Friday, December 8, 2017

Sephora 2017 Holiday Collection & Gift Guide

There is a good reason Sephora is always jam packed with people and on weekends it seems like every woman in the world decided to shop for makeup at the same time. The store is a one-stop-shop for all things beauty – a makeup wonderland full to the brim with the trendy must-haves you’ve been eyeing all year (boyfriends and husbands beware, once you're dragged in there is no escape). My advice to tackle the holiday rush: arrive early, don’t leave your list to the last minute, call ahead for product availability (or shop online) and be careful when checking out the Fenty Beauty isle because you might get trampled in the commotion (just kidding). Today I’m sharing some awesome sets, palettes and glam accessories for a little gift giving inspiration.


If you read my article – Battle of the Makeup Sponges then you know that Sephora’s Perfect and Restore ranked #2 on my list because it is most similar to the original Beauty Blender yet very affordable in comparison. When dampened these versatile applicators blend liquid makeup seamlessly for a flawless finish and there are different sets and sizes available for full-face coverage, concealer, contour and spot touch-ups. They also make great stocking stuffers.

Sephora Snow-Fetti Mini Sponge Set packaged in a Christmas ornament ($15.00), Blend Til The End Sponge Set ($15.00).

Never worry about dull skin with the Sephora Winter Flush Blush Palette ($20.00). This compact comes with 4 wearable matte shades and flattering shimmer highlighters for a healthy flush and a pop of radiance. The texture is silky and the finish is soft and subtle for a natural effect.


The Sephora Wonderful Stars Palette ($23.00) includes a pretty range of shadows, blush and luminizer that is travel-friendly and perfect for the season. Use the lighter hues during the day and create smokey looks with the deeper shades for a night out. The color scheme is luminous and fresh – great for all complexions and the pigmentation is buildable so you can enhance the intensity with a good primer and a few layers.


Most girls like to show-off their cute makeup bags so you might want to pick up the Let’s Disco Confetti Clutch ($25.00) with shards of pretty multi-colored foil. With this bag everyday is a celebration and the pieces float freely so you can scatter them any way you like to create different designs.


For the lipsticks lovers on your list the Sephora Mini Lip Stain Set ($15.00) is a must! If I got these cute minis in my stocking I’d jump for joy. The box includes 4 colors (neutral to deep) and the bestselling cream formula is rich, highly pigmented, vivid and full-coverage for show-stopping lips.


The Midnight is Coming Mini Palette ($6.00) is another cute stocking stuffer small enough to fit in your pocket.


It contains 3 universally flattering shades with a touch of shimmer for frosty winter evenings and the matte brown is great for crease contouring. On busy mornings with no time for blending, use it to create quick, stylish looks.


The Dark Rainbow Ready in Five Brush Set ($35.00) and Compact Mirror ($15.00) are both covered in sparkling glitter for a festive pop of holiday glam. I always keep a small set of tools in my purse for touch-up on-the-go and these stylish essentials are perfect for travel and everyday use. The beautiful clutch includes a powder brush, blush brush, shadow brush, crease brush and angled liner for all your makeup needs and the soft bristles feel great against the skin.


The Emjoi trend seems to sweeping the globe and although I find the fascination a bit odd, I can totally see the appeal of the cute little faces. This happy little tint ($6.00) nourishes parched pouts with glossy moisture and fresh flattering color for easy day time wear.


The Sephora Winter Queen Palette ($13.00) has 1 bronzer, 2 pretty blushes and 1 pearly highlighter so you can shape, define and enhance like a pro. The smooth, buildable powders are ideal for events and Christmas parties with bright, luminous finishes that provide a healthy glow.


The mermaid and rainbow trend is still going strong (I blame Ariel and unicorns) but I do love the multidimensional colors and the Dark Rainbow PRO Airbrush ($40.00) is stunning. The quality is fantastic with no shedding and as you rotate the handle it changes from pink to blue, green and purple. The densely packed soft bristles provide optimal coverage and a smooth, flawless finish when applying foundation. The small rounded tip helps target problem areas to conceal blemishes so it makes a great gift for a friend (or yourself).


Continuing with the flashy rainbow theme, the Dual Boar Bristle Brush ($19.00) is covered in shiny chrome that looks gorgeous every time you pull it out of your bag. It also keeps your hair neat and sleek while distributing natural oils from the scalp to fortify and nourish.


Z Palettes are great for saving space and customizing your collection of pigments. This one from Sephora stores a lot of product and makes a thoughtful gift for makeup enthusiasts and artists who need to de-pot and reorganize. It retails for $38.00.


Many of these items are limited edition and only available for the holiday season so make sure to check out the website at sephora.ca or get your goodies at the nearest store.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lise Watier Glam Celebration 2017 Holiday Collection

2017 has been a great year for Lise Watier with a stunning array of vibrant new pigments and 45 years of beauty to celebrate. If you thought the previous seasonal collections were good then you’ll love the limited edition holiday range full of glitz, glamour and cool trendy tones in glittering black packaging. Many of the products are limited edition so don’t forget to ask Santa for your favorites.


The Smokey Nudes 12 Color Eye Shadow Palette ($65.00) is perfect for holiday soirees and partying well into the night. The smooth, buttery formula transforms from a lush cream to long-wear powder for optimal color payoff and superior blending. Use the softer hues for subtle looks or layer and smudge the shimmers and deep mattes for sultry contrast. The shadows on the top row match the colors directly below them for a nice mix of crease contours and statement shades with buildable saturation.



The Glam Pigment ($28.00) is available in two mesmerizing shades – Superstar (iridescent gold) and Fireworks (bronzy pink). The formula is loose and looks like chunky, flaky glitter but once you smooth it onto the skin it becomes an ultra-rich velvety pigment that glides on full-coverage and super intense. These shadows are fantastic for events and New Years Eve plus you can also use them to highlight the cheekbones or dress up the lips with a gleaming frosty finish.


To turn these brilliant shadows into long-lasting eyeliner simply mix them with the Metamorfix Liquid Transformer ($17.00).


The 24K Glam Rouge Lipstick ($25.00) is exquisite with flecks of gold and a unique formula that uses the skin’s pH level to intensify the natural color of your lips. It glides on effortlessly and envelops lips in silky moisture with a faint pink tint. The consistency feels like ultra-lightweight oil that melts in quickly without greasiness for a luminous, healthy finish.


The Havana Trio Highlighter ($46.00) is not part of the holiday collection but it is perfect for the season with bold, illuminating shades that enhance all skin tones for instant radiance. The frosty hues are very buildable, lightweight and easy to blend for a natural glow or high-impact strobing. You can mix and match the colors to alter the effect and the luxurious powder applies seamlessly with no glitter.


If you haven’t tried the Lise Watier Lipsticks yet you definitely should. The Rouge Intense Supreme holiday shades ($27.00 each) are infused with antioxidants and tea extract for rich, nourishing comfort and dryness protection. These colors are exactly my style – vivid, bright and eye-catching with supple moisture and a hint of satiny shine.

Sophia, Grace and Naomi


If you’re going all-out this Christmas with head-to-toe shimmer then you’ll probably want to try the Glam Face & Body Powder ($45.00). The loose formula makes it a bit easier to cover large areas of body (arms, décolleté, shoulders, back, legs etc) and it illuminates the face as if bathed in soft candlelight.


The collection also includes shimmery nail lacquer that matches the shadow palette and puts the finishing touch on your glam holiday look.


Lise Watier is available at department stores and drugstores including Hudson’s Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs. Visit the website at lisewatier.com/ca.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

L’Occitane 2017 Holiday Collection – Gift Sets & Skincare

Last night I was at Yorkdale Mall celebrating the grand opening of the new L’Occitane Boutique. As you enter the store scintillating fragrances envelop you and the entire ceiling is covered in fresh flowers from Provence. I was reminded of my vacation to the South of France - feeling the warm breeze on my skin and gazing at the sparkling sunshine over the coast. If you are searching for the perfect holiday gifts this season, I encourage you to stop at one of the many boutiques around the city and sample the luxurious skincare but be warned, you might become totally addicted.


When people ask me what I use on my skin to achieve a flawless complexion, one of the brands I always recommend is L’Occitane. The ingredients are incredible and the formulas are extremely nourishing. One of my favorite Christmas treats is the Advent Calendar ($69.00) full of irresistible surprises, one for each day of the month.


The beautiful decorative box includes a range of bath, body and lip products to pamper you from head-to-toe and it is also a great way to discover which products you can’t live without (for me it’s the hand cream, face cream and shower gel).


If I had to recommend one collection in particular it would be the Almond line because the scent is warm and mouth-watering (I literally can’t stop smelling it). To help you relax and unwind after a long day, the Almond Shower Oil ($25.00) hydrates, and cleanses with a lightweight, milky lotion. Simply lather-up and rinse away impurities to reveal soft, silky skin.


Terre De Lumiere ($89.00) might be the best fragrance L’Occitane has ever concocted. This elegant gourmand is fresh, warm and sweet, showcasing robust notes of lavender, honey and almond – suitable for day wear and formal occasions.


Everyone loves a good pull-cracker especially when they are filled with delightful skincare goodies. The Festive Trio ($34.00) comes with 3 fun gifts that are great for stocking stuffers and each includes 3 products (hand cream, body lotion, soap or shower gel).


The small bottles are great for travel and the bright crackers look fabulous with your holiday decor.


To conquer dry winter skin the Shea Collection is a must! Enriched with a very high concentration of organic shea, these formulas soften, moisturize, heal and instantly alleviate dry, flaky skin. The Hand Cream ($32.00) protects, nourishes and treats rough cuticles and brittle nails with 20% shea. It is so effective that you don’t need to reapply frequently and it absorbs quickly with no oily traces. The Ultra Rich Body Cream ($49.00 with 25% shea) takes care of itchy, uncomfortable skin so you feel velvety smooth all day. The texture is more like a thick body butter that feels light, non-greasy and supple once applied. I love the Comforting Cream ($39.00 with 5% shea) for face and neck care. The moisturizer drenches parched skin in lush, fortifying layers and promotes a radiant, healthy complexion. These products are suitable for both men and women so don’t forget the guys on your list.


At night I like to layer the Immortelle Divine Youth Oil ($114.00) with my other skincare to create a reparative mask that rejuvenates my complexion. The formula consists of ultra-concentrated, natural oils that plump, illuminate, firm, fight signs of aging and protect against damaging external aggressors. It melts in quickly and forms a silky sheen that regenerates, evens textural irregularities and promotes elasticity.


To find a boutique near you or to browse the holiday collection visit the website at loccitane.ca.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Make Your Home Smell Like Christmas with Avon Scented Candles

The stockings are hung and the tree is trimmed but for the finishing touch your home should smell like Christmas. When friends and family walk into the house they should feel warm, cozy and joyous so to capture the essence of the holiday season Avon has created a collection of scented candles that delight the senses.


I stocked-up on a few of my favorites - Praline Latte smells like creamy caramel mingled with sweet baked goods and a touch of rich mocha.


Spice Wreath reminds me of delicious cinnamon and tasty cider – very inviting and comforting.


The Christmas Sugar Cookie Candle fills the house with delicious scents of scrumptious holiday desserts that make your mouth water.


Winter Sangria is fainter than the other candles but since it’s named after my favorite cocktail I couldn’t resist. Soft notes of yummy berries waft through the air – perfect for a relaxing night by the fire with a good book.


Beautiful fragrances help set the mood for holiday parties and make your home smell as good as it looks. Visit avon.ca to discover more holiday accents. The candles retail for $12.99 each and make great gifts!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017 – Stocking Stuffers

One of my favorite things about Christmas morning is waking up early, having breakfast with my family and then digging into my stocking. They are always stuffed to the brim with amazing treats and over the years we’ve gone from regular sized stockings (cute and modest) to medium length (a bit bigger but still quite normal) and now we have giant stockings that touch the ground (a small kid can fit inside). Admittedly we may have gone a little overboard but there are so many cool things you can put inside from practical household items, clothing, accessories, snacks, makeup and more! The possibilities are endless.


From Eco Tools - the Exfoliating Pouf ($3.19) is made of 100% recyclable netting that sloughs away dead cells and creates a rich, cleansing lather. The small Contour Buki Brush Ornament can be hung on the tree (very cute) or popped into a stocking. The angled shape and fluffy bristles creates definition when used with powders, bronzers and highlighters. The Eco Tools Shower Cap ($11.49) comes with a handy storage case for travel and the soft cotton protects hair from moisture. You can also flip it inside out for deep conditioning treatments. (Eco Tools is available at Rexall, Pharma Plus, Guradian IDA, Lawtons Drugs Sobeys and online at farleyco.ca).


I love getting skincare masks in my stocking. The 7th Heaven Black Charcoal Peel-Off Mask ($7.99 for 5 at Rexall and Pharma Plus) cleanses and detoxifies to draw out impurities with a blend of natural ingredients that target problem skin. The Patchology Wink & Kiss Set ($10.00 at shoppers and beautyboutique.ca) comes with 2 pairs of Eye Gels to diminish puffiness, darkness and fatigue plus 2 Lip Gels to moisturize and soften. The NeoStrata Hydrating & Plumping Sheet Masks ($8.50 for 1 at Rexall and Shoppers Drug Mart) are great for dry winter months. They protect against external aggressors with a blend of Hyaluronic Acid and rejuvenating botanicals.


For soft, smooth legs and arms, the Velvet Touch Mittens ($4.49 for 3, available at Rexall, Pharma Plus, London Drugs and farleyco.ca) buffs away stubborn hair with no pain, chemicals or wax. If you slack on hair removal, The Secret Collection Knee-High Pantyhose ($7.99 for 2 pairs at Shoppers Drug Mart) always come in handy and the stylish Strut-n-It Non-Slip Insoles ($4.99 at London Drugs) are great for high heels, flats and open-toe shoes.


Friends, family and travelers will love the Steripod Tooth Brush Sanitizers ($6.99 at farleyco.ca, Walmart, London Drugs) and every woman needs a new supply of hair bands because they all seem to mysteriously disappear. The Stylize Non-Friction Elastics ($12.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart) are embellished with charms and jewels so they look fashionable on the wrist. Yardley has a variety of travel sized fragrances with fresh, floral scents for $18.99 each at Shoppers and beautyboutique.ca.


Lip Smacker always has an adorable collection of lip balms and the Stack & Collect Tsum Tsum Sets by Disney are great for kids and nostalgic adults ($9.49 at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore Lawtons and Toys R Us). If you prefer a voluptuous, pout then the Soap & Glory Pillow Plump Gloss ($24.99 at Shoppers) provides ultra-shine with lip-enhancing technology.


Makeup cleansers are always a big hit with my family so this year they are all getting the Vichy Thermale Wipes ($14.95 at drugstores and vichy.ca) suitable for sensitive skin and eyes. Life Brand also has fantastic Micellar Water ($9.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart) that removes dirt, makeup, oil and impurities.


London Town Cuticle Oil ($18.00 at Shoppers Drug Mart) is infused with vitamins and oils that nourish and heal dry, damaged skin.


If you don’t have a Scrub Daddy scratch-free sponge ($5.99 at Canadian Tire) then you need to get one. You can use this happy little guy to deep clean and scour your entire house from the outside in and it even tackles the bathroom (you may need to get a few). Speaking of the bathroom, Sqautty Potty has created the Unicorn Gold deodorizer spray ($14.99 at Canadian Tire and Bed Bath & Beyond) that you spritz in the toilet (beforehand) to trap odors beneath the water. This may sound unusual but it could come in handy for public restrooms, travel and the workplace.


Stay tuned for my holiday guide on must-have gift sets...yes there’s more.
Happy Shopping!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017 – Must-Have Beauty Tools

Makeup and skincare gift sets are fabulous but beauty tools are really impressive. How excited would you be to unwrap a Clarisonic or the Amopé Pedi Perfect. Maybe you need a new flat iron or know someone who would love a professional zit zapper. To help you choose the perfect presents I’ve rounded-up some of my favorite beautifying devices on the market and a few travel essentials for a little pampering on-the-go.


The Clarisonic Mia 2 Glow Getter & Blend Kit ($219.00) combines cleansing and makeup application in one amazing set. You get the Mia 2 which I’ve been using for years to deep clean, resurface and exfoliate my skin. The device produces over 300 sonic vibrations per second to rid the pores of blemish causing dirt, impurities, oil and product build-up. Skin appears soft, polished, radiant and healthy with fewer breakouts. Just make sure to get the brush head suitable for your skin type and don’t overdo it.


The Foundation Brush effortlessly blends cream and liquid formulas with more than 18,000 stimulating movements per minute to achieve seamless coverage in 60 seconds. Say goodbye to sore arms (no more manual blending) and hello to flawless skin as the device smooths your complexion, blurs lines, conceals discoloration and camouflages scars for a beautiful airbrushed effect. The non-porous, antibacterial bristles are easy to keep clean and the brush also fits on the Mia Fit device which is great for travel. Clarisonic is available at The Bay, Sephora and online at clarisonic.ca.


You’ve probably seen the commercial for Amopé - one of the most popular electronic foot files on the market. I’ve tested a few similar machines but this device is sleek, well made and effective with diamond crystal technology, 3 roller heads and a cute cosmetic bag for travel. The crystals effectively exfoliate dry, rough skin and hard, stubborn calluses for soft beautiful feet. After just one treatment I noticed a big difference and with repeated use feet appear healthy, smooth and ready for sandals or sexy heels. This gift set is not limited to women, the men on your holiday list will benefit from an Ampoé as well and you can always create a thoughtful gift basket or care package with a pair of cute socks, foot cream and slippers. The set retails for $49.99 - $59.99 at major retailers across Canada including Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Amazon and online at amope.ca.


I have a lot of expensive luxury skincare but the way I apply oils, creams and serums changed drastically when I was introduced to the Genius Ultra by Arbonne ($280.00). I don’t know what I did before I had this tool but I can’t live without it. There are 3 settings (although the strongest works best) and the application surface emits gentle vibrations and heat to enhance product absorption and efficacy. Simply apply your night care and use the Genius to massage everything in thoroughly. The warm plate melts each formula deep into the skin (without waste) and since I’ve been using it my complexion is clear, supple, luminous and healthy (even my mom is addicted!) Arbonne is available at arbonne.ca and through independent consultants.


The Foreo Espada Blue Light Acne Treatment ($199.00) uses LED Technology and sonic vibration to fire blue light into the pores with laser precision. The beam targets acne causing bacteria at the source eliminating pesky pimples and shortening their lifespan so you can stop trying to hide them with concealer. I only experience minor breakouts – an occasional pimple here or there so I like that this treatment zeros-in on specific areas and speeds up healing. It works best when used with topical creams and you can start as soon as you feel a nasty zit popping up beneath the surface. For more information read my full review HERE. Foreo is available at The Bay, Sephora and online at foreo.com.


I travel a lot, especially over the holidays when visiting family so the Conair True Glow Rechargeable Mini Facial Cleanser is a must. When vacationing overseas I avoid taking expensive devices like my Foreo or Clarisonic since my luggage has gone missing several times. The True Glow Travel Kit ($39.99) comes with a carrying case, 3 attachments for deep cleansing, massaging and moisturizing plus a USB charging cord. The brush rotates 360 degrees to effectively distribute face wash and foams that remove oil, makeup and pollutants on the skin’s surface (way better than using your hands).


Another cute gift for avid travelers is the Conair Mini Pro Straightener ($29.99). This cute styler is small enough to slip in a tote, gym bag or carry-on and works with ceramic technology and high heat dual voltage up to 365˚F. The plates glide across the hair evenly distributing heat for silky, smooth results and less frizz. My hair is thick and very long so I can only use this tool for touch-ups but it keeps my tresses sleek and neat. Conair is available at drugstores nationwide and online at conaircanada.ca.


Another beauty tool I’m obsessed with is the Foreo Iris Illuminating Eye Massager ($159.00). If you or someone you know suffers from dark circles, bags, or puffiness this is going to be your new best friend. The device uses gentle pulsing, kneading and tapping motions to enhance the absorption of eye creams. It is 70% more effective at reducing the appearance of under eye circles so skin appears bright, youthful and less haggard. To read my full review click HERE.


Instead of going to the spa or dermatologist for an expensive microdermabrasion treatment why not do your own from the comfort of home?  The Macro Exfoliator ($321.00) by Rodan and Fields uses diamond technology and gentle suction to totally resurface the skin, slough away dead cells, prevent breakouts, brighten improve circulation, minimize hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, reverse sun damage, eliminate bacteria and improve skin texture. This is a professional treatment that yields amazing results with different modes and cycles. To read my full review click HERE.


Happy Shopping!
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