Tuesday, December 15, 2020

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Her

What do you get for the woman who has everything? To help you choose the perfect present for your mom, wife, sister, bestie, girlfriend or any special lady on your list (including yourself), I’ve rounded-up some of the trendiest gifts and stocking stuffers of 2020.
Unbound Cordless Curler by Conair ($140.00)

Women spend a lot of time on their hair (I know I do), so any tool that can create glamorous waves in a few seconds is sure to be a hit. The Unbound Cordless Auto Curler is easy to use and styles hair effortlessly. It provides 60 mins of cord-free run time so you can touch-up your curls anywhere!
To use: simply press the on button and select the curl direction (right, left or a mixture of both), temperature and timer. Make sure to let the device heat up before placing a 1 inch section of hair into the front slot. Press start and the barrel will begin to rotate, sucking in the hair and winding it around the curling rod automatically. 

*The Unbound Cordless Curler is available at conaircanada.ca, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, London Drugs, Trade Secrets, Ulta Beauty, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon. 

Raincry Hair Thickening System 

Most women (and men) covet healthy, voluminous hair and Raincry’s Thickening System (for fine to normal hair) creates incredible body and bounce. The Volume Wash ($33.00) and Thickening Rinse / Plumping Conditioner ($36.00) are pH balanced, cruelty-free and do not contain parabens, phthalate, or sulphate.
The gentle, non-drying formulas are infused with collagen, omega fatty acids and evening primrose to plump each strand, increase elasticity, prevent breakage, cleanse, regenerate the scalp and reduce shedding for a thick, lustrous mane. 

I also recommend the Daily Densifying Leave-In Treatment ($38.00) for heat protection, root volume and hair growth. 

 *Raincry is available at Hudson’s Bay and online at raincry.com 

Estee Lauder Skincare 

Estee Lauder makes amazing skincare and their award winning Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex (30 ml - $95.00) is one of the best serums on the market (I always gift a few bottles to my family). This amazing treatment regenerates skin, promotes collagen renewal, firms, protects, hydrates and reduces common signs of aging. For an in-depth review of this product click HERE

I also recommend Estee Lauder’s Revitalizing Supreme + Night Intensive Restorative Cream ($115.00) to minimize wrinkles, firm, tighten, moisturize and replenish the skin with powerful plant extracts, antioxidants, vitamins and omega 3. It makes my complexion radiant and smooth.
The Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion ($130.00) strengthens and brightens to promote an angelic glow. It works by renewing, hydrating, resurfacing, re-balancing, and deeply nourishing to rejuvenate the face, neck and décolletage. Apply after cleansing and before serum and moisturizer for soft, youthful skin. 
*Estee Lauder is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and department store counters including The Bay, Nordstrom and Saks. You can also order online at esteelauder.ca

 Valentino Voce Viva (50 ml - $123.00) 

Voce Viva is one of the best perfumes of 2020 and my favorite new scent! This addictive fragrance is feminine, romantic, sexy and elegant. The top notes are sparkling Italian bergamot softened by sweet juicy mandarin, opulent orange blossom and golden gardenia. The citrus and floral accords are perfectly balanced with cool crystal moss and creamy vanilla.
*Voce Viva is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and online at shopshoppersdrugmart.ca. Check out my 2020 fragrance gift guide for men and women by clicking HERE

Soraya Wave by Lelo ($330.00) 

I don’t usually feature adult toys on my blog but during COVID and mandatory lockdowns, we will all be spending more time at home. Studies show that self pleasure can relieve stress, ease anxiety, improve sleep and boost self-esteem...so why not. 

The Soraya Wave is described as “the world’s most luxurious rabbit massager, offering full-body pleasure.” 

The ergonomic design makes it easy to hold and the soft, high quality silicone is hygienic and easy to clean. It will not discolor or fade overtime and the device comes with a 1 year warranty.
The small extension is an external/clitoral stimulator with 8 different patterns and intensities. The larger tip can be inserted and used individually or at the same time for double the pleasure. It moves in a come-hither wave motion to arouse the g-spot, intensify your climax and promote sexual wellness. 

If you want to spice up your life, the Soraya is durable, powerful, well made and waterproof. There are 3 shades available - deep rose (the color featured here), midnight blue and black. The company ships discretely and the toy also comes with a USB charging cord and storage pouch. 

Fellas, if you are buying this for your partner, it is definitely a gift that keeps on giving...literally! 

*The Soraya can be purchased at lelo.com where you can also download the PDF manual. 

Ladybird Ceramics Tea Set

Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world so this beautiful set from Ladybird Ceramics is the perfect gift for the special ladies in your life. Each piece is hand painted with an original design so they are all unique and spectacular! 

The company offers many intricate designs, patterns and colors but the black floral print is my favorite. The ceramic is well-crafted, high quality and stylish! I can’t wait to show these off at my next high tea party.
The cute tea pot ($58.00) holds up to 5 cups and looks elegant alongside the creamer ($22) and sugar pot ($22). When you’re stuck indoors on cold winter nights, a pretty tea set and a hot cup of your favorite herbal blend can make any evening cozy and special. 

*For orders and inquiries visit ladybirdceramics.ca or DM their Instagram account by clicking HERE

Beauty and Makeup Essentials 

There are always a lot of beauty sets to choose from this time of the year but here are a few items you should check out. 

*Makeup Revolution Precious Diamond Megastar Eyeshadow Palette ($23.99) is great for special occasions, New Years Eve and date night. It contains a beautiful selection of everyday neutrals and 7 ultra shimmery metallic hues. (Available at shoppers Drug Mart)
*Charlotte Tilbury has released a new Limited-Edition Luxury Palette called Fire Rose ($66.00) and it is gorgeous! The burgundy, bronze and radiant gold are super sexy and the shimmering champagne has a brilliant foil effect to make your eyes pop! The formula is smooth, creamy and highly pigmented – perfect for gifting.
Pair this palette with the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in the shade Walk of No Shame ($27.00) and the K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick ($39.00) in the shade Super Starlet. It has a muted wine-red satin finish and a moisturizing base that softens, plumps and accentuates. If you prefer a supple, balmy texture with a sheer, nourishing formula, try Superstar Lips in the shade Walk of No Shame ($39.00). (Available at Sephora, Holt Renfrew and charlottetilbury.ca)

*Real Techniques Artist Essentials Set ($29.99) is perfect for the makeup lovers on your list. The soft bristles are vegan, cruelty-free and durable with minimal shedding. You get the Expert Edge Foundation Brush, Smudge Liner Brush, Spotlight Fan Brush, Lip Smudge Brush and Soft Accent Brush to blend highlighter or blush. (Available at Walmart)
*The Profusion Magnetix Core Collection ($45.00) + Fan Brush ($14.99) and Magnetic Stand with Shadow Brush ($17.99) are a makeup artists dream! The brushes are high quality and professional grade with soft, flexible, dense bristles that apply product flawlessly. The handles and plates are all magnetic so you can stand them up in any arrangement for easy storage and display. 
(Available at select Familiprix and Pharmachoice stores) 

Bath & Body Sets She’ll Love! 

*If you know someone who is into K-Beauty, the Belif Moisture Festival Set ($50.00) should be on your shopping list. This is one of the most popular Korean skincare brands in the world and this kit contains their bestsellers – True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm, Hydrating Toner and Eye Cream. 
(Available at belifcanada.com, The Face Shop, Sephora and avon.ca)
*I Love Lots of Bubbles Festive Collection ($19.99) - these mini bath and shower cr̬mes are great for daily use or travel and each delicious scent leaves you smelling irresistible! The set comes with 6 of their bestsellers РLuxury Hot Chocolate, Raspberry & Blackberry, Gingerbread Cookie, Crushed Candy Cane, Strawberries & Cream and Coconut. (Available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart).
*Bubble Tea Moroccan Mint Collection creates an exotic oasis in your bathroom and I always take a few of these products on romantic getaways. The Scrub and Shower Gel ($7 ea) clean and buff away rough skin so you feel silky smooth and totally refreshed. The hand soap ($7) is always in my bathroom (guests love it) and the bath pearls ($12) and bath infusion tea bags ($10) are perfect for a warm, relaxing soak (they fill the room with an amazing aroma).
(These products are available at select Guardian IDA, Familiprix, Jean Coutu and online at shophail.com
*If you know someone who loves masking, get them the 7th Heaven Tin of Treats Gift Set ($19.99). These cruelty-free masks are made with the finest ingredients and you get 11 different formulas plus a silicone applicator.
(Available online at London Drugs, select Guardian IDA, Pharmasave, Uniprix, Proxim, Familiprix and Pharmachoice stores). 

 Must-Have Stocking Stuffers from Shoppers Drug Mart
*Burt’s Bees Beeswax Bounty Assorted Lip Balm Gift Set ($14.99) contains 4 all-natural balms with nourishing oils, vitamins, extracts and butters.

*Makeup Revolution Brave Spirit Eye Shadow Palette featuring bright tropical shades. 

*Oh-K! Detoxifying Peel Off Mask ($13) - exfoliates, removes impurities and reduces the appearance of pores. 

*Soap & Glory Scrub for Joy Body Polish ($18) for baby soft skin. 

*Vichy Face Masks ($34.95 ea) – Clarifying Charcoal with kaolin clay rids the skin of impurities and Soothing Aloe Vera alleviates itching, irritation and dryness. 

~Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Best Fragrances for Men and Women | 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Back in 2017 I published a fragrance gift guide to help you choose the trendiest scents of the season. Since perfume is still one of the most popular luxury gifts, I thought it was time for a new list featuring the best fragrances of 2020 (you’ll probably want to add a few of these to your own wish-list).
Valentino Voce Viva (50 ml - $123.00) 
Voce Viva is one of my new favorites! This addictive scent is feminine, romantic, sexy and elegant. The top notes are sparkling Italian bergamot softened by sweet juicy mandarin, opulent orange blossom and golden gardenia. The citrus and floral accords are perfectly balanced with cool crystal moss and creamy vanilla. If you like bold, scintillating fragrances that last all day, this one is for you.
Voce Viva is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and online at shopshoppersdrugmart.ca

 Azzaro Wanted Tonic (100 ml $102.00) 
Azzaro Wanted Girl Tonic (50 ml - $97.00) 

Azzaro makes amazing fragrances and Wanted (the original scent for men) is absolutely irresistible! The guys in my family are obsessed. 

Just in time for the holiday season, the brand has released two new scents. Wanted Tonic for men is invigorating, explosive, daring and refreshing with cooler notes than the original formula and a desirable woody-aquatic spice. The top notes are lime, ginger and patchouli which create a warm, citrus aroma – similar to clean, sweet aftershave (it’s incredible). The sleek gun chamber bottle is very James Bond and debonair.
Azzaro Wanted Girl is explosive, sweet and energizing. The delicate flower shaped bottle also resembles a hand grenade which looks good next to the Azzarro cologne. If you like fragrances that are adventurous, playful and tropical, this scent is fantastic! The composition contains a delicious blast of acai berries, ginger, kiwi, bamboo and tonka bean blended into a cold, sweet refreshing scent. 

 Azzaro is available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, department stores and azzaro.com

 YSL Fragrances for Her 
Yves Saint Laurent also has some great fragrances but it can be difficult to decide between them. The brand frequently releases new scents with the same name and slightly different compositions. To help you out I am going to rate 3 of their most recent perfumes and tell you which I prefer. 

1. Coming in at #1 is the newest version of Libre Eau de Parfum Intense (50 ml - $138.00). As the name suggests, it is more intense than the original formula with warm floral accords, vanilla and honeyed facets of burnt orange blossom and glowing amber. It has everything you’d want in a good perfume - the aroma is creamy, slightly spicy, mildly sweet, sexy and intoxicating. It is perfect for date night, autumn and winter.
2. YSL Libre Eau de Parfum (50 ml - $125) is classic (although I still prefer the intense version). The predominant notes are smoldering vanilla, orange blossom, lavender and amber with a hint of neroli and juicy mandarin. This fragrance is light, elegant, and cool with the perfect hint of sweetness whereas the intense version is smooth, velvety, deep and rich. 

3. In third place you have YSL Mon Paris Intensement (50 ml - $128.00). The ingredient list includes elegant rose, black currant and white musk which combine to form a passionate fruity-floral aroma. This is one of those perfumes that smell better after the alcohol fades and the ingredients blend with your body chemistry. After it mellows out, the notes come through beautifully and the deep pink bottle is gorgeous! 

YSL is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and department store counters (including Hudson’s Bay) and yslbeauty.ca

 Giorgio Armani Si Passione (50 ml - $122.00 

If you prefer light, clean, modern scents, Si Passione is great for everyday wear. The key notes are blackcurrant, vanilla, rose, heliotrope and jasmine balanced with the radiance of pear and the sensuality of cedar wood. The floral fruitiness is mild and uplifting with a hint of sweetness. It reminds me of a refreshing high-end shampoo – the kind that wafts through the air and attracts attention. I can’t stop smelling it!
You can find this fragrance at Sephora, department store counters and armani-beauty.ca 

 Pure Music by Narciso Rodriguez (50 ml - $123.00) 

This is my first perfume by Narciso Rodriguez and I am quite impressed. The scent is described as “powdery and floral” with calming notes of orange blossom, musc and cashmeran. Although I don’t see any spice accords in the ingredient list, I detect a lingering hint of it – something musky with a hint of incense and clean laundry/dryer sheet. It is definitely unique.
This fragrance is available at Sephora, and The Bay. 

Lancome La Vie Est Belle Intensement (50 ml - $121.00) 

Lancome has recently launched the intense version of their popular La Vie Est Belle Perfume so if you like that one, this should probably be on your wish-list. The first words that came to mind were - sweet, playful, feminine, bold, powdery and vanilla. It is powerful, and sensual - composed of bergamot, pink pepper, raspberry, jasmine, orange flower and a base of patchouli, iris and vanilla bean. 

Lancome is available at department store counters, Shoppers Drug Mart, The Bay, Holt Renfrew, Sephora and lancome.ca.
Mary Kay Illuminea (50 ml - $80.00) 

Mary Kay’s perfume is another fabulous scent that is perfect for every occasion. It is light, luminous, fruity, floral, woodsy, rich and warm – pretty much everything you’d want in a classic, sophisticated perfume. Mom, grandma, and your favorite aunt will love this aroma - it isn’t too sweet or pungent and it exudes maturity with an elegant flare. Pair it with the Illumina Body Souffle ($34) to create the perfect gift set.
Mary Kay is available at marykay.ca and through independent consultants. You can check out the MK 2020 holiday gift guide by clicking HERE

 Avon Artisan Fragrances (for him or her) - $75.00 each 

Avon’s new Artisan Perfumes are crafted with the finest ingredients and they make a great couples gift! 

Santal Musk is warm and exotic. 
*The top notes are: Asian pear, peony, peach nectar and bamboo.
*Middle notes: matcha tea, dewy violet, raspberry blossom and rose santal. 
*Base notes: Australian sandalwood and white musk. It smells clean, refreshing and light (I definitely smell the bamboo).
Cherry Vetiver is rich, captivating and delicious. 
*Top notes: wild cherry, raspberry and crisp pear. 
*Middle notes: heliotrope, violet and marshmallow. 
*Base: vetiver, cedarwood, ambrox and fluffy musk. The predominate note here is black cherry and it smells amazing! 

Both fragrances are unisex (for men and women) and they’ve done a fabulous job blending the ingredients into appealing aromas for all. The opening scent is sexy and feminine but the base is masculine and cologne-like. They change with your body chemistry and become even more appealing as the day wears on. 

Personally, I prefer Cherry Vetiver but they are both really good. You can order them online at avon.ca 

Atelier Cologne Clementine California (100 ml - $185.00)  

Atelier is well known for creating unisex fragrances and this scent is exceptional! To me it smells a lot more like men’s cologne but the idea that anyone can wear it is a great concept.
Ladies, this is the type of aroma you want wafting off your man. It smells earthy, fresh, citrusy, irresistible and sexy with key notes of Haitian vetiver, clementine, juniper berry, basil, star anise, pepper and sandalwood. It reminds me of summer and sunshine with a hint of sweetness and a touch of aftershave. It is a bit expensive but totally worth it! 

Atelier is available at Sephora, Nordstrom, and ateliercologne.com

 ~Happy Holiday

Monday, December 7, 2020

L'Occitane 2020 Holiday Collection

2020 has been a difficult year and we can all use a little more holiday cheer. Although many businesses have been forced to close, you can still order beautiful gifts online

L’Occitane is one of my favorite luxury skincare brands and they always have amazing beauty sets for everyone on my list.
The Christmas Market in Provence Advent Calendar ($84.00) is a classic holiday gift that truly captures the joy of the season. It contains 24 days of irresistible beauty treats including: face cream, serum, lip balm, hand cream, shower gel, hair treatments, foot cream, fragrant soap and more!
Opening a new gift each day is exciting and the calendar is a great way to sample L’Occitane’s best products. 

I’ve been using Immortelle Divine for many years and as far as gifts go, this skincare set ($229.00) is one of the best! Each product is infused with Immortelle flowers – a plant known for its incredible regenerative properties. The oil is rich in active molecules that deliver unique anti-aging results.
The gift box includes:

*The Immortelle Divine Foaming Cleansing Cream which lathers into a purifying foam to remove impurities, excess oil, makeup residue and pore clogging debris.

*The Immortelle Divine Activating Essence should be applied before skincare to enhance the effectiveness and absorption of your other products. It is enriched with an energizing mineral complex that tightens pores, smooths, hydrates, refreshes and protects against external aggressors. 

*The Immortelle Divine Youth Oil is an anti-aging treatment infused with antioxidants, omega oils and vitamins. The light, silky formula deeply nourishes while firming, tightening, smoothing wrinkles and boosting radiance. It always makes my complexion appear healthy and fresh. 

*The Immortelle Divine Cream is the perfect winter moisturizer. It is rich yet lightweight and now includes Immortelle Super Extract (30% more flower oil) to boost anti-aging results. The new formula is equivalent to retinol but gentle on skin. I love how plump, smooth, hydrated and supple my complexion looks!
To order online and see more of the holiday collection please visit loccitane.com/en-ca

Friday, December 4, 2020

Quo Beauty 2020 Holiday Collection and Gift Guide

It’s time! Shoppers Drug Mart has finally released the Quo Holiday Collection to simplify your shopping experience and this year there is a lot to choose from.
Makeup Brushes 

My favorite beauty tools from Quo are the sleek makeup brushes and there are two sets that should be on your radar. 

The Merry Metallic Brush Set ($60) is my first choice because it comes with a glamorous party clutch that doubles as a wallet or cell phone carrier. The soft, fluffy bristles are excellent quality (professional grade) and the gold handles look beautiful on my vanity.
The Must Have Brush Set ($55) is not as fancy but it contains all the essentials including 5 eye brushes and a pretty roll case. This is all you really need to complete a full face of makeup and it is great for travel. 


The Triple Treat Lip Prep Trio ($18) is the stocking stuffer everyone needs this winter. It contains a brown sugar scrub, mask and hydrating balm to keep lips soft, smooth, supple and healthy all season. 
No one likes lipstick more than me and I’d be thrilled to receive this Under the Mistletoe Mini Lipstick Set ($25). These vibrant, moisturizing pigments are gorgeous! They have a light dusting of ultra-fine glitter that sparkles like diamonds! It is perfect for secret Santa and your bestie will love it.
Classic Stocking Stuffers

Pull crackers always bring joy and Quo makes it easy to stuff those stockings affordably. The Cosmetic Cracker Set is only $15 and comes with 6 gifts/lip glosses. These are great but I wish they'd put the colors on the packaging so I could match each shade to the right person.
Every woman needs a Save the Day Emergency Kit ($20) in her stocking this year. It contains all the things you should have in your purse to deal with life’s little mishaps – oil blotting papers, tweezers, hair ties, nail file, nail clipper, foam tip eyeshadow applicators, makeup sponge, bobby pins, tape and a mirror all packaged in a compact little case.
Quo’s Makeup Sponges ($18) are always on my list. They are much more affordable than the original Beauty Blender and apply foundation seamlessly.
The Superstar Liquid Shadow Trio ($20) contains interesting shades – nude, silvery lavender and sky blue. The texture feels more like a cream lipstick which makes them surprisingly blendable.
Pampering Essentials 

Due to the pandemic, many of us will be spending a lot of time at home this winter so here are a few things that may come in handy. 

This super soft headband ($12) is ideal for all beauty routines. It holds back loose hairs as you cleanse your face or apply masks, makeup and skincare. You can also wear it for fun because it looks super cute with pyjamas.

The adorable Sweet Dreams Satin Cat Eye Mask ($12) blocks out light to help you sleep more soundly and it is great for long international flights. 

While you’re relaxing in bed why not put on a Hydrogel Lip Mask to keep your pout supple. I also like the Hydrogel Eye Masks to moisturize, plump and smooth my under eye area. These pouches contain 3 masks each for just $10.
 The Quo Holiday Collection is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.
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