Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pivoine Sublime By L'Occitane

Peonies are easily one of the most lush flowers in the world, and until now, I thought they were just pretty to look at. I've been using rose water in my skincare routine as a calming and refreshing facial mist, and I am so happy to have been introduced to a new floral extract this season. 

For Spring 2015, L'OCCITANE is expanding their peony-infused line to include five noteworthy products that will bring new radiance to an ordinary routine. Pivoine Flora (shop here) is a classic perfumed line created in 2010, which features six Peony fragranced body products ranging from bath oil to shower gel, and of course their classic hand cream and soap. 

Peony Perfecting Cream $46

The Pivoine Sublime (or Sublime Peony) range includes five "perfecting" skincare products suitable for all complexions. The peony extract is a patented active ingredient which is at the heart of this innovative skincare line.

This Perfecting Cream is a rich day or night cream, that smooths onto the skin leaving a natural fragrance of fresh peonies. The texture is thick and emollient, but the product dries to a comfortable silky finish that feels wonderful on my combination-oily skin. It is formulated with a patented "intelligent" texture agent combining beeswax and jojoba wax to help your skin adjust to the climate and humidity levels. I am both intrigued, and amazed by how velvety my face feels after using this cream.

The peony extract works to correct uneven skin texture, refine pores and fine lines, while enhancing the complexion overall. Floral extracts have been used in skincare for centuries, and with good reason. Not only do they smell divine, but flowers hold a multitude of benefits which help to increase turnover, repair and renewal of skin cells.

Peony Perfecting Mist $25

One of my favourite components of the Pivone Sublime collection is the Peony Perfecting Mist. You can use this at any time of day: in the morning before your moisturizer, in the afternoon for a touch of glow, or in the evening to "set" your makeup.

The scent is absolutely lovely. It's like bottling sunshine on fresh flowers, with just a touch of sweetness.

I would prefer a more fine and delicate mist from the bottle, especially when using this toner to set my makeup. The spray intensity isn't a big issue for me since the bottle is both functional and pretty. It's always a bonus when good looking products truly work.

This bottle is a perfect 100ml, which means that it is airline friendly and can be used as a refresher midway through a flight. The air inside planes can get very dry, and my skin absolutely drinks up a toning mist whenever I bring one along for the ride.

One spray of the Peony Perfecting Mist $25

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How To Save Money (But Still Have Fun)

Before you start cringing at the thought of summer shopping, pricy dinners, drinks and events, remember that you can save money while still having fun.

If you make it a priority to save on the regular, you will have money in the bank for when you need it. Plain and simple! So here are 10 tips I follow to save when I can, so that I'm able to splurge when I want.

1. Shop the sale and spend intelligently

Unless you need one specific item, don't settle for full price. Ask if stores have a student discount, sign up for mailing lists, and put aside some time to flip through the sale section. Where beauty is concerned, you really don't need to splurge on high-end face wash, body lotion, nail polish, mascara, etc. Visit Byrdie.com linked here for more Beauty Products To Save On.

2. Be creative with dates and outings

If your home is friend-friendly, become a pro hostess. Have your friends bring the goods and enjoy an affordable get together. Where dates are concerned, visit museums, theatres and art galleries on free or discounted evenings (student nights at the ROM, COC and AGO!) then get outside in the warmer months. With some quick Googling I'm sure you can find at least 20 free summer outings in the city.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day To Night Spring Makeup

For ELLE Canada's #BeautyPlaylist contest I created a day-to-night makeup look that incorporates my favourite Springtime shades. Corals and pinks are all the rage right now, so I used a pink shadow pencil from CoverGirl, a poppy pink lipstick from Wet n Wild and that same lip colour blended onto the cheeks for this simple 5 minute look.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Night Cream For Every Skin Type

Moisturizing is crucial in a good skincare routine. Whether your skin is oily, dry, acne-prone, aging, or a combination, lack of moisture will result in wrinkles, dullness, and even oiliness. 

So there are two kinds of "moisturizers" : humectants and emollients

Humectants bind water to the skin cells. A very common humectants is glycerin, and the most popular one in the skincare world right now is hyaluronic acid (listed as Sodium Hyaluronate in the ingredients). Hyaluronic acid can be injected into the skin to "fill" lips or wrinkles (fillers). This ingredient has a similar plumping affect when applied to the skin topically, since it holds a lot of water and brings natural radiance to dry, dull skin.

Emollients smooth out dry skin cells and help repair and protect. These ingredients often appear as plant oils, providing a somewhat "occlusive" barrier that will trap in moisture and block out bacteria, allowing the skin to stay soft despite the harsh environment.

The best creams or lotions include both humectants and emollients to help maintain and improve the skin's look and feel over time.

Read on to see my 4 favourite nighttime moisturizers, and why each one works great for specific skin types.

The Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream from Clinique came as a complete surprise, since I really underestimated its moisturizing capabilities. This is a true gel-cream that feels thin and light when you scoop it out, but goes on thick and almost oily. It's perfect for my combination skin since it doesn't congest my T-zone and it hydrates my dry cheeks. This might not have enough moisture for dry skin, but it's a fantastic product for normal to oily. My skin always looks fresh, clear and really bouncy after using this night cream.

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dipropylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Aspalathus Linearis (Red Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Yellow Tea) Leaf Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Extract, Coleus Barbatus Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Centella Asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Extract, Adenosine Phosphate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Creatine, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul's Wort) Extract, Jojoba Esters, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Decarboxy Carnosine HCL, Dimethicone, Acetyl Carnitine HCL,
Sodium Hyaluronate, Cholestrol, Whey Protein/ Protéine du Petit-Lait, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Caffeine, Sea Whip Extract, Linolenic Acid, Phytantriol, Sodium RNA, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Yeast Extract, PEG-150, Tetrahexydecyl Ascorbate, Polyquaternium-51, Potassium Sulfate, Citric Acid, Socium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

I am SO happy that Joe Fresh came out with a skincare line, and I'm even happier now that I love it. Their Replenish Night Cream is under $20 and is packed with great ingredients: aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and a bunch of plant oils. It's ideal for normal to dry skin since the formula is quite oily and it can leave combo skin feeling congested if too much is applied. I always use this in the winter, or on particularly dry patches. Look for the line at Loblaws stores.

Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Peg-150 Sterate, Steareth-20, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Sterate, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (and) Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Cyclopentasiloxane, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (and) Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Tocopherol. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Clarins UV Plus +HP Multi-Protection Tinted Sunscreen

It's starting to feel like summer. Hallelujah. 

With bright sunshine comes powerful UV rays, and a sizzling burn on my wintery-white skin. On mornings when I know I'll be out walking in the sun, I make sure to apply at least an SPF 30, and I'll bring my tiny TarteGuard 30 SPF along for reapplication. 

I always pull out my Clarins UV Plus +HP Multi-Protection Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 40 in the shade Light when I want a bb cream-like coverage along with some reliable sun protection. This product is definitely more of a tan shade, and it is quite dark for my pale complexion. Nevertheless, it truly is a tinted sunscreen, and works as a nice boost of colour on vacation, under makeup, or alone on the weekend.

This sunscreen comes in a small 50mL bottle (1.7 fl. Oz) and is a very thin liquid. The active ingredient is Titanium Dioxide (7%) which is a mineral sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Clarins UV + HP Sunscreen comes in two shades: light and medium.

Like with many sunscreens, my skin will get a bit more oily throughout the day when I wear it, and the product has a tendency to highlight any dry or flaky skin. This particular sunscreen will dry down to a nice matte finish upon application, so a hint of shine after a few hours never bothers me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Products I've Used Up #4

Happy Monday! Today I'm emptying out my finished products bin and sharing my thoughts on each and every item. Here's my last empties post to see some previous faves and duds. 

I am marking items according to these three opinions:

1. I love and would repurchase 
2. I would recommend, but would not repurchase 
3. I do not like and would not recommend 

Missha 24K Gold Caviar Collagen Cotton Sheet Mask - This is a great sheet mask that made my skin feel rejuvenated and fresh. I got two uses out of it since I kept the package and used the excess liquid as a serum later on that week.

 The Body Shop Seaweed Day Cream - This stuff sucks. It is loaded with alcohol, perfume, and irritates my skin without adding any moisture. I would not recommend the entire Seaweed range.

✓ Dolce & Gabanna Dolce Perfume - I loved this Sephora sample so much that I bought a travel size for my bag. I hate spending lots of money on perfume, which is why I don't plan on buying a full-sized bottle. My current favourite is Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc from L'Occitane, a brand new addition to their Collection de Grasse which I just reviewed here.

✓ Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate - I've used a few samples of this nighttime oil, and I think it's okay. My skin much prefers a regular lotion or a simple oil like Argan or Sweet Almond oil for night. Regardless, it's a nice product to try out seeing as how there are countless rave reviews out there.

Friday, May 8, 2015

My Ideal Workout & Diet

Into The Gloss ModelFIT Full Body Workout

I've been so inspired lately by the Weekend Workout series on Into The Gloss. I'm no fitness buff, and I must admit that right now I don't put workouts as a top priority. That being said, I am currently trying to fit a schedule of workouts into my week, thanks to the warmer weather and my day-to-day work life becoming routine.

Something like the ModelFIT Full Body Workout is simple, effective and relatively relaxing if you're looking for something that's medium-intensity and doesn't require much equipment. In my ideal world, I would do this routine daily. As a matter of fact, that is the goal this summer. Click here to see the full 20-30 minute video.

The MIND Diet

A few weeks ago this diet description really caught my eye while browsing Byrdie.com. It claims to "Reduce Your Alzheimer's Risk by Up to 50%" which (taken with a grain of salt) is a pretty good selling point. Nevertheless, I realized that the article perfectly sums up the majority of my go-to meals.

"The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet—or, the MIND diet—combines aspects of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH with a focus on brain-boosting berries and actually sounds completely do-able." - Byrdie.com

The list of approved foods includes: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Foods to avoid include butter, red meat, cheese, pastries, and processed, fried, or fast foods.

Being Italian means that we incorporate olive oil into most meals, and wine is a family dinner staple. I opt for super cold water over any sugary drinks, and I absolutely avoid all artificial flavouring, sugars, and highly processed ingredients.

I've already (unknowingly) incorporated the MIND diet into the recipes featured in my FOOD tab, and I will continue to do so!

1. Maple Glazed Salmon
2. My Go-To Smoothie 
3. Cinnamon Oatmeal
4. Mediterranean Chicken Salad
5. Tuna Salad

What does your ideal diet and workout look like?


Thursday, May 7, 2015

L'Occitane Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc for Mothers Day

April showers bring May flowers...
And this year it's a whole new chapter within L'OOCCITANE's La Collection de Grasse, just in time for Mother's Day.

This velvety blend of intense blue iris from Grasse meets an evanescent white iris from the Medeterranean. L'OCCITANE's IRIS BLEU & IRIS BLANC is a unique and unexpected sophisticated fragrance, the encounter of two beautiful species of one precious flower. - L'Occitane

Olivier Baussan, the founder of L'OCCITANE, says that "This collection pays homage to the know-how of the land of Grasse." 

Grasse is the world's perfume capital, located in the south of France. "In a matter of decades, the 1,300 hectares of cultivated flower fields from the 1970s dropped to only 60 hectares today". Between real estate pressure and rising production expenses, the entire market has shifted. L'OCCITANE is working to keep tradition alive by conserving the beautiful floral fields in France, and beyond. They are partnering with multiple producers and horticulturists to renew the culture and economy surrounding perfume making. Jasmine, orange blossom, iris, violet and mimosa are only a selection of the flowers blended into La Collection de Grasse.

Hand Cream $12, and Soap $8

Eau de Toilette $75

Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc

Top Notes
Blackcurrant & Citrus

Iris, ylang-ylang & peach

Iris, cedar & white musk

I have never experienced a fragrance quite like this. The white iris from the Mediterranean holds a distinct sweetness, which contrasts with the intense blue Iris pallida from Grasse. The finish is fresh, light and entirely unique. It is present, but not overbearing. I often forget that I'm wearing it, yet others always pick up on the surprising intensity that comes along with such a soft scent.

If you're also crazy about packaging, you'll love this collection. The Eau de Toilette bottle can be twisted open to refill, recycle, or up-cycle into a bud vase. And just look at how adorable the hand cream tube is. The periwinkle and gold prints are totally up my alley for springtime.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Top 10 Favourite Youtube Channels

A few weeks back I highlighted 10 of my favourite blogs. I keep up with those writers mainly for style, home decor, and lifestyle tips. My YouTube feed, on the other hand, is almost solely centred around makeup and skincare channels. Here are my 10 favourites:

1. Beauty By Justine

Justine is my favourite YouTube girl to watch in French. She has a gorgeous accent, makes adorable porcelain items (shop here) and is so naturally beautiful. I absolutely love her sense of style, whether it's makeup, skincare, home decor or fashion.

2. Get The Gloss TV

GetTheGloss.com is a fantastic online magazine, with expert tips and realistic articles. The UK-based editors are professionals, and I love watching all their helpful videos on the channel.

 Ruth has been one of my go-to girls for years. She's a stunning model, who gives lovely makeup and skincare tips. I can't get enough of her smart, funny and overall positive attitude. Ruth also lives in the UK.

Estée is so cool, and always fun to watch. She's originally from Ontario and now lives in London, England with her boyfriend Aslan and their (ah-dorable) dog Reggie. Her style is perfectly minimalistic, natural and super chic.

Fleur makes some of the only vlogs that I truly enjoy watching. She also just wrote a book which covers similar topics to her fun, practical beauty and style videos. Fleur has three dogs, two cats, and a very dapper husband named Mike who often makes cameo appearances in her videos.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Makeup For Glasses - My Daily Routine

As I slowly enter into grannyhood, wearing glasses is no longer an option. When I don't feel like popping in some contact lenses, I still like to apply my daily makeup to diminish the tired shadows that glasses tend to accentuate.

I was really inspired by this post from Byrdie outlining "7 Makeup Mistakes That Are Making You Look Tired", along with this one from LOU LOU covering "Makeup tips for gals with glasses".

Watch my full daily routine here:

Here are my non-negotiable makeup routine steps: 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Event Recap: Spring Into Beauty

Last weekend my good friend Sylvie invited me to a lovely charitable event called "Spring Into Beauty", an afternoon of pampering and sweets with proceeds going to support women and children in need. I had such a lovely time mingling, getting some gorgeous henna, and even meeting the  owner behind Ella's Botanicals.

I started off my afternoon with my first henna tattoo from Zain, the beautiful artist for Her Henna. It was such a pleasure speaking with Zain as she is passionate about social justice and equality, especially for women. See my finished design below, and check out her website here to learn more about Her Henna.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Belle Boutique - Wearable Works Of Art

My custom Belle Boutique statement necklace, incorporating a vintage crystal hairpin 

A repurposed leather belt, embellished with the most gorgeous floral sculpture.

Today, I’m turning the spotlight onto one of my favourite local jewellery designers. Joanna Furtado is the owner and creative mind behind Belle Boutique Jewellery. Her pieces are mesmerizing, and she is a true artist at heart.

I have had the pleasure of working with Joanna for a few years now, and I always love interacting with her clients. Along with parties and private sales, Belle Boutique is consistently featured at The One of a Kind Winter Show in Toronto. I have never seen anything similar to her designs before, and everyone seems to find at least one piece that absolutely fits their style. We recently took some photos of her pieces for her new online shop, which you can see here.

Here are a few of my favourites from her current line:

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