Friday, November 6, 2020

Urban Decay Stoned Vibes Eye Shadow Palette | Review and Swatches

Just in time for the holiday season Urban Decay has released a glamorous new palette inspired by vibrant, glittering gemstones.
The packaging has a multi-colored jewel motif and inside there are 4 mattes and 8 mood-shifting, marbleized, prismatic shimmers infused with genuine tourmaline to block bad energy and promote good vibes. 
These vegan shadows have a bold, knock-out chrome finish that is festive and fun. The speckled metallic flecks embedded within the pigments give each shade a unique multidimensional effect. 

Overall the color payoff is prominent and the texture is smooth, dense and velvety. The shades with the best saturation are: Jade, Opal Aura, Tiger’s Eye, Vibes, Ojo and Bloodstone. The only color that doesn’t make the cut is Raw Energy. It looks like a deep, radiant purple but shows up as a sheer lavender-grey.
When I first opened this palette I knew there would be a bit of fallout. Some shades are a little messier than others but it shouldn’t be a problem if you use a good primer (glitter or cream) and apply it immediately before the shadow (while the base is still tacky). If you utilize this method, the shimmer should stay in place with minimal lid to crease transfer. 

The cruelty-free double-ended brush is good quality. Spritz the flat end with UD All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray and swipe on in a firm, fluid motion. The fluffy end blends crease colors seamlessly.
If you like beautiful, brilliant, shadows that make your eyes pop, this palette is a great addition to your collection.
Urban Decay is available online at urbandecay.ca, free-standing stores, Sephora and Ulta Beauty.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Avon Cashmere Lip Cream | Review and Swatches

This year has been difficult for everyone but pretty new makeup can brighten the dreariest days. Getting ready (even if you have nowhere to go) and putting on a bold lipstick to accentuate your beauty can be very uplifting. 

The newest products in my makeup bag are the stunning Avon Lip Creams ($32.00 ea). There are 9 shades and each color is available in matte and satin finishes.
I love the formula! It is lightweight, comfortable, creamy and luxurious – everything you’d want in a good lipstick. 

The matte lipsticks come in slender tubes with a round application surface and the pigment is infused with antioxidants, vitamin C and E, shea butter, avocado and coconut oil to keep lips smooth, soft and supple. It glides on buttery, saturated and vibrant with a bold opaque finish.

The satin lipsticks retail for the same price and have a traditional shape. They are enriched with the same hydrating blend of vitamins, butters and oils but the finish has a hint of shine to make lips appear juicy, plump and healthy.
I didn’t photograph every shade because some of the nudes (Nude Beige and Nude Blush) are flesh tone and remind me of concealer. I prefer nudes with a deep rose or mauve tint. 

My favorite shades (from left to right) are: True Red, Rich Berry, Soft Crimson and Dark Cherry. These hues are highly pigmented and super sexy!
I swatched the satins and mattes of the same shade side-by-side so you can see the difference between the finishes. If you’re on the hunt for a gorgeous fall or holiday lipstick I highly recommend Rich Berry and Soft Crimson – they look amazing on all complexions.
The lipsticks are available online at avon.ca

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Quo Cosmetics Relaunch - NEW Beauty Products

Shoppers Drug Mart carries many great brands including their own – Quo Cosmetics. Recently they’ve updated the line with fun packaging and playful colors. 

The new collection will definitely appeal to younger consumers who enjoy sparkly lip gloss and bright blue eyeliner. It is trendy, simple and cute.
Let’s talk lip products – The Rouge a Levres Mini Lipsticks are my favorite when it comes to color and consistency. They glide on vibrant and buttery with a hydrating texture. 

The Sheer Lip Paints (bottom left in the photo below) are packaged in cute little jars and the lightweight, non-greasy, oil-based formula is shiny and comfortable. I don’t think they contain nourishing butters or extracts but they do keep my lips soft and smooth.
I’m not a fan of chunky sparkles on my lips but teens will probably love the sheer shimmery gloss. I'm thinking stocking stuffers...

To enhance your complexion, Quo has created new face products. The Featherlight Cream Blush is packaged in small squeeze tubes and there are 3 shades – nude, pink and coral. The sheer finish provides a natural rosy flush and blends well despite the glossy consistency. I just wish there were some deeper hues – something a little less pink and a little more mauve, orange or burgundy. 

The Blush, Bronzing Powder and Golden Skin Perfector (in the photo below) might be better suited for fair complexions as they tend to disappear on my skin tone. The highlighter is more silver than gold.
For a radiant complexion I’ve been testing the Golden Glow Primer under foundation. It functions as a shimmery skin luminizer that can also be worn alone. Unfortunately this color is very light with a white/silvery base so it doesn’t compliment my skin. 

I love Quo’s Makeup Sponge! The quality is good and it blends foundation seamlessly. The acorn shape is great for patting on product and getting into hard to reach areas. I also like that it doesn’t tear easily and lasts a long time. 

There are 2 new nail polish formulas – Flash Dry (perfect when you’re short on time) and Breathable Color + Treatment (for weak, brittle nails).
The deep red (Mary Merlot) is a fabulous fall color (I've already used it twice) and the matte top coat creates a sexy shine-free finish that lasts a few days longer than glossy top coats (I’m kind of obsessed). I’m not a fan of the Mellow Yellow color but I love that it dries quickly. 

Pump Up The Volume Mascara comes in a couple shades with a big brush. The formula is a tad dry at first (you may have to pump the wand a few times) but it did add some length and thickness to my lashes.
We all need a little self-care during these difficult times and this cute eye gel mask is great for a relaxing spa day at home. Just pop the little donuts in the fridge to soothe tired, puffy eyes and dissolve the salt bomb in warm water to make bath time more enjoyable.
These products and more are now available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Algonquin Park Travel Guide

The pandemic may have halted international leisure travel but it has also inspired me to explore more of Ontario and appreciate nature on a deeper level. This year I’ve embarked on more road trips than ever before and I’ve discovered the great Canadian wilderness.
Algonquin Provincial Park has been on my bucket list for years and although it is only 4 hours from the GTA, I’ve delayed the trip to visit other countries. This fall I finally booked a hotel and finalized my plans but after a thorough internet search, I couldn’t find much information about the region.

If you’re considering a fall trip to Algonquin, this guide will help you discover the best sights and stops along the way.
The Best Time to Visit
Algonquin is beautiful year round but peak seasons for tourism is summer (when the forest is warm and green) and autumn when the leaves have changed color. Although there is no wrong time to visit, you might want to avoid the fall-winter transitional period – when the leaves have fallen, the trees are bare and the forest looks a bit bleak. In the winter, after a fresh snowfall the park is peaceful and beautiful.

To enjoy the fall colors at their peak, it is best to visit early to mid September. We were there in the second week of October and most of the trees in Algonquin had already shed their leaves. To see the burnt orange and bright yellow you may have to hike a little deeper into the woods.
Don't be discouraged if you arrive late in the season. There are many other places to see the fall colors. In mid-October the foliage becomes sparse after you pass Dwight Bay Road on Highway 60 (just before you reach Algonquin). The trees south of this point are still bursting with color. This is because Algonquin Park is further north and the vegetation is more susceptible to cold weather and early winter conditions (the leaves shed faster in the park).

The Best Place to See Fall Colors in October

For the best fall foliage in early to mid-October, head to Orillia, Muskoka and Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville.

Things to Bring for a Day Trip/Weekend Getaway

Autumn in Algonquin can be cold and damp so check the forecast in advance and prepare for the weather.

Road Trip Checklist:

-Jacket, warm clothing, scarf and extra socks. (When hiking, it is best to wear long sleeve tops and pants to shield from mud, tics and poison ivy).

 -Rain gear/umbrella (if necessary).

-Hiking/waterproof shoes or boots (the ground can be quite wet).

-Park map and compass if you plan to hike off trail.

-Cooler with drinks, food, snacks and lots of water. (For your safety, make sure to dispose of garbage in bear proof bins located throughout the park).

-Bug Spray

-Cell Phone (make sure you have reception).

-Bear repellent (Algonquin is black bear territory. Also be on the lookout for wolves and moose which can be aggressive).

-Backpack (for weight distribution and hands-free hiking).

-Sunscreen

-Sunglasses

-Camping + fishing gear (if you aren't staying at a hotel). I prefer luxury accommodations so I’ll leave this category to more experienced campers.

-Canoe and life jackets (if you plan to make use of the many lakes). Canoe rentals are also available (check with visitor information).

-Beach/swimming gear (if you visit during the summer).


Getting There

The drive to Algonquin along highway 11 towards Muskoka is beautiful! Orillia is especially vivid because the road is lined with colorful trees as far as the eye can see.

**Travel tip: When you reach Muskoka keep an eye out for the Visitor Information Center on the right side of the highway. It is a great place to get free maps and ask questions about points of interest.

Stops to Make Along the Way

Before you reach Algonquin Park there are many places to stop and explore.

A few of my favorites are:

*Gravenhurst and Muskoka Wharf. There is a farmers market, picturesque boardwalk, lakeside resorts and a few restaurants. Steam ships also depart from the dock (tour schedule is available at the visitor center).

*Deerhurst Resort and Golf Course (great place to snap a few photos)

*Bracebridge

*Huntsville

Places to Stay

There are several towns surrounding Algonquin and the park itself has a few lodge-style accommodations, cabins and campgrounds.

**Travel Tip: read reviews and choose a hotel based on budget, comfort, location and the experience you wish to have. Always book well in advanced during peak seasons.

Lodges and log cabins aren’t really my style so we booked a king size room at the Holiday Inn Hunstville based on reviews and ranking on Expedia. It was clean, comfortable and located close to the old town.

Keep in mind that remote accommodations near or inside of the park are surrounded by forest and at night it is pitch dark. In the evening, there isn’t much to do in these areas, dining options are limited and it is not safe to wander off into the wilderness.

Huntsville is approximately 34 - 40 mins from Algonquin (not a not a big deal if you have a car) and the cute little town has a variety of shops and restaurants.

I highly recommend Belly Artisan Ice Cream. Their delicious, non-GMO natural flavors made in house with no artificial colors. They also offer vegan and nut-free desserts.

A few of their unique flavors include: basil lemon, blackberry earl grey, buttertart, carrot cake, chocolate dipped strawberry (my personal fave), cinnamon bun, melon with prosecco, maple mocha, rhubarb ginger, scotch whiskey with smoked almonds and caramel (another one of my favorites), sticky mango rice, wild blueberry with lavender and more.
For more info visit their website at bellyicecream.ca

Other areas to stay near the park include:

-Dwight
-Oxtongue Lake
-Lake of Bays
-Whitney
-Dorset

Visiting Algonquin Park

We entered at the west end of the park. Day passes can be purchased at the visitor center (located at both entrances) for $18 per car. It must be displayed on the dashboard at all times.

**Travel tip: Make sure to grab a free map at the visitor center to see all the points of interest and decide which stops to make along highway 60. The map also lists all the trails, how long the hike will take and level of difficulty.

~Turn your car radio to channel 102.7 for more park information.

Best Places to Stop in Algonquin Park:

-Whiskey Rapids
-Tea Lake
-Hardwood Lookout
-Canoe Lake
-Mizzy Lake
-Peck Lake
-Mew Lake
-Bat Lake
-Lake of Two Rivers
-East Lake Trail and Lookout
-Rock Lake

**Travel tip: be EXTRA vigilant when hiking trails through black bear country in Algonquin Park. During autumn the bears prepare for hibernation and moose may be aggressive during mating season. Remember to keep a safe distance, have bear spray ready and do not approach wild animals.

Arrowhead Provincial Park
If you arrive late in the fall season and miss the colors in Algonquin Park, head to Arrowhead Park instead. (Park day pass is $15.50 per car).
In the winter park officials cover the trails in ice so you can skate through the forest at night! If you visit Algonquin Arrowhead Park is not to be missed!
Alternative Fall Road Trip
If you don’t feel like driving 4 hours to Algonquin from the GTA, one of my favorite places to see the fall colors is Caledon Ontario.

Head north on Highway 10 and turn left onto Forks of the Credit Rd. The winding hilly lanes and thick tree line along the Bruce Peninsula is perfect for fall photography.
**Travel tip: Only stop in areas where there is enough room to pull over on the shoulder. Avoid stopping in front of houses, gates or private property. Residents in the area have complained about an increased number of tourists stopping along the road.

Drive to Bell Fountain. My family has been picnicking in this park since I was a kid and it is still gorgeous! There are nature trails along the river, lakes and a suspension bridge over an impressive waterfall.
I  hope you enjoyed my fall foliage photography. 
Follow me on Instagram @DiaryofaTrendaholic 

Happy travels. Stay safe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum (NEW Formula)

Estee Lauder's bestselling Night Repair Serum ($105.00) has been at the forefront of many people’s beauty routine for years (including mine) and worldwide it is renowned for strengthening and revitalizing skin overnight.

Recently the brand has revolutionized the formula with Chronolux Power Signal Technology which allows the serum to penetrate faster, increase collagen renewal, smooth, firm, protect and reduce signs of aging caused by environmental assaults.


Night Repair is known to work wonders on wrinkles but since I don’t have any lines, I use the serum to moisturize, renew and boost radiance. The new formula is also enriched with 8-hour anti-oxidant power and a 72-hour hydration complex derived from hyaluronic acid. It strengthens the skin’s barrier in just 4 hours while firming, plumping and reducing the look of pores.

As you sleep the active ingredients optimize skin’s natural regeneration process so you awake with a healthy, revitalized complexion. I love how dewy and fresh my face looks in the morning - like I just got back from a high-end spa!

I like this serum so much that I have gifted several bottles to family and friends and they’ve all become instant fans.

If you’re looking for a fabulous new serum to get you through winter, treat yourself to Advanced Night Repair and rejuvenate your skin.

Estee Lauder is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale, Sephora and Department stores nationwide including The Bay, Nordstrom and Saks. You can also order at esteelauder.ca

Thursday, October 8, 2020

How to Plan a Fun Night at the Drive-In Theatre

I love going to the movies for date night but during the pandemic, most of us are hesitant to sit in a theater near strangers. Life as we know it may have changed but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy yourself safely.

A great alternative is the drive-in theater. The screen may not be 4K or IMAX but it can be a lot of fun on a cool fall evening.

If you’ve never been to the drive-in before or you simply need some tips on how to prepare, I’ve put together a list to help make your experience more enjoyable.


1. Purchase tickets online (if possible). Spots may be limited (especially due to COVID) and many theaters require you to reserve a space before arrival.

2. Clean the car to make it as comfortable as possible. Don’t forget the windshield (inside and out) so you have a clear view.

3. Wear comfy clothes and shoes that slip off easily. Warm pyjamas, sweatpants, fuzzy socks and over-sized hoodies are totally acceptable when you’ll be curled up in your car all night. Avoid anything constricting and don’t forget a light jacket or sweater in case it gets chilly.

Don’t bothering wearing makeup. It will be much easier to crawl into bed later when you don’t have to go through an entire night time routine (trust me).

4. Pack lots of snacks. I know it’s frowned upon to sneak food into the drive-in because you are expected to purchase stuff at the concession but it is best to avoid crowds and lines whenever possible. Many people are still uncomfortable eating out which is totally understandable. Most theaters don’t check and if you are watching a double feature, munchies are a must.


Food at the drive-in is usually not great so I bring something easy to eat like pizza or burrito bowls. I transport food and drinks in insulated bags that keep them hot or cool. I also pack my favorite popcorn and candy. Please remember that in Ontario alcoholic beverages are not permitted.

5. Bring blankets and pillows to create the ultimate movie experience when you kick-back and recline your seat.


6. When attending with a small group of friends or family, make sure the car can accommodate everyone. Sitting in the back seat may obstruct your view.

You’ll need a vehicle with a large trunk that opens wide, like a truck, van or SUV. You can easily create a comfy little bed with pillows and blankets. If not, some people might have to sit outside so bring folding chairs and be mindful of the weather.

7. Arrive early if you want a parking spot with a good view.

8. Bring a mosquito fan or bug spray. Most drive-ins are located outside of the city where it is dark enough to screen a film. These areas are often remote and during warm summer nights mosquitoes and other bugs may enter your car. It never hurts to be prepared.

9. Use the restroom before leaving home. I know this sounds a bit parental but we are dealing with a pandemic. If you need to visit the concession or facilities, don’t forget your face mask!

10. Make sure you know how to turn off the headlights and car while the radio remains on. You’d be surprised how many people have issues with this.

Lay back, get comfy and enjoy the show.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Zero Skincare Review | Plant-Based, Vegan and 100% Natural

Since the weather is getting cooler and winter is just around the corner, it is a good time to discuss moisturizing skincare and nourishing ingredients.

Shoppers Drug Mart is a great place to shop because they always have the latest beauty trends including popular brands from the UK.

Recently they introduced Canadian consumers to Zero Skincare – a collection that is 100% natural, vegan, plant-based and of course, cruelty- free with sustainable packaging.


The Face Wash ($26.99) is formulated with a unique blend of coconut oil, almond oil, and sacha inchi oil to refresh and cleanse while removing makeup, excess oil and pollutants. When mixed with water, the gel turns into a milky emulsion but does not lather or produce suds. The scent is very mild and although I still have to use makeup wipes, the cleanser rinses away foundation residue and purifies pores.


The Face Scrub ($26.99) is infused with finely ground apricot seeds to smooth, polish and remove dead skin cells, impurities and pore-clogging debris. I like that the granules are large enough to buff and resurface without causing irritation. This product is a fantastic treatment for dry, dull skin.

I love the whipped, velvety texture of the Day Cream ($34.99). It melts in without greasiness and smells wonderful! The lightweight formula is enriched with shea butter, coconut oil and sweet almond oil to hydrate, soften, revitalize and plump. Wear it under makeup to create a smooth, even base.


The Night Cream ($34.99) is rich and deeply moisturizing – perfect for dry skin that needs a rejuvenating boost of antioxidants. It contains green tea, shea butter and silky oils to leave you looking radiant and rested. Although the texture is thick, the cream spreads and absorbs quickly with no heavy residue.

To avoid looking tired and overworked, try the Zero Eye Cream ($29.99) formulated with powerful healing properties and emollients that revitalize and refresh delicate skin. It does not fade dark circles but it may improve discoloration and plump sunken areas.


You’ll love the Zero Hand & Nail Cream ($19.99) because the lush texture softens dry, rough, ashy skin and greatly improves the look of brittle nails and cuticles. The effects are long-lasting and the ingredients counteract frequent hand washing and sanitizer.

Zero Skincare is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, beauty.shoppersdrugmart.ca and beautybyzero.com.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Kabob Guys Afghan Grill

If you’ve seen my Instagram feed you know that I feature fabulous restaurants all over the Greater Toronto Area including a wide variety of international cuisine and bakeries.

When I’m in the mood for tasty grilled meat, delicious basmati rice and a crispy side-salad, I usually order take-out from an Afghan restaurant.

Kebab Dinners with Mango Shake and Firnee

Kebab Guys has two locations – 4045 Sheppard Ave East Toronto and 7460 Airport Road in my hometown of Mississauga. They serve fresh, authentic Afghan food in addition to a few Indian-inspired dishes.

These meals are great for busy people who want to substitute fatty fast-food with healthier alternatives. The meals are low-fat, high in protein and never greasy.  

Grilled Chicken Kebab Dinner

Choose from a scrumptious selection of dinners including – tandoori chicken, grilled beef kebabs, chapli kebab, bolani (bread stuffed with potato and spices), wraps and milkshakes.

Each dish comes with rice or fries, freshly baked bread, salad with dressing and spicy dipping sauce. I highly recommend the sweet mango smoothie (similar to mango lassi) and make sure to save room for dessert. The pistachio firnee (milk pudding flavored with cardamom and rose water) is yummy!

Although the menu is simple, the food is good and the portions are adequate.

Grilled Beef Kebab Dinner

Check out their Instagram feed at - @kabob.guys

Friday, September 18, 2020

Enter to WIN the Ultimate Movie Night Snack Platter ($175 Value)

Hi everyone,
I've teamed up with Sugar Mommy Chocolates to give away an amazing Movie Night Platter on Instagram.

One of my favorite things to do on a cool fall evening is invite some friends over for movie night and you can’t have a great get-together without tasty snacks.

This massive platter from Sugar Mommy Chocolates is perfect for any occasion. 


The company has over 30 years of chocolate making experience so their decadent dipped treats are exceptional quality.

They also specialize in decorative arrangements and unique recipes that are perfect for corporate gifts, special occasions, parties and catered events. (Customized themes with nut-free options available). Visit their website at: sugarmommy.ca

Want to WIN this amazing platter loaded with dipped Oreos, premium chocolate, coated clusters, gourmet popcorn, candy and more! (prize value $175)

To Enter: 

*Click the link to my Instagram post below
https://www.instagram.com/p/CFImsidpdKm/?igshid=1c7792fz42ybm

or follow me on IG at @DiaryofaTrendaholic

*Follow the entry instructions under the photo.

Giveaway is open to residents of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA only) from September 14, 2020 to September 28, 2020 11:59 pm EST.


Good luck!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Armani Ecstasy Mirror Lip Lacquer | Review and Swatches

Fall beauty trends have begun and I’ve already found lipstick that I plan to wear all season!

Introducing the NEW Armani Ecstasy Mirror Lip Lacquer ($49) – a high-shine, vivid pigment that delivers intense color in just one stroke.


There are 10 sultry shades that range from neutral, deep and sexy red. The colors I received are rich, creamy, comfortable and flattering. They glide on effortlessly and never feather or bleed.

The glistening wet effect makes lips appear plump, juicy and pouty with a moist, hydrating formula that prevents dryness and chapping.

The finish reminds me of high-fashion runway makeup and the tacky, non-sticky texture allows the the lacquer to last for hours!



These beauties will look great with your fall wardrobe. Armani Beauty is available at Sephora, department store counters and armani-beauty.ca
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