Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mary Kay Limited-Edition Fall 2017 Color Collection Review & NEW TimeWise Vitamin C Activating Squares

When simple elegance collides with sultry glamour you get Mary Kay’s radiant new fall collection – a scintillating array of smoky grey, deep berry, rich blue and soft mauve. The eye-catching shadows, polish and lipstick, create trendy looks that accentuate your beauty and compliment your autumn wardrobe.


If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you probably know how smitten I am with the pairing of blue and grey. This color combo creates the most seductive, red carpet smoky eye and I like that Mary Kay has included a smoldering navy (bordering on black) to deepen the crease and smudge under the lower lash line for more drama. The cool tones contrast beautifully with the dark hues to create depth, and the ultra-silky texture is easy to enhance and blend. The pigmentation is excellent – you can go as bold as you dare or sheer and sophisticated with no creasing. Using a good primer helps accentuate the color so it really pops and add some false lashes for a night out.


The Rose Nudes Palette features soft pink-mauves and shimmery aubergine hues that apply velvety smooth with excellent color payoff. Again – I love how the deep shades mix with the neutrals to help sculpt and shape the eyes. These pigments look lovely on all skin tones and when matched with a lush berry lipstick, the effect is mesmerizing! The limited-edition shadow palettes retail for $27.00 with magnetic backing.


There are only 2 lipsticks in the fall collection but they were chosen wisely. With the vividness and intensity of the smoky palette, I use the neutral lipstick (Rose Blush) which has a pink undertone that compliments a wide variety of skin tones. The creamy texture applies full-coverage and balances the deep shadows so they don’t appear too harsh. The softer shadows go well with the wine lipstick - (Mulberry Muse). It applies sheer but still quite bold and hydrating to keeps lips supple and chap-fee. The lipsticks retail for $19.00 each.



The lacquer is available in 3 shades: Violet Silk (my personal fave), Rose Blush (which matches well with the Rose Nudes Shadow Palette) and Pink Escape with a pearly white base. The creamy texture and shiny finish looks very rich and professional but I was hoping for a splash of deep red or burgundy – something a little fiery for fall. The polish retails for $10.00 each.


Mary Kay has also launched some new skincare including the first ever Vitamin C Activating Squares. I’ve been incorporating this powerful vitamin in my skincare routine for years but if you haven’t heard, the benefits include: anti-aging results, antioxidants, even skin tone, correction of UV damage and discoloration (including blemishes, age spots and hyperpigmentation), hydration and enhanced radiance. Since most Vitamin C loses potency and degrades when exposed to air, light or water - Mary Kay has created a powerful patch that provides a fresh dose whenever you need it.


To use - simply place the square in the palm of your hand, cover with 3-4 drops of water, mix until dissolved and add your favorite serum to create a supercharged beauty elixir! I blend my square with the Mary Kay Tone Correcting Serum ($48.00) which restores skin’s natural glow for a more flawless complexion. The Vitamin C Squares are perfect for travel and retail for $30.00 per pack.


Mary Kay Cosmetics is available online at marykay.ca and through independent consultants. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tips for Visiting The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) - How to Make the Most of your Visit

We are fast approaching Labour Day long-weekend which means there are only a few days left to attend the CNE. Being the fun-loving, patriotic Canadian that I am, I’ve developed an annual tradition of attending the Ex which began during childhood and has now transitioned into more of a girl’s weekend or date night.  

The CNE marks a bitter-sweet time here in Toronto. It’s a whirlwind of thrilling carnival rides, interesting (and bizarre) food concoctions, games and star-studded entertainment mingled with the nostalgic scent of French fries and cotton candy.  It also signifies the end of summer vacation – the last hoorah before we grudging go back to school or work. Since I’m somewhat of a CNE veteran, I’ve decided to share some tips to help you make the most of your day at the Ex.


1. Start early – If you are taking public transit (especially the Go Train which is always crowded and only stops every 30 mins) try to arrive early, before the crowd and stay late. This also ensures that you have time to see most of the shows and enjoy the vibrant, multi-colored lights as the fair comes alive at night!

2. Buy tickets in advance – Buying your passes in advance allows you to skip ticket lines upon arrival and if you plan to enjoy the midway, ride passes can save you money. On opening weekend general admission is $15.00 and $40.00 for a ride pass. If you miss the early bird deadline, tickets are $19.00/adults, $15.00/kids under 13 and the ride all day pass (includes ground admission + rides) is $61.00/adults or $58.00 for kids. If you attend after 5 pm Mon-Thurs, tickets are $8.00 at the gate (not available online).


3. Plan your day and meals – One of the most popular activities at the Ex (or any fair for that matter) is trying the delicious food and strange creations like deep fried Twinkies, Rainbow Grilled Cheese, crispy crickets, and colossal burgers sandwiched between 2 sugary donuts. Before you arrive, scope-out some of the best dishes online and decide what you’d like to try so the Food Building doesn’t seem so overwhelming and chaotic. There are maps inside to help you find specific restaurants and I highly recommend stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new!

Thanksgiving Waffle from (Fran's) - Waffle made of stuffing with turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce

Fresh Potato Spuds with garlic powder

4. Don’t miss the shows – Check the CNE schedule and decide which shows you want to see (there are usually several time slots for your convenience).The ice and acrobat show (which I highly recommend) is in Richo Coliseum and the Super Dogs Show is also very popular. Make sure to arrive at the auditorium at least 30 mins prior to show time for best seating.

There are also concerts, street performers and a small, family-friendly Mardi Gras Parade (bead necklaces and all). The International Stage showcases interesting cultural entertainment and talent competitions - but again, arrive at least 20-30 mins early for best seating. There are performances taking place all day so see as many as you can between stuffing your face with junk food.

Bao from (Far East Taco) stuffed with fried chicken, Kimchi, lettuce, cheese, onion, cilantro and hot sauce.

5. Visit the Buildings – Make some time to pop into the Arts & Crafts building for a selection of local produce, interesting exhibits and a wide variety of Canadian goods. The International Building showcases decor and crafts from all over the world and don’t forget to check out the sculptures made from butter, sand and foliage! If you like to bargain hunt, check out the clothing and beauty booths. 


The Farm Building offers free activities for kids and a variety of adorable creatures (the baby llama was my fave), presented with educational displays. At the back of The Farm Building you will find a pretty garden which is a great place to relax or take photos.
*Note: the buildings usually close at 10 pm (check the schedule and holiday hours for more details).


6. Special Events – There are usually special events like Food Truck Frenzy, The Air Show, The Cat Show and cool concerts, so plan your visit according to your interests.

Food Truck Frenzy - Butter Chicken Poutine

7. Bring a Water Bottle – Summer may be winding down but it can still get pretty darn hot on the midway so stay hydrated to keep your energy up (you’ll need it to battle the crowds). There are free water stations around the Food and Art Building so stop by and fill-up!


8. Wear comfortable shoes & clothing – People usually go to the Ex to eat, ride and play but there can be a lot of walking involved since the grounds are quite expansive. You may be on your feet for hours (unless you decide to plop down under the Beer Tent), so bring your walking shoes! If you feel fatigued, hop on the free CNE Train which stops at various points of interest.

Piri Piri Chicken Poutine 

9. Budget well – A trip to the Ex can add up fast so create a budget for food, shopping, casino, games, transportation etc (after you purchase tickets) so you know how much to bring and where your money is being spent. There are ATM machines on-site.

Chimney Stax Ice Cream

10. Use the CNE lockers – There are several locker storage locations at the Ex so you don’t have to lug around your bags and all the stuffed toys you win. They also come in handy if you want to enjoy the rides hands-free.

11. Take the Ski Ride – This may not be the scariest ride at the Ex (unless you have a fear of heights) but it provides the best view of the fairground if you want to capture the perfect keepsake photo.


12. Have fun! – Unleash your inner kid and enjoy. If you don't get around to everything, visit again!


For more information visit theex.com

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Vasanti Cosmetics Skincare Review

I’ve raved about Vasanti’s makeup a few times (their lipsticks are to die for) but the brand also makes a variety of vegan-friendly skincare - free of parabens and sulfates and loaded with nutrients to help your complexion thrive! After a summer spent soaking up the sun and enjoying the great outdoors, it’s time to rejuvenate, balance, brighten and hydrate for clear, healthy skin.


The 4-Step Skincare System ($134.00) is designed to: cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate and nourish for that luminous glow we all crave. The Detox Purifying Cleanser (enriched with a Shea Butter derivative) eliminates pollutants, excess oil, blemish causing impurities, makeup and dirt without stripping the skin or leaving it tight and dry. Omega oils, powerful antioxidants and anti-aging properties help soften, stimulate and maintain elasticity while the milky cream soothes and refreshes after a hectic day.


Step two is the Brighten Up Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (99% natural) – infused with Papaya Extract, Aloe and Micro-Crystals that provide an energizing spa treatment! The exfoliating crystals are similar to my professional, Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion Machine because the particles are ultra-fine yet incredibly effective at removing dead skin and improving texture for enhanced suppleness. Since my face (especially my T-Zone) is very sensitive to exfoliates, I limit this step to once per week. The formula also helps diminish the appearance of lines, wrinkles, large pores, dark spots and dullness.


The Brighten Up Amplifying Moisturizer with Vitamin C, Bearberry and Aloe, enhances the benefits of exfoliation while boosting radiance and deeply hydrating with a non-greasy texture. This is a great cream to use under makeup (for that fresh-faced look) or layered with your other night care to help even skin tone while you snooze.


Vasanti has some great products to help women of all complexions correct discoloration so I had to test their eye cream which is also the fourth and final step in the kit. The Eye Wonder 2.0 is packed with Peptides, Botanicals and Vitamins to help reduce dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles. The ceramic tip provides a cooling sensation that feels relaxing and soothing on tired, strained eyes plus it helps stimulate circulation. I was surprised at how quickly I noticed results – after a few days the darkness under my eyes began to fade and I looked well rested.


Vasanti still offers the original eye cream in a jar ($42.00) which targets the same major concerns with a rich, creamy texture that provides a little more hydration. I also use it on my lids to prevent dryness and prepare the area for better eye shadow application.


Vasanti Cosmetics is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and vasanticosmetics.com

Monday, August 28, 2017

Estee Lauder Pure Color Love Lipstick Review

A few weeks ago I attended the launch party for the new Pure Color Love Lipsticks by Estee Lauder. The brand has released an impressive array of pigments (30 to be exact) with finishes ranging from matte, shimmer, chrome and cream - something for every skin tone and style preference.


The packaging is chic, sophisticated and glamorous with shiny gold tubes and structured caps that resemble thick glass. The hint of color that shows through at the top helps identify each shade without having to uncap.


I’ve been testing 3 colors from the color spectrum – 110 Raw Sugar (neutral), 360 Flash Chill (bright, shimmery coral) and 120 Rose Xcess (deep burgundy-wine) which is great for fall. Some may find the slated square edge a little unorthodox but it actually helps outline and shape the lip contour for neater application and precision.


Overall the formula is creamy and smooth with fluid glide and pure color that is easy to intensify for full-coverage, comfortable wear. The emollients include natural oils and nourishing butters so you get protection, hydration and nourishment along with intense vibrancy and no feathering. The shiny coral starts out sheer with a balmy texture that may require a few well placed layers for consistency but the shimmer is quite refined with no discernible chunks.


The mattes are my favorites because they are rich, bold and more opaque than the other finishes. They also last for hours without fading since the supple color clings to the skin. With these lipsticks, you can expect the same luxurious quality Estee Lauder is well known for with the added bonus of healing extracts that preserve youthfulness. The Pure Color Love Lipsticks retail for $28.00 each.



I also got another Pure Color Envy Lipstick ($38.00) in the shade (Above) which is lovely orange-coral that transitions your makeup looks into autumn. The buttery color is soft yet vivid for cushiony comfort that locks in moisture and prevents dryness.


Estee Lauder is available at department stores including The Bay, Sephora and online at esteelauder.ca.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Pixi Beauty Skincare Essentials

Pixi Beauty has been a cult favorite for years, providing great makeup and effective skincare since 1999. I’ve stopped by their counter many times at my local drugstore but it wasn’t until recently that I really put these products to the test. Long nights and busy weekends combined with endless parties and press events has recently disrupted the balance of my skin so I armed myself with some of Pixi’s best to clear up my complexion.


To start my busy morning, the Glow Mud Cleanser ($24.00) instantly refreshes my skin and prepares me for a hectic day. The invigorating scent has stress relieving aroma therapy benefits – infused with natural extracts that emit a calming herbal fragrance - very spa-like and serene. The thick formula is made with diatomaceous earth which is a type of sedimentary rock that resembles clay and has amazing health benefits. The cleanser is also infused with 5% Glycolic Acid to gently exfoliate dead cells, Aloe Vera, Safflower, Chamomile, Avocado and Hazelnut to nourish, soften and smooth rough, dry skin. You can use it morning or night to detoxify pores and draw out impurities which enhances radiance and prevents breakouts and blemishes.


When skin looks dull, dehydrated and irritated, the Hydrating Milky Serum ($34.00) provides an instant boost of moisture and nutrients to soothe, protect and moisturize. Enriched with a potent blend of Rosehip Oil, Vitamin C, Jojoba, Aloe and an abundance of natural extracts, the serum absorbs quickly to improve skin texture, plump, firm and soften. You can use it before bed (with other night products) or prior to makeup application. The only thing that needs improving is the medicine dropper because it does not extract the milk very well. Other than that, this products is exactly what my skin needs to thrive in the summer heat and prepare for the cool autumn weather.


The Glow Tonic is an exfoliating toner with Ginseng, Aloe and Glycolic Acid – formulated to even skin tone, cleanse, brighten and smooth. It is also available in To-Go Pads ($30.00) which are perfect for vacation and post workout treatments.



At night when I need something rich and super hydrating to recover and repair, the Beauty Sleep Cream ($34.00) works wonders! This little tube is packed with 100% Mango Butter for incredible suppleness plus Vitamins A, C & E to combat free-radicals and totally revive the skin for that youthful, dewy complexion we all crave.


If you love the nude lip trend that is still going strong, you can achieve an effortless neutral look with the Shea Butter Lip Balm in the shade Honey ($10.00). The subtle tint provides a light wash of color while the luxurious emollients rejuvenate dry, chapped lips with a soothing, creamy texture.


The Flawless Beauty Primer ($30.00) is infused with micro-shimmer to restore skin’s youthful glow, balance, hydrate and pro-long makeup. It also has anti-aging ingredients and a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic formula that is gentle on sensitive skin. If your complexion is medium to deep, I recommended blending very well as the shimmer can cause a silvery-white sheen. The primer helps even the skin for smooth makeup application and beautiful luminosity.


Pixi is available at Shoppers Drug Mart

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Oribe Makeup Review

One of the best things about being a Beauty Editor is discovering new brands and amazing products. Last week I attended a fall/holiday preview to see which trends will be hitting the beauty scene next season and I came across a luxury brand I’d never heard of or tried before. Founded by renowned celebrity stylist Daniel Kaner, Oribe started with high-performance hair care and branched into fashionable cosmetics that deliver professional results.


The packaging is elegant, fun and incredibly striking – featuring marbled casing, gold detailing and sleek lines. The designs remind me of something created for a Grecian Goddess – very glamorous and sexy.


Deep wine-burgundy and rich purple is always flattering in the fall. The Lip Lust Crème Lipstick ($42.00) moisturizes, protects and plumps with an indulgent satin finish. Enriched with a nourishing blend of White Lily, Myrrh, Oils, Antioxidants and Plant Extracts - the formula hydrates, protects and fights the signs of aging without feathering. The lightweight color glides on creamy and sheer but when layered, the pigment appears intense, vivid and little vampy for that sultry, mysterious effect. The lipstick also provides hours of comfortable wear and makes my pout feel supple and smooth.


These days I have very little time to paint my nails or stop in for a manicure but the gorgeous High Shine Lacquer ($32.00) from Oribe has inspired me to polish. The rich, creamy color is easy to work with, providing long-lasting coverage that is chip and fade resistant. The glossy finish makes nails look amazing and the formula is free of harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, resin toluene, DBP and resin.


Oribe is available at various salons throughout the city including Donato Salon & Spa

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

No 7 Skincare Review & New Products

When No 7 Skincare made worldwide headlines documenting that their Protect & Perfect Serum has been proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, people lined up for hours to get their hands on it. Since then, the brand has expanded the line utilizing the latest innovations in skincare to address the needs of women everywhere at affordable prices.


One of their newest Serums is the Renew Face & Neck Multi-Action ($36.00) targeting key anti-aging concerns including: wrinkles, firmness, tone, crepiness, hyperpigmentation and age spots. With a potent blend of Amino Acids, Ceramides, Vitamins, Hibiscus, Hyaluronic Acid, Indian Gooseberry, Vitamin C and more - the lightweight gel balances, corrects, firms and strengthens to promote youthful looking skin that is smooth and hydrated. Overtime and with repeated use, the neck and face begins to appear rejuvenated and even – like turning back the hands of time and undoing some damage.


The Lift and Luminate ($36.00) is my go-to, night serum for a boost of radiance. It firms, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and evens skin tone (which is why I use it) so blemishes and hyperpigmentation fade and makeup application is flawless. I love how light and refreshing the gel feels as it melts in and locks in moisture with no greasiness or residue. After a night of beauty rest, I awake to dewy, plump skin that looks and feels amazing!


If the original Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum ($45.00) works for you, then you will love the reformulated version which has even more repair power to target deep lines, restore proteins, protect and prevent the breakdown of healthy tissue. This is a fabulous product to use after a summer spent absorbing damaging UV since it revives, hydrates, fights free-radicals and nourishes to transform your skin into a supple, healthy canvass.


My skincare routine is never complete without a good eye cream so I’ve been alternating between the Lift & Luminate ($24.00) to brighten, tone and prevent wrinkles and the Beautiful Skin Overnight Eye Balm ($18.00) which improves dark circles and puffiness so you look well rested.


If you like lush, ultra-hydrating creams as much as I do then you should definitely try the Lift & Luminate Night Cream ($29.99). This luxuriously rich formula absorbs deeply to quench and energize dry, dull skin for incredible softness and radiance. Like most of the products in this line, it also has anti-aging components and works similar to a night mask – recuperating and fortifying as you snooze.


While you’re stocking-up on your favorite skincare, don’t forget to check out the cleansers. The Foaming Face Wash ($13.00) for normal to oily skin, rinses away dirt, sweat, bacteria, impurities, sebum and makeup to prevent breakouts and unclog pores. I also keep the Quick Thinking Wipes ($10.00) in my gym bag, car and office to refresh and clean my skin with nutritive extracts and vitamins.


No 7 Skincare is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and beautyboutique.ca
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