared and respectful. 

*Pack a carry-on that you can live out of for a few days. My luggage has ended up in other countries and has even been lost for days! It is very helpful to have a set of travel sized toiletries, extra clothing, (in my case makeup), documents, electronics + cords and voltage adapters/converters (if needed) in your carry-on luggage should there be a mishap. If you take prescribed medication keep that with you as well.

*Make sure to put all liquids or gels in plastic ziplock bags and have them ready to put in the security bins when going through airport check points. Improperly packaged liquids may be confiscated or tossed out. You are only allowed small travel sized bottles in your carry-on (check airline guidelines).

5. Proper Documentation

*Some countries require supporting documentation like travel visas which you may need to apply for well in advance so check online or ask your travel agent. Make sure to know what identification and papers you need and while you’re at it, find out what type of goods and souvenirs can be brought in or out of the country to avoid fines and penalties. 

6. Important Things to Know When Booking a Hotel/Resort

*Find out what the general consensus is and how travelers have rated the property by reading reviews on sites like Expedia and Trip Advisor. The hotel may not disclose all important information but other travelers will be brutally honest and let you know of any infestations (yuck), construction noise and amenity issues. They also discuss things like quality of service, cleanliness, food, room comfort, location and overall experience to give you an idea of what to expect. I once cancelled a booking for an apartment in Paris when another traveler disclosed that it was broken into and they were robbed!

*Check out the hotel/resort photos on websites where travelers post their own vacation pics because the well edited, beautiful pictures on the hotel website or travel booking sites are not always an accurate representation. I usually book 4-5 star hotels to make sure my stay is comfortable and I look for resorts that are highly rated and recommended for excellence. Make sure to check for extra costs (travelers/tourist tax etc) parking, wifi and other services. You may also want to double check their refund policy should you need to cancel or miss your flight.

*When you get to your room leave your luggage by the door for a while and check the bed for bedbugs. Pull back the sheets, check the headboard and along the crease/seam of the mattress lining. I even get my husband to lift the mattress and check underneath it. Keep an eye out for little dots or droplets on the sheets. Although utterly disgusting, bedbugs are common worldwide and you wouldn't want to go home with them! Thankfully I've never found anything but better safe than sorry!

7.  Transportation

*Before leaving make sure to determine how you will be getting around. Arrange transportation to and from your hotel and find out if your hotel offers a free shuttle service. If you are relying on public transportation, it is helpful to stay at a hotel close to a station.

*Many cities have great deals on car rentals (usually close to the airport) but some destinations have a lot of traffic, are difficult to drive in and have laws about international licensing. Remember that the rules of the road may not be the same as your hometown so weigh your options, consider safety and always inquire about car insurance. If driving is an option, it gives you the freedom to make spontaneous stops along the way and if you require directions ask the concierge or reception desk at your hotel, they usually provide free maps or Mapquest print outs. Make use of the business center if they have one.

Transit Passes
*Some cities have amazing transportation systems that can be fast and convenient. Before arrival, check to see if the city offers a metro card that allows you pay one fee for all the days you are visiting as this option may be most cost effective. These transit cards may cover buses, subway, trains and streetcars.

Taxi Service
*Taxis are another story because cab drivers are not always honest and when they see a tourist coming rates can sky rocket. Make sure to research what the average going rates are and ask the cab driver if he/she knows where your destination is and the estimated cost BEFORE getting in. The most important tip I can share is make sure the cab is registered and licensed! There are many con-artists waiting around airports who try to get you into their non-legitimate taxis. For safety reasons never go with drivers who are not at designated taxi lanes.

Transportation Apps
*There are also a lot of helpful apps that work offline that you can download for your trip. These apps may include information about attractions and help you navigate the city with street maps and metro info.

8. Security & Safety

*Get a lock for the luggage you are checking-in to secure your belongings. When traveling through Fort Lauderdale airport, staff opened my bag and stole my property! This actually happens quite frequently and there isn’t much the airport can do about it. NEVER put valuables including jewelry, important documents, electronics + chargers (laptop, phone, iPad etc) in your checked luggage, always keep them with you.

*Upon arrival do not tour with important documentation on you and make copies of your passport, one as a backup and another to leave at home with a relative or friend. Lock your passport and valuables in the hotel room safe before heading out but remember to take another form of ID. In many cities pick-pocket activity is high in tourist areas and in Europe there are even warning signs. Keep your bag/purse close to your body and avoid backpacks. It is also a good idea not to keep all your money on you, take what you need for the day and leave the rest locked in the safe.

*I don’t usually travel with valuables such as my wedding rings or other expensive jewelry because I don’t want them stolen or forgotten at the hotel. I also don’t leave anything valuable lying around my hotel room in plain sight as the staff  have access to your room.

*It is a good idea to have an emergency contact back home and make sure to leave your flight and hotel info with them.

*It is usually helpful to have a cell phone with you for emergencies. If you are deterred by high roaming fees and data usage download Magic Jack or a similar app that allows you to make free calls using wifi. This has been extremely handy, especially when I was stranded in Italy this March and had to make other travel arrangements from the airport.

9. Health Insurance

*Accidents or illness can happen to anyone so to avoid racking up large medical bills in a foreign country never leave home without purchasing health/travel insurance and always keep the card with you. If you don't have an insurance agency, banks usually offer affordable short-term policies.

10. Attractions

*To make the most of your trip research top attractions or what you’d like to do prior to departure. Make note of hours of operation and closures.

*There are many tours to choose from when traveling but look for ones that have good reviews and are highly rated. Guided tours can be a great way to learn about the city and not have to worry about transportation to and from. You can also do self guided tours if apps are available or the Hop on Hop Off bus found in many cities worldwide can be a great option.

Attraction Passes
*Attraction passes can usually be purchased online before departure to save you money. You are charged one fee for entry to a list of top attractions and sometimes you can skip long ticket/entrance lines.

*If you decide not to take a tour, map out how to get to points of interest via public transportation and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.

11. Food

*Food is an important part of culture and travel so I like to do my research before I leave. I usually look up the best places to eat, authentic local cuisine and I read travelers reviews and menus. This is a good way to ensure that you don’t miss out on the most delicious dishes and that you don't eat somewhere that will make you ill with food poisoning. 
12. Take Time to Recoup

*Traveling can be very tiring when you factor in long flights, jetlag, adjusting to time zones, long days touring and early mornings. When I get home from a faraway destination I am usually exhausted so it’s a good idea to take a day or two off work to give your body time to recuperate.

I couldn’t include everything I wanted in this post as it would be way too long but I hope it has made you aware of what to consider when vacationing. If you have any tips please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

~Bon voyage! 

Beauty Box Five March

I know I’m a little behind with my Beauty Box 5 update but in my defense, it was delivered late and I’ve been traveling quite a bit. As the next box makes its way to my door, I’d like to show you what I got in March because there were some innovative new goodies!

 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!

Glamour Dolls Glitter Eyeliner (full size included - $3.99)
I don’t usually make use of my colorful liners but I do enjoy a splash of glitter from time-to-time. My issue with glitter eyeliner is that many formulas apply inconsistently, sparse and patchy so I kind of gave up on them. Surprisingly, this one is easy to work with and layers well so you can enhance your glittery line with precision and ease. The more I apply, the longer it takes to dry but once it does the particles stay put and look dazzling! If you want a sheer layer of glitter on the lids to compliment your bombshell red lipsticks you can apply this all over or on top of eye shadow for a little extra pizzazz.

Personail Custom Floral nail Wraps (full size included - $12.99)
Nail art lovers and warm weather seekers are going to love these nail wraps! The pastel pink and pretty floral design is perfect for the season and when secured with a clear top coat they can last up to 10 days.

Pur ~ Lisse Blue Lotus 4-in-one Eye Adore Serum (sample size included)
Personally, I can never have too many eye serums since my dark circles need to be addressed daily. This gentle formula fights puffiness, wrinkles and darkness plus you can use it both day and night.

Color Me Sky Blue Fragrance (sample size) & Custom Temporary Tattoo (bonus item)
The fragrance this month is small but the scent is quite trendy and universal for everyday wear. I always take these little samples on vacation and if I had the full-size bottle I’d definitely wear it. The tattoo was a cute touch! I love flowers and since I’ve always contemplated an ankle tattoo this will pair beautifully with my strappy sandals!

Mai Couture Blush Papers (2 samples included)
I’ve tested a lot of products but I’ve never come across blush papers before! I think this is a great idea when you’re out during the day and need to freshen up your complexion or enhance your glow with a pop of color. The papers have a light dusting of shimmer so you get color + highlight in one and you simply rub them directly on the cheeks and discard.

For more info on Beauty Box Five you can visit the website by clicking HERE
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