Monday, June 26, 2017

Cavalia Odysseo Review – Mississauga Premiere

One week before Cavalia Odysseo was scheduled to amaze spectators with jaw-dropping equestrian performances and graceful aerial acrobatics, the four-legged stars made their debut on the red carpet - healthy, happy and well groomed. The 38 meter high tent (the size of a CFL football field), stood proudly in my hometown of Mississauga, glistening in the midday sun as the scent of fresh popcorn and cotton candy wafted through the air. 




I had the opportunity to attend an exclusive press event to meet the horses of Odysseo, speak with performers backstage and see a 40 minute media preview of the show before it debuted on June 21st. After spending some time with the cast/crew and beautiful horses, it was apparent how much work and dedication goes into each production.


In the training tent, horses gathered (freshly bathed, brushed and braided) to stretch their legs and enjoyed some bonding time with their trainers.


Backstage there is a makeshift gym and an array of beautiful silk costumes, handmade wigs and practice equipment for the gymnasts.



On opening night the excitement was palpable as guests of all ages entered the tent with wonder. After a quick stop at the concession stand for a snack, it was off to the theater!

There are almost 2,000 seats available with a clear view of the stage, so whether you buy a general admission ticket or opt for the VIP experience, you are sure to have a fabulous night.

The cast and crew gather for photos after the media preview

Odysseo unveils a magical journey of man and horse exploring exotic destinations and extreme climates including an enchanted forest, Nordic glaciers, mountainous valleys and the wild African Savannah. The audience is instantly transported to beautiful landscapes with virtual waterfalls, high-tech theatrical effects and 3D backdrops accompanied by gravity-defying acrobatics.


Photo Credit: Lynne Glazer

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill tent or show - the experience is truly unique and spectacular. The big top supports 80 tons of equipment, and covers one of the largest traveling stages - featuring 150,000 liters of recycled water to create a magnificent lake and 10,000 tons of sand. There are 65 horses, 50 artists including riders, trainers, Chinese pole acrobats, stilt walkers, dancers and musicians who use 350 finely made costumes each night. The breathtaking decor is supported by a screen 3X the size of a movie theater - displaying exhilarating graphics and mesmerizing special effects that bring the fantasy to life.


The endearing moments in the opening scene where horses roam free and frolic in the forest, creates intimate engagement with the audience - truly unique to Odysseo.  Although the horses obey their trainers with a series of small gestures or commands, occasionally they wander off and do their own thing, much to the audience's delight. 

The mix of elegant aerial silks, mystical waterfalls and dream-like carousels that descend from the ceiling creates an amazing contrast of serenity and excitement. Odysseo successfully ignites the imagination and you won’t be able to look away as the 3 story hill rises up under the mountains with a flow of horses galloping majestically towards you.

Photo Credit: Dan Harper

The production is two and a half hours (including a 30 minute intermission) and there are lengthy segments of trotting, basic riding and gymnastic tumbling that seemed a little prolonged and repetitive at times albeit extremely skillful. The poetic music helps accentuate the mythical setting but there isn’t really a story – it’s a lovely series of adventures focusing on human-animal interaction.


The ring scene was by far the most thrilling display of skill as riders hung upside down under fast galloping horses and clung-on sideways in what appeared to be death-defying manoeuvres.  

Photo Credit: Jak Wonderly

In “Tempête,” the sky is adorned with hoops and billowing fabric as artists flip, fly and soar above-head like angles.


In the final scene, the stage is flooded with water as horses race through the lake, playfully splashing the front row. Performers convene for one last jaw-dropping spectacle of talent and everything crescendos to a close. It’s like watching the last moments of a fireworks display with all the best parts saved for last.

If you’re looking for a delightful evening, Odysseo is a treat and I dare you not to fall in love with the horses!

The show is in Mississauga until July 16, 2017 and tickets can be purchased online at cavalia.com.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush Review

When it comes to applying foundation, I aim for the most flawless finish possible and over the years I’ve transitioned from old-school drugstore sponges and classic flat brushes to duo-fiber stippling, the kabuki, oval buffers and Beauty Blenders. These techniques are good but Clarisonic has recently created something truly innovative! The new Foundation Brush harnesses the power of sonic technology to effortlessly blend creams and liquid. Now you can treat yourself to a professional makeup session from the comfort of home by transforming your beloved Mia Fit into the ultimate beauty tool.


With more than 18,000 mico-blends per minute, the brush provides seamless coverage in 60 seconds or less doing all the work for you! Say goodbye to sore arms and hello to airbrushed results as it buffs and blends to visibly smooth skin texture, blur lines, cover discoloration and conceal blemishes. Switching to the highest setting (speed 2) increases coverage and you can also use it to apply contour, cream blush and highlighter.


The Brush is suitable for all skin types and the non-porous, antibacterial bristles are easy to clean. There is also minimal product absorption and the vibrations feel like a mini-massage for the face - stimulating circulation while seamlessly depositing product. I start off by dabbing foundation onto my skin and lightly buffing in circular motions. The long, thin fibers create a light, even veil of makeup that looks very natural without caking, creasing or streaking.


Because the coverage is quite soft, I usually apply my foundation in layers and use another brush to touch-up areas that require more concealer. Since the vibrations create the same sensation as exfoliating or cleansing, the lowest setting works best for me and I refrain from using it on a daily basis to prevent sensitivity. If you thought the Mia Fit was perfect for travel before, it just got even better!


I love the idea of having one device that can apply makeup and remove it! The Sonic Brush Head retails for $39.00 and the Mia Fit (which you can read more about by clicking HERE) retails for $269.00. Clarisonic is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom, Saks and clarisonic.ca.

*Product provided compliments of Clarisonic

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Urban Decay Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection – Gallery Blush Palette Review

Urban Decay has had some fabulous makeup collaborations over the years and the new Jean-Michel Basquait Collection is no exception. The American born artist was a pioneer for the neo-expressionist movement and his graffiti was a fixture around lower Manhattan. Jean-Michel’s iconic art is still exhibited all over the world and his use of varied texture and intense color has inspired a beautiful array of vibrant makeup. The range includes 3 lipsticks, 3 eye pencils, a multipurpose blush palette and two shadow palettes – bright and neutral. The packaging is wrapped in canvas to make the artwork pop and each palette has a cutout at the back so you can hang them on the wall. I've reviewed the collection in three separate articles to emphasize the beauty of each piece but you can also purchase all of the items as a set in the UD Jean-Michel Vault for $299.00.



I’ve already featured the gorgeous Jean-Michel eye shadow palettes – Tenant and Gold Griot so today I will complete my overview of the collection with the Gallery Blush Quad, Eye Pencils and all-new, exclusive shades of Vice Lipsticks - based on the colors from Basquiat’s art.

The blush palette contains 2 cheek colors + bronzer and highlighter - designed to deliver 8 hours of wear and compliment all skin tones. When it comes to “universal shades,” I’m always a bit skeptical but these hues are fantastic! The smooth, velvety texture makes the powders very easy to intensify and blend so you can layer to adjust vibrancy and depth. 



I wasn’t sure the bronzer was going to be deep enough but it is. The brown can be applied lightly for a soft, seamless effect or layered darker for deeper contouring and sculpting. The bottom blush (Noho) is a gorgeous pink-mauve that I absolutely love! It is rich enough to create contrast and definition with a flattering undertone that boosts dull skin.


The highlighter is seriously pigmented with full-coverage, creamy shimmer. It makes a stunning eye shadow and you can definitely use it to strobe. For less drama, simply blend it out lightly to diffuse the color or sweep it on generously for a stunning glow. The finish has a chrome effect with a mix of silver and yellow-gold tones that illuminate and brighten. The palette retails for $45.00.


No collection would be complete without lip color and the Vice Lipsticks deliver lush color in matte and cream finishes. Both formulas nourish and condition dry lips with loads of supple moisture but I wish the shade selection was more diverse since Epigram (sienna) and Abstract (nude taupe) are both neutrals. My favorite pigment is Exhibition - a pink-purple orchid that is perfect for summer!


The lipsticks are also wrapped in the same eye-catching canvass material covered with graffiti artwork. They retail for $21.00 each.


The unique selection of 24/7 Eye Pencils are unlike anything I have in my makeup collection. Anatomy is a matte sienna or burnt-orange that goes very well with the new UD Naked Heat Palette. Post Punk (bright neon green) and Vivid (bright sky blue) are unusual liner shades but I love the electric pop of color that draws attention to the eyes. The moisturizing formula contains jojoba, vitamin E and cottonseed oil for smooth, consistent lines and smudge-proof, water resistant coverage. The liners retail for $25.00 each.



Urban Decay Cosmetics is available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, UD freestanding stores and online at urbandecay.ca plus sign up for the Beauty Junkies Rewards Program to gain and redeem points for special rewards!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Arbonne Cosmetics NEW Smoothed Over Lipstick Shades & Liquid Concealer

This summer, it’s all about bright lips and flawless skin with a flush of  radiant color so Arbonne has created a great lineup of new products and trendy pigments to enhance the complexion.


A few years ago I acquired a lovely set of Arbonne Smoothed Over Lipsticks and recently they have been redesigned and reformulated to provide even more nourishment and hydration. The new blend contains beneficial oils and fruit extracts to keep skin supple and healthy while drenching lips in lush, buttery color. The lipsticks are now thicker in diameter with a larger application surface that helps the glossy texture glide on easily and the finishes range from satiny-shine to radiant shimmer.


The color payoff varies by shade but overall the formula delivers sheer to medium coverage with the ability to be intensified and layered for more vibrancy. The new additions in red, pink and coral tones are perfect for the season and offer just enough illumination and shine to create a voluminous effect. The lipsticks retail for $29.00 each.


Arbonne also makes beautiful blush in a variety of flattering shades for all skin tones. When I tried the Berry powder it was love at first swatch and I just had to have it! The blush is silky, lightweight and smooth for seamless blending without accentuating skin texture and the micro-fine shimmer creates subtle radiance. The pigment is very buildable so you can deepen the contrast by layering and instantly boost a dull complexion. The blush retails for $32.00.



Left to right: Berry Blush, Lipstick: Orchid, Gladiola, Zinnia and Lily

If you have blemished skin (and let’s face it, we’ve all had pimples) then a good concealer is essential for creating a flawless finish. Arbonne’s new liquid formula is available in 7 shades and provides full-coverage color to camouflage imperfections, dark circles, discoloration and signs of aging while hydrating and brightening. Because this is a cream product, it's wise not to cake it on too heavy. I use the wand for direct application by dabbing or swiping, lightly blending with a brush and then setting the area with powder. It corrects and covers everything that needs to be concealed for smooth, even skin. The concealer retails for $28.00 and the shades featured below are Tan (top) and Dark.


Arbonne Cosmetics is available online at arbonne.ca or through independent consultants. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil Review - NEW Shades

Last winter the cold and flu season hit me hard and I was sick for a long time while working and traveling. The only thing that kept my lips hydrated, protected and chap-free during illness and long, drying flights were the amazing Comfort Oils by Clarins. Compared to other balms and treatments, this healing formula lasts for hours so I don't have to reapply as frequently. It also saves my lips from environmental assaults, painful peeling and dryness, which is why I’m obsessed with the delicious new summer scents and candy colors.


There are 7 delicious shades to choose from and each formula contains a cocktail of 2 plant oils - organic jojoba and hazelnut mixed with 1 replenishing oil specific to the color. From left to right I have - Honey (Hazelnut Oil), Candy (Amaranth Oil), Tangerine (Buriti Fruit Oil) and Mint (with Mint Oil). 


The paddle applicator is large and flat – perfect for slathering on the oil and thoroughly coating lips in lush, glossy moisture. At first the formula may seem a bit thick but once blended it feels light, silky and plush without greasiness. I love how the rich emollients and conditioners seep in deeply over several hours and totally replenish my skin while making my pout appear luminous and healthy. Lips are bathed in supple hydration to alleviate discomfort and irritation without stickiness and the irresistible new scents smell good enough to eat!


The pink Candy oil is composed of cherry, raspberry and strawberry (all my favorite summer berries) and transforms into a personalized tint. Tangerine has a fragrance based on red currant with a subtle coral finish and Honey is the only shimmer in the collection with a dazzling effect. The Mint treatment feels cool and refreshing with a volumizing formula that plumps your pout. If you’re torn between which oils to get, I would choose based on ingredients and scent since the colors are very translucent and provide a natural tint.

TIP: If you're glossing-up on-the-go and forget your compact mirror, the shiny cap is reflective enough to help with application. 


The oils shield and protect during the day and at night they make a wonderful treatment to prepare your lips for bold pigment and matte lipstick. They retail for $25.00 each and Clarins is available at department stores nationwide, Sephora and online at clarins.ca.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vichy Normaderm Skincare & NEW Mineral 89 Booster

Now that summer is finally here, it’s time to refresh your skincare routine. Warm weather = heavy sunscreen, greasy skin, pore clogging impurities and more time spent outdoors exposed to daily pollutants. All these factors can contribute to more breakouts so Vichy has formulated the Normaderm Collection to balance, hydrate and prevent pimples.


There are two cleansers (safe for sensitive skin) that foam away excess sebum, remove makeup and unclog pores with a blend of Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid and LHA – to stimulate renewal. The Purifying Gel ($19.95) has a refreshing lather that abolishes dirt with antibacterial properties while minimizing shine and pores. If you prefer a mousse texture, the Mattifying Foam Cleanser ($19.95) coats well and rinses away excess oil to treat and prevent pimples. Both formulas are hypoallergenic, paraben-free, alcohol-free and soap-free so they don’t leave your face feeling dry, tight or irritated.


The Normaderm Skin Balance Anti Oiliness Aquagel ($19.95) is your solution to a grease-free, matte complexion and smaller pores this summer. It can be applied under makeup and used as a silky base. I didn’t expect the gel to be so hydrating since it is a mattifying product but the cool, soothing texture is infused with thermal water which plumps and moisturizes for a supple finish. It also contains acne fighting ingredients to keep your complexion bright and clear.


The Corrective Anti-Acne Treatment 24H Hydrating Lotion ($29.95) helps reduce pimples, blackheads, shine and acne marks. Think of it as a recovery treatment that works around the clock to rejuvenate, replenish and undo some of the damage caused by blemishes and irritation. It also helps reduce oil production and correct discoloration. When used with the other products in the line, it makes a great defense against zits.


The Mineral 89 Booster ($39.95) is a daily revival treatment composed of 89% thermal water from French volcanoes and natural hyaluronic acid that locks in nutrients, quenches dry skin, plumps and fortifies. It also helps protect against pollution and other external aggressors while toning and improving elasticity for anti-aging effects. The cooling gel-serum formula is free of parabens, fragrance, oil and silicone but it does create a supple film so I prefer to use it at night. Overtime skin looks radiant, revived and healthy!


Vichy is available at drugstores nationwide and online at vichy.ca

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lise Watier Limited Edition Luxotika Summer Collection - Review & Swatches

The Lise Watier Summer Collection features soft shadows contrasted with warm bronzer, sheer lip color and luminous shimmer - inspired by the elegance and exoticism of Africa, America and Asia.


The uplifting wave motif on the packaging stylishly represents the aesthetics of cosmopolitan cities.


The 5-Color Eye Shadow Palette features an ultra-soft cream-to-powder texture that feels rich and applies smoothly. Initially the pigments are dense and velvety for optimal glide and coverage but once set, they become lightweight and radiant. At first glance these shades may seem pale and simple but on the skin they appear iridescent with a hint of metallic brilliance. The steel grey is great for defining the crease and I love the shimmery coral and bright gold.


For even more intensity, layer over a good primer - the shadows are non-creasing, silky and long lasting plus the color combination is perfect for warm, summer days. The palette retails for $44.00.


The Luxoil Lipstick (26.00) is available in 2 shades – Voyage (coral) and Sauvage (nude). The sheer pigmentation and buttery texture is similar to tinted balm so lips feel soft, smooth and moisturized for hours of healing protection against dryness. The neutral hue is flesh tone so it isn’t very noticeable on my complexion but the coral can be enhanced for more vibrancy.


Bronzer is popular all year but during the summer many women prefer more shimmer and warmth. The Luxotika Bronzing Powder features a gorgeous multi-toned, marbled surface with various shades of gold, champagne and bright pink. The luxurious mineral texture is incredibly silky for seamless blending and the refined shimmer makes skin appear to glow from within for a natural finish. There is no chunky glitter or sparkle and the powder is enriched with moisturizing Shea Butter and Vitamin E which prevents it from settling into lines or emphasizing rough skin. It can even be used on the arms, legs, back, torso and décolleté to accentuate the entire body! Although the powder can be intensified for glamorous looks, the effect is soft and elegant. The bronzer retails for $45.00.


The Highlighter Sticks ($36.00) are available in 2 shades - Pearl (ideal for fair to medium skin tones) and Gold (ideal for medium to deep skin). These luminizers emit spectacular brightness and glide-on smooth and creamy before transforming into a light powder. The color payoff is highly saturated with frosty, high-impact shimmer and dazzling radiance. If you want to tone them down, simply blend to diffuse the color or layer boldly for a strobing effect. Once set, the pigment lasts all day without fading and they don’t rub-off or transfer easily. With a good primer you can even use them as eye shadow!



Lise Watier is available at department stores and drugstores including: Hudson’s Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, and online at lisewatier.com.
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