Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Avon Summer Fragrances

If you’re looking for light, seasonal fragrances with the perfect balance of refreshing, summery notes then head over to avon.ca and check out the new Be Fragrance Collection. This youthful range features cute packaging and feminine scents to match your mood and capture all your fabulous sides.

The perfumes contain simple notes that combine harmoniously to create scents that you can wear on a daily basis – similar to body spray but with better longevity. They don’t overwhelm the senses or linger heavily in the air and the small bottles are convenient for travel.

Be Romantic showcases a dreamy fusion of luscious black currant, robust rose and creamy musk that mix to form a sweet, sensual blend. If you’re heading out for a candlelight dinner, or a moonlit walk on the beach, this playful floral scent is perfect for intimate encounters.

Be Daring (my personal favorite) isn’t as sugary as the other two perfumes. The warm muskiness adds a deep, seductive element that contrasts beautifully with bergamot and fresh magnolia. The aroma is quite alluring and smells even better after a few hours of wear. This fragrance is great for weekend getaways and summer parties.

Be Fun is the lightest blend with a fruity-floral infusion of sparkling pear, glowing amber and pink freesia. It is a uniform balance between the sweetness of Be Romantic and the muskiness of Be Daring. This is the kind of scent I’d spritz on before heading to brunch with the girls or browsing the farmer's market on a warm summer day.

The perfumes retail for $26.00 each at avon.ca or through independent consultants.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Image Skincare Prevention+ SPF 30 Daily Tinted Moisturizer & Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Mask Review

Finding the right skincare can be a long process of trial and error and many drugstore products only yield mild benefits due to minuscule amounts of active ingredients. If you want quick, noticeable results, you need formulas that are potent and effective, which is why Image Skincare is a fantastic choice. Developed by a plastic surgeon to deliver the highest concentration of beneficial and restorative components, the brand is used in clinics and high-end treatment facilities. A few of the collections are also sold at various spas and salons in Toronto including The Four Season.

I have a love-hate relationship with sunscreen - I know how imperative it is for UV and anti-aging protection but my skin reacts negatively to most formulas (especially drugstore brands). I don’t have sensitive skin but for some reason the additives in sunscreen cause rashes, itchiness, tanning and redness. Thankfully I found the Prevention+ Daily Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 and antioxidants to decrease the damaging effects of the sun while evening skin tone and creating a healthy glow. I didn’t think tinted sunscreen would work for me but the color is sheer and lightweight so it blends into my complexion with no stickiness or residue. Because the cream has a flesh tone tint rather than the usual white tinge (which I despise), it does not create an unsightly grey cast that alters my skin tone and makeup. It melts in evenly, streak-free and almost undetectable.

The best thing about the formula is that it does not contain chemicals that irritate my skin and react negatively with the sun to cause tanning. I can wear it all day without it oxidizing under my foundation or become excessively greasy and I like how moisturizing it is.

One of the most rejuvenating face masks on the market has to be the Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Mask. After a long day in the sun, sleepless nights and all-nighters, this luscious serum revives, energizes and softens to enhance radiance. The infusion of volcanic water, ginseng root, amino acids, red algae and antioxidants, soothe, brighten and moisturize dehydrated, dull skin for complete rejuvenation and suppleness. The 3D design and hydrogel technology drives the active ingredients deep into the epidermis for spa-like skin transformations in the comfort of your own home. I love using these sheet masks after long vacations to help battle the effects of jet lag and skin irritations.

I’ve also been using the Vital C Hydrating Hand and Body Lotion with natural botanicals and nutrient-rich oils that quench and revitalize thirsty skin. Formulated with four potent forms of Vitamin C and an antioxidant complex, it brightens and improves elasticity. If you drive a car, then you’ve probably encountered sun burn on your arms and hands, especially during those long summer road trips. I use this cream to balance, moisturize, correct and help undo sun damage.

Last but not least is the Ageless Overnight Retinol Masque formulated to lock-in moisture and nutrients while you get your beauty rest. Retinol is used in many skincare products to even skin tone and diminish hyperpigmentation, dark spots and blemishes while delivering effective anti-aging results in the form of toning and wrinkle reduction. If you have not used this ingredient before, some sensitivity may occur so it is always best to patch test on the inside of your arm and start small: 2-3 times per week until your skin adapts.

I like that the jar has a push-top dispenser for expelling the right amount of product and it keeps the cream sanitary. After a few weeks, my skin is noticeably more radiant, even and smooth. 

As mentioned, Image skincare is available at a number of Toronto Spas and Salons including The Four Seasons. You can  check out the website by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Elizabeth Arden Tropical Escape Summer Collection Review

The weather is really heating up in the city so it’s time to break-out the beautiful bronzers and indulge in bright pops of color. The Tropical Escapes Collection by Elizabeth Arden combines stylish seasonal hues with just the right amount of glitz to keep you glowing from head-to-toe!

The Sheer Kiss Lip Oils ($25.00 ea) are luxurious and luscious! The formula is loaded with coconut, avocado, tsubaki - (Japanese camellia) and medowfoam oils that drench lips in nourishing moisture for hours of dryness relief. This rich, antioxidant blend also contains Vitamin E, plant extracts and soothing conditioners to heal, rejuvenate and protect.

The collagen supporting ingredients, plump, firm and improve texture so chapped, rough skin appears healthy, luminous and youthful. The trendy design and globular center makes them easy to locate in my purse and the vibrant color shows through prominently. To use: simply pop off the cap and squeeze the center to eject the creamy oil. Unfortunately the little caps are not actually attached so dropping or losing them is a grim possibility.

The small application surface is just large enough to distribute and spread the pretty color or you can apply it with your finger. The 6 available shades are flattering on all skin tones and provide a hint of sheer, glistening color. Although the pigments are oil-infused, the consistency isn’t greasy or heavy and there is no stickiness. They feel supple, comfortable and very hydrating for instant alleviation of discomfort and tightness.

I love the sweet vanilla scent and the diffused vibrancy makes them very wearable. The rejuvenating formula goes far beyond basic lip oil or balm - it actually helps mend and replenish the skin while softening. 

The FourEver Bronze Powder ($45.00) contains highlight, blush, contour and bronzer in one travel-friendly compact. Use it to sculpt, enhance dimension, brighten, and create the perfect flush with a silky, matte finish. The moisturizing properties and vitamin infusion helps reduce the effects of environmental assaults and absorb excess oil so skin is smooth and balanced.

The powder is easy to blend and the colors can be layered individually or all-together to customize your level of bronze and blur the look of wrinkles without caking.

For an all-over glow, the limited edition Dare to Bare Body Bronzing Oil ($45.00) makes your limbs appear sunkissed and gorgeous! Infused with the scent of vanilla and coconut, each application transports you to the tropics while illuminating your body in a veil of gold shimmer. Key ingredients include: jojoba, macadamia, sunflower, meadowfoam and pomegranate oils plus a healthy dose of antioxidants and vitamins to quench dry skin and blur wrinkles. Keep in mind that this is not a tanning product so it does not leave behind unsightly streaks or color. Think of it as a silky body highlighter that provides natural looking luster that gradually wears away. The bottle does not come with a pump or applicator of any kind but I love the sparkle and hydration.  

Elizabeth Arden is available at department stores, The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs and online at beautyboutique.ca and elizabetharden.ca

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Niagara Sunset Cruises Review – Romantic Summer Date Ideas

Niagara Falls is the “honeymoon capital” of the world for a reason. Lovers from all over the globe flock to this picturesque destination to marvel at one of the world’s most spectacular wonders while enjoy thrilling adventures or cozying-up on a romantic dinner cruise. As a Travel Editor, I’ve been to many beautiful cities but Niagara Falls Ontario is still one of my favorite places to spend a warm summer day.

Niagara Sunset Cruises
A short drive away from the traffic and crowds on Clifton Hill, you will find a secluded little hideaway where the Niagara Belle docks on the river surrounded by the magnificent Escarpment. This classic river boat offers lunch and dinner cruises while sailing up the gorge to Lake Ontario.

At the scenic dock we were warmly greeted by the staff and shown to our table with a great river view. We were also able to explore the boat before the cruise and enjoy some sun up on deck while sipping delicious cocktails. Everything seemed to move at a leisurely pace and since the boat wasn’t crowded, there was no problem finding a secluded spot to cuddle-up and savor nature’s beauty.

Dinner was served shortly after we set sail and featured an assortment of bread, salad, veggies, pasta meat and side dishes. There was enough variety to satisfy my picky palette and the traditional home-cooking was quite hearty. I enjoyed the chicken with goat cheese and roasted red pepper Milano Sauce, it went well with the seasoned potatoes and crisp green beans. Guests also had the choice of salmon and roast beef, all served buffet style. (Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are available for an additional cost).

After you enjoy a romantic dinner while being serenaded by live music, head up to the open deck and bask in the warm summer breeze. The sights along the way include historic Fort George, the charming town of Niagara-On-The-Lake, stunning riverside homes and lovely shoreline.

The chairs on deck are perfect for lounging and enjoying some quiet time with your love as the sun sets over the water - casting the sky in beautiful color. Dessert was served later in the evening - refreshing raspberry lemon gelato! The entire trip took about 3 hours which was just enough time to unwind and get ready for a fun night on Clifton Hill!

For more information or to book your cruise visit niagarasunsetcruises.com

Hornblower Tour
For adventurous couples, one of the best ways to see the falls is by hopping aboard the Horbblower cruise which takes you as close as possible. This thrilling adventure is not to be missed and the view is breathtaking! For more information click HERE.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
Looking for even more thrills? Then try the Jet Boat Tours. I experienced this exhilarating speed boat excursion for myself and it was mind-blowing! The boat flies through white water rapids towards the swirling whirlpool, performing 360˚ turns that leave you breathless! At some points we were sitting in waist-high water as huge waves completely engulfed us! The sensation was like being on a wild roller coaster that plunged into the river – I did need to hold my breath as the water hit us but it was one of the most stimulating and daring experiences of my life. For more information visit whirlpooljet.com

While in the area, I also recommend visiting Niagara-On-The-Lake, home to an abundance of restaurants, cafes, shops and parks. Stop by the local fruit markets for a chance to try fresh produce, delicious jams and yummy snacks. 

One of my favorite restaurants in the area is – The Garrison House. I highly recommend trying the burgers, Cast Iron Cheesy Fire Chicken and the Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Touring the various wineries in the area is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. You can book tours and sample delicious local blends including Ice Wine and wine slushies.

At night, Clifton Hill is lit up and thriving! Sample some creamy fudge at The Fudge Factory or grab some chocolate covered strawberries at the Hershey Store while strolling, shopping and taking in all the sights. From lively patio bars to the casino, water park, Bird Kingdom, mini golf, exciting exhibits, restaurants, shows and a romantic ride on the giant ferris wheel - the possibilities are endless!

Whether you are looking for fun date ideas or you just want to escape for some rest and relaxation, this region has something for everyone! Don’t forget to stroll hand-in-hand by the falls through the mist and catch the light show each night as the cascading water is lit up in vibrant color.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Garnier Summer Essentials

Summer in Toronto is quite short so I’m squeezing every last drop of fun out of the season and enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible. From road trips to amazing vacations, food festivals and patio parties – my weekends are always fabulously busy! While lounging by the pool or having picnics in the park, you need to stay protected and be prepared for any beauty emergency which is where Garnier’s collection of essentials comes in handy. 

Before I begin, I’m going to take a moment to highlight a couple things I’ve been shoving in my beach bag recently, including the Lualoha Towel in light grey tribal print ($55.00). You can probably tell that this isn’t a standard towel. The material is 100% Turkish cotton making it super absorbent, lightweight, fast drying and soft - the perfect travel companion! You can use it as a shawl, beach blanket, bikini wrap, hair towel or wrap dress and they come in many colors, patterns and designs. Visit the website at lualoha.com.

The stylish cat-eye shades (from Le Chateau) keep your pretty peepers protected from the sun while you strut down the boardwalk looking tres-chic! They retail for just $15.00.

To keep your skin healthy and shielded from harmful UV rays, Garnier Ombrelle offers a wide selection of broad-spectrum sunscreens so suit your needs including:
*Sports Endurance ($16.97) – Water/sweat resistant refreshing lotion with SPF 30. This breathable, weightless formula is fast absorbing and free of oils, fragrance and colorants with no white residue.
*SPF 60 Complete ($16.97) – All purpose, light and non-greasy.
*SPF 60 Ultra Light Advanced Tinted Lotion for face ($17.99) – formulated with natural filters and a light tint to prevent burns and enhance your natural skin tone.
*SPF 60 Ultra Light Advanced Body Spray ($19.99) – Provides up to 80 minutes of water resistant protection and prevents sand from sticking to skin.

It is always a good idea to pack some makeup wipes for the beach or weekend getaways and the Garnier Skin Active Towelettes are infused with the brand's popular micelle water to remove stubborn makeup, pore clogging dirt and excess oil. I still need to deep cleanse with face wash afterwards but the soft wipes remove blemish causing bacteria without burning the skin.

After a long day in the sun, or partying a little too hard, you may need to recoup with a good face mask. The Clean+ Pore Purifying Clay Cleanser + Mask ($8.97) is a great multi-purpose product for travel because you can use it to rinse away dirt, oil and makeup or leave it on for 5-10 mins to remove impurities. The charcoal absorbs bacteria and toxins to decongest pores and leave skin smooth and replenished.

Going from humidity and sun to air conditioning feels amazing but it can also be quite drying. For a boost of long-lasting hydration, the Moisture Rescue Daily Lotion ($9.97) has an antioxidant, fruit water complex enriched with Vitamin C and E to defend against external aggressors. The supple, oil-free formula (suitable for sensitive skin) works well under makeup for a lightweight matte finish but I usually need a generous amount to quench my thirsty skin.

For night care the new Moisture Rescue Recovery Gel-Cream ($9.97) with plant extracts is like a refreshing drink for parched skin. It conditions and restores vibrancy with active plant extracts and a fortifying complex that softens, tones and nourishes as you get your beauty rest. Usually I prefer rich night creams but this light formula is suitable for warm summer nights.

When humidity levels rise, I put away my flat iron and let my curls down. The Frizz Guard Dry Conditioner infused with argan oil tames poof, static and flyaways anytime, anywhere! Simply pop it in your weekend tote or beach bag and spray it on when your tresses need to be tamed. The light, fragrant formula does not weight down the hair or cause build-up so you can spritz away.

When you don’t have time to wash your hair, the Pure Clean Dry Shampoo with citrus extract absorbs oil and dirt on the roots and scalp with no white residue or stickiness. Hair looks and feels clean and refreshed with natural movement and softness.

Garnier is available at drugstores nationwide

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How to Rock Neutral Lipstick – Maybelline Inti-Matte Nudes & Rimmel Oh My Gloss Review

Nude lips have been very popular recently but it took a while for me to warm-up to the trend. Usually I’m drawn to bright, rich hues or deep sultry shades but sometimes simplicity is beautiful and classy. When wearing deep, smokey shadow or bold shimmering pigment, a neutral lip helps balance and tone down bright color so the look doesn’t appear harsh or too dramatic.

When going nude, it’s important to remember that there are neutral tones for every complexion and they aren’t all universal. Lighter tones look great on fair skin and pink, mauve or chocolate undertones compliment deeper complexions. Flesh tones are a bit tricky – if the shade is too bland, it can wash you out and create what I call - the corpse look. To find the best match, it’s best to swatch and sample.

When you find a good nude, you’ll know it. The shade will look just right and go with almost anything you put on your face. Glossy lips are easier to start with and you can layer the shine over most lipstick. The Oh My Gloss Collection by Rimmel offers a decent variety of sheer, comfortable neutrals with a smooth, creamy formula that provides long-lasting moisture and radiance. The texture is more plush and cushiony than the average gloss and the sheer, non-sticky finish provides a subtle hint of color to accentuate your natural lip color.

Top to bottom: 130 Purr Glossy Cat, 140 Glossip Girl, 730 Cosmic and my personal fave – 330 Snog

The color lasts up to 6 hours and glides on quick and precise when glossing-up on-the-go. It also keeps lips chap-free, luminous and plump with a soft wash of shimmer. As the gloss wears away, it leaves skin hydrated and supple - like there is a built-in layer of lip balm underneath for extra dryness relief and protection. They retail for $7.48 ea.

For solid color and better coverage, you can’t go wrong with a matte finish. The Maybelline Inti-Matte Nudes are available in 10 shades and the formula is wonderful! The velvety lipstick glides on effortlessly and with a few quick swipes I can apply the color perfectly.

Along with good pigmentation, the soft, buttery texture is moisturizing and ultra smooth – enriched with nourishing oils that keep lips healthy. Conveniently, there are also matching lip liners available for creating a neat, defined finish and I like the sweet, powdery scent.

My favorite shades are Almond Rose and Raw Chocolate

The lipsticks retail for $7.49 each and both brands are available at drugstores nationwide.

Monday, July 17, 2017

NEW Jimmy Choo Man Ice Cologne and Jimmy Choo L’EAU Perfume Review

Last night I went out on the town with my husband and we decided to try the new Jimmy Choo fragrances. Fun and flirty for me, seductive and bold for him – a vivacious intermingling of summer scents that still linger in the air and cling to our clothes this morning.

L’EAU is fresh and light yet prominent and sexy. It reminds me of an amazing smelling shampoo I once owned – the kind that you revel in as it blows through your hair on a warm day, with sweet, romantic notes that you can’t get enough of. The vibrant composition includes bergamot, hibiscus, nectarine and peony balanced with an enticing woody base of cedar and musk.

This is a perfume that is suitable for every occasion. It’s elegant and refined yet adventurous and alluring – great for date night or an evening out with the girls. As light dances across the pale pink bottle, it adds feminine ambiance to your decor.

The harmonized blend is whimsical, sweet and youthful without overwhelming the senses. It fades nicely as the day wears on and works with your body chemistry to emit a soft, enchanting aroma that you’ll want to wear everyday! The 90 ml bottle featured here retails for $107.00 and there is a 60 ml available.

By contrast, Jimmy Choo Ice Man is raunchy, masculine and intoxicating – perfect for a day at the office or an unforgettable summer evening. It’s the kind of aroma that turns heads and attracts attention – always leaving you wanting more. The composition is enriched with an abundance of deep, masculine notes including: mandarin oil, bergamot, cedrat essence, vetiver, patchouli and cedar wood offset by robust muskiness.

As the cologne fades and meshes with his natural scent, it gets even better – soft and enticing with bold, sensual undertones. The frosted flask bottle with leather imprinted cap is chic and sophisticated plus it comes with a handy travel essentials bag – perfect for his busy schedule. The 100 ml bottle retails for $95.00 and both fragrances are available at Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom and select Shoppers Drug Mart locations.

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