Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Holiday Gift Guide 2019 | Best Beauty Sets

Christmas is just one week away and many people are scrambling to finish their shopping. If you still need some last minute gift ideas today’s article features some of my favorite beauty sets, hair tools skincare and stocking stuffers.

I Love...always has cute gift boxes and this year they’ve curated a selection of their most popular body washes. Pamper your loved ones with The Signature Collection ($24.99). It contains 6 of the brand’s bestselling fragrances that transform into rich, creamy foams. The lush formulas are enriched with fruit extract and vitamins to leave skin soft and clean.

The I Love...Lots of Bubble Bath & Shower Creme Set is a great option for teens and anyone with a sweet tooth. The scents include Hot Chocolate, Crushed Candy Cane, Gingerbread Cookie, Coconut Cream, Strawberry and Raspberry.  (Available at Pharmaprix and Shoppers Drug Mart)

Conair’s 1” LCD Digital Ceramic Flat Iron ($89.99) has a smart screen touch display that is easy to control, adjust and lock. The precise settings make it easy to achieve your desired style with no temperature fluctuation or heat damage and the tourmaline plates prevent static and frizz for silky, shiny hair. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, beauty.shoppersdrugmart.ca and Walmart)

Boscia’s Botanical Besties 4-Piece Set ($49.00) is great for everyone on your list. It has all the essentials needed to purify, detox and cleanse the skin of impurities, dirt and makeup. The products contain black and white charcoal to minimize pores, refresh, smooth and brighten. (Available at Sephora, The Bay and Shoppers Drug Mart)

Everyone loves good hair products and the OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Set ($19.00) is a great winter rescue kit. It comes with shampoo, conditioner and treatment mask that strengthen, hydrate and soften dry, fragile strands with a blend of nourishing extracts. (Available at drugstores nationwide)

The NYX Love Lust Disco Slip Tease Lip Lacquer Vault ($35.00) is an eclectic collection of creamy, highly pigmented lipsticks. The color glides on rich, lightweight and comfortable with a glossy, non-streaky finish that is perfect for a night out. It comes with a pretty selection of deep red, burgundy, burnt orange and neutrals plus a few daring shades – forest green, purple berry and midnight blue. (Available at NYX freestanding stores and drugstores)

Bubble T Bath and Body is a fun, cruelty-free tea infused skincare brand free of parabens and detergents. The products are loaded with uplifting essential oils and fresh fruity fragrances that make bath time an indulgent experience. I recommend the Hibiscus and Acai Berry Shower Gel ($6.99) with sweet orange oil and goji berry to help you relax and unwind. I also like the Bath Infused Tea Bags ($9.99) that soften and fragrance the water or you can use the Restoring Bath Salts and Melting Oil Pearls to soothe tired muscles. (Available at farleyco.ca)

For your mom, granny and favorite aunt, Elizabeth Grant has powerful anti-aging skincare. The Collagen Re-inforce Snow Algae Neck Cream ($150.00 / 200 ml) is designed to improve the appearance of the décolleté area by making skin appear dense, lifted, tight and plump. With repeated use lines and wrinkles are less visible and the contours of the neck and chest begin to look smooth, hydrated and youthful. Another great product is the Collagen Re-inforce Snow Algae Intensive Face Lift ($140.00).  It works by slowing down visible signs of aging, strengthening tissue, softening, toning, moisturizing and energizing dull, saggy skin. (Available at elizabethgrant.com)

The Eco Tools Daily Defined Eye Kit ($15.99) is a fabulous stocking stuffer for makeup lovers. It includes 5 high quality brushes that are soft and easy to use. (Available at Walmart and drugstores nationwide)

I put Eos Balms in everyone’s stocking to help keep my family’s lips supple and healthy all winter. The new holiday flavors include Whipped Vanilla Frosting, Cranberry Fizz, Champagne Pop, Cherry and Bright and my favorite – Peppermint Cream. These long-lasting treatments alleviate sensitivity and prevent painful peeling. You can pick them up at drugstores nationwide.

There are always several tea drinkers on my list each year and the Living Apothecary specializes in premium loose leaf herbal blends that you can personalize. I chose Well Woman ($15.50) to help balance female hormones and help ease menstrual pain but they also have amazing blends for radiant skin, bloating, restful sleep and self care. (For more information please visit shoplivingapothecary.com).

The 7th Heaven Face Food Animal Masks ($3.99 ea) are adorable gifts for your bestie. Each sheet is soaked in replenishing serum loaded with aloe, cucumber, avocado, fruit extracts and tea. (Available at IDA, London Drugs, Pharma Choice and Pharmasave)

Last but not least is one of my favorite skincare sets of 2019 – The Case Full of Seoul ($159.00). This meticulously curated kit includes a beauty routine for every occasion and some of the most popular Korean products and brands. It comes with a cleanser, toner, rose essence, cream, face masks, eye treatment, vitamin oil and primer to keep your skin glowing and healthy. For a detailed description of each item in the kit read my full review by clicking HERE.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Quo Cosmetics Holiday Collection and Gift Guide 2019

When my husband and I celebrated our first Christmas we had only been dating for five months. We were still getting to know each other but it was obvious that I loved makeup. Back then he didn’t know the difference between mascara and eyeliner but thanks to Shoppers Drug Mart he was still able to impress me with beautiful gift sets.

Quo’s Limited-Edition Holiday Collection makes gift giving simple and today I’m sharing a few of their most popular items for all the beauty junkies on your list.

The cruelty-free Luxe Link Brush Set ($75.00) has stunning gold handles that look like jewelry and it comes with a patent red statement clutch. The soft, luxurious bristles allow you to blend, buff and contour like a pro with no shedding.

Glam On The Go Brush Set ($25.00) is perfect for jet-setters and busy fashionistas. I love the rose gold canister, silky bristles and sparkly handles. Pop it someone’s stocking or surprise your bestie. It is small enough to fit in a purse and makes a cute secret Santa gift.

Say goodbye to dull, dry skin with the glow boosting Winter Rescue Set ($30.00). It comes with a luscious lip balm, luminous face serum and dewy face gloss - a hydrating oil that makes skin appear radiant and supple. To make this gift event better pair it with the Rose Gold Quartz Facial Roller ($20.00) to firm, lift and tone. 

The All About Eyes Palette ($65.00) contains 36 beautiful shadows with good color payoff, 5 long-lasting glitter liners, 5 pencil liners and 1 brush – everything you need to create a variety of stylish looks. I like that the pigments are lined up in rows so you know which shades complement each other and there is a versatile range of mattes and shimmers.

If you don’t want to spend $26.00 on the original Beauty Blender, Quo’s Blend and Go Set ($25.00) comes with 5 high quality sponges that create a flawless finish. Use them to apply liquid foundation, creams, concealer and powder. The soft durable material lasts a long time and can be cleaned with soap or shampoo.

The Festive Sponges ($8.00 each) are available in a variety of adorable Christmas characters that make great stockings stuffers. I just wish the little snowman was painted onto the sponge instead of the box.

The Matte Lip Crayon Set ($20.00) makes a lovely gift for a co-worker, friend, niece, cousin or sibling. There are 8 saturated shades that glide on effortlessly and keep lips soft and moisturized. The color may not last a long time but the vibrant satiny finish is beautiful and sharpening is not required.

Pull crackers are always great stocking stuffers and this set of 6 is only $15.00. The mini lip glosses are all sheer but there is no way to tell what shade is inside without opening the box. Unfortunately the formula contains synthetic ingredients and the texture is thick and sticky. I prefer the Lip Gloss Ornaments ($6.00) that can be hung on the tree. That way everyone can pick their favorite. 

The Glow Beyond Skincare Brush Collection ($35.00) was designed to elevate your beauty routine. Use the soft synthetic brushes to apply moisturizer, oil and facial treatments by gently buffing them in to enhance absorption and create a smooth surface for makeup. The silicone paddle is my favorite tool for applying clay, mud, gel and cream masks without getting my hands messy.

If you know someone who likes bold metallic color or lots of shimmer, I recommend the Ohh La La Eye Shadow Palette ($25.00). There are a few shades that seem out of place but smokey purple, rose gold, coral and champagne never go out of style. The pigments are buildable, creamy and saturated but make sure to use a good primer for best color payoff.

Everyone needs a good manicure set and these glittery grooming tools ($15.00) come with a pretty clutch, nail clippers, nail scissors, nail scoop, tweezers and emery board.

You can find these fabulous gifts and more exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Lise Watier Limited-Edition Stardust Collection | Holiday 2019

I’ve been using Lise Watier’s gorgeous fall makeup since receiving it in September and the holiday collection is just as stunning!

Stardust is everything you’d imagine Christmas to be – glamorous, sparkly, shimmery and elegant.

The compacts are decorated with cascading glitter - designed to resemble changing constellations in the night sky.

The Eye Shadow Palette ($55.00) contains 9 velvety shades with amazing color payoff and 3 finishes – metallic, matte and satin. Lise Watier’s pigments are always creamy, high quality and easy to apply with no creasing or fading. The color glides on rich, luminous and full-coverage for effortless blending and dazzling effects. These cool, frosty shades are flattering on all skin tones.

The Blush Powder Duo ($30.00) is almost too pretty to use! I love the 3 tone effect but the outer shade is quite faint. To achieve even coverage and decent color payoff, swirl your brush around the center. The star has an iridescent coral finish that is more prominent than the color surrounding it. Once you’ve picked up enough powder, layer and customize the coverage. The texture is light and silky with a hint of shimmer.

The Universal Lip Balm ($26.00) seems to be a staple in the holiday collection. Don’t let the deep purple scare you. The color shows up as a natural pink that enhances the tone of your lips. I actually like the flecks of glitter. They don’t feel rough or look messy and the pop of radiance is beautiful. The paraben-free formula is enriched with vitamin E to soften, protect and hydrate.

Is it really Christmas without mesmerizing highlighter? The Stardust Powder Duo ($38.00) creates a sheer, shimmery glow with an icy champagne finish that is perfect for winter. You’ll love the buildable coverage and lustrous candlelight sheen.

The Liquid Glitter Eye Shadow ($28.00 ea) is great for dramatic looks. Use them as a top coat or apply a saturated layer for opaque coverage. Once dry, the liquid stays put all night with a bright metallic finish worthy of the red carpet. Wear the bronzy gold with jet black winged liner and matte red lipstick to make a bold holiday statement.

I love when brands create innovative products and the Haute Lumiere High Shine Lip Gloss ($25.00) will literally light up your night. When you twist the cap, the tube is illuminated so the clear sparkly gloss glows like a star. There is also a mirror on the side for reapplying in dim light. Layer the moisturizing gloss over lipstick or apply on bare lips for a glistening effect. The formula is non-sticky and long-lasting.

Lise Watier is available Shoppers Drug Mart, department store counters (including The Bay) and online at lisewatier.ca.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Sephora Holiday Collection and Gift Guide 2019

During the holiday season most women and a few overwhelmed men can be found browsing the Christmas collection at Sephora. The store is usually crowded because trendy makeup, luxury skincare and elegant fragrances are always coveted gifts.

If you don’t like long lines or overflowing parking lots, simply shop online at sephora.ca. They have their own beauty line with a wonderful selection of gift sets.

Sephora’s Igloo Palace Blockbuster ($53.00) is jam packed with enough makeup to satisfy the pickiest people on your list. The trays pull out to reveal 60 vibrant eye shadows, 24 shiny lip glosses, 8 cream eyeliners, 4 brow powders, 6 highlighters and 6 blushes. This is definitely a palette you’d want to keep on your vanity to create trendy looks. The shadows are well pigmented (better that previous years) and I love the mix of cool, neutral and warm tones for all complexions and seasons. This is a fabulous gift for your sister, daughter or bestie. 

The Limited-Edition Frosty Party Advent Calendar is currently marked down from $60.00 to $30.00 online. This is a gift that keeps on giving right up until Christmas! The cute box contains lip balms, sheet masks, nail polish, hair accessories, body products and more! Get one for yourself and another for a friend or co-worker.

I don’t know anyone in my family who wouldn’t love a box of skincare goodies. Frosted Party ($14.00) has everything you need for a night of pampering including a Lychee Face Mask, Charcoal Nose Strip, Coconut Hand Balm and Cucumber Eye Masks. This is fabulous for Secret Santa or stocking stuffers.

I’ve always been a fan of Sephora’s Lip Stains and now you can get 6 full-size festive shades with matte and metallic finishes for $37.00 – that works out to 3 free lipsticks! These creamy, saturated pigments are infused with nourishing avocado oil for smooth, consistent glide and long-lasting suppleness.

Add a pop of sparkle to your eye makeup with The Glitter Top Coat Mascara ($13.50). This is great for holiday parties because it stays put and makes lashes look stunning! Getting the particles to adhere can be a bit tricky so apply black mascara first and make sure your brush is thoroughly coated in glitter.

The Winter Eyes Palette has a pretty selection of gold, neutrals, frosty silver and holiday green to create a variety of festive looks. Winter Time ($24.00) may come with less shadow but it has 3 highlighters and a nice balance of shimmer and matte. Both compacts are soft and subdued which makes them ideal for people who don’t like heavy pigmentation.

For more stocking stuffer ideas, Sephora has a fabulous range of single sheet masks for $8.00 - $9.00 each.

The Frosted Party Multi-Sensorial Mask Set ($21.00) comes with 3 formulas – Anti-Blemish Hemp Mousse, Skin Perfecting Grapefruit Peel and Toning Peppermint Gum.

Keep your loved ones soft and moisturized this winter with the Pumpkin Body Butter ($9.00). It has a replenishing blend of minerals and vitamins that comfort dry skin.

The holiday makeup brushes are always fancy and you won’t want to miss the gorgeous Shimmer and Shine Set ($61.00). The clear handles are embedded with floating silver glitter and the bristles are soft, fluffy and flexible – great for application and blending. I love the plush fan brush and rounded powder brush. They are gentle yet sturdy with little to no shedding.

You’ll love the Tweezerman Rose Gold Brow & Lash Set ($50.00) with pro lash curler, award-winning slanted tweezers and a handy travel case.

The Milf Collection Lilly Lashes ($40.00 ea) are 3D Mink designs made from natural, cruelty-free fibers that look dramatic, flirty and voluminous. With proper care you can use them for weeks and the flexible application strip is light and comfortable.

For more gift ideas visit your nearest Sephora store or shop online.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Aurora Winter Festival Toronto

A lot of people don’t like surprises but I love them! Last week my husband planned a surprise date and the only clue he gave me was - “dress warm and wear comfy shoes.”

We had dinner on the Lakeshore at one of my favorite Lebanese restaurants before heading to the Aurora Winter Festival at Ontario Place. I’m the only one in my family who likes cold weather so my husband knew this would be right up my alley.

Since I recently wrote an article listing 10 indoor winter activities, I thought it would be fun to share photos depicting how enchanting the holiday season can be if you don’t mind the windchill.

Even from a distance, the Aurora lights look spectacular! Designers did a fabulous job creating a colorful winter wonderland.

Ticket prices online are $17.99 for adults but we paid $24.00 at the gate so book in advance. Admission for kids and seniors is $12.99, family passes start at $49.99 and parking at Ontario Place is $15.00.

The entrance to the festival set the tone for everything we saw. It was a spectacular tunnel of lights that looked like a magical gateway to Santa’s workshop.

There are maps to help guide you but the attractions are contained within a small walkable area.

Mystical Worlds was my favorite display. The glowing gardens are filled with odd interstellar flowers, rows of multi-colored trees, Candy Cane Lane with a cute gingerbread house and fake fluttering snow.

In Arctic Retreat you can visit the friendly Yeti's cave, stroll through a whimsical forest or snap a selfie with the Ice Princess.

If you want a little more exercise, there is a frozen pond with skate rentals near the snack bar.

Toward the giant Christmas tree you will find a cozy fire pit, hot cocoa stall and small market selling crafts, cocktails, beer, clothing and snacks.

There is also a small fair with rides, a Tube Park and food trucks with a warm indoor lounge to eat and relax.

Take a photo with Santa at the North Pole, enjoy story time or get crafty. There is something for everyone.

For more information visit aurorawinterfestival.com

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