Thursday, November 28, 2019

L’Occitane Holiday Collection and Gift Guide 2019

Do your friends and family get excited when you show up for Christmas because mine do! Not to brag but Santa better step up his game if he wants to compete with me. When I walk through the door everyone knows the tree will be packed with the best beauty products on the market and who doesn’t love opening trendy makeup and fabulous skincare.

L’Occitane always has the best holiday gifts and this year they’ve curated beautiful boxed sets featuring all our favorites.

The Luxury Advent Calendar ($109.00) is always a hit with my family. It includes 24 days of irresistible beauty treats that soften, rejuvenate and nourish your body from head-to-toe. I can’t get enough of the hydrating body creams, moisturizers, serum and shower oil. 

It also contains hair products, soaps, fragrances, cleanser and foot cream – everything L’Occitane lovers crave. The small bottles are perfect for travel and make cute stocking stuffers.

The Lavender Travel Set ($29.00) is great for jet-setters and anyone who loves to be pampered. The decorative gift box comes with the lavender hand cream, shower gel, foaming bath and extra gentle soap for an indulgent aromatherapy session. Use it before bed to relax and promote peaceful sleep.

The Limited-Edition Festive Garden Collection ($84.00) smells soft, feminine and magical – like fresh flowers with a hint of expensive perfume. Each product is packed with nourishing shea butter to heal, smooth, protect and soften dry, flaky skin.

I love the refreshing Shea Shower Foam in the whip cream canister. It dispenses fluffy bubbles directly on my bath puff and creates a light, revitalizing lather that never leaves behind residue. The set also comes with hand cream, perfume (which I’ve been using every night) and the Shea Ultra Light Body Cream.

Hand Cream is a winter essential and the holiday season is a good time to stock-up. L’Occitane’s revitalizing shea butter formula is always in my purse. It instantly softens rough spots, treats damaged nails and improves the look of ragged cuticles with no greasiness.

The Holiday Hand Cream Trio ($29.00) is great for everyone on your list. Slip one in each stocking or give the set to a friend, co-worker, teacher or favorite aunt. The colorful packaging, lovely scent and silky texture is sure to be a hit.

For more gift ideas visit a L’occitane Boutique near you or shop online at

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Nest Fragrances Holiday Collection and Gift Guide

Christmas is just one month away and my family is excited! The tree is trimmed, the decorations look fabulous and thanks to Nest Fragrances our entire home smells warm, savory and inviting.

Whether you’re planning a big dinner party or an intimate gathering with friends, soft candlelight and irresistible aromas create the perfect holiday ambiance on a cold winter night.

Nest’s Festive Home Collection is crafted with the finest blend of oils and this year my favorite Diffuser is Spiced Orange and Clove ($64.00). The set comes with a decorative jar that looks great in any room and I love how consistent the scent is. The reeds continuously fill the air with lush, delectable fragrance that remains fresh for 90 days.

Every time I enter my bedroom I smell delicious cinnamon, star anise and sweet gingered honey with a splash of brandy. It reminds me of a drink my grandmother used to make infused with nutmeg and cream.The pretty jar can be moved around the house and makes a wonderful hostess gift. 

After a long, hectic day I love turning on the Christmas tree, wrapping myself in a warm blanket and lighting the Spiced Orange and Clove Candle ($56.00). It sets the mood for a romantic night in and makes the living room feel cozy.

Nest also makes some of the prettiest Rollerball Fragrances ($36.00) I have ever seen and the intoxicating scents are sure to impress all the ladies on your list.

If you’re looking for luxury stocking stuffers it doesn’t get much better than this. Wild Poppy is sweet floral and fruity infused with juicy pear, raspberry, apricot, rose and Himalayan Jasmine. Indigo is my favorite. The blend is warm, spicy, exotic and sensual with notes of Moroccan tea, black cardamom, wild fig and bergamot.

Black Tulip is composed of warm florals – Japanese violet, pink pepper, plum, black amber and patchouli. It is described as provocative and alluring but to me it smells exactly like the LUSH store filled with yummy bath bombs. Wisteria Blue is fresh, sweet, powdery and summery with nuances of Bulgarian rose, French wisteria and imperial jasmine.

These slender tubes are great for travel and they slip into any evening bag.

Nest Fragrances is available at Sephora and

Monday, November 25, 2019

10 Fun Indoor Winter Activities For Everyone

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. I love Christmas, my birthday is on Christmas Eve and the snow doesn’t bother me (I know I sound a bit like Elsa). Despite the beautiful holiday decor and having an excuse to indulge in rich comfort foods, my family does not share my enthusiasm. They complain about the cold with scrooge-like eye rolls and never indulge my request to snowmobile or toboggan.

Over the years we’ve had to come up with a few indoor activities that we all enjoy and today I’m sharing a few of our faves.

1. Christmas movie marathon
There is nothing I love more than snuggling up on the couch in a warm blanket and watching my favorite Christmas movies. My sister and I make a whole night of it. We order takeout, get our snacks ready, whip up some hot cocoa and turn on the Christmas tree to ignite a little holiday spirit. Invite friends and family, get comfy and have fun!

A few of my favorite holiday classics include:

*Home Alone
*The Grinch starring Jim Carey
*While You Were Sleeping
*Christmas with the Kranks
*Arthur Christmas
*Polar Express
*Rudolph – I’ve been watching this version since I was a baby!
*Edward Scissor Hands
*National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

2. Host a themed dinner party or brunch
Each year my friends and I host several themed dinner parties and at Christmas we like to try new recipes for desserts, eggnog, and hearty soups. Cook the meal together, set the table and catch up on life. You can even use the Pinterest recipes you’ve been dying to try.

A few of my favorite dinner party themes include:

*Alice in Wonderland high tea
*Escape to India
*Summer in Italy (we tried to make gnocchi from scratch)
*Pizza party
*Taco night
*Island vibes (Caribbean food)
*An evening in Thailand
*Fright Night (Halloween inspired)
*Fondue night
*Ice cream sundae buffet

3. Gingerbread house or Christmas cookie competition
Building a gingerbread house or baking Christmas cookies with the family is always a fun way to spend an evening. Make it a competition and award prizes to the winner and runner-up.

4. Game night
When it’s dark and dreary outside, put your cell phone down for a few hours and play some games. A few of my past favorites include a homemade jeopardy board with personalized categories, hilarious mad libs and blindfolded candy taste test. If you prefer to do things old-school, pull out the board games, karaoke machine or playing cards. There are also online quizzes, scavenger hunts and murder mystery night. Get creative and make lasting memories.

5. Mixology class
Buy some booze, invite your friends over and whip up a few delicious cocktails. Compete to see who can create the most original signature drink and name. Things tend to get pretty crazy when alcohol is involved.

6. Spa day
A relaxing spa day with the girls is just what I need after a hectic week. Buy some face masks, set up a mani/pedi station (you can even hire a manicurist), put out a few skincare essentials and pamper yourselves. Don’t forget the snacks and wine. If you aren’t in the mood to host a get-together, indulge in a solo spa day and try some yoga or meditation.

7. DIY projects and crafts
There are many projects on my to-do list but I rarely have time to complete them. Recently I learned how to re-purpose my used candle jars for all kinds of cute stuff (you can find that article HERE).

If you are stuck indoors why not be productive. Start a scrapbook, redecorate a room, organize your closet using that shelving unit you never had time to build or make some Christmas goodies and cards for loved ones. Beauty gift baskets and hot cocoa jars with homemade cookies are always a hit.

8. Start a novel you’ve always wanted to read
Curl up in you favorite chair with a good book, clear your mind and escape for a few hours. If you love reading as much as I do, get your friends on-board and have a book club meeting/pot-luck lunch. We usually take turns choosing the novel and hosting/preparing discussion questions. You can also watch the film adaptation together.

A few of my favorite novels include:

*A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni
*Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follet
*A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
*Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni
*I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
*The Red Tend by Anita Diamant
*Queen by Alex Haley
*Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
*The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
*Davinci Code by Dan Brown
*The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella
*Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
*1984 by George by Orwell
*Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins
*The Crucible by Arthur Miller
*Sweet Revenge by Nora Roberts
*The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
*The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
*Trading up by Candace Bushnell
*The Promise by Danielle Steel
*A Stranger in the Mirror by Sidney Sheldon
*The Biography of Malcom X
*The Twilight Series

9. Romantic date night at home
I love going out with my husband but when it’s freezing outside a cozy night at home with a candlelight dinner and soft music is just as romantic. Sometimes we plan our next big trip or snuggle in bed and watch a movie on Netflix. If you have kids (I don’t) drop them off at your parents house for the night or ask your teens to sleep over at a friend’s so you aren’t interrupted. Every couple needs time alone to reconnect.

10. Holiday decorating party
Decorating for the holidays is fun but it can also be a lot of work, especially if you have to do it alone. Every year my sister and I host a tree-trimming party with family and friends. Sometimes we pick out a fresh tree (which is always an adventure) or we use our beautiful faux tree. Roast chestnuts, make holiday inspired drinks, bake cookies, play carols and have fun making the house look like a winter wonderland.

I hope these tips inspire some indoor fun this winter. For more holiday ideas follow my new Pinterest account HERE.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Avon Holiday Collection and Gift Guide 2019

When it comes to Christmas no one celebrates like Avon. Their website is your one-stop-shop for everything merry and bright including home accents, beauty, makeup, fashion, jewelry and more.

To create glamorous holiday looks I highly recommend the Limited-Edition Dream in Color Eye Palette ($18.00). If you’re buying this for a makeup lover on your list, do yourself a favor and get two. Once you see how gorgeous these shades are you won’t want to give it up.

I love all 16 colors in this long, stylish compact and the pigmentation is fantastic! Some shadows have dazzling shimmer or glitter while others are bold and metallic. You’ll love the buttery texture and sparkling jewel tones. The copper, garnet and gold are perfect for parties and look stunning on everyone.

There aren’t many mattes to work with but these colors don’t need any help making an impression. For longer wear, use a good primer and resist the urge to blend. Apply in firm strokes, swiping in one direction to maintain the intensity and prevent fallout. The shadows have a stunning foil effect which makes them a tad chunky before the flakes are smoothed onto the skin.

Pro Tip: Apply the shadow before foundation and place tape under your eyes for easy clean up.

The Limited-Edition Be Bold Lipsticks ($12.00 ea) make great stocking stuffers and secret Santa gifts. There are 3 vivid shades available: Power Pink, Plum Perfect and Rule in Red.

The creamy matte formula is comfortable, lightweight and supple with a vibrant full-coverage finish. Each box has a cute feminine print and the elegant silver tubes are covered in shiny glitter.

The Limited-Edition Time to Shine Palette Collection ($35.00) is a 3-piece gift set that is sure to inspire creativity.

Positive Vibes Only contains 12 soft, frosty shadows that just scream winter. The icy blues, cool silvers and fresh gold tones are shimmery yet neutral - great for daytime wear.

Reach For The Stars is more dramatic with a range of sparkling red, green ivy and purple.

The face palette has 1 blush, 2 highlighters and 1 universal bronzer with silky buildable coverage. I am not a huge fan of the pink blush but the other shades are usable. 

If you need a few travel-friendly makeup brushes, the Limted-Edition I am Flawless Set ($22.00) is cute and functional. It may not be professional quality but you can toss them in your purse or gym bag for touch-ups on-the-go.

Dry skin is not cute and chances are most of your family and friends will appreciate good skincare this season. The Skin So Soft Supreme Nourishment Collection is enriched with coconut oil and vitamin E to soften, soothe and deeply moisturize. The scent is light and alluring with a hint of sweetness.

Lather up with the Oil Wash ($9.99) so your skin is ready to be pampered with the lush, quick absorbing Body Milk ($9.99). If you prefer rich creams, the Body Soufflé ($9.99) will leave you feeling soft and supple for 24 hours.

For more gift-giving inspiration head to and flip through their digital brochure. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list.

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 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 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’
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