Monday, November 18, 2019

How to Clean and Reuse Candle Jars | Cozy Winter Scents and Simple DIY Home Accents

On cool fall days I love wrapping myself in a fluffy fleece blanket with a glass of wine and the ambiance of soft candlelight in the background. There is something enchanting about a warm, flickering glow and inviting scents.

For the fall/winter season Avon has created delectable fragrances like maple pumpkin pancakes, creamy vanilla frosting and ripe berries. When my husband and I have movie night at home, we use candles to create a cozy, romantic vibe. 


During the holiday season, candles are great for dinner parties and intimate gatherings with friends and family. They compliment the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and I love when the house smells like fresh baked cookies or cinnamon spice.

Another thing I like about Avon candles is the 3 wick design. The the wax melts evenly without leaving a well in the middle so there is less waste.

Unfortunately a lot recycled glass breaks before it reaches the sorting center and the shards cannot be reused. If my pretty candle jars end up in a landfill it would be a total waste so I've decided to re-purpose them for home decor and organization.

Freezing the jars for 24 hours to crack the wax did not work. It might depend on the type of candles you use but mine were still quite gummy. After some trial and error I finally found a quick and effective method.


Cleaning Directions

1. Fill a pot with just enough water to cover the level of leftover wax and bring to a boil. Turn off the stove and place the candle in the pot.

The labels and stickers on Avon candles are easy to peel off before heating the jar but if you are using another brand, the hot water should loosen the glue and wick plates. Don't let the wax seep into the pot or it may be difficult to clean.

2. Wait for the candle to melt completely. If there is a lot of wax leftover or if it is not melting fast enough, turn the stove to low heat.

3. Once the wax has liquefied, remove the jar (be careful not to burn yourself) and empty the liquid into a garbage bag lined with paper towel.The metal base of the wicks should be loose. If not, use a butter knife to dislodge them.

*DO NOT pour hot wax down the sink as it may harden and clog the drain. If necessary, dip a clean paper towel in the hot water you just used and wipe the sides of the jar so the wax does not solidify and become sticky. 

4. Immediately wash the jar with warm water, dish soap and baking soda to remove residue. Use an old kitchen sponge and make sure to soap and rinse thoroughly - about 4 to 5 times.

5. Candle fragrance is nearly impossible to get rid of but if you are using the jar for Q-Tips or beauty supplies, you may not want them to absorb the scent. Try filling the jar and lid with warm water, dish soap and 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda. Stir and let them soak for about 24 hours just to make sure most of the scent, leftover glue and wax is completely gone.

6. (Optional) the plain jars look great but you can personalize them to match your decor and style. I use scrapbook paper with labels and fun patterns. You can also print designs from the internet or use pretty ribbon and glitter.


These Avon jars are great for storing hair ties, bobby pins, candy, cotton balls, dog/cat treats, lipsticks, makeup brushes, single eye shadows, eyeliners, makeup sponges, loose change, pens, spices and so much more! Use them to make cute succulent terrariums or flower vases for your guestroom and vanity. The possibilities are endless.


Avon’s candles retail for $19.99 each and usually go on sale at the end of each season. Head to avon.ca to see this year's holiday collection.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Mary Kay Holiday Gift Guide 2019

This week a lot of people complained about the weather because winter hasn’t officially begun and we’re already shoveling snow. While everyone was shivering and miserable I was singing carols and resisting the urge to decorate the house. I’ve already planned a couple parties, finished my shopping and decided on a Christmas tree theme.

To help you get in the holiday spirit and find the perfect gifts, I’m sharing my favorite items from Mary Kay’s festive collection. This year’s line-up includes makeup, skincare and fragrances that everyone will enjoy.


First up is something I am super excited about – the 12 Days of Glam Advent Calendar ($124.99) filled with lipstick, eye color, makeup remover, translucent powder, hand cream, gloss, mascara and more! This is a great present for someone who has never experienced the brand and for all the beauty-lovers in your life.


Mary Kay’s Mint Bliss Energizing Lotion for Feet and Legs ($16.00) comes with a free pair of fuzzy socks that are perfect for cold nights. The non-greasy cream soothes tired muscles while moisturizing cracked heels and dry, sensitive skin. My grandma is going to love it!


The Mad About Masking Pod Gift Set ($30.00) is great for skincare fanatics, busy moms and travelers. It comes with 4 complexion renewing formulas that minimize pores, controls oil, energizes, balances and boosts radiance. Slip the cute box in a stocking or add it to a spa gift basket.


I’ve been using the TimeWise Moisture Renewing Gel Mask ($26.00) for years and now it’s time to share the magic with friends and family. The cool, refreshing formula plumps, hydrates, softens, smooths, calms and deeply nourishes parched, flaky skin that looks stressed and haggard. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines, roughness, wrinkles, acne and pores so you glow with confidence. I usually apply generous layers, leave it on for 20 minutes and wipe off the excess (no need to rinse). It can also be used as a revitalizing overnight treatment without rubbing off on your pillow. The new Mask Applicator ($15.00) compliments this treatment wonderfully because the silicone brush wastes less and spreads product evenly with no mess. Use it with clays, mud, gels and creams.


There is nothing better than pampering yourself at the end of a long, cold day and these limited-edition products are perfect post-shower treats. The Be-Delighted Body Mousse ($18.00) is rich, indulgent and moisturizing with a wonderful fragrance. Apply it on slightly damp skin for a velvety finish.


The Cityscape Silkening Dry Oil ($24.00) replenishes, hydrates and softens with no greasy residue. Use it on your arms, legs and décolleté for a luxurious silky sheen and elegant scent.

If you’re looking for gorgeous gifts for your girlfriends, secret Santa or co-workers, the Limited-edition Ultra Stay Lip Lacquer Kits ($47.00) are sure to be a hit. Each box comes with a highly pigmented liquid lipstick, a sealer to lock in the color and an eraser to remove it. 


The shade selection includes three universal hues: plum, cherry and rose in semi-matte, lightweight finishes with a hint of moisture. Even without the sealer, these vivid pigments last for hours without smudging, fading or transferring.


For the self-proclaimed perfume connoisseurs on your list, Mary Kay has created 3 Limited-Edition Fragrance Travel Sprays ($25.00 each) that are slim enough to slip in a clutch, carry-on or stocking.

The range includes:
~ Live Fearlessly – bold and invigorating with notes of energizing ginger, rose and warm tonka bean.
~ Forever Diamonds – a soft, powdery aroma infused with sparkling peach, jasmine, apricot, creamy vanilla and white amber.
~ Cityscape – bright and refreshing, inspired by the world’s most glamorous cities.


For those traveling to various family gatherings this holiday, Mary Kay’s Discover What You Love Roll-Up Makeup Bag is a must! This stylish organizer holds a lot of toiletries and comes in handy on vacation.


Unlike other roll-ups this one has four clear zippered compartments that extend into triangles and form a cute beauty caddy with a sturdy handle. The velcro pouches are removable for quick access and easy cleaning.


If you have limited space in your bedroom, bathroom, dorm room or hotel suite, hang the bag on the back of a door or in closet to store your everyday items without cluttering your vanity or dresser. I have one at the back of my bedroom door filled with the skincare I am currently using.


These products can be found online at marykay.ca and through independent consultants.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Kiehl's Skincare Essentials

When it comes to skincare Kiehl's caters to everyone and they use high quality ingredients that produce visible results. Their Calendula Cleanser, Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Ultra Facial Cream are a few of my favorites, so today I’m featuring a new list of essentials that work wonders.


If winter is already wreaking havoc on your skin, the Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask ($56.00) will heal, soothe and soften in just one treatment. The rich formula is infused with avocado oil and extract so it looks and feels authentic.

Apply a generous amount and leave it on for 15 - 20 minutes so the omega oils, fatty acids and vitamins can deeply moisturize, replenish and strengthen. The consistency can take some getting used to but keep in mind that real avocado is a bit clumpy and thick. This is what makes the mask so creamy, luscious and nutritious. You don’t have to apply it perfectly, just dig some out of the jar and slather it on like a paste. You can also work it between your fingertips until it smooths out.


Avocado is also known to treat eczema, psoriasis, acne, inflammation, sunburn, UV damage, hyperpigmentation, scarring and dark spots. I am always amazed at how bright, even and clear my skin looks after each application.

Occasionally I experience mild hormonal acne that manifests as flat red spots. This type of blemish is difficult to treat and can take weeks to fade. Thankfully I found Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Spot Solution ($36.00) – a potent sulphur formula that usually works within 2-4 days. I only use it at night but you can apply it up to 3 times a day to shrink, fade, and dry out pesky zits. For stubborn acne it might take a bit longer but the results are fantastic.


Dry lips tend to go hand-in-hand with winter so it’s a good time to stock-up on Butter Lip Treatments ($26.00 ea) infused with coconut oil, lemon butter and antioxidants. This creamy, revitalizing balm moisturizes, softens and alleviates chapped skin all day. The SPF 25 prevents lips from burning and discoloring in the sun which is great for summer and beach vacations. Unfortunately the formula has a short shelf-life (the expiry date is clearly marked on each tube) so you must use it within 5-6 months.


The Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream ($97.00) is like a refreshing drink for parched skin. The gel contains hundreds of micronized calendula flower petals that boost radiance, reduce redness, and smooths fine lines. You will notice that it absorbs very quickly and feels like a silky, lightweight serum with no residue or greasiness. It also layers well under other skincare (similar to a booster) and improves their effectiveness to enhance your glow.


There aren’t many sunscreens I like but Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50 ($77.00) is one of the best! Whether you’re heading to a sunny destination or you just need a good daily sunscreen, this formula is amazing! The lightweight, liquidy milk absorbs well with no greasiness, foul odor or white chalky film and it provides long-lasting UVA/UVB protection against sun damage, pollution and free radicals.

A little goes a long way and the matte finish works well under makeup without irritating or clogging pores. To balance dry skin apply the sunscreen over moisturizer and for flawless foundation mix some into your primer.


These products are available at Kiehl’s stores across Canada and at kiehl’s.ca

Friday, November 8, 2019

YSL Beauty | The Slim Sheer Matte Lipstick Review

Yesterday Toronto experienced its first snowfall of the season and I attended my first Christmas event. It was the perfect opportunity to test YSL's Slim Sheer Matte Lipstick ($50.00) infused with jojoba oil and fruit extracts. To complete my festive look I also used the new YSL face primer, mascara and liquid liner with a touch of deep emerald eye shadow.


The slim, elegant tube fit perfectly in my evening bag and the gorgeous shades are appropriate for work, date night, parties and everything in-between.

These lipsticks are fabulous for winter because the rich, balm-like texture clings to skin for hours of wear while moist layers of supple color deeply hydrates to prevent chapping and dryness. You’ll love the lush, comfortable formula. It applies consistently with gradual fade and after the pigment wears away, my lips still feel smooth, nourished and healthy.


The lightweight, feather-proof finish is semi-matte with a hint of shine. Even though the swatches online appear opaque, don’t expect a lot of coverage. The effect is soft and pouty – like a revitalizing lip treatment with a sheer tint that softens and heals.

Swatches left to right: 109 (bright pink), 111 (orange), 112 (red with neutral undertones), 101 (true red)

I always wear deep black liner to accentuate, lift, and widens my eyes. The YSL Couture Eyeliner ($46.00) has an ultra thin tip and gorgeous satin finish that lasts all day with no smudging or running. I can draw a vivid line in one simple stroke and the felt applicator is easy to use.


The Volupte Plump-In-Color Lipstick ($49.00) drenches your pout in luminous shine with a pop of sheer color. It also protects, moisturizes and softens with a nutritious blend of coconut, pomegranate oil and peppermint.

The tubes are stylish, the scent is delectable and I love the little heart design!

For a radiant glow, the Touche Eclat Blur Primer ($60.00) is infused with gold flakes that diffuse light. The particles disperse into a few glittery flecks and the velvety gel minimizes pores, smooths skin texture, blurs lines and helps foundation last longer. It also makes my skin look and feel flawless with no greasiness or shine.


The Volume Effect Faux Cils Mascara ($41.00) is one of the best I’ve used from YSL. The dense brush elongates, volumizes and thickens in 2-3 coats for a false-lash effect with minimal clumping. I usually layer it with another mascara for more drama but I love the way it defines every hair.


YSL Beauty is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Bay, Sears, Sephora and yslbeauty.ca

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Glow Recipe Skincare Review | The Power of Fruit Extracts

I love discovering new beauty brands and as my family tries to live a healthier lifestyle, high quality skincare has become an essential part of our daily routine.

Recently I’ve been testing a few core products from Glow Recipe and my skin absolutely loves them! The company only uses the best fruit extracts and their entire collection is clean, cruelty-free, and paraben-free with no phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil or artificial colorants.


The main ingredients are watermelon, blueberry, pineapple and avocado – a nourishing cocktail of vitamins, antioxidants and natural humectants that enhance your glow like no other.

Health Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon is 92% water and jam-packed with vitamins A, B6, C and E, plumping amino acids, antioxidants and lycopene. These components reduce inflammation, fight free radicals and promote collagen development. Watermelon is also known to reduce pore size, strengthen elastin, act as a natural toner, control oil production, prevent acne and reverse phtotoaging caused by UV damage, pollution and toxins.

The Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer ($28.00) is infused with amino-acids, hyaluronic acid, peony and jasmine. The cool gel instantly hydrates dry, sensitive skin while soothing botanical extracts repair cells. My face feels plump, soft and replenished with no residue so I can use it morning and night.


Before bed I layer the Pink Juice with the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($29.00) to boost radiance, refine pores and lock-in moisture. The luxurious, bouncy gel smells exactly like sweet watermelon and as it melts in overnight, my complexion begins to look clear, smooth and bright. The pore refining AHA’s work wonders as you sleep - gently exfoliating to help you shed rough, flaky patches and correct blemishes.

Health Benefits of Avocado
If you haven’t incorporated avocado in your beauty regime you are seriously missing out. I eat avocado toast almost every morning for heart health and I use it on my hair and skin. This fruit is freaking amazing! The natural oils, omega fatty acids and vitamins deeply penetrate to heal dryness, irritation, eczema, psoriasis, acne, inflammation, sunburn, UV damage and signs of aging. It is also known to help with hyperpigmentation, scarring and dark spots so skin appears even and youthful.

The Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask ($66.00) actually looks like crushed avocado with a rich, creamy texture. The non-greasy, gentle formula smooths, plumps, softens, refines, fights environmental aggressors, hydrates and improves elasticity so skin looks tight, firm and lifted. Retinol increases cell turnover, stimulates collagen, fades discoloration and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles.


Use it for a quick 20 minute wash-off flash facial or as an overnight recovery treatment. I love how supply, dewy and renewed my skin looks in the morning. This little green jar has become a winter essential!


If you like the avocado face mask you should also try the Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask enriched with coffeeberry and niacinamide to brighten dark circles, fight fine lines and de-puff bags. The lush cream hydrates and repairs all night so you look well rested and refreshed.


We all know that blueberries are high in antioxidants with amazing anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits but they also ward off sun damage and age spots.

The Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($13.50) lathers into a milky, bubbly foam that rinses away makeup, oil, dirt impurities and sweat without drying or stripping skin. It also helps your other products work more efficiently and when used daily it combats blemishes.


Glow Recipe is available Sephora Canada

Monday, November 4, 2019

Shoppers Drug Mart Best of Beauty: Fall & Winter 2019

Every season Shoppers Drug Mart releases a list of their latest and greatest beauty products and this year it's all about skincare!


The Life Brand Moisturizing Hydrogel Lip Mask ($4.99) couldn’t have come at a better time. Everyone in my family is complaining about dry, chapped lips and slathering on extra balm is not always enough.

This lush formula is infused with vitamin E, collagen and berry extracts to nourish, soften and rejuvenate your pout. I definitely need to stock-up for the holiday season.


While your lips are bathing in vitamin serum, try the Oh K! Chok Chok Smoothing Under Eye Mask ($5.99). These refreshing gel patches contain vitamin C and chamomile to soothe and brighten tired peepers. They are also vegan and cruelty free!

The first thing I do when I get home is remove my makeup, take a hot shower and dive right into my skincare routine. No matter how tired you are there is no excuse to sleep in foundation.

To make the task easier, Quo Facial Wipes ($10.00) are always readily available on my bathroom counter. The cucumber and micellar formulas remove impurities, excess oil and makeup without irritating eyes or sensitive skin and the cloths are thick, durable and moist.


It is always beneficial to use a multi-step cleansing method and the Tea Tree Foaming Face Wash ($9.99) eliminates dirt, sebum and pollutants while preventing and treating breakouts. The formula is mild enough for daily use and leaves skin feeling fresh and revitalized.


To exfoliate while you cleanse, try the Quo Facial Sponge ($8.00) shaped like a rose. It gently buffs away rough skin and abolishes lingering making for a supple finish. The little carrying case is super cute! I’ll probably use it as a beauty blender travel pouch because the mesh allows sponges to air dry.

For advanced skin resurfacing try the No7 Protect and Perfect Serum Activating Pads ($26.00) enriched with 10% glycolic glow complex containing AHA and PHA to remove dead cells. If you are a bit sensitive to exfoliation like I am, refrain from using the pads with scrubs, pore purifying clay masks, cleansing brushes, abrasive treatments and even the Quo Facial Sponge until you know how your skin reacts. The serum is formulated to promote a clear, youthful glow while smoothing lines and wrinkles.


I’ve read rave reviews about the Catrice Primers ($9.99 ea) and now I know what all the hype is about. These silky bases are a must for flawless makeup.

Goodbye Pores provides a lovely soft-focus effect. The lightweight, silky cream refines pores, blurs wrinkles and smooths to perfection. It also prevents transfer and prolongs wear.


Keep Me Matte is a moisturizing base that minimizes unwanted shine and controls oil for a fresh-faced effect. It does not seem to blur roughness and skin texture as well as Goodbye Pores but it does improve the look of foundation.

The Quo Prep and Prime Facial Brush ($20.00) is designed to apply primer, serum, moisturizer sunscreen, and oils more efficiently. I never considered using a brush to apply these products but I absolutely love it! The bristles are soft and flexible so you can buff everything in for better absorption.

Nude By Nature’s Satin Liquid Lipstick ($23.00) is highly pigmented, velvety and full-coverage. The creamy formula contains sweet almond oil, antioxidants, shea butter, plum and desert lime to keep lips soft and healthy. I love the satin-matte finish and gorgeous shade selection.


Visit your nearest Shoppers location for more great beauty trends.

Friday, November 1, 2019

NYX Sweet Cheeks Creamy Powder Blush Review | Fall 2019 Beauty Trends

I have a lot of blush in my vanity drawers but I’m getting bored of pink and dusty rose. It seems like every brand has the same range of shades and this fall I want something different.

On my quest to find sultry hues that define and enhance, I came across the Sweet Cheeks Collection by NYX. The plum, burgundy and golden undertones are deep and silky for effortless blending and sculpting. If you want to get really creative, the bright yellow and taupe-grey are quite eccentric.


Although the product name indicates a “creamy” texture, the powder is lightweight and satiny with smooth, buildable coverage. It does not settle into lines or accentuate dryness and depending on the blush you choose, the color can appear quite natural when faded just right.

The finishes range from soft matte to radiant shimmer with enough color payoff to double as eye shadow. The glow formula has built-in highlighter that is very saturated. Don’t use too much or it might look like fallout.

Of course anyone can wear these shades but they look particularly lovely on medium, deep, olive and tan complexions. The pigment lasts all day (even on oily skin) and you can mix and match to create your own gorgeous hues.

Summer Breeze (on the top) is a beautiful iridescent coral that instantly brightens and illuminates with a touch of gold. The other orange is the matte version of Summer Breeze but in person it looks more like a neutral mix of coral and brown. Risky Business is a frosty red-pink that can be swept on with a fan brush for a pop of holiday glam.


The shimmery garnet in the middle (Red Riot) is saturated and dramatic while the matte version (to the left) is a rich burgundy that has become my favorite autumn blush. Totally Chill looks orange under my studio lights but it has neutral, mauve and brown undertones.



I prefer the matte finish because it looks more like blush and less like eye shadow but they both work wonders on dull skin. The Compacts retail for $10.00 each and NYX is available at drugstores nationwide.
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