Friday, August 18, 2017

Vasanti Cosmetics Ultra Luxe Lipstick Review

There are many fabulous beauty products at Shoppers Drug Mart which can make it difficult to decide what to try. Vasanti has been around for years but I don’t think the brand gets the recognition they deserve and their stunning pigments compliment all skin tones from fair to deep and everyone in-between. Infused with high quality ingredients (free of gluten and parabens) the Ultra Luxe Lipsticks are rich, smooth and hydrating to deliver the perfect wash of accentuating color.

This collection celebrates the unique diversity of multiculturalism by naming the lipsticks after different countries around the world. Each color is a lovely representation of exotic beauty.

Since fall is on the horizon, I think it’s a good time to break out Vasanti’s bold, seductive hues. The range features velvety textures that glide on effortlessly to drench lips in lush layers of healing moisture. These vivid shades are very trendy and the supple formula is infused with antioxidants, vitamins, mango oil, pomegranate and botanicals to treat dryness and replenish.

The nourishing blend is also enriched with the latest in peptide technology to increase lip volume, diminish fine lines and improve skin texture. The coverage is easy to customize since the lipsticks start off lightweight and sheer with the ability to be layered and intensified for medium saturation and a hint of brilliant shine.

Most of these shades have a creamy, satin finish but Spain incorporates golden-coppery shimmer for a boost of radiance. The deep, sultry colors transition your makeup looks into autumn and they are perfect for a night out.

The line also includes a selection of neutrals and brights for every season.

To compliment these buttery lipsticks, the Extreme Lip Pencils ($17.00) create definition, fullness and shape with a vegan-friendly, paraben-free formula. The color resists feathering, transfer, fading and smudging with a creamy texture that provides excellent glide. Since the pencils are full-coverage, you can use your faves to fill-in the entire lip area for a voluminous, matte effect.

Vasanti is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and online at

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Travel Essentials & Gadgets

While traveling the world over the last several years, I’ve become somewhat of an expert packer. When your luggage gets lost in  Rome or winds up in German while you’re in Dubai, you learn a thing or two about being prepared and what kind of essentials come in handy. Today I’m featuring a few products and gadgets that have made my journey more comfortable.

Aside from durable luggage that can withstand environmental assaults and careless baggage handlers, tags are very important. My suitcase has gone missing on a few occasions and if it isn't easy for the airline to identify, you may never find it. These bright, trendy tags from Conair ($10.00) are easy to spot in baggage claim and they cater to you inner fashionista with fun designs and bright prints. To read my article on how to pack a carry-on bag click HERE.

While vacationing or on press trips, I like to hit up the best dining and entertainment spots, which means packing formal wear and a nice perfume that can go from day to night. These small bottles from Yardley London ($18.00 ea) are the perfect size for travel and they come in a variety of fresh, floral scents including Lilly of the Valley, English Rose and Lavender – very light and summery. Yardley is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and

Comfortable shoes are a must, especially if you plan to explore the city on-foot and book some of those awesome sightseeing tours. All that walking or hiking can be brutal on the feet and the cobblestones in Europe can cause aches and pain. The Ecco Bio Venture GTX Tie all-round outdoor shoes ($250.00) support, cradle and cushion the feet with rubber insoles suitable for rough terrain. The lightweight, waterproof construction keeps you dry while the foam soles provide long-lasting comfort. I can walk for hours in these without any discomfort and they are idea for physical activity. To see other styles visit the website by clicking HERE.

Admittedly, ironing is my least favorite chore and if it weren’t for my husband, I’d probably give up and embrace the crinkles and wrinkles. While on vacation, the last thing I want to do is deal with annoying ironing boards and fiddle with foreign irons that always seem to leak or burn my outfit. The Conair Complete Streamer ($49.99) is compact for travel yet powerful enough to smooth and freshen your favorite garments. It heats up in just 60 seconds with a large steam head that works on most fabrics. Clothes will be crease-free and look neatly pressed in minutes, saving you many trips to the drycleaner. Conair is available at various retailers including The Bay, Walmart, Costco and online at

After your clothes are freshly steamed you may need to delint. I love wearing dark colors (especially black) but for some reason I only seem to notice the lint after I’ve left the house or hotel. If you’re still using those old fabric lint brushes or sticky paper that do the bare minimum, it’s time to upgrade to the Conair Extreme Fabric Defuzzer ($24.98). This little gadget removes fuzz, lint and pilling with a gentle suction fan that shaves off debris without damaging fabrics. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery and you can use it anytime-anywhere to keep your clothes looking new.

I pack all my makeup in my carry-on because - 1. Losing all the high-end products in my luggage would be painful and 2. I don’t want to walk around looking like a jet lagged zombie the entire trip (I need my concealer). A good makeup bag keeps your products well organized and the variety of colors and designs from Sonia Kashuk are some of my faves! The bags have large compartments, removable pouches and brush holders so you can use them for cosmetics, jewelry and toiletries. To read my article on packing makeup for travel click HERE.

I love my electric toothbrush but it cost $200.00 and if something happened to my luggage it would disappear as well. Instead I pack the Travel Sonic Toothbrush from Carry Clean which retails for just $19.99 with an extra replacement head. It uses 1 AAA battery (included in the kit) and comes with a snap-on cover to protect the brush. Although it looks small, it vibrates 32,000 times per minute to provide a better clean than a manual brush and it keeps teeth and gums healthy while you’re out enjoying exotic cuisine. I also recommend popping the Carry Clean Dental Travel Pack in your carry-on bag to freshen your breath after a long flight. It comes with a deluxe travel toothbrush + storage case, 7 dental picks and a mini Colgate toothpaste.

I don't know about you, but after a long flight my hair is a total mess (seriously I look like I've been electrocuted) so I always keep one of my stylish Tangle Teezer Travel Brushes ($25.00) on-hand to keep my mane smooth, sleek and neat.

Vacations are a good time to use all those skincare samples you’ve collected over the year and I never forget my Foreo Luna Play ($49.00) to deep cleanse, remove impurities and rinse away blemish causing bacteria.

These cute, reusable travel containers from Avon ($19.99) come in handy when you want to pack your favorite products without lugging around full-size bottles that weight down your suitcase.

My travel essentials list could go on-and-on since there are so many small comforts that make life easier while on the road. To read my article on tips for planning a great vacation – what every traveler should know, click HERE.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2017 Summer Beauty Essentials - Shoppers Drug Mart Top Picks

September is on the horizon but summer isn’t over yet! There is still time to embark on a new adventures and spend ample time lounging by the pool. Today I’m featuring great beauty essentials that you can shove in your beach bag or use to pamper and replenish your skin after some much needed fun in the sun.

Sun Bum offers UVA/UVB protection all season long with a range of water resistant, vitamin enriched sunscreens ($19.99). These paraben and oil free formulas won’t clog pores and the lip balm is available in a tropical coconut scent with SPF 30 ($5.99). While spritzing on your sun protection, don’t neglect your hair! To prevent dryness the Beach Formula 3-in-1 Leave In ($19.99) shields your tresses from environmental assaults with a nourishing blend of coconut oil, banana pulp, quinoa protein and sunflower oil. It also controls frizz, repairs flyaways, boosts shine and slows color fading.

While you’re treating your hair with care, why not try the stylized, coiled ponytailers ($8.99). These curvy bands are great for the pool since they don’t absorb water and can be easily removed without ripping out chunks of hair.

Makeup remover is a must, especially for quick cleansing after the gym and on humid days. The Say Yes to Cotton Face Wipes ($9.99) are suitable for ultra-sensitive, allergy-prone skin with a soothing formula that moisturizes and calms.

Life Brand offers affordable yet effective skincare to help fight breakouts. The Clear Action Anti-Acne Treatment Kit ($19.99) is a 3 step system which includes:
*The Renewal Cleanser - to kill bacteria and remove pore-clogging dirt.
*Toner - to balance, remove excess oil and rejuvenate.
*Repair & Treat - penetrates to prevent future breakouts.

To get rid of those pesky blackheads and whiteheads, the Charcoal Face & Nose Strips ($8.99-13.99 per box) are quite effective but peel them off slowly to minimize discomfort.

Life Brand also has a great selection of moisturizing, purifying, brightening and deep cleansing masks to replenish your complexion all summer long. The Masque Bar Sleeping Facial Mask with Lavender ($19.99) helps relieve dry, irritated skin with aloe, natural extracts and which hazel for bright, hydrated results you can see and feel. 

While you’re stocking-up on summer essentials don’t forget to get some eos. These creamy little balms are still my favorite for keeping my pout chap-fee and supple plus they also come with SPF protection.

These products are all available at Shoppers Drug Mart locations nationwide

Monday, August 14, 2017

L’Occitane Verbena Collection & NEW Peony Pod Masks

During the summer I prefer to use refreshing fragrances and lightweight body products that deeply nourish and revive my skin after warm, relaxing days in the sun. L’Occitane has always been one of my first choices when it comes to rejuvenating formulas infused with amazing ingredients and the newest products are perfect for the season.

The Verbena Collection is infused with a lemony-fresh, organic herb from Provence that invigorates the senses. The intoxicating blend does not smell like a typical fragrance, laden with heavy perfume notes. Instead, it reminds me of a citrus fruit gourmand with sparkling ingredients that give off a faint, summery scent, like a delicious lemonade stand – juicy and enticing. The 100 ml bottle retails for $65.00.

This fabulous aroma is also available as a Body Frappe - a light, moisturizing cream infused with rich emollients that soften, smooth and eradicate dryness. The silky formula feels amazing when applied after a cool shower and you can keep it in the fridge for an intense ice-cube effect and instant relief on sweltering days. It absorbs quickly with no greasy residue and helps replenish skin that has been exposed to UV. The cream retails for $40.00.

Vacation skin is something I battle with all summer. After long, drying flights, environmental assaults and even reactions to sunscreen or foreign pollutants, my skin is often in need of hydration and nutrients. The new Peony Pod Masks ($8.00 ea) are great for holiday recuperation and weekly treatments.
*The Flash Moisture Mask leaves skin plump, supple and quenched for 24 hours while healing dry areas and alleviating sunburn.
*The Overnight Perfecting Mask (my personal fave) is a rich gel that locks in moisture and vitamins to boost brightness, tighten and revitalize as you get your beauty rest.
*The Purifying Minute Mask has a clay-like texture that helps eliminate excess oil and impurities for smaller pores and clear, matte skin that is soft and velvety.

I spend a lot of time in makeup but I always remove it properly to prevent clogged pores and blemishes. The Peony Petal Cleansing Oil ($40.00) is infused with real petals and glides luxuriously over the skin to remove build-up, dirt, sebum and makeup with lush, moisturizing oils. I usually apply it to a cleansing cloth and gently wipe my face prior to using a foaming cleanser.

These products are available at L’Occitane Boutiques and online at

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dior 2017 Fall Collection - Review & Swatches

2017 seems to be flying by in a blur of exotic vacations, stylish events and amazing beauty launches and it’s already time to start thinking about fall trends. Believe it or not, September is just around the corner and I’m excited to see what vivacious colors our favorite brands have in store for us this year.

Today I’ll be featuring Dior’s elegant Fall Collection and if these products are any indication of what we can expect next season, autumn is going to be quite fashionable!

The Paradoxical Light 5 Couleurs Eye Shadow Palettes ($72.00 ea) show off the spectacular contrast between deep mattes and radiant shimmer - boasting luxurious textures that glide on beautifully for effortless blending. When I think of gorgeous fall shades, these are exactly the type of pigments that comes to mind – bold blues, sparking highlights and rich browns that look mesmerizing against radiant bronze and gold.

The reformulation of these shadows yields even more color payoff and intensity for buildable coverage and a silky texture that doesn’t crease or fade. The vivid colors are expertly matched to create the most eye-catching looks, whether you prefer something light and fresh for day wear or deep and smoldering for a glamorous night out.

Magnetize contains some of my favorite hues for creating the perfect smokey eye. The sultry navy looks exquisite with the silvery-grays, especially the center shade which is a brilliant combination of icy blues.

Hypnotize features velvety matte brown and lustrous shimmer with tones that flatter all complexions. The gold is sheer and glittery for a subtle wash of sparkle but the other shades offer more saturation with the ability to be intensified and layered.

Swatches left to right: Metalizer Creme Shadows, Magnetize Palette, Hypnotize Palette.

The new Rouge Dior Lipsticks ($36.00) are available in 5 classic fall shades including beige, metallic, wine-red and rosy brown. 781 Enigmatic is my favorite - the deep berry-red looks amazing with the brown and gold in the Hypnotize Palette and the moisturizing satin finish is light, nourishing and comfortable with a pretty sheen. 996 Eccentric reminds me of milk chocolate – it is a fabulous nude to balance the effect of vivid colors. The collection also includes lip liners that pair beautifully with these stylish hues.

The Metalizer Eyes & Lip Crème Shadow ($32.00) is the latest hybrid product from the house of Dior. The quick drying metal-effects pigment leaves a veil of weightless chrome color on the eyelids that lasts up-to 12 hours. I recommend shaking the squeeze tubes as the formula tends to separate and the color can be applied to the eyes or lips with a finger or brush. Since the creams dry down into the skin, make sure you are primed and moisturized before application for smooth results. 528 Platine Fusion is a lustrous champagne with a touch of pale pink and 678 Bronze Tension is deep and shimmery (see swatch photo).

This collection is available at Dior counters nationwide including Sephora and Hudson's Bay

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask Review

Utilizing blue light therapy to treat acne is not a new concept but recently several brands have made this treatment more accessible by creating safe, effective devices that you can use at home. Neutrogena has recently launched the Light Therapy Mask ($45.00) with the same technology used by Dermatologists to reduce the severity and reoccurrence of breakouts.

The kit comes with the mask and activator which works like a remote control to start the cycle. The activator is set for a total of 30 treatments which displays on a small screen to let you know how many you have left and how many you’ve used. When the counter reaches 0 you must purchase another remote ($19.97) to continue using the mask (it is not rechargeable). Unfortunately you cannot pause the treatment without losing a complete cycle, the counter will still eliminate one therapy session.

Each treatment session is 10 minutes long and the mask comes with built-in glasses to protect the eyes. The lights inside the mask are quite bright so be careful if you are prone to light sensitivity. Once I start the cycle, the warmth from the small bulbs feel soothing and make my skin tingle slightly. There is no sensation of pain or discomfort aside from the sharp edges of the glasses and I experienced no irritation. 

The therapy is quite gentle but there aren’t any lights towards the upper cheek area on the far right and left sides of the mask, they are all concentrated on the forehead and below the nose to target the middle portion of the face. Since light travels, the mask seems to provide enough coverage to thoroughly illuminate these blind-spots.

The blue light penetrates the skin to eliminate acne causing bacteria just below the surface while the red light reduces inflammation to calm and diminish redness. Overtime, skin appears smoother with less irritation and pimples are reduced in size and severity. My blemishes also seem to clear up quicker with less scarring and discomfort. 

The blue light therapy works best when combined with other topical treatments that help fight breakouts as you sleep or go about your daily activities. Neutrogena also created the Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Solution Kit ($24.99) to speed up healing and recovery. The box comes with a 3 step system:
*Step 1: Acne Cleanser - to reduce the size, redness and number of breakouts by washing out bacteria and impurities that clog pores.
*Step 2: Treat with the Daily Leave-On Mask – an invisible treatment that zaps stubborn zits day and night.
*Step 3: Moisturize with the Oil-Free Cream which reduces redness and excess oil with a light, water-based formula safe for sensitive skin.

Neutrogena is available at grocery and drugstores nationwide

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

NEW Garnier Fructis Super Fruits - Super Hair Conditioners & Leave-ins

Before Garnier poured the new Super Fruits paraben-free hair care into their colorful packaging, I tested press samples of the shampoos in cute, unmarked smoothie bottles. The brand was gathering reviews and first impressions but what I really wanted to know was how good the conditioners are. Having long hair can be a lot of work and if you use heat styling tools, moisturizing products are essential for maintaining strength, shine and softness.

Not only am I obsessed with these delicious fruity scents (seriously, I can’t stop smelling my hair) I’m also impressed with the reformulation and new blends. Each collection is infused with protein, vitamins and a specific fruit extract to target different hair types and concerns.

Butter Rich is one of my favorite collections - formulated to strengthen and quench dry, brittle strands for revival and replenishment. The formula is the richest in the range, infused with Coconut, Jojoba and Macadamia oils that cling to each strand and deeply moisturize. The Butter Cream Leave-In is thick, fragrant and hydrating. You may not want to use too much if you have thin hair that is easily weighed down but for my thick tresses, this stuff works! I apply it to damp hair and use it to refresh and shape my curls for bounce, softness and body.

Moisture Lock is ideal for recuperating from fun in the sun, pool chlorine, hair dye and daily environmental assaults. Enriched with Cactus Extract - the conditioner fortifies, softens and hydrates for 48 hours. The 10-in-1 Leave-In Detangler smells so good that I use it to fragrance my hair and revive my curls throughout the day. It also nourishes dry strands, boosts shine, tames frizz, protects from heat damage and improves manageability with no stickiness.

The Damage Eraser Collection (infused with Marula Oil) has been around for awhile but now the formula is silicone and paraben free. I apply a generous amount to my lengths (focusing on my ends), detangle and then pin my hair up while showering to let the formula sink in and work its magic. The conditioner locks-in moisture to help repair damage without weight and the line also includes the Liquid Strength Treatment with protein to resurrect weak, lackluster hair.

The other conditioners include:
*Color Shield (with Acai Berry and UV filters) – Maintains the vibrancy of hair color for up-to 8 weeks with sun protection.
*Full & Plush (with Pomegranate) – For thickening, shine and softness.
*Clean & Fresh (with Grapefruit) – Refreshes and energizes dull hair.
 *Grow Strong (with Apple Extract and Ceramide) – Fortifies weak, limp hair and brings it back to life!

Many of these conditioners are great for detangling, quick moisture treatments and daily co-washing to refresh the hair and scalp which is why I always keep one in my shower. They retail for just a few dollars each at grocery and drugstores nationwide. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Accessories & Jewelry

Every summer I spruce-up my wardrobe and donate the clothes I no longer wear. I also look for trendy new accessories to compliment my outfits and this year I found some cute pieces!

My Pandora charm bracelet holds some beautiful keepsake pendants that remind me of special events and exotic trips around the world but for everyday wear or formal events I prefer bangles. The Radiant Hearts of Pandora in bright pink ($95.00) is reversible and features sparkling stones on one side and a solid pink band on the other. These bracelets are great for stacking and creating pretty multicolored combos to show-off your personal style.

The Open Bangle ($140) with cubic zirconium end caps is simple yet elegant and comes with 2 stoppers if you’d like to add your favorite charms. To see more beautiful jewelry from Pandora visit the website by clicking HERE.

While browsing the shops on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls Canada this summer, I picked up these beautiful Native Indian style earrings - fashioned after Dream Catchers. The turquoise stones and multicolored, woven fabric looks stunning against the skin. I also like that they aren't identical.

The Mark Street Party Bangle ($28.00) caught my eye because of its unique design. The gold colored cuff is thick and beautifully embellished with delicate, royal blue fabric entwined with sparking glass stones. The eye-catching chains that dangle from the wrist give this piece an edgy look which contrasts nicely with the glittering jewels.

The Leaf You Alone 3 Piece Set ($19.00) from Avon comes with an antique gold tone necklace, bracelet and matching earrings. I love how intricate and feminine the bracelet looks on the wrist and the necklace comes with an extender if you’d like more length.

The Enchanting Tear Drop Bracelet ($14.99) is available in gold and silver but they look even more glamorous together and the pretty stones shimmer radiantly in the light.

Owls have been very popular recently and this antiqued gold tone necklace stands out beautifully when placed over solid colors like black, pink, or green. You can also wear the pendant as a broach! It retails for $19.99.

 Avon is available at or through independent consultants
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