Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kultura Filipino Arts Festival - Toronto

One of the best things about living in Toronto is the multiculturalism; the city is a melting pot of languages, entertainment, food and music that meshes into a vibrant metropolis. From little Italy and China Town to the Caribbean Carnival and Latin Fest I love immersing myself in the mosaic vibe of the city! 

From August 5-9 you can enjoy the Kultura Filipino Arts Festival, a hip, urban event celebrating the Canadian-Filipino experience and culture through traditional and modern cuisine, poetry, live performances, a vibrant market, arts, crafts and more! 

Whether you’re a local or a visitor looking for summer fun Kultura has something for everyone!

Photo from

I have tried many different dishes from around the world but I am new to Filipino cuisine. Last week I was invited to the Kapisanan Philippine Center to sample some delectable dishes created by talented chefs who will be competing in the Street Eats Competition!

We kicked off the tasting with a dessert called Taho made with silken tofu, sago pearls, vanilla, brown sugar, syrup and water. This sweet treat is usually consumed for breakfast and can traditionally be purchase on the streets as people start their day. You can also add tapioca and shredded fruit, in this case the chef added slivers of crisp pear.

My favorite dessert was a native Filipino dish called Biko made from sweet sticky rice, coconut milk and cane sugar. The chef also sprinkled on crushed pistachio for a bit of crunch! This finger licking dish is commonly served on special occasions and the soft, pudding-like bars definitely trigger midnight cravings!

Siopao, or steamed buns is soft bread traditionally stuffed with savory meat, most commonly pork. I am very picky when it comes to meat dishes but the chef prepared the meal vegetarian style with a sweet glaze, cucumber, arugula and spicy hot sauce. It sounds simple but the scrumptious dough balanced all the flavors well for a delicious snack!

If you’d like to experience the Filipino Culture for yourself visit Kultura.Ca for the full schedule and join me on August 9 at Yonge Dundas Sqaure for the Street Eats Competition as top Filipino chefs cook-up delightful street food for a hungry crowd and battle it out for best dish!   

Friday, July 31, 2015

Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lip Gloss Review

If you covet high intensity color, mega shine and a creamy, supple formula for dry lips then the new gloss from UD will drench your pout in ravishing pigment and luxurious comfort. Available in 14 lusty new shades from light and neutral, flashy and fearless to deep and sultry there is something for everyone including a few cult faves.

The lavishly creamy texture glides across the skin for plush coverage that coats lips in brilliant, long-lasting moisture. Applying just a dab provides a subtle flush and if you want bad-ass, bold color you can layer it heavier for a vivid, plumping effect.

The trendy packaging allows the gorgeous pigment to shine through and the silicone paddle applicator provides control and generous color distribution in just one coat.

The dazzling mirrored finish isn’t flat or boring like standard gloss and the creamy formula is highly pigmented for lacquer-like intensity with a light, non-sticky texture. I also like that the vibrant color does not accentuate or settle into chapped skin so you can gloss-up even when your lips aren’t in the best shape and the scent is very light and summer-fresh.

If you love the high-impact color of lipstick and the radiant shine of a buttery, soft gloss these are the perfect combination of style and comfort. Quiver is a bright pink that compliments every complexion and is suitable for all seasons. It applies full-coverage with no staining for a juicy, full pout in seconds!

Purple lip color has been all the rage recently and Bittersweet is trendy without appearing too flashy or shocking. If you want to step outside your comfort zone and try something a bit daring yet still very flattering and feminine this shade will add versatility to your collection.

Liar is a full-coverage nude that beautifully balances bold makeup and deep smokey eyes.

The gloss retails for $22.00 each and you can pick them up online and at Sephora locations.

*Press samples featured 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kiss & Broadway Nails Summer Collection

Summer is a busy time as most of us try to take advantage of the long days and comforting warmth by filling our schedule with fun activities. I’ve been out enjoying the nice weather every chance I get and although I like to personalize my manicures I don’t always have the patience to create and wait. 

Kiss has a large selection of artificial nails and this season the brand has launched some hot new designs, decals and bright colors so you can create like a pro and unleash your inner artist.

The vibrant collection is exclusively designed for Kiss by nail art trendsetters so you can achieve salon quality results at home. The nails last up to 7 days and even though they did dent the top part of my natural nails the impression wasn’t permanent and they looked fantastic!

The nails also have tiny numbers on the bottom that corresponds to size, I suggest writing down the ones that match to speed up future applications. Unlike many other artificial nails I’ve tried these actually fit my long nail beds and there are sticker adhesives and glue for those who want their trendy mani to hold up through dishes, summer socials and swimming. 

The kits contain 24 nails in 12 sizes that can be trimmed and filed to any desired shape. The boxes featured here are medium length and are quite comfortable to wear, they retail for $11.97.

The Kiss Polish Pop Nail Accents are perfect for the season and remind me of tropical beaches, sugary cocktails and fun in the sun. The cute decals can be mixed, matched and paired with your favorite polish to create eye catching, artistic designs that you will definitely want to show off! This sheet retails for just $4.97.

The imPress nails are available in a wide array of striking patterns and colors and I love the shape! Although these are pretty they don’t fit my nails and the adhesive that is supposed to “apply like glue” has popped off on me quite quickly in previous trials. These boxes also come with 24 nails in a glossy gel finish and although they do work for some people I prefer the Kiss nails above which last longer. The Impress nails retail for $6.99.

Removing artificial nails can be a pain since regular remover isn’t as effective; thankfully Kiss also has a great artificial nail remover that comes with a tub and plastic scrubbing brushes to soak and gently soften until nails dissolve or lift off. 

This formula works on glue-ons, tips, gel nails and wraps (with the exception of acrylics) and has a separate hole for your thumb! You can pick it up for $11.99.

Good manicure tools are essential for a great mani and the professional kit by Kiss has everything you need to prep for polish including: scissors, nail brush, clippers, cuticle nipper, 4-way buffer, 3 emery boards, cuticle pusher, double sided sapphire nail file, regular nail files, manicure sticks and travel pouch. The kit retails for $12.96.

Kiss products can be found at Walmart, Target and other drugstores, you can visit the website by clicking HERE.

*Press samples featured

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Beauty Box Five July

The last couple of days have been scorching which can make it difficult to get ready if you aren’t sitting close to the AC. This month’s Beauty Box Five  theme is all about spending less time getting ready and more time enjoying starry summer nights and beach vibes.

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. In this box you will 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.

Pur~lisse Flesh Tattoos (retail value $9.00)

Body art is very trendy whether it’s real tattoos, sticker accents or temporary henna, they can help jazz-up your summer outfits and add some flare. These fun designs have a pretty metallic finish that looks great on the hands, feet or legs and around fingers and wrists for a jewelry-like effect. Although it takes 30-45 mins for application they are suppose to last for 4-6 days with a non-toxic adhesive.

Nanacoco Nail Polish in the shade Hot Pink Vibe (retail price $3.00)

I love bright nail polish that stands out in the sun for a vibrant, tropical look. Hot pink is right up my alley and perfect for sandal season! The polish comes with a standard brush and although the formula is a tad thin it dries quickly so you can layer it to achieve opaqueness.

OFRA Lip Gloss in the shade Natural (retail price $12.95) and OFRA Lip Liner in the shade Mauve (retail price $13.00)

I've received a couple products from OFRA in my Beauty Box before and the quality is decent. This shade wouldn’t have been my first choice for summer since I like vivid hues but it has a nice vanilla scent, a bit of shimmer for luminosity and the jojoba oil helps nourish parched lips.

I don’t usually apply liner with gloss especially when it is sheer but Mauve works well with nude lipsticks and the pigmentation and creaminess is great.

Love Life Skin Night Cream and Restorative Serum (sample packets included)

Skincare is important to me but I’m not big on packet samples of this size as they contain very little product. They are however ideal for weekend getaways when you don’t want to over-pack or as carry-on back-up in case of luggage mishaps. This line was first created to help chemotherapy patients with sensitive skin achieve a soothing, healthy glow.

My favorite products this month were definitely the polish and body art! For more information on Beauty Box Five you can visit the website by clicking HERE

*Press samples featured 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bioderma Summer Essentials: Heal, Nourish & Protect

Since the Pam Am games were hosted here in Toronto and launch parties for fall beauty collections are underway I have been outdoors a lot this summer. From press events, sporting matches, concerts by the lake and cultural shows around town my days have been busy and filled with fun in the sun. To keep my skin healthy while I enjoy the weather The Photoderm SPF 40 sunscreen protects and shields from sunburn and harmful ultraviolet rays.

Usually I don’t like sunscreen as many of them irritate my skin but this formula does not clog pores and I like that it has a spray nozzle to direct the product exactly where I need it most. The consistency is a rich cream that absorbs quite quickly with no thick, sticky residue or greasy white film. I also like that I don’t have to use a body cream with this product because it provides a hydrating layer of moisture to quench dry skin. The sunscreen retails for $29.95.

If you do forget the sunscreen and you spend a little too much time roasting in the midday heat the refreshing After-Sun Milk enriched with emollients soothes and helps relieve congestion. It also prevents premature aging and is suitable for sensitive skin. Although I do like the calming relief it provides I don’t particularly like that it prolongs natural tanning as I usually avoid this in order to make sure my foundation matches my skin throughout the season. The milk is moisturizing and free of parabens and if you do want to maintain your golden glow then this is a great product to use as fall approaches.

Bioderma is a fantastic brand for sensitive skin and the Cicabio Soothing Repairing Cream is no exception. This is another fabulous product if heat, sun and humidity causes irritation and the gentle formula is safe for both adults and babies. The antibacterial agents and active ingredients help relieve discomfort, dryness, redness, peeling and minor skin damage while reducing the urge to scratch. Hyaluronic acid provides much needed moisture for optimal comfort and it can be applied on the face and the body. The cream retails for $15.95.

You can find Bioderma products at Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale. 

*Press samples featured 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dermalogica Starter Kits and Must-Haves

When trying a skincare brand for the first time it can be difficult to decide what to choose and to know what will work for you. Dermalogica is a brand I’ve been using faithfully for years because the ingredients are effective and balance my complexion without irritation and tons of artificial additives. If you are new to the line it may be helpful to try some of their kits which target specific skin types such as dry, oily, normal and acne prone including many options for sensitivity.

First up is a great introductory kit called Meet Dermalogica which contains the brand’s favorite and most popular products for healthy skin. This box contains everything you need for a complete regime dedicated to all skin conditions.

The kit includes:

*Special Cleansing Gel: Is a soap-free foaming face wash that removes oil, dirt, build-up, impurities and makeup residue with a non-drying rich lather. It contains plant extracts to nourish with no artificial fragrance or color.

*Daily Microfoliant: This exfoliating powder activates with water and gently removes dead cells for smoother, brighter skin. It also contains salicylic acid and rice enzymes to help control breakouts and blemishes for a polished finish.

*Skin Smoothing Cream: This medium weight moisturizer is formulated to balance combination/dry skin with aloe, cucumber, vitamins C & E, mallow extract and more! It deeply nourishes and hydrates with rich emollients while protecting against environmental assaults and restoring suppleness. Formulated with silk amino acids it also helps fight the signs of aging to improve skin texture.

*Multivitamin Power Firm: Infused with a powerful firming complex this cream helps diminish lines around the eyes and accelerate the repair process with vitamin A, antioxidants and retinol to improve elasticity.

The Meet Dermalogica Kit retails for $56.00 and the products are the perfect travel size! Recently I took it with me on holiday to help calm and sooth my irritated “vacation skin” which flares up during long, drying flights, fatigue, exposure to UV and other environmental elements. The products greatly reduce the itchiness, bumps and acne I frequently get while travelling long distances.

If you suffer from acne more frequently then the mediBac Clearing Adult Acne Kit contains some great products that can be applied both morning and night for effective all day treatment. I use this kit along with salicylic acid astringent and the Dermalogica Breakout Clearing Overnight Treatment to abolish pimples quickly.   

The kit includes:

*Clearing Skin Wash: This cleanser foams away oil and stubborn acne causing bacteria with salicylic acid and antiseptic extracts to stimulate exfoliation and clear clogged pores. It also helps cool inflammation and prevent further breakouts without drying out the skin.

*Sebum Clearing Masque: Formulated with oil absorbing clay this cooling masque absorbs excess oil, detoxifies and clears congestion to heal, purify and refresh. After rinsing my skin feels clean, soft and ready to absorb moisture!

*Clearing Mattifier: This product can be applied in the morning after cleansing and works well under makeup as a base. The gel can be dabbed onto problem areas and oily spots to help reduce congestion and clear breakouts for an all-day matte finish. 

*Overnight Clearing Gel: This is my favorite product in the kit because it diminishes the look of breakouts as you sleep and makes a fabulous spot treatment!

*Concealing Spot Treatment: This tinted formula helps blur the look of pimples and reduce redness instantly while healing problem areas. Before I apply makeup I use this on the spots I want to camouflage and it has a lightweight texture.

*Oil Control Lotion: Provides an all day matte effect to absorb pore clogging oil and treat pimples with a range of natural extracts, botanicals and antioxidants. 

The mediBac kit retails for $56.00 and both collections are gentle on sensitive skin. All of the products are also available in full-size versions.

Another product that is fabulous for summer and winter is the Multivitamin Hand & Nail Treatment to intensely condition, eradicate dryness, and reduce the signs of aging. If you want to show off your cute mani this lotion is the perfect purse essential and the non-greasy formula nourishes rough cuticles and peeling, damaged nails while shielding against environmental elements. It also evens and brightens skin with licorice extract, vitamin C & B5, algae, grape seed, ginkgo biloba and vitamin E for softer, healthier hands. The lotion retails for $36.00.

The Barrier Repair Cream is a velvety moisturizer that fortifies sensitive skin to help tone and protect against environmental aggressors that can stress and irritate. This is great for summer and winter as it revives, hydrates and calms parched, sensitive skin that has been exposed to UV, heat, cold and harsh winds. It retails for $56.00.

Dermalogica products can be found at and select locations

*Press samples featured

Friday, July 24, 2015

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Review

Foundation is my go-to product for flawless skin and a fresh face but when it comes to drugstore brands most of them just don’t cut it. I usually have a difficult time finding a match from the limited shade options and the coverage can leave much to be desired. For the most part my foundation routine consists of just 2 brands- Make Up For Ever HD and MAC’s Studio Fix. Today’s review is all about the new Ultra HD Foundation and how it holds up against the previous formula.

In a world obsessed with selfies and digital media it is no surprise that HD makeup is so popular. The Ultra HD Foundation is the first of its kind, designed for 4K technology- the next generation of digital devices that display images with incredible clarity, resolution and color. Even if you don't model or work in front of the camera we all want to look our best whether it’s at the office, a spectacular event or a selfie session for Instagram. The Ultra HD Foundation is formulated to look invisible both on screen and to the naked eye.

To achieve these amazing results the foundation’s unique, revolutionary complex includes the following:
*Amino Acid Pigments- to blur flaws and provide invisible coverage.
*Hyaluronic Spheres- to hydrate and plump the skin for comfort.
*Sericite- fine particles that reflect light and create a luminous, natural effect.

The Ultra HD foundation is available in 40 shades to suit all complexions, undertones and skin types. In terms of texture it has a medium consistency (not too runny yet not thick and heavy), very similar to the first HD formulation. It also blends incredibly well, with consistent coverage that compliments the skin and melts in beautifully for a healthy, even finish. Since the formula does not contain SPF it tends not to oxidize and change color throughout the day to avoid excessive orange, yellow or red tones. If you already know your shade you can find the old numbering system on the box to find your match.

You can begin with a light layer of medium-coverage and work your way up to full-coverage if you need to camouflage imperfections. Compared to the previous formula I think the Ultra HD conceals to the same extent and there isn’t a significant difference in terms of pigmentation and coverage.

I have combination skin which is relatively dry but under makeup it tends to get oily and in the summer no one wants too look greasy! The Ultra HD foundation is great for most skin types because it falls somewhere between matte and dewy for a nice balanced finished. If I’m wearing my makeup all day then I may have to blot when evening rolls around but the MUFE HD translucent powder and Mist & Fix Setting Spray helps lock in the foundation to increase wear and enhance high def results.

The shade I have is 173 and the formula is comfortable and hydrating without any slickness. I love the smooth flawless finish I can achieve and although I do touch-up certain areas with concealer if you don’t have discoloration or blemishes you may not even need to. The new foundation is intensified for a digital lifestyle with an improved overall finish that helps perfect the skin but the qualities of the former HD formula still remains for a natural, silky complexion.

Because the foundation isn’t very thick you do have to be careful not to smear or streak it when applying. I get best results with a duo fiber stipple brush or the original Beauty Blender for a flawless face.

Photo taken in direct sunlight

The Ultra HD Foundation is also available in a stick design which I love! The stick foundation is dense and rich in texture so the coverage is more solid and full. Unlike the liquid formula the stick has a creamy consistency which gives you more concealing benefits to hide blemishes and problem areas quickly and efficiently! To use I just swipe it on and use my Beauty Blender. I love the luminous, even finish and the packaging is perfect for travel and touch-ups on the go! I think I may even prefer the stick to the liquid but you can also use them together to get the perfect, customizable effect and coverage across the skin. The Ultra HD Stick Foundation is available in 15 shades for normal to dry skin.

I you haven’t tried the Make Up For Ever Foundation yet then I definitely recommend getting matched and heading to Sephora for samples so you can test it for yourself! The Ultra HD Liquid Foundation and the Ultra HD Foundation Stick both retail for $50.00 each, you can also pick them up at MUFE boutiques.

*Press samples featured

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Am Juicy Couture Eau De Parfum Spray Review

Last week I attended a launch party for the scintillating new I am Juicy Couture fragrance. In true couture style the store was decked out in gorgeous pink flowers, posh chandeliers and artistic product displays as champagne sparkled and beauty experts gathered to indulge in the lush new scent.

If you like Juicy Couture’s past fragrances then you will definitely want to add this sophisticated bottle to your collection! The brand is known for its trendy, youthful aromas and eye catching packaging and the new gold embellished addition is no exception. The glamorous bottle captures playful sensuality with its feminine jewel shape and diamond embedded cap, making it a beautiful centerpiece for your vanity. At the event I also had the opportunity to get my initials engraved on the bottle which was a nice, personal touch.

The top notes include: juicy raspberry, pomelo and seductive passion fruit mixed with heart notes of gardenia, heliotrope, dreamy rose de mai and sensual sweet pea. The base consists of soft musk, warm cashmere wood and candied amber for a luxurious finish.

I am Juicy Couture is captivating and feminine yet very trendy and fun! It reminds me of the popular Viva La Juicy fragrance which is one of my favorites and it fades beautifully into an alluring, sweet aroma. I like that the scent isn’t heavy or overpoweringly sugary and the sensuality of the muskiness mingles beautifully with the light floral notes. This is definitely a perfume that transcends age and can be enjoyed by all women.

This fragrance is suitable for every occasion both day and night and adds a decadent finishing touch to all your summer outfits! The 50ml bottle retails for $89.00 and can be purchased at The Bay.

*Press sample feature
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