Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NEW Hair Care from L'Oreal – Protein Treatment and Masks

When people ask how I’ve grown my hair so long and silky, I always suggest deep conditioning. I use a treatment mask at least twice a month to improve the health of my hair and help undo styling damage.


L'Oreal has created a few new products specifically formulated to reinforce the cuticles, intensely hydrate and enhance manageability.

The Extraordinary Oil  Mask ($8.49) is infused with extra-fine coconut oil to restore and mend brittle strands plus the jar has enough product for 1001 treatments! The rich conditioner smells amazing and blankets hair in dense moisture for easy detangling without weight. I comb it through thoroughly (focusing on my ends) and pin my hair up before covering it with a disposable shower cap and microfiber hair towel for about an hour. This method traps in heat and increases absorption for better results. To speed up the process you can also apply blow dryer heat directly to the plastic cap for 5-10 mins. The directions only indicate a treatment time of 5 minutes but my hair is long and thick so I usually need more time. After rinsing, my mane is shiny, soft and free-flowing for days!


The new EverPure Sulfate-Free Hair Sheet Mask ($5.99) is perfect for weekend getaways and overseas trips. After shampooing simply wrap your hair in the cap and seal it with the sticker. The inside is coated in nourishing cream which is activated by shower steam and warmth for deep penetration. I leave it on for 10 minutes and it makes my hair feel smooth and supple. The packet fits in your gym or beach bag and helps resurrect shine and silkiness after exposure to sun, salt water and chlorine from the pool.


When I'm not flat ironing my hair into submission, my ringlets require a good leave-in, and even if you aren't a curly girl, the Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge ($8.49) is a fantastic moisturizer. Although I don’t have damaged hair (which is what the treatment is designed for), the formula strengthens over processed strands that have been weakened by styling, environmental elements, coloring and improper care. It fortifies the fiber’s structure beyond the surface, conditions, softens, prevents split-ends and reduces breakage by up to 97%. The lightweight finish is non-sticky so I can use as much as I need to protect against heat and sun damage.


Summer usually means humidity levels are on the rise and this can lead to poofy, poodle-like hair. Looking like I was hit by lightening is not an option so I’ve been using the Smooth Intense Frizz Taming Serum ($8.49). This leave-in acts like an anti-humidity barrier that controls frizz and increases brilliance while retaining natural movement. Hair is never stiff or crunchy and flyaways are smoothed down for a neat, polished finish.


L'Oreal is available at drugstores nationwide.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Shoppers Drug Mart Summer Beauty Picks

In the next few weeks I have plans to embark on a few road trips, travel and attend shows, parties and picnics. Summer is short so get out there and enjoy it while you can! Today I am featuring some of Shoppers Drug Mart’s top beauty picks to help you navigate the season with confidence.


After a long day of fun in the sun, let your skin breathe by removing all that makeup, sunscreen and sweat. The Life Brand Micellear Cleansing Wipes ($9.99) gently lift away dirt, oil and impurities with a paraben-free formula and soft plant-based fibers. These refreshing towelettes are great for travel, the gym or your beach bag.


The Lip Smacker Lippy Pals Balm is my beauty pick but they are available at drugstores nationwide. The hydrating formula nourishes dry lips with smooth, supple oils and the packaging is totally adorable! With fun flavors like Foxy Apple, Hoppy Carrot Cake and Cuddly Cream Puff who can resist?!


Sun exposure can be very damaging so your skin needs weekly replenishing treatments to maintain youthfulness. Thankfully Shoppers carries a wide range of rejuvenating face masks including brightening eye pads ($8.00) detoxifying mud ($1.99) and purifying charcoal ($1.99). These are also very convenient for travel.


If you need a pretty new beauty bag for your daily essentials, the Quo Rose Gold 3 Piece Set ($18.99) is super trendy! I use the smallest bag for jewelry, the floral pouch for makeup and the clear one for toiletries.


You may be hitting the beach or pool this summer and fuzzy legs are not cute. For a close, smooth shave try the Life Brand 3 Blade Pivoting Razors ($7.99). The botanical strips contain aloe and shea butter to hydrate sensitive skin and they glide over every curve to eliminate prickly hair with one swipe.


If you value your complexion and want to avoid looking like a wrinkled old catcher’s mitt, do not leave home without sun protection. The Sunthera Mineral Lotion ($12.99) with SPF 30 reflects the sun’s rays like a mirror to shield you from damaging UV. The oil-free formula is non-greasy and gentle on sensitive skin with up to 80 mins of water-resistance.


The black metal-free hair clips from Stylize ($9.99) are always in my purse. They come in handy when humidity poofs out your hair and create quick updos to keep you cool.

The Quo Lip Balm & Scrub ($14.00) is a must for dry, chapped skin. Shea butter, jojoba, rosehip, and avocado oils seal in moisture and keep your pout kissably soft all day. The Pomegranate flavor smells delicious and the gentle scrub buffs away rough skin so your lipstick applies perfectly smooth.



Get your glow on with the No7 Early Defence Serum and recharge your skin in just 7 days! The potent formula is infused with:
*Vitamin C and Ginseng: Restores radiance and leaves skin energized.
*Antioxidants: Protects against pollution and neutralizes free-radicals.
*Salicylic Acid: Promotes cell renewal and unclogs pores.
*Matrixyl 3000 Plus: Helps reduce signs of aging.


The serum melts in quickly with a non-greasy, silky finish and can be worn under sunscreen and makeup as an extra layer of protection. I like to apply it at night before bed and often layer it with my No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil for even more luminosity. 

For more great beauty finds head to your local Shoppers Drug Mart

Friday, June 15, 2018

NEW Diorshow Plum N Volume Mascara & On Stage Liner

Next weekend I’ve organized a girl’s trip to Niagara Falls and we plan to hit the casino, enjoy drinks on the patio and maybe do some shopping. In my travel bag you’ll find a couple Dior On Stage Liners ($35.00 ea) and the blue Plump ‘N’ Volume Mascara ($37.00) for a pop of fun summer color.


These must-have pigments make it easy to create trendy looks and unleash your inner artist. With the flick of a felt tip pen and a coat of sensational color, you can achieve cool graphic lines and long eccentric lashes.

The Liquid Liners have a flexible tip drenched in smooth, high-intensity matte color that doesn’t skip or fade. The thin point makes it easy to draw sharp wings for the perfect cat eye and you can shape, extend and widen your lines with one fluid motion. I love the fast-drying formula. It stays put the minute you apply it and the fluidity provides ultimate control for neatness and precision.


When drawing intricate lines or patterns try to make corrections quickly because once dry, the pigment does not budge! The color lasts all day and even withstands heat, humidity, perspiration and runny eyes so feel free to cry at that romantic comedy.


Dior’s mascaras are my favorites and these waterproof shades are daring and bright. The spindly brush enhances the fabulous formula by grabbing each hair, separating, extending and thickening to create that coveted flasies effect. Squeeze the tube to load the wand with exactly the right amount of pigment and pump up the volume with no clumping.


These limited-edition shades are vibrant and versatile. Coat just the tips or use different colors on the upper and lower lashes. The mascara is also available in coral and purple at Dior counters nationwide.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2018

This year Father’s Day seemed to creep up out of nowhere and take most of us by surprise. Didn’t Mother’s Day just pass? It certainly feels that way, but ready-or-not it’s time to hit the mall once again or at the very least, browse a few online stores. Dads are a little harder to shop for. They don’t ask for much and most of them don't really need another necktie. Instead of the same boring gifts why not pamper the men in your life with something a little different...and I don’t mean a homemade ashtray or printed socks.


Keep dad looking sharp with The Barber Shop Pro Series Shavers by Conair – ideal for trimming, wide coverage and precision detailing. The 6 Piece Trimmer and Grooming Kit ($59.97) includes a stainless steel T-Blade for unparalleled performance, Blade Guard, 2 Guide Combs, Cleaning Brush and Lubricating Oil. The powerful DC Motor and lightweight design is ideal for refining the neckline, sideburns and beard.

For travel, the 6 Piece Battery Operated Trimmer ($24.97) is hands-free, lightweight and conveniently slips in his luggage or weekend bag. The sharp blade and ergonomic design manoeuvres around the facial contours with ease for ultimate control and neatness.


In Thailand my husband’s shaver blew out so now he uses the Conair Motor Clipper ($69.97) to achieve the latest looks. This heavy-duty set comes with everything he needs for professional haircuts including: 8 Guide Combs, Scissors, Barber Comb, Cape, Cleaning Kit and a hard storage case that can take a beating. The durable, high quality shears cut through coarse and tense facial hair plus they come in handy for touch-ups and intricate styles. This is a gift he is sure to love!
(Available at conaircanada.com)


Biotherm has been hitting it out of the park with their algae-infused skincare and although my husband is currently digging deep into my bottle of Aquasource, there is a collection formulated specifically for men. The Aquapower line has everything your guy needs to look his best and create a simple yet effective skincare routine.

The Thermal Fresh Gel ($32.00) contains potent cleansing agents that eradicate dirt, oil and impurities to prepare the skin for shaving. For summer, the Aquapower Water-Gel Moisturizer ($38.00) cools on contact and quenches dry skin with refreshing peppermint water and vitamins. The gel smells fantastic and absorbs quickly with no stickiness or residue. Dad works hard so don’t forget to include the Aquapower Eye De-Puffer ($31.00). The Alleviating formula helps diminish under eye bags, darkness and fatigue so he can get on with his day. Biotherm is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Bay, Rexall, Sephora and online at biotherm.ca.


The men in my family enjoy a little wrist candy and the Contemporary Link Watch from Avon is just $34.99! If you want to get dad a classic everyday essential, this simple design is stylish and functional. The dark silver and black combo is very masculine and goes with everything in his wardrobe – from jeans and a t-shirt to business casual. (Available at avon.ca)


David Beckham is known for being an exceptional soccer player and husband to Posh Spice but he also has a great personal care line called House 99. The Seriously Groomed Beard & Hair Balm ($35.00) tames unruly strands while increasing hold and reducing frizz for a neat, polished finish. (Available at beautyboutique.ca)


Guys love working with their hands so it’s no surprise that they suffer from dry skin, ragged cuticles and damaged nails. Avon’s Moisture Therapy Intensive Healing & Repair Cream is perfect for rough, calloused skin that needs serious hydration and softening.


For the gadget lovers on your list, the Sony Extra Bass Wireless Speaker ($59.99) is perfect for jamming-out to your favorite tunes. The battery life is 16 hours, Bluetooth syncing is quick and the sound is crisp and clear! My husband keeps his on our bedside table and listens to music while getting ready for date night. (Available at Best Buy, Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart)


Coach for Men Eau de Toilette ($100.00) combines crisp notes of citrus, pear, warm cardamom, coriander and hints of vetvier for an intoxicating balance of muskiness and refreshing refinement. This is a cologne he will want to wear everyday and for special occasions. 


For guys with a sweet tooth, the President’s Choice Maple Fudge is a delectable treat! Made with real maple syrup and natural flavors, the taste is authentic and truly Canadian. (Available at Loblaws)


Happy Father’s Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sekkisei Skincare Review – Herbal Gel & White Washing Foam

While vacationing in Asia I saw Sekkisei stores all over Thailand, Singapore and China which reminded me that I had a few of their products tucked away in my office. I’m not sure how to pronounce the brand’s name correctly (it sounds different each time I try to say it) but I do know that the first Chinese character on the packaging means snow – inspired by beauty, luminosity and purity.


Most of the reviews I’ve read or watched were on Asian skin tones which makes sense since the products are marketed to enhance fair complexions but they also help correct discoloration, heal sun damage and provide anti-aging benefits.

The branding is a bit confusing; some product descriptions say “brightening” while others say “whitening.” Let me clarify that I do not promote skin lightening nor do I believe that people should feel pressured to tan or change their natural skin color in any way. Like everything else, it is a personal preference (one I do not condemn if that’s what you choose) but we should all feel proud of the skin we’re in, embrace it and take care of it.

I use these products for brightening which refers to enhancing the clarity of your natural complexion, evenness of tone and a beautiful glow. The formulas are infused with Japanese herbs that boost the skin’s youthful vitality. They do contain harsh ingredients or chemicals that alter or drastically lighten your face but they can help minimize sun spots, dullness, blemishes, acne scars and hyperpigmentation with healing extracts and botanicals.

The Sekkisei White Washing Foam ($30.00) is branded differently here in Canada and referred to as Facial Cream Wash (the “white washing” term has been removed from the tube for obvious reasons). I really enjoy this cleanser! The foam is rich and velvety (even when used sparingly) and it coats thoroughly to purify pores and remove dull surface cells. It also works well with my Clarisonic or Foreo brushes to effectively remove dirt, impurities, sebum, makeup and pollutants – leaving my face squeaky clean but not excessively dry. It smells good, lathers well and rinses clean with no residue -definitely a keeper!


The Herbal Gel ($47.00) is a wonderful emollient that illuminates, nourishes, firms and alleviates parched skin on contact. The cool, soothing formula refreshes and deeply hydrates so you can use it as a daily moisturizer, serum or replenishing night mask. I love how the rich texture transforms from gel to cream and seeps in deeply to lock-in nutrients, plus I don't need to layer on other products. My skin feels incredibly supple, silky and plump with more radiance and resilience. The description for this product on Sekkisei’s website refers to “snow-like skin” but don’t let that deter you, this gel is fabulous!


Overall I really like these products so I am looking forward to trying more. Sekkisei is available at beautyboutique.ca.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

10 Tips to Improve Your Beauty Sleep

Today I am going to discuss sleep - a topic that many of us need to address for the benefit of our health and productiveness. Life can get pretty chaotic, especially when trying to balance work and responsibilities with family life and leisure. I fall victim to this myself – staying up to write press features, going to bed at 4 am or dealing with terrible jet lag. Sometimes the culprit is weekend partying or binge-watching a new show, but whatever the reason, sleep and relaxation should be one of your top priorities – after all, they do call it “beauty rest.”

Getting enough sleep is imperative to cognitive and behavioral functioning but it also has amazing benefits for your skin and well-being. Exhaustion can make your complexion appear dull, sallow and blemished with dark under eye circles and puffiness. You may also be more susceptible to viruses like the common cold.

 During REM or deep sleep, the body fortifies immune resistance, heals and regenerates so today I am sharing a few tips and products to help improve your sleep quality.

Photo modified from Pinterest, original source unknown

1. Stick to a Routine
If you go to bed at around the same time every night it becomes routine and your body adjusts to the pattern. If you have trouble falling asleep, try going to bed earlier so you have more time to relax and unwind.

2. Create a Peaceful Environment
Good luck trying to get some shut-eye with the TV blaring or blinding light spilling through the window. For a good night’s rest make sure the room is dark, cool and quiet – free of distractions and annoyances.

3. Use a Humidifier
Most people are not aware that the air in their home can be more contaminated than the air outside and the impurities can affect your sleep and health.

When suffering from a stuffy nose, allergies or cold symptoms, a humidifier can rehydrate the skin, eyes and nasal passages by making the air in your room easier to breathe. It is especially helpful during the dry winter months.

Recently I ordered a machine from The Shopping Channel and my skin has been dewy, smooth and supple ever since. Before bed I apply nourishing creams and serums, turn on my Air Innovations System and awake to a healthy complexion! My throat is no longer dry or sore in the morning and I’ve noticed improved sleep quality in terms of duration and comfort. It also helps ease coughing and the device is lightweight, quiet and easy to use. I keep it on my bedside table and it runs for 70 hours on the low setting.

The humidifier is clean mist (it emits cool, refreshing air) and has an anti-microbial water tank, dual direction mist nozzle, safety shut-off switch, 4 adjustable levels and an aroma therapy tray for soothing scents. It usually retails for $99.00 but is currently on sale for $59.88. For more information visit theshoppingchannel.com.


4. Do Something Relaxing Before Bed
One of the hardest things to do when I get in bed at night is shut my brain off. I am always thinking about how much I have to get done the next morning, what I should make for dinner and all the deadlines coming up. To help de-stress and calm your nerves after a busy day, try a relaxing activity like reading, exercise, meditation or listening to soothing music. I like to indulge in a little self-pampering by taking a long, hot bath with Dr, Teals Pure Epsom Salt + Coconut Oil ($8.99 at drugstores nationwide). The rich minerals and nourishing oil helps ease muscle aches and soreness for a more restful sleep.


5. Soothe Your Eyes and Improve Sleep Quality with the Jidue Facial Massager
Most of us are constantly looking down at a screen but we do very little to heal our eyes. I work on the computer for hours and the rest of the evening I'm on my phone or iPad. As a result I suffer from tension headaches and eye soreness that effects my sleep. The Jidue Orbital Facial Massager ($134.91) has 18 uniquely positioned pulsating nodes that increase blood circulation, improve lymph flow, alleviate eye fatigue, reduce wrinkles, maintain connective tissue, reduce dark circles and promote relaxation. It also helps relieve sinus pain, congestion and stress so you can sleep more soundly.


The goggles are also available in black and fit snugly on the face to stimulate key acupuncture pressure points that may help ease headaches, pain and other conditions. There are 11 cycles that vibrate in different patterns and you can set a timer to customize your treatment. The nodules inside the goggles do not move or oscillate but they do emit vibration that is comfortable on the face yet powerful enough to be effective. I like that the device comes with a travel case so I can take it on vacation to recover from jet lag.

I use the Jidue for 5 minutes before bed and I've noticed a minor change in sleep quality and duration. The biggest improvement has been the release of tension around my eye area. After removing the goggles my eyes don't feel as strained or heavy, my vision seems clearer and there is less burning and blurriness caused by fatigue. I recommend sitting or lying in a comfortable position and closing your eyes to relax them as the machine works its magic. 

You can also take the Jidue to the office and use it at your desk to rest your eyes and help them refocus. The gentle pulsation permeates through the entire eye area, temples and down towards the nose and cheekbones for an invigorating deep tissue massage. The company also suggests that Jidue may improve concentration and memory which is an added bonus!


All you need is 2 AAA batteries (not included) and the goggles turn on with the press of a button. For more information visit the website at jidue.com

6. Upgrade Your Mattress or Pillows.
If you are tossing and turning at night, unable to find a comfortable position, it could be your mattress. If you’ve had it for 10 years or more it is definitely time for a change. The springs become less effective, sagging occurs and the mattress itself can double in weight from dust mites and their droppings (utterly disgusting). A new pillow might also be the answer. Last year I received one from Endy ($80.00) and it has greatly improved my comfort, especially when spritzed with lavender to enhance relaxation. The pillow is fluffy and soft but very supportive and you can remove some of the bamboo charcoal memory foam inside to adjust firmness and height. Endy also provides a free travel pillow pouch that can be used to store excess stuffing when not in-use. More details at caendy.com.


7. Turn Off All Electronic Devices
One of the biggest distractions and sleep inhibitors are cell phones. The bright light can actually trick your body into thinking its daytime and mess with your internal clock. I know social media can be enticing but when you get in bed, put your phone and electronic devices on silent mode or tuck them in a drawer to avoid temptation.

8. Avoid Heavy Meals and Caffeine Before Bed
This point is self-explanatory because eating heavy meals before bed is tough on the digestive system and can cause heartburn, discomfort, indigestion and weight gain. Caffeine and other stimulants will also keep you up at night.


9. Get a Fitbit
If you feel tired each morning and aren't sure how well or how much you slept, a Fitbit or similar healthcare devices can help monitor and track how many hours you actually sleep. This method may be is a good indicator of sleep deprivation. 

10. Visit a Sleep Clinic
For a more comprehensive diagnostic, sleep clinics can help identify disorders like insomnia and prescribe therapeutic or medical intervention. This may be a last resort but any road to better sleep is worth exploring. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Shanghai Travel & Tourism Guide

In April I embarked on a dream trip to Asia which has been on my bucket list for years. I visited Shanghai, Singapore, Phuket, Bangkok and Hong Kong for a total of 8 flights and a time difference of about 14 hours. A trip like this takes planning, coordination and preparation - both mentally and physically. You have to do a lot of research, coax your body out of exhaustion and embrace a plethora of cultural diversity.

As I geared up for the 17 hour flight and nestled into my personal pod, I was excited but a little weary of the journey ahead. Did I pack enough clothes? Can I survive the jet lag? This was the furthest I’d traveled since Dubai but I knew it was worth it.

We chose Shanghai because it is the largest city in China with an impressive skyline, beautiful promenades, sprawling gardens and fantastic shopping. This energetic metropolis is also a global finical hub and a leader in futuristic architecture and cutting-edge technology. 

Bund River, Skyline & Promenade

Visa Requirements and Immigration
Flying first class definitely helped ease the discomfort and misery of being trapped on an aluminum tube for so many hours but by the time we touched down I had slept well and indulged in a few cocktails. I was ready to collect my suitcase and breeze into China with diva-like confidence but the immigration process at Pudong International Airport took 2 hours! Visitors staying more than 72 hours require a visa which can be obtained online prior to arrival and those passing through for 3 days or less must apply for a temporary visa upon arrival. Make sure to have all your documentation printed including hotel information and departure flight.

Travelers Note: The government of Shanghai has placed many bans on websites and search engines including Google. If you plan to get some work done or update your itinerary/flight keep this in mind. Access may be limited or restricted.



Transportation
One of the fastest ways to get from the airport to the city is by taking the Maglev Train. By comparison, the metro takes approximately 60 minutes while the Maglev takes just 8 minutes with a maximum speed of 430 km per hour. This magnet propelled train is one of the fastest in the world making it a popular tourist attraction and an exhilarating ride! A one way ticket cost 50 Yuan or $10.00 CAD, round-trip is 80 Yaun/$16.00 CAD.


The Maglev only travels to and from the airport so once you reach your destination, the quickest way to get around is by metro. You can purchase a travel card for consecutive days and use it to get almost anywhere in the city by tapping in and out at each station.


Taking the subway in Shanghai at any hour of the day can be an overwhelming experience. Sharpen your elbows, stand your ground and prepare to be pushed into strangers. If you think you’re getting a seat, think again! There is little regard for personal space so your best bet is to move with the crowd and avoid getting trampled in the constant sea of commuters. One lady even used my back to prop-up her novel...I was literally a human table.

Nanjing Road (Shopping Area)

Travelers Tip: Be prepared to have your bags scanned at security check-points each time you enter a metro station. Safety is top priority in Shanghai’s underground network.


Sightseeing Tours
I like taking sightseeing buses while travelling because they allow me to see much of the city with guided commentary. The Shanghai Sightseeing Bus (located at the Pearl Tower) costs 90 RMB per person or about $18.00 CAD. The ticket includes a free cruise and ferry ride across the Bund River.

Bund Ferry

Travellers Tip: Check currency conversion rates to get the best exchange when you arrive. The currency in Shanghai is known as the Yaun or Rem-min-bi (abbreviation RMB or ¥).



Accommodations
It is always best to stay central to the downtown core but Hotel Dorsett is conveniently located directly above the Century Subway stop and across from a beautiful park. The staff speak English relatively well and they upgraded us to a chic loft featuring 2 bathrooms (one on either floor), floating glass walkway from the office to the bedroom, patio space and a trendy chandelier. I liked the modern design but this particular room may not be safe for young children or elderly travelers.



If you are staying close to Century Park or at Hotel Dorsett, there aren’t many restaurants within walking distance other than a delicious bakery that serves scrumptious cheese and walnut bread. Super Brand Mall might be your best bet for food and it is only 4 stops away by metro (Lujiazui Station).

Century Park

City God Temple

Travelers Tip: Many people in Shanghai do not speak fluent English (or any English at all) so for daily travel and ordering food, it is a good idea to download an offline translation app. The main language spoken is Mandarin.

Century Park

Financial District

City God Temple

Temple Artwork

Attractions & Sightseeing
One of my favorite things about Shanghai is the unique blend of architectural styles. You will notice a strong European influence as you stroll along Parisian-like streets but there are also futuristic towers like the iconic Oriental Pearl. The most outstanding structures (in my opinion) can be found around Yu Garden and Bazaar (the old town). The classic Chinese buildings are constructed with outstanding historical detail reminiscent of ancient times.


Yu Garden and Bazaar 
The Yu Garden Bazaar is a bustling village of maze-like streets, flocks of tourists, pointed roofs and local treasures. The scent of savory foods and sweet treats waft onto the street and you can haggle for souvenirs.


Oriental Pearl Tower

Travelers Tip: In April the weather in Shanghai was quite chilly so pack warm clothing if you are visiting in early spring, fall or winter.

Yu Garden Tea House

Nanjing Road Shopping District
Whether you are looking for high-end shops or budget-friendly deals, Nanjing Road offers many options. Wander into adjacent alleys and indoor malls, they usually have several floors of merchandise. The sales people on the street can spot a tourist a mile away and tend to be very pushy (some followed us for blocks trying to lure us into their shops). The best way to avoid being harassed is to completely ignore them. 


Culture Shock
I am going to discuss a subject that many travel blogs and guides rarely mention. Traveling to countries unlike your own may come with certain challenges so it is a good idea to be respectful and adhere to local customs. One aspect I found extremely exasperating was the tendency of the general public to shove, bump into you and elbow through without saying excuse me or sorry. No one seems to think twice about being physically intrusive or cutting lines and it wasn’t easy to tolerate. That being said, the Chinese government did publish a guide to teach its citizens how to “avoid being a terrible tourist” so the behavioral issues are acknowledged.

Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world but in Shanghai there isn’t much diversity unless you spot a few expats. It was quite evident that tourists stick out in a crowd but I wasn’t prepared for the incessant staring, gawking and pointing. The locals literally stopped in their tracks and turned around in the streets to get a good look. A few even asked to take photos with us. I think their unusual reaction was most likely fascination and curiosity rather than negativity. The attraction of travel is exploration and embracing other cultures so if you encounter any awkwardness my advice is - try not to let it bother you and go with the flow.

Yu Bazaar

Science and Technology Museum

The Bund at Night
One of the best ways to see the city is at night. Skyscrapers along the Bund light up the shore with cool graphics and sailboats decked out in colorful lights glide along the water.


People's Heroes Monument

Food
I consider myself to be somewhat of a foodie. I watch The Food Network, enjoy cooking and visit a lot of great restaurants while traveling but I am picky when it comes to meat. I don’t like seafood (including fish) and the only meat I do like is chicken breast (boneless and skinless with no fat). These restrictions didn’t leave me many options in China so I can’t really provide an insightful culinary perspective or food recommendations. The chicken I did consume (even at McDonalds) was chewy and fatty so I went out of my way to find Pizza Hut on Nanjing Road. If you are an adventurous eater, the soft meat-filled dumplings and fried crab on a stick seems popular.


Thankfully fruit was in abundance and this mango smoothie topped with chunks of ripe mango and whipped cream was divine!

Mr. Durian and Mango on Nanjing Road

Stay tuned for my Travel Guide on Singapore!
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