Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Reflections: Happy New Year!

2014 is here! For many of us a new year signifies a fresh start, a time to set new goals (whether we follow through with them or not), to start off on a positive note and be open to new prospects and opportunities. 

When I think of New Year's Eve I think of sparkles, glitter and glam. I think of hoards of people heading off to big parties decked out in high heels and sequined dresses, ready to ring in the new year with the popping of champagne bottles. 
Photos from Pinterest

Sometimes I go out for New Year's Eve, purchasing over priced event tickets and dancing into the night while clutching my drink of choice. Other times I stay at home with my family, watch the ball drop and the fireworks light up my TV while sipping champagne. A nice dinner at my favorite restaurant is also a night well spent; but however you choose to celebrate, 2014 is here!

New Year Reflections...
For me 2013 was a year filled with accomplishments, excitement and some sadness. In 2013 I lived out some of my dreams to travel to exotic countries and began the year with a trip to Phoenix Arizona; driving through the beautiful desert and then stopping at the Hoover Dam before having some fun in Las Vegas.

A few months after Vegas my husband and I went to London England on our way to the Middle East; where I saw Big Ben, London Bridge and Buckingham Palace. We then flew to Dubai where we feasted on local cuisine, took in the city from the tallest building in the world and rode camels in the desert. Dubai was an oasis of modern technology meshed with old traditions and I had an amazing time lounging at private beach clubs and traveling to Adbu Dhabi to see the Grand Mosque. It was an experience I will never forget.


Abu Dhabi

View from the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world

A few months after my breathtaking trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi my family and I rented an apartment three minutes away from the majestic Eiffel Tower in Paris France. Going to Paris was a dream come true and better than I ever imagined. As I strolled the beautiful streets with my baguette in hand I felt at one with the historical city. I am looking forward to visiting France again soon.

I finished off my travel expeditions with a trip to Miami and Fort Lauderdale in December and boarded a relaxing cruise sailing to Labadee Haiti and Jamaica. Lounging on the pristine beaches was a nice way to end the year before the holiday season.  

**(To see more of mt travels & photos visit my travel page by clicking HERE)**

I also made the most of summer here in Toronto, attending Rihanna and Taylor Swift's concerts, having barbecues at Niagara Falls, attending TV and makeup shows, sitting at outdoor cafes with friends and participating in the art and cultural events the city had to offer. I kept my calendar full of exciting festivities all year.  

The seasons here in Toronto were beautiful in 2013 but we did have some treacherous weather. There was flooding in the summer and a dangerous ice storm hit the city recently where many people were left without power. I tried to capture the prettier side of the seasons and explored my love of photography in the great outdoors.

This year also came with some bad news, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer and we also had some deaths in the family which encouraged me to live to the fullest and seize every opportunity available. I realized that at any moment life can change and that it is important to keep things in perspective, live in the moment and have no regrets. 

"In the end its not the years in your life that count, its the life in your years."
(Abraham Lincoln) 

I also learned a lot about friendship and how fragile they can be. Sometimes along the way you lose touch with people you always thought would be in your life; but I realized that not everyone is meant to be around forever. Even with the end of old friendships I learned to be accepting and open to the possibilities of new ones.

This year I worked hard to improve and expand Diary of a Trendaholic. I dedicated more time to redesigning and creating something that was helpful to others and that I can be proud of. I learned a lot, met a lot of wonderful people from around the world and worked with some great companies. I have now surpassed 131,280 views and  I thank you all for your support and encouragement.

I have a lot planned for the coming year and I would love it if everyone continued on this journey with me; discovering the latest and greatest products, trends and beauty finds.

Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Eve Makeup

I can't believe how fast this year flew by! first up on the agenda New Year's Eve makeup! This year I wanted to create something bold and shimmery yet still quite glam and pretty. I think this look is suitable for many parties and special events but I will be wearing it on New Year's Eve this year.

For this look I used:
*Urban Decay Primer Potion
*Makeup Forever Aqua Brow gel in dark brown (for eyebrows)
*Outer V: Blackout from the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette
*Crease: dark silver from the Coastal Scents 120 palette (tray 1) 
*Above crease: blending color: Tease from the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette
*Lid color: bellapierre loose eye shadow in the color Tin Man (frm my Beauty box 5)
*Eyeliner (top lid) NYC liquid liner in black
*Eyeliner (bottom lash line) blinc eyeliner in black
*Brow bone highlight: Foxy from the Naked 2 palette
*552A Just Garnet by Wet n Wild

*Sweet black tea & ginger mattefying moisturizer by Jura Skin Care
*e.l.f. face primer
*MAC Studio Fix liquid foundation (using the Sigma F80 brush)
*MAC Pro Long Wear concealer (using the e.l.f. flawless concealer brush)
*Ben Nye banana powder (to set under my eyes)
*Makeup Forever high definition powder
*Blush: NYX in the color Pinched
*e.l.f. bronzer (from the blush and bronzer duo)

For nail polish I like essie's Ignite the Night:
photo frm Essie.com
And to complete the look some sparkly outfit inspiration from my Pinterest New Year's Eve board

Who can resist glamorous accessories!

Friday, December 27, 2013

How to use an aloe vera plant for skin care

Today’s post is going to be about the benefits of aloe gel for the skin and how you can extract pure aloe gel from the plant.
Photo from: en.mr-ginseng.com

Aloe gel comes from the aloe vera plant which is cultivated and can be grown and kept in the home. This plant has been used for skin care for many years and is a natural remedy for many skin ailments. Let’s review some of the wonderful benefits of aloe.

Benefits of aloe gel
*Anti-oxidant properties including beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E
*Reduces the appearance of blemishes
*Improves skin’s firmness
*Reduces visibility of stretch marks
*Moisturizes the skin
*Can help treat acne
*Antibacterial properties, helps treat: insect bites, burns, rashes, blisters and abrasions.
*Regenerates skin cells
*Soothes the skin
*Promotes healing
*Reduces the signs of wrinkles, age spots, eczema and sun damage

What I use aloe for
Aloe gel is gentle on the skin and can be combined with face creams and serums, in fact it can be found in many skin care products on the market. I add aloe gel into my DIY face serum recipe which you can find by clicking- HERE. I also use aloe gel over my eye cream before bed to help reduce any puffiness, visible fatigue and darkness. On top of my moisturizer, serum and spot treatment I pat on some fresh aloe to help with acne, blemishes and to moisturize. Aloe gel also works wonderfully on mosquito bites and helps stop itching and swelling. This is a handy plant to keep around the house to use for topical relief.

Benefits for the hair and scalp
*Helps treat hair loss
*Reduces dandruff

Benefits for the body
*Helps ease muscle pain and strains
*Provides relief from stomach and kidney ailments
*Aids in digestion
*Helps with sinus inflammation
*Soothes gum pain and periodontal diseases
Aloe can also be ingested and you can purchase fresh aloe vera juice for consumption.

How to extract pure aloe gel

You can purchase an aloe plant or an aloe leaf from grocery stores and health food stores. I got a large aloe leaf at my local grocery store.

This is what the aloe leaf looks like

And here you can see the gel inside of the plant

1. Cut off a portion of the aloe leaf and wrap the severed end of the remaining leaf in plastic wrap to store in the fridge and keep fresh.

2. Using a knife, peel back the green outer skin of the plant to reveal the gel. This is about the size of the portion I cut off.

Remove the entire green outer layer of the plant. Your gel should look like this

 3. Using a fork, mash up the chunk of aloe and crush all the lumps into a smooth jelly.

4. Transfer the gel into a clean container with a lid and store in the fridge to keep fresh. 

The crushed gel you prepare and the rest of your aloe leaf should be stored in the fridge.You can extract the gel from the leaf weekly a little at a time to keep each batch fresh. When the gel begins to turn color from clear to brown discard it and make a new batch. Aloe gel is very slimy and thick in texture but it doesn't feel slimy on the skin once it dries. You can pat this gel onto clean dry skin or on top of your moisturizers and other skin products but not on top of makeup. I prefer to only apply the gel to my face at night before bed.

(Sources: ehow.com, mindbodygreen.com)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope all my lovely readers have an amazing and safe holiday season. May you all end the year with hope and prosperity.

This is what our Christmas tree looks like this year, we love how the different shades of blue compliments the silver.

Here is a closer look at some of the pretty, glittery ornaments we used this year.

I had a great day yesterday, my family always makes my Christmas Eve birthday something memorable, exciting and special. Thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who sent me birthday wishes last night on Instagram and on my birthday post.

 Today I had breakfast at the beautiful hotel I stayed at last night and today I will be heading over to my mom's house to open gifts with my family.

Usually we have Christmas dinner out at a great restaurant because it requires no work and no dirty dishes! Then we head home to relax, spend some time together, watch a movie and have desert and cocktails.

I decided to do a simple makeup look this year with bold red lips
This is one of my favorite red lipsticks from Clarins, for more info click HERE.

I would love to hear how everyone else spent Christmas so leave a comment and let me know.

From my family to yours
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Christmas Eve Birthday!

Hello everyone  I hope you are all having a lovely day! I know I am because today is my birthday!!! Yayyy! Unlike some people who think aging is a terrible thing I am trying to focus on the positives. Many people didn't get a chance to see the end of this year and I am blessed, alive and fortunate so I am having fun celebrating!

Now I know people may be wondering how having a Christmas Eve birthday works in terms of the whole gift protocol. Well here is how I make it work, no double gifting! Just kidding! I am thankful for everything I receive and everything my family does for me.

 I usually begin my birthday festivities a few weeks before my actual birthday. This year I began celebrating while on a cruise at the beginning of December and I just carried on celebrating!

Aside from taking me on a relaxing cruise, my amazing hubby also gave me a new phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and I am still figuring out how it works. Goodbye Blackberry and hello functionality! I may do a review on this phone soon.

He also bought me tickets to go to L.A and attend the Makeup Show in March! I am looking forward to meeting other professionals in the industry. 

My sister  Amanda and I celebrated my birthday together and the little sweetheart spent hours in the kitchen whipping up cupcakes from scratch. She even made me a card which was adorable and so thoughtful! 

My sister and my mom bought me this beautiful new vanity table for my birthday. I love the color because it matches with my bedroom furniture. When I set it up I will do an updated makeup storage post.

A couple of days before my actual birthday I had a pre-birthday lunch and we gorged ourselves on scrumptious foods at a restaurant called Union Social.

Parmesan rosemary fries 

Chicken and veggie flat bread

Pineapple, orange cocktail

Creamy garlic linguine with chicken 

Cranberry cocktail

 Tonight for my actual birthday I went to dinner with my hubby, and we are spending a romantic night in a beautiful hotel suite. There isn't much to do or many places open the day before Christmas but we manage to always make the most of it.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas Eve and excited for tomorrow! I am off to enjoy the rest of the night.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter in Canada

This winter has been frigid here in Toronto; even as I write this my hands are cold and I am in desperate need of some hot cocoa and a big fluffy blanket. I don't like being cold but I do love how the world looks after the first heavy snowfall, when everything is covered in a blanket of white and looks serene and peaceful. In order to bring you some photos of winter where I live and for the sake of photography, I bundled up, braced the cold and went to the park when it was -21 degrees Celsius or for the Americans -6 degrees Fahrenheit!!

For those of you living in warm climates who cannot experience a white Christmas I hope you like the photos.
The lake has frozen over

The first touch of winter

Frozen trees

Winter wonderland

The forest is bare and quiet, to me it looks a bit daunting

 Snowy path

There are still hints of color

The trees change with the season, these trees once lush with foliage have become bare and spindly. 

It snowed well into the night and every tree was laden with heavy snow

You can still see some of the last traces of fall on the trees as the remaining leaves hang on to the branches

Lake Ontario

Even though it is cold out like true Canadians some try to make the most of this lengthy season by playing hockey in the park.

Recently here in Toronto we had an ice storm! Everything is now covered in inches of ice, some people are even ice skating on the street! Although the trees look beautiful it is very dangerous. Many houses are without power and there have been many car accidents, broken bones from slipping on sidewalks and dangerous branches being broken off the trees and falling on power lines, homes and cars. I tried to capture the prettier side of this storm in the photos below.

What has winter been like where you live?
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