Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rodial Skincare – Rose Gold Moisturiser and Stem Cell Super-Food Facial Oil Review

It is already quite cold here in Toronto so to counteract the frigid temperatures and blustery winds I’ve altered my skincare routine to include more moisture and protection. Rodial makes a variety of luxury creams and lush oils that nourish, balance and resurrect tired looking skin for a youthful complexion.

The Rose Gold Moisturiser ($250.00) reshapes and rejuvenates with a potent blend of 24K gold, Vitamin C, Shea Butter and soothing oils. The buttery cream is formulated to visibly redesign the face by firming, lifting, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, brightening and defining the facial contours. Along with promoting a more structured profile, the texture is rich and incredibly hydrating so my skin is soft, smooth and radiant.

The moisturiser is dense and more suitable for night care but it absorbs deeply and rejuvenates parched, damaged skin while you get your beauty rest - similar to a replenishing night mask. A little goes a long way and the finish is supple and velvety with no greasy residue. If you are looking for a fabulous winter cream this is definitely a great treatment to redefine and fortify your skin.

The Stem Cell Super Food Facial Oil ($80.00) is a light serum that contains a powerful cocktail of super oils including omegas 3, 6 and 9, plus Vitamin A, B5, C and E. The Rose Stem Cells protect against environmental aggressors and damage from sun exposure while reducing wrinkles, boosting radiance and enhancing vitality and firmness. Sometimes the formula reacts to the residue of my face wash, cream or serum and produces a milky lather that needs to be blended in but it does not appear greasy. The oil targets dehydration and clings to the skin for a luminous, healthy sheen.

The Airbrush Makeup ($50.00) is a heavy duty foundation paste with versatile, buildable coverage that allows you to create a photo-ready, flawless finish. The shade I have (04) is not an exact match (there are only 4 colors available) so I can’t use it as foundation but it makes a wonderful concealer. The creamy texture is ultra rich and highly pigmented for camouflaging blemishes, imperfections and color discrepancies like hyperpigmentation and redness. It also provides long lasting coverage for dark circles and scars with a dewy, satin finish. If you blend well it does give the skin an air brushed effect but I recommend setting it well to lock-in the color and prevent creasing (especially under the eyes).

The Airbrush Foundation Brush ($58.00) is large, dense, firm and soft with a domed shape for effortless makeup application. The quality is superb with very little shedding and the durable bristles blend seamlessly and deposit product where you need it most. You can use it to apply powder in hard to reach areas or sculpt the hollows of the face for definition and contour. This is also a great tool for makeup artists.

Rodial is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and online at beautyboutique.ca

Monday, October 30, 2017

Being by Sanctuary Spa – Bath & Body Collection

If you love sweet, delicious scents and skin quenching formulas then you might want to check out Sanctuary Spa at Shoppers Drug Mart. This cute new brand from the U.K. will help protect you from winter’s wrath while inducing some serious hunger pangs.

The collection includes many mouth-watering concoctions like Salted Caramel & Macadamia, Chilli Mango & Tonka Bean, Cloudberry & Lychee Blossom and Hibiscus & Coconut Water. If that doesn’t make you want to lather-up from head-to-toe I don’t know what will!

I’m not really sure what a Cloudberry is but I do know that it smells amazing! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I realized that the Shower Burst (in the hairspray canister) is actually a fluffy foaming body wash ($15.00). Simply apply some on your favorite bath puff or loofa and let the yummy bubbles cleanse and invigorate you. The Body Lotion ($16.00) in this scent is my favorite (it smells like ripe, juicy berries) and the lightweight, non-greasy texture seeps in quickly to soften and deeply nourish.

If you need a little more hydration during the winter months, the Salted Caramel & Macadamia Body Butter ($20.00) is rich, conditioning and scrumptious! To me it smells like cookies and cream with a lush formula that totally rejuvenates dry skin for long-lasting suppleness. After a long, hectic day, unwind and relax by sinking into a warm, delectable bath that smells good enough to eat. The fragrant Bubble Bath ($16.00) helps foam-away, dirt, oil and impurities while your stress just melts away.

If you find yourself craving warmer weather this season why not transport yourself to the tropics with the indulgent scent of Hibiscus and Coconut water (I can already feel the island breeze). The Hand Cream ($10.00) is enriched with emollients to keep nails and cuticles healthy so you can show off that cute mani. It is also the perfect purse-size for moisturizing on-the-go.

Don’t forget to replenish your skin by buffing-away dead cells with the refreshing Body Scrub ($20.00) that looks like a decadent strawberry smoothie. The exfoliating particles are composed of coconut shavings that remove dry, rough skin to leave you feeling smooth and silky.

Sanctuary Spa also sells fruitylicious Body Mists for just $10.00. The Chilli Mango & Tonka Bean is one of my favorite summer/vacation scents although it smells more like peaches and tends to fade with wear (good thing it’s travel size).

This fun, sugary collection is geared towards teens and young adults but there is no age limit on smelling delightful. The products are available at Shoppers Drug Mart or online at beautyboutique.ca and don’t forget to load up on holiday gifts and stocking stuffers!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Madrid Spain Travel Guide & Must-See Attractions

After exploring Lisbon and the Algarve I took a short flight to Madrid where I rented a beautiful studio apartment across the street from Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas – a quiet, residential area. I had been to Spain before (Barcelona), but Madrid’s thriving nightlife, busy squares, famous museums and expansive network of shops is electric and exciting!

Since I only had 4 days in the city, I booked the Madrid City Tour. The buses run frequently until 10 pm and stop at most major attractions so you can make the most of your time. You can also take the Metro but traveling underground has its limits – you miss out on seeing much of the city while navigating the crowded passageways. I also found the metro/subway system in Madrid a bit unusual. You can only purchase 1 way tickets by selecting a specific line/destination and the cost depends on how far you travel.

In late September fall leaves scattered the streets in vivid color and El Bueno Retiro Park was basked in warm sunshine. This is one of the largest parks in the city and a popular place to stroll, have lunch or canoe on the man-made lake.

Puerta del Sol is the busiest square in Madrid where a radial network of streets meet. It is also a great starting point to begin your tour as many of the buses stop here. It doesn’t really matter which route you take because there is something to see and do in every direction and street performers entertain the crowds all day.

Puerta del Sol is also a good place to have a meal since there are a wide variety of restaurants in the area. If you’re in the mood for Italian, I highly recommend Grazie Mille on Calle de Mayor. The pizza is large and loaded with fresh, delectable toppings! I also stopped by Zen Zoo for Korean Bubble Tea.

Gran Via - also known as “the Spanish Broadway,” is my favorite street in Madrid. Each massive building spans several blocks and the grandiose architecture is stunning. This area is best known for upscale shops, restaurants and nightlife – fittingly described as “the street that never sleeps.” I spent hours shopping and veering off onto the small adjacent roads which lead to even more squares, museums and monuments.

After all that shopping you might be in the mood for a delicious burger. I recommend Steak Burger Restaurant (although I don’t like beef) they also have tasty chicken burgers with delicious sauces.

Plaza de Cibeles is a neo-classical complex of marble structures and cascading fountains that has become a historic symbol of Madrid. This is one of my favorite buildings in the city as it reminds me of the grand museums in Vienna Austria.

Plaza de Colon (named after Christopher Columbus) is in the modern part of the city featuring large, glass skyscrapers.

Puerta de Alcalá – neo-classical monument in Plaza de la Independencia

Cason de Buen Retiro – annex of the Museo del Prado

Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is the bull fighting ring. Although the building is beautiful and bull fighting is part of the city’s cultural heritage, I chose not to participate. I do not condone the torture and mistreatment of animals nor did I want to witness it.

Even if you have limited time in Madrid, make sure to visit the Royal Palace. I’ve seen many amazing palaces/castles throughout my travels including Versailles in Paris but the decor and art in Palacio Real is breathtaking. Inside there is a large dining room blanketed in a canopy of sparkling chandeliers and lavish chambers coated in rich fabrics. Unfortunately photos aren’t allowed in many areas of the palace (which I thought was unfair after traveling so far) but I did manage to snap a few at the entrance.

Chocolateria San Ginés has been serving light, crispy churros and rich, creamy chocolate since 1894. It is a great place to stop and have a snack.

Basilica of San Francisco el Grande – Roman Catholic Church in central Madrid

Almundena Cathedral –  Beautiful Catholic Church adjacent to the Royal Palace

Plaza Mayor – Central Plaza located close to Puerta del Sol and Gran Via. If you’d like to satisfy your sweet tooth there are also some interesting candy shops in the area.


Santiago Bernabéu - The Real Madrid Football (Soccer) Stadium.

San Jerónimo el Real – Roman Catholic Church

Barrio de Salamanca – 19th century Boulevard lined with fine dining, stylish boutiques, museums and gourmet markets.

We also ventured outside of the city to try Everest Tandoori Napali Restaurant (Calle Pegaso no 13 | Hortaleza, 28043 Madrid).  It was a bit difficult to locate after we exited the Metro but it was the best meal I had during my vacation. The restaurant is on a small street located in a residential area but the food is authentic and incredibly flavorful – definitely worth the trip.

Biriyani Vegetable Rice

Garlic Naan Bread

Butter Chicken

Flamenco is also very popular in Madrid so you may want to take in a show between museum-hopping. One of the best ways to explore is on-foot since the streets of Madrid are shaded, cool and breezy under large swaying trees. 

Don’t forget to check out my article in Lisbon and The Algarve.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Stila Cosmetics Holiday Makeup

Yesterday at the mall I saw holiday decorations alongside Halloween costumes and got a little excited. I love gift-giving, trimming the tree and getting dolled-up for parties and not just because my birthday is on Christmas Eve and I get double the presents.

Recently I received some new makeup from Stila that is perfect for creating glamorous holiday looks worthy of the runway.

The holiday season is a busy time but even if you neglect your skincare routine, Stila’s One Step Primer ($47.00) has your back. The swirled helix serum contains a crystal clear base with a blend of conditioning silicones that create an even canvass for makeup application. The lightweight, silky texture minimizes pores and evens skin texture to help you achieve a flawless finish while the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourish, repair and moisturize dry skin.

When you’re out late, sipping champagne and celebrating with friends the last thing you want to worry about is your foundation fading, sweating-off or transferring. Stila’s Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer duo ($52.00) has a high-definition, oil-free formula resistant to water, perspiration and creasing for incredible durability. The texture is quite rich so one pump is usually enough to cover the entire face and I like that it does not have hash undertones.

There are a variety of shades to choose from including fair, medium and deep and the velvety formula is buildable and customizable for natural looking coverage with a shine-free matte finish. The foundation alone is enough to cover blemishes and provide a luminous, healthy glow but for more camouflage there is a matching concealer under the cap.

The cream concealer blends seamlessly to neutralize under eye circles, imperfections, hyperpigmentation and scars. I have the shade Tan 13 which matches well when first applied but the color tends to darken when layered heavier. I set it with a flesh-tone powder from MAC and the MUFE Ultra HD Translucent Powder.

The Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow ($31.00) in the shade Kitten Karma might be the only pigment you need to make a bold statement this holiday season. Channel your inner diva while coating your lids in lush, luminous sparkle that instantly enhances the eyes. The formula glides on full-coverage and highly saturated with beautiful shimmer that dances in the light. Once dry, the color stays put for hours of mess-free wear which is more than I can say for most glitter products.

After you’ve glamorized your eyes, move onto the face and make those cheekbones pop! The Heaven’s Hue Highlighter ($42.00) in the shade Kitten emits a golden sheen that compliments the shadow beautifully! The light diffusing particles provide a soft, candlelight glow that brightens and illuminates without streaking or scattering.

Finish the look with a powerful lip color that promotes confidence and jingle-bell cheer. The Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($29.00) in the shade Chianti is a deep, vampy burgundy – totally trendy and super edgy with an intense, creamy formula that lasts for hours. These lipsticks are some of my all-time favorites because the finish is ultra pigmented and sexy.

Stila Cosmetics is available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart and online at beautyboutique.ca
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