Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Silk’n ReVit Microdermabrasion Review

I am always looking for new methods to improve my beauty routine and one of the best ways to revitalize and regenerate the skin is by resurfacing the outer layers. The accumulation of dead cells can cause roughness, dryness and imperfections that dull the complexion and make you look tired. With the Silk’n Microderabrasion Machine ($99.00) you no longer have to spend hundreds of dollars on clinical treatments. The lightweight device delivers professional results from the comfort of home and you can customize the strength of exfoliation to suit your skin type.

I am no stranger to microderm treatments, in fact I have another machine designed with similar technology that retails for $321.00. For a fraction of the price Silk’n has created a small, manoeuvrable unit that promotes fresher looking skin and anti-aging results.  

What’s Included

*Three Detachable diamond treatment heads: 
Precision - for small, hard to reach areas
Fine - for a gentle treatment
Coarse - for powerful exfoliation
*30 filters
*User manual and power adapter (the device plugs into the wall and is not rechargeable)
*Storage/travel case


How it Works
ReVit combines microdermabrasion exfoliation with crushed diamonds and vacuum suction to remove dead cells and reveal the soft skin underneath. Unlike creams or scrubs, the machine does far more than scratch the surface. It gently lifts away flaky, damaged skin and deposits it in the filter so you can actually see the build-up.


The Benefits of Microdermabrasion:

*Soft, youthful looking skin
*Improvement in texture, tone and vibrancy
*Reduction in age spots, scarring, fine lines and wrinkles
*Strengthening of collagen and elastin
*Blurs blemishes and imperfections
*Fades hyperpigmentation and other color discrepancies
*Removal of bacteria and impurities
*Prevention of breakouts, blackheads and whiteheads
*Enhanced glow
*Diminish the effects of sun damage and pollution
*Increased circulation
*Shrinks pores and improves texture tone and resiliency


Using the Device
The ReVit is not battery operated so you can simply plug it in, turn it on and lightly drag the tip across the face in short, careful strokes. On some areas you may need to hold your skin taut to enhance suction and the instructions suggested treating each area (forehead and temples, cheeks, nose, around the mouth, chin and neck) for 5 minutes although I usually do it for about 2-3 mins per section.

Customize the intensity by adjusting the pressure you use or alternate the heads to accommodate sensitive areas. There should be no discomfort or pain but if you experience irritation I suggest applying a soothing aloe gel and tweaking the duration of your treatment. Do not use the device in combination with other abrasive products and allow your skin time to regenerate. I also recommend cleaning the filter after each use and replacing it often to keep the machine running smoothly.  

For best results do not apply any skincare before exfoliation and make sure your face is clean and dry. If you cleanse prior to treatment, wait a few minutes until the moisture has completely dissipated or else the device may not grip and glide as efficiently. Dryness and streaking is common as dead cells are removed so don’t panic if your skin looks a bit ashy. Complete your session with a replenishing moisturizer to rehydrate and plump.

I recommend using the microderm in the evening before bed because if your skin is a bit sensitive you should avoid applying makeup or sunscreen for at least a few hours.


My Results
The most significant change in my skin has been the supple, silky texture but I've also noticed an incredible improvement in clarity, tone and evenness. My face looks renewed and discoloration has faded substantially. After treatment my skincare products also seem to absorb better which makes my complexion appear radiant and dewy.

The Silk’n ReVit is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, beautyboutique.ca, London Drugs and Silkn.ca.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Korres Black Pine 3D Sculpting, Firming & Lifting Skincare Review

I talk a lot about skincare and probably have more lotions, potions and serums than any woman actually needs, but it’s important to find products that work for you. When people ask how I achieve a healthy complexion, I usually mention a few trusted brands and Korres is always among them for one simple reason – their formulas actually work!

For this collection Korres has harvested the rejuvenating power of Mediterranean back pine. The tree contains powerful polyphenols that helped it survive the ice age and the products are enriched with active ingredients that lift and define the facial contour.


The products smell okay but don’t expect a forest-y pine needle scent. I start my routine with the 3D Intensive Firming Serum ($88.00) for an instant boost of radiance and protection from free-radical damage. The formula is lightweight, non-greasy and fast absorbing so it penetrates deeply and disappears into a silky finish. Usually I apply serum before bed, but this versatile fluid can be used under makeup during the day and layered with any night care to help tighten and rejuvenate sagging, sallow skin. The anti-aging complex supports elastin and collagen production so with repeated use your profile should begin to appear bright, smooth and firm with improved texture and tone. To help combat dryness, I recommend laying the serum with moisturizer for more hydration.


The Black Pine 3D Sleeping Facial ($82.00) improves the architecture of the face by plumping, diminishing wrinkles, fortifying and replenishing lipids for intense hydration and softness. The texture is rich and creamy but absorbs deeply with no reside. After a couple weeks my skin looked clear, bright, supple and healthy but I also noticed tingling and discomfort with each application. In one particular area of my face it felt like I was being pricked with a small needle and the sensation persisted until the products wore away. The odd pain in my muscle was quite unpleasant so I discontinued use. This was the first time I experienced an adverse reaction to any Korres product.


Haggard eyes are usually the first telltale sign of exhaustion, aging and stress so I’ve also been using the 3D Sculpting Firming and Lifting Eye Cream ($64.00). Many online reviews claim that that the scent is too strong but it didn’t bother me at all and after a few days I noticed an improvement in dark circles and smoothness. If you suffer from bags and puffiness, the remodeling complex is formulated to tighten, brighten, and decrease sagging so skin looks renewed and youthful.


Unfortunately I cannot continue using the black pine products but I can recommend an amazing formula I think you will love! The Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil ($75.00) is the reason I fell in love with this brand and it is also a bestseller.

Infused with real rose petals, antioxidants, fatty acids, fruit oils, ginger and herbs - the healing elixir diminishes discoloration, scars, hyperpigmentation and blemishes. Layer it with the Wild Rose Targeted Tone Corrector ($60.00) for a flawless complexion that seems to glow from within. The oil smells divine and although it does leave behind a glistening sheen, the finish absorbs quickly to help alleviate skin discomfort and restore natural radiance. I’ve been using Wild Rose for years and it has been my go-to jet lag/travel recovery oil to calm irritation, even skin texture and help get rid of bumps, roughness and blemishes. It even seems to prevent pimples and keeps my complexion velvety soft.


Korres is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and beautyboutique.ca

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Cirque du Soleil Corteo Review

Cirque du Soleil is a magical journey for people of all ages and if you’re looking for something memorable to do this summer, Corteo is now playing at the Meridian Centre in St. Catherines until July 15th. I’ve enjoyed the circus with family and friends but Friday was date night and we wanted to do something extra special. Since the venue is located near the Niagara region, we kicked-off our romantic excursion with a lovely wine tasting tour followed by a delicious dinner before the show.

Cirque shows usually have a dramatic plot with complex analogies and underlying symbolism, but Corteo is quite simple. The story is about an amiable old clown who imagines his own funeral procession in a mysterious space between heaven and earth. The revolving stage comes alive with a joyous parade, vintage scenery and graceful angels soaring through the clouds in a whirlwind of excitement and wonder.

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

The gripping performance takes place in the middle of the arena with audience members seated on either side for optimal viewing pleasure. I liked the framing of the stage and hand-painted tapestries, they create a renaissance vibe enhanced by Victorian costumes - corsets, top hats and flowing gowns.

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

The atmosphere is enticingly surreal, like witnessing a circus within a circus accompanied by beautiful music sung in Italian, French and Spanish. Pay attention to the soulful ballads and exhilarating violin solo, they add a sense of enchantment as the women sway from elegant chandeliers amidst dreamy imagery.

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

There are many mesmerizing scenes in Corteo combining everything you’d expect from a classic circus including an eclectic cast that range from incredibly petite to giant. The entire fantasy is a captivating blend of lighting, special effects, movement and intriguing acoustics that hypnotize from beginning to end. They've also replaced the drawn-out mime skits with short comedic scenes that compliment the theme with beautiful Italian dialogue.

One of the most memorable segments was the Cyr Wheel performance where 5 artists spin within giant hoops completing intricate patterns and jaw-dropping manoeuvres. The astounding feats of strength had us all on the edge of our seats.

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

The crowd was thrilled when the tiny clowness (Valentyna Pahlevanyan) was set loose into the audience, bouncing above head while tethered to a cluster of enormous helium balloons. It was our job to push her back toward the stage so the show could go on.

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

I particularly enjoyed the Paradis sequence featuring female acrobatics being tossed through the air between two podiums – very similar to trapeze. There were audible gasps from the audience as they performed amazing flips and rotations before being caught mid-air by their hands or ankles (thank goodness for safety nets). Keep your eyes peeled so you don’t miss the clown riding his bicycle through the clouds or the trippy upside down tightrope walk.

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

The bouncing beds sequence brought out the kid in all of us as artists hurled themselves off trampolines and landed on wobbly rails with superhuman agility. Another “wow” moment was the Teeterboard stunt where gymnasts bounce off a see-saw while performing miraculous somersaults before somehow landing on the very edge. The choreography is extremely difficult, requiring perfect timing, coordination and accuracy.   

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

Corteo also incorporates an abundance of high-energy aerial skills and riveting theatrics but it did lag in a few areas. The Romeo and Juliet scene was confusing, chaotic and unnecessary, failing to evoke the intended humor. The juggling is also becoming a tad stale but fortunately those were the only low-points and the show continued with a hair-raising ladder act that left everyone speechless.

The story ends on a high note with no clear conclusion but it doesn’t really need one since the main character is already dead. The dark plot takes nothing away from the happy, vibrant memories reflected in the clown’s afterlife and everyone walks away with a sense of contentment.

Photo: Lucas Saporiti

If you haven’t seen Corteo you should definitely get your tickets before they sell-out! More details are available online at cirquedusoleil.com.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Clarins Water Lip Stain Review

July 7th was international Kissing Day (yes, that’s really a thing) so to celebrate the occasion I tested the new Clarins Water Lip Stains. These sassy pigments resist up to 300 smooches so you pucker-up and plant one on him without worrying about lip prints, fading or smudging.


The unique formula is 77% water so it feels like a refreshing sorbet with a blend of organic raspberry and calming aloe vera to prevent dehydration. Layer it lightly for a soft flush or amp-up the intensity for a bold finish. Once dry, the matte stain is almost undetectable, creating a bare lip effect that feels comfortable and extremely lightweight. The sheer vividness instantly perks-up a dull complexion and as the pigment fades, it begins to look more natural so lips appear healthy and plump. Clarins also added their anti-pollution complex to protect your pout from external aggressors – great for battling city smog and mid-day traffic.

The small brush applicator wasn’t my favorite at first but once you start blending, the color fuses to the skin like a tattoo, leaving behind a juicy long-wear tint that does not transfer. They also withstand eating, drinking and humidity which is perfect for a night out.

Application Tips
*For best results, avoid using lip balm underneath as anything slippery can affect adhesion.
*Expect some streaks while brushing on the stain and purse your lips to distribute the pigment evenly. *Allow the color to dry between each coat and layer to achieve the desired saturation.


The mouth-watering flavors smell like ripe berries, delicious candy and popsicle (who wouldn’t love that!?) FYI, they also taste pretty darn good...just saying.


For more moisture, top-up the stains with the Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil ($25.00) and transform the finish into a shiny gloss. These nourishing lippies are my go-to for travel and they help me survive Canadian winters. The rich blend of jojoba, raspberry and hazelnut oils keep lips supple, smooth and chap-free plus they lock-in hydration for hours without stickiness.


The Water Lip Stains retail for $25.00 each at Clarins counters nationwide and online at clarins.ca.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Anew Clay Mask Review: Calming, Brightening & Purifying

So you’re staying out late enjoying summer, partying hard and lounging on the beach. Maybe you’re having way too much fun to slow down and pamper your skin but sooner or later you’ll need a facial.
Taking time to relax and indulge in a spay day is important because all that sunscreen, makeup, sebum and pollution needs to be addressed.

Avon has created 3 new kaolin clay masks with active ingredients that target your skin concerns and remove impurities in just 5-10 minutes! Use them individually or mix and match to create a custom treatment that replenishes and revives.


The Purifying Clay Mask ($16.00) is infused with white charcoal powder to absorb excess oil around the chin, nose and forehead. The detoxifying formula deep cleans and tightens pores for a smooth complexion less prone to breakouts and blemishes. Use it weekly to help combat environmental aggressors, greasiness and dirt. After treatment my skin feels soft and rejuvenated but I usually follow-up with a hydrating cream or serum since clay tends to deplete moisture.


To slather on my masks I use the applicator brush from the Eco Tool Facial Mates Kit ($10.99). It also comes with 3 soft sponges that are perfect for wiping away stubborn dried on clay. The pads are gentle, absorbent and reusable, plus you can lather them up with your favorite face wash. (Available at Rexall, Pharma Plus, Pharmasave, London Drugs, Guardian IDA, Lawton and more)

The Brightening Mask ($16.00) with citrus peel extract is my favorite! It smells fantastic, reinvigorates dull skin and boosts your glow for an even skin tone. I use this formula to help fade blemishes or after spending too much time in the sun. It also does a great job of flushing out my pores and ridding my skin of icky product build-up.


The Calming Mask ($16.00) is enriched with aloe to help balance, refresh and soothe mild irritation and redness. I didn’t really notice a difference between this formula and the others. It seems to cleanse, remove impurities, soften and smooth in much the same way so it probably needs a bit more aloe.


The masks are available at avon.ca or through independent consultants.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Avon True Color Lots of Kisses Review & Swatches

Have you ever wanted to experiment with makeup without spending a lot of money on colors you aren’t sure about? Maybe you’re searching for the perfect nude or a bombshell red that looks stunning on your complexion. None of us want to put store samples on our lips (yuck) and sometimes you can’t get a good idea of how a lipstick will look until you actually wear it.

To solve this issue Avon has created the Lots of Kisses Hat Box filled to the brim with 60 mini lipsticks for $50.00. Now you can unleash your creativity and test the brand’s most popular shades!


These cuties can be used several times and they are tiny enough to fit in any purse. The colors are rich, vibrant, hydrating and smooth with finishes that range from satin, shiny, cream and matte.


Most of the lipsticks are highly pigmented with buildable coverage and there is something for everyone whether you prefer everyday neutrals, bright summery hues or something sultry for date night.

Among the 60 shades there are 30 different colors (some pigments are duplicates with different finishes). The formulas are all very comfortable and moisturizing to prevent chapping and the square edge helps outline the lip contour but don't press too hard.


Some of the minis may look a bit misshapen in the photos because they softened under the hot lights in my studio. Its humid this season so if this happens, pop them in the fridge until they solidify. The lipsticks don’t twist down so be very careful when capping and uncapping, one wrong move could smoosh the entire thing.


My favorites are the berry tones, reds, purples and soft pinks but I also mix and match to create custom shades and ombré effects.

These little lippies are easy to misplace but the set is perfect for gifting! 



Lots of Kisses is available online at avon.ca or through independent consultants for a limited time only.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Quo Summer 2018 Limited-Edition Makeup Collection

I’ve had just about enough of the scorching heat-wave plaguing Toronto but new makeup always makes me feel better...well that and a pitcher of fresh Sangria loaded with fruit. This year Quo kept it simple with luminous lip gloss, rich bronzer and brilliant highlighters to enhance your summer glow.


The Lip Gloss ($10.00 ea) and the Eye Creams ($10.00) look very similar. Both have multidimensional iridescent shine but the shadows dry down into a long-wear finish while the gloss remains moist and supple to keep lips nourished and comfortable. 

The first and third tubes (from left to right) are both Eye Creams but the blue appears silver on the skin. I’m not a huge fan of liquid shadow (it has something to do with the dampness and application process) but these hold up quite well and resist creasing. The color applies like a sheer, metallic overlay so they might work best layered over regular eye shadow to accentuate and highlight. Once dry, there is no stickiness or fading so the pigment stays put all day with very little mess. I am still experimenting but I like the glamorous effect.


The second and last tubes (bright pink and snowy shimmer) are lip gloss. They apply smooth and lightweight with a unique lustrous finish that looks dazzling in sunlight. The pink was a bit of a letdown. I expected vibrancy and drama but what I got was a light wash of color suspended in a silvery base that looks kind of awkward. It works much better as a mid lip highlighter to give the illusion of plumpness. The white gloss shows up glittery blue so you really have to swatch these to know exactly what color you’re getting. I thought this hue would be too interstellar for me but it gives my lips an interesting tinge with scintillating sparkle that looks very cool!



Having a show-stopping summer glow is a must and with the new Illuminating Drops ($20.00) you can gleam from head-to-toe. The golden liquid is highly concentrated to create a natural sunkissed look or dramatic strobing. Wear it on the face and body or mix some into foundation, BB cream and primer to enhance luminosity. I love how weightless, hydrating and bleandable the pigment is. The shimmer disperses seamlessly without settling into lines or scattering and the dropper provides precise application. You might need to set the dewy finish with powder but it looks amazing on the legs and arms.


The Quo Face Palette ($20.00) is available in 2 shades – Orion for fair skin and Terra for medium to deep complexions. Usually Quo’s bronzing powders are too light for me but this one is just right for natural looking contour. The chocolatey brown has a luxurious, velvety texture for superior blending and buildable coverage. It is also deep enough to enhance your tan and create definition for a sculpted profile. The shimmery highlighter has a lovely candlelight effect and the pink blush is soft and flattering.


The brushes from Quo are always great and this limited-edition collection ($60.00) is the prettiest design yet! I’m calling it mermaid chic because of the multicolored chrome handles and pretty splashes of pink, blue, green and purple. Even though these are almost too pretty to use, I did several tests before decorating my vanity with them.


The set comes with a prismatic silver makeup bag and all the brushes you need for a full-face including: brows, blush, shadow, contour and powder. The bristles are incredibly soft and flexible so they feel great on the skin and blend all types of makeup seamlessly and efficiently.

Quo is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Phuket Travel Guide & The Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort

For years I’ve been reading glossy travel magazines filled with exotic landscapes and remote beach hideaways nestled around the coast of Thailand. I longed to sip cool coconut water on Maya Bay and float in the warm lagoons surrounded by rocky cliffs.

In April I made that dream a reality and checked-off another beautiful destination on my bucket list (I’m on a roll).


After touring Shanghai and Singapore, I needed to relax and recoup from jet lag. My energy was seriously depleted and I had to rest before heading to the congested cities of Bangkok and Hong Kong.

I stayed at the beautiful Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort overlooking the touristy town of Patong. As I entered the warm breezy lobby, I was greeted with a refreshing tropical drink and seated by a babbling coy pond until the room was ready. I had time to kick-back and enjoy the lush grounds, soothing waterfalls and calming streams that create a tranquil, spa-like environment throughout the property.

Our luxurious villa had a canopy bed and large bathroom with deep jetted tub, well lit vanity area and waterfall shower – it felt like we were on a second honeymoon!



The day bed was a nice place to unwind with a glass of wine after dinner and the glass floor with fish swimming underfoot is a nice touch.



The room was romantic, spacious and well decorated, with a slanted wood ceiling and wide skylights to frame the stars.

The best thing about the villa is the private infinity pool and sun deck complete with an outdoor shower and lounge chairs. 


The pool is a wonderful place to escape the heat and large enough to swim laps. There is also a jetted section in the corner where my husband and I sipped cocktails while watching the sun set behind the jungle. We appreciated the privacy, peacefulness and serenity of the resort, it was the perfect place to unwind.



The Sea Pearl also has a couple great restaurants with live music. The buffet offered a variety of traditional cuisine like spicy soup served in a hollow coconut and delectable chicken Pad Thai.



I am no stranger to a rich curry but I did discover an addicting dessert - mango sticky rice drizzled in fragrant coconut milk. The slight tartness of the mango balances the sweet milk and creates a wonderful pudding-like treat.


We also had dinner at the other restaurant where I ordered chicken tikka pizza topped with cilantro and veggies (I eat pizza in every country I visit). Instead of traditional marinara sauce, they used a sweet-savory base which I thoroughly enjoyed.


We only had 3 days in Phuket so I spent most of the time relaxing in our room, swimming and hanging out at the beach. Fatigue, flu symptoms and a terrible heat rash compelled me to skip most of the activities on my itinerary.

We made use of the resort's free shuttle but Patong Beach lacks the crystal water and powdery white sand associated with Thailand. The town is overrun with tourists (which I didn’t mind since I was one) and although it is a bit grungy, there are many restaurants and specialty shops where you can haggle for custom-made clothing. The night market has an abundance of tasty food and I suggest checking out the supermarket to load-up on unique local snacks and fresh fruit juice.

The hotel also offered us a tour of Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay in exchange for attending a short presentation on the Wyndham Club. I was not interested in a time-share type membership but it was a great opportunity to score a free day trip. There are booths outside the airport with similar deals but choose wisely and be weary of scams so you don’t waste your time.



The speed boat tour was not the greatest. We didn’t have enough leisure time on the islands and the lunch buffet was terrible, but we made the most of it.


We stopped at Monkey Island (the name is self explanatory) and the cave where bird’s nest soup is harvested. I watch nature documentaries so I was aware of this odd delicacy but if you have no idea what I’m talking about, be prepared to be grossed out. The soup is exactly what it sounds like but the birds make their nest from saliva...needless to say, I didn’t put bird spit in my mouth.

Maya Bay rarely received visitors until it became the filming location of The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Now thousands of tourists flock to it's picturesque shores and wade in the sparkling turquoise water. The beach is more breathtaking than any postcard can depict but it was also very crowded and teeming with tour boats.

To protect visitors, the beach is sectioned into swimming and non-swimming (where the boats dock) but this leads to over-crowding in the water. I witnessed a woman get seriously injured when a heavy anvil whacked her in the leg. The situation is not conducive to preserving nature and I read that Maya Bay will now be closed during certain seasons.



The rocky cliffs that ascend from the sea provide much needed shade and the clear water is perfect for snorkeling so bring your gear!


I wish I had more time in Phuket but it was fantastic! Check out my travel guides on Shanghai and Singapore plus stay tuned for Bangkok and Hong Kong!
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