Monday, October 23, 2017

Soap & Glory Skincare Review – Bath, Bubbles and Beauty

To quote Game of Thrones – “winter is coming” and with fall in full-swing it may be time to change your skincare routine. Soap & Glory has been dedicated to creating pampering body products infused with indulgent scents and potent conditioners since 2006 and today I’m sharing some mouth-watering essentials to make your season completely gorgeous!

If key lime pie and whipped cream had a baby it would smell like the Sugar Crush Body Lotion ($16.00). Aside from refreshing scents of delicious citrus, the formula is enriched with skin conditioning oils like sweet almond, coconut and grape seed combined with shea and cocoa butter. The smooth consistency envelops the body in lavish layers of moisture and absorbs quickly with no greasy residue. Skin feels supple, silky and healthy with a lovely aroma.

Speaking of wonderful scents, the body sprays retail for just $10.00 and slip in your handbag to keep you fresh and cool anytime, anyplace. Smoothie Star is composed of almond, rich vanilla and dreamy sandalwood that may induce hunger-pangs. To me it smells like baked goods and candy but don’t worry about over-indulging, the scent tends to fade into a mellow sweetness.

The award winning Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub ($18.00) might make your tummy rubble but try not to eat it. This is the stuff dreams are made of, it smells like waffles, warm maple syrup, brown sugar and cookies... I have my nose stuck in the jar right now. The formula is thick, super hydrating and infused with shea butter, almond oil, banana, honey extract and a blend of oats, sugar and sea salt to buff-away dead cells and leave skin soft, polished and totally rejuvenated. Use it in the shower to treat dry elbows, knees and feet and emerge feeling amazing.

The Fab Pore Moisture Lotion ($23.00) is a circulation boosting, organic ginseng blend formulated to increase oxygen to the skin, shrink pores, tone, brighten and mattify. It also has a built-in astringent to help prevent breakouts and excess oil production. If you have greasy, problem skin, this is a great layer of defense under makeup and it leaves my face incredibly soft and velvety.

The Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Plumping Gloss ($14.00) boosts micro-circulation to volumize your pout on contact. Admittedly I am not a fan or plumping products because I don’t like the sensation but for the purpose of this review I did test it out (you’re welcome). After a few seconds I felt tingly vibrations across the surface of my lips – not painful but not very pleasant either (although some people may like it). On the bright side, the gloss does work and eventually the sting wears off. My lips were definitely more voluptuous, moisturized and totally Instagram worthy with a nice sparkle and luminous shine.

When it comes to cleansing and makeup removal, the Fab Pore T-Zone Cloths ($10.00) have your back. Infused with anti-blackhead ingredients, brightening citrus and salicylic acid to prevent acne – they lift away dirt, oil and impurities while gently exfoliating.

The Soap & Glory Wait On Hand & Foot Set ($12.00) makes a cute gift or stocking stuffer and both formulas have a blend of natural oils and butters to prevent dry, flaky skin from getting the best of you this season. The creams are portable, non-greasy and wonderfully fragranced.

Soap & Glory is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart

Friday, October 20, 2017

Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes Eye Shadow Palette Review & Melted Latex Liquefied High Shine Lipstick

It seems like the Peach Collection by Too Faced just keeps getting better with even more fruity goodness and bold new color. The Just Peachy Palette ($45.00) features 12 matte shades of warm peach, butter cream and chocolaty brown that smell as good as they look with a dash of scrumptious fig cream.

The orange, sangria and brown hues mix and match beautifully to capture the essence of fall and resemble changing autumn leaves. Most of these shades are great for crease sculpting, transitioning color, and blending with a silky, buildable texture. Although using a good primer is recommended to enhance vibrancy, the shadows are highly pigmented for intense, versatile coverage.

The palette is a great size for travel and quite durable with a large mirror for application.

If you own a few other Too Faced Palettes, this one compliments them well by creating definition and smokiness. You can pair the vivid mattes with sparkling shimmer to create striking contrast and the color lasts all day without fading or creasing. These rich, toasty shades compliment all skin tones and create a variety of trendy looks.

The new Melted Latex Collection encompasses everything a good liquid lipstick should be – bold color, luxuriously creamy and extremely saturated. I love everything about these lush, striking shades including the moisturizing formula, high-shine finish and long doe-foot applicator. The lacquer-like intensity makes lips appear full and juicy plus the color clings to skin for longer wear.

The shades I chose are perfect for fall. Bite me is a vampy wine-red and Hot Mess is a bright mid-tone pink. The lipsticks retail for $21.00 each.

The La Crème Color Drenched Lipsticks ($22.00) are a popular obsession on social media and these two shades - Sweet Maple and Berry Naughty are perfect for the season. Loaded with antioxidants, collagen and emollients, the lipstick glides on smooth and creamy for comfortable wear and lots of hydration.  I love how supple and healthy they make my lips feel and the glistening finish is lightweight and radiant.

La Creme Lipstick & Melted Latex

Don’t let the cold weather dull your glow. The Love Light Prismatic Highlighters ($30.00 ea) will keep your skin fresh and luminous with a unique blend of liquid, cream and powder. The crushed pearl particles apply seamlessly and sparkle in the light at any angle for a gorgeous ethereal glow. You can go from sheer and subtle to dramatic strobing and all 3 shades are universal.

Too Faced is available at Sephora and online at

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Algarve Travel Guide: Best Beaches & Top Attractions

After touring the bustling, steep streets of Lisbon my legs needed time to recoup and the sun kissed beaches of the Algarve seemed like the perfect place to unwind. The Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region best known for its beautiful sandy coves, picturesque Mediterranean beaches, and colorful seaside villages. The weather is warm and sunny all year round and the tropical scenery, ocean breeze and swaying palm trees creates a laid-back island vibe.

Getting to the Algarve from Lisbon
From Lisbon we rented a car from the airport and drove two and a half hours to the Algarve. Even though we booked the car online before our trip, the disorganized process at the airport and extremely long lines took well over an hour so make sure to give yourself extra time. Renting a vehicle is the best way to see the coast because you can stop at all major points of interest and explore the towns at your own pace. Except for taxis and tour buses there isn't much public transit available.
Travelers Tip: Rent a GPS or buy a road map to help navigate, all the roundabouts can be confusing.

Where to Stay
I chose an Airbnb apartment in the beautiful little town of Armaҫão de Pêra - Praia Beach which had a full kitchen, spacious living room, cozy terrace and all the amenities we needed. The building was a 5 min walk to the beach which also had many restaurants, shops and romantic scenic points. This is a wonderful area to stay in because it is located mid-way between the most popular towns and beaches making it a great starting point. If you drive to the west you reach Lagos and to the East you have Faro. It is also very close to Albufeira and Lagoa.

Praia Beach is very quiet and serene – ideal for a relaxing getaway. To read my review on Airbnb click HERE.

Although there are many food options including traditional Portuguese (mainly consisting of fresh fish), pizza, burgers, steak and more, my favorite was Bollywood Indian Cuisine. The seaside dinning was a great way to end the day and the sangria was amazing!

Don’t forget to indulge in some creamy gelato. At Praia Beach there seems to be a delicious ice cream shop on every corner and the flavours are to die for!

Praia de Marinha
My favorite beach in the Algarve is Praia de Marinha – One of the most beautiful beaches on the coast and ranked top 10 in Europe. The steep limestone cliffs composed of crustaceans, sea animals and shells are estimated to be 16-24 million years old and if you hike to the top you can capture the most spectacular photos.

I was able to find my own little cave on the beach which provided shade from the sun.

The sparkling blue coves are breathtaking and this beach is much less crowded then Banagil which is very popular with tourists.

We also drove to Lagos and stopped at Ponta da Piedad – an impressive collection of rock formations jutting out from the sea. This point is very popular with photographers and those looking to capture the perfect scenic backdrop. I recommend arriving at sunset for the best display of color and light.

We also went to Praia de Dona Ana – located about 2 km southwest of the city center. This is another great spot for photos.

If you stop in Lagos I recommend going into town. The narrow, cobblestone streets are hard to manoeuvre with a vehicle but there is much to discover on-foot and it is a great place to have an authentic Portuguese meal or shop for souvenirs.

Cave Exploration & Tours
The highlight of my trip to Portugal was exploring the caves along the coast, especially Benagil Cave which features a secluded beach hidden within the rocks. You can access the beach by paddle board or kayak but we chose to book with Targua Tours which uses exhilarating speed boats. The 30 min tour cost €15 per person and stopped at 10 caves but there are several options available. If you feel a little adventurous I highly recommend this thrilling expedition! The kiosk is located at Praia de Benagil Beach or you can buy tickets online at

Benagil Cave

Benagil Beach

Travellers Tip: The walk back up from Praia de Benagil Beach is not very pleasant. The hills are very steep so be prepared and wear comfortable shoes.

One of the prettiest towns in the Algarve is Carvoeiro and the view from the beach is incredible. I did some shopping, had an ice cream and enjoyed lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area.

If you haven’t read my post on Lisbon click HERE and stay tuned to see my travel guide for Madrid Spain!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mark by Avon MOD Collection Review – Holiday 2017

Even though fall has just begun, it’s never too late to start thinking about the holidays! I have already started checking people off my gift giving list and testing exciting new beauty products. The mark MOD collection features fun graphic prints, comforting winter scents and bold pops of trendy color.

I’m the kind of girl who is not afraid to wear vibrant shadow and make it look perfectly acceptable for all occasions. The key is applying a good primer, using shades that match well and blending until your arm falls off to create the perfect gradient. The Mod Pop Eye Shadow Palette ($25.00) has a variety of playful shades including orchid, glistening pink, sparkling orange and bright aqua contrasted with neutral hues like navy, soft pink and silver. The formula is silky, smooth and soft but I recommend a color intensifying base and applying a few layers to enhance the color.

I am totally obsessed with Avon’s Cherry Jubilee Lipstick and Nail Polish because the sultry, dark wine color is perfect for fall! I received these items in the Joyful Makeup Collection 5-Piece Set but the lipsticks usually retail for just $10.00 and I love the moisturizing satin finish.

The polish matches the lipstick perfectly which is stylish for holiday parties.

The MOD collection also includes fabulous body products with the same geometric print. The fragrance ($38.00) is composed of capucine florals and rose spiked with scrumptious nutmeg. Don’t be alarmed by the spicy notes, the aroma is pleasantly sweet, well balanced and surprisingly comforting. For some reason I just can’t get enough of this scent! It is fades beautifully and makes you smell very alluring. The Body Lotion ($14.00) has the same great aroma and the rich, creamy texture leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated.

Avon is available online at and through independent consultants. 

12 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

I travel frequently for work and leisure so you may be surprised to learn that I used to have a fear of flying. It's true, even people who spend a lot of time on planes can be totally uncomfortable in the air and all it takes is one scary experience to trigger ongoing panic.

The problem I had was not a phobia since it did not disrupt my life or stop me from boarding an aircraft but it still made me very uneasy in the air. 

My issue isn’t really the height (although I’m not a fan of that either), it has more to do with the idea of plummeting to the earth from 30,000 ft with no control. Every bump, air pocket and bad weather system made me nervous but I’ve gone from clutching the armrest in panic to coping increasingly well.

Since this fear is very common, I’ve decided to share some tips on how I dealt with the anxiety because life is too short not to explore the world.

(Photo edited from Google Images, original source unknown)

1. Identify the Source of Your Fear
As mentioned above, my problem has more to do with the idea of falling out of the sky and turbulence than it does with heights. I’ve been to the top of the tallest building in the world and watched the sun rise from mountain peaks above the clouds even though it made me weak in the knees to look down. Once you identify what particular aspect of flying scares you, it may be easier to deal with the root cause and learn to understand it.

2. Put Things in Perspective and Think Rationally
When you leave home you enter a world full of dangers beyond your control. Your environment can be perilous yet you find the courage to live. If you consider the statistics you’d realize that there is a higher chance of being injured in a motor vehicle or crossing the street than being in a plane crash. The conditions you face on a daily basis may be more hazardous than flying; in fact it is still one of the safest ways to travel. Take solace in knowing that there is a higher probability of arriving at your destination safely. You can’t predict or control the future and worrying about it is a waste of mental energy that causes stress. 

3. Relaxation
One of the worst aspects of flying is not the flight itself but the anxiety you feel beforehand. Anticipation of getting on the place can be worse than the actual journey. Before your trip do something enjoyable to help you relax whether it’s going to the gym, meditating or taking a hot bath. I can’t condone self-medicating but you can see a doctor for a prescribed sedative and over-the-counter meds that cause drowsiness may help calm the nerves. Keep in mind that you must be alert when checking-in at the airport and this method should not be used frequently nor is it a permanent solution.

4. Breathing Exercises
When turbulence gets rough and panic starts to set in, I do simple breathing techniques. Take a deep breath in, hold for 4 seconds and release while counting down from 10. When you get to 1 begin again and repeat if necessary. Often times I am more focused on counting than the turbulence and eventually it stops so I can relax.

5. Understand That Turbulence is Normal
On a stop-over in Switzerland on my way to Florence, a flight attendant said something that really helped me. She told me to think of turbulence as road bumps. It is completely normal and quite harmless. Even while driving the journey isn’t smooth so don’t expect the air to be. Thinking of it this way helped put my mind at ease and sitting at the front of the plane where turbulence is felt less may also help.

6. Occupy Your Time
One of the worst things you can do is sit idly and worry. Take your mind off the fear by reading, working, playing games, watching movies or sleeping and you may forget your discomfort altogether. Listening to your favorite music or something soothing can help you relax.

7. Travel with a Companion
Having support is always helpful and if need be your travel buddy can talk you through it and be a familiar point of stability when you feel on edge.

8. Find Motivation
It could be a big job interview, wedding or a dream vacation but sometimes air travel is the only option. The places I’ve visited and the amazing experiences I’ve had ignite my passion for travel even more. Focus on the destination and remind yourself that it will all be worth it. This may not eliminate your fear but positive thinking is highly underrated. 

9. Keep Flying
The more flights you take the more comfortable you may become with the idea. It may never feel natural (we aren’t birds after all) but start small by venturing to closer destinations and when you’re ready, begin extending your journey and flight time. “The best way to treat the symptoms is to bring on the symptoms and do it anyway” meaning flying is the best way to overcome your fear of flying. The longest I’ve ever flown was 14 hours to Dubai but I’m psyching myself up for a 17 hour trip to Asia in the near future (wish me luck). If you have the means to splurge on a first class ticket a little luxury can make the trip more relaxing and enjoyable. When I book a personal pod I can lie down to sleep, stretch out and get comfortable. To read my article on flying first class click HERE.

10. Know How Things Work
Sometimes knowing a bit about aviation can help put your mind at ease. My friend Jason is a pilot and I learned that there is a lot of continual training that goes with the job. Pilots and crew are trained and tested to handle emergency situations including flying in turbulence and bad weather. The planes are highly advanced and Jason even learned how to recover, regain control and prevent disorientation if the plane flips or nose dives. Most pilots never experience a crash in their entire career so chances are you won't either.

11.  Face it Head-On and Don’t Cower
I find that if I face things head-on it helps me feel in control of what is happening to me. I usually opt for a window seat and instead of closing the shade I open it wide so I can see what is going on during take-off and landing. 

12. Pay Close Attention to the Safety Instructions/Video
You don’t actually have much control over what happens to you once you step onto an aircraft but knowing what to do in case of an emergency can help put your mind at easy and make you feel more prepared.

Keep in mind that almost everyone feels uncomfortable during a rough flight and it is completely normal.  

Disclaimer: Although I have a degree in Psychology this article is based on personal experience and should not be used in place of seeking medical help for your individual problems, fears or phobias.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NEW From Lancome: Advanced Génifique Sensitive Dual Concentrate, Absolue Precious Cells Revitalizing Rose Mask & La Vie Est Belle L’éclat Eau De Parfum

We’ve all suffered from bad skin days. It could have been seasonal changes, a nasty breakout, pollution, fatigue or in my case the sunny beaches, long nights and jet lag from my recent trip to Portugal, but occasionally we all need a little rejuvenation. Lancome has recently released new skincare dedicated to replenishing the complexion, correcting irregularities and promoting a youthful glow.

The new La Vie Est Belle Fragrance is opulent, sophisticated and intoxicating for a sensory experience that it truly decadent.

Advanced Génifique ($99.00) is a luxurious serum rich in probiotics that revive fragile skin, hydrate, protect against daily aggressors, soothe and deeply nourish when you need it most. What makes this formula unique is that the concentrate is kept isolated from the serum until you decide to use it so the active ingredients remain fresh and potent. The serum is viable for approximately one month which means that once you blend the two parts together, you must continue using it every day until the bottle is finished for best results.

Clear, unmixed serum

When you have a bad skin day simply push and twist the cap to release the blue concentrate, shake until mixed, unscrew and dispose of the cap (including the blue portion) and replace with the medicine dropper. The concentrate is composed of 98% pure antioxidants (Ferulic Acid & Vitamin C) to speed up healing and regeneration.

Mixed with concentrate

The serum feels refreshing, cool and soothing on parched, tight skin and melts in quickly with no greasy residue. I apply it in the evening after cleansing and layer it with the Absolue Night Precious Cells Recovery Cream to create the ultimate hydrating night treatment. If you suffer from dry skin and need an excellent winter moisturizer, read my review on the Precious Cells Collection by clicking HERE. It is my favorite skincare range from Lancome.

After a hectic week the Revitalizing Rose Mask ($185.00) enriched with rose water and nutritive extracts is the perfect way to energize, plump and hydrate the skin. You can actually see fresh rose fragments floating in the cool gel and in just 15 minutes my complexion is bright, clear, smooth and incredibly supple. Just sit back, relax and let the lush formula and amazing scent pamper and revive you.

After your skin is glowing and you’re ready for a night out, the new La Vie Est Belle L’éclat Perfume ($85.00) puts the perfect finishing out on any outfit. The elegant bottle is a masterpiece in itself featuring 221 twinkling facets designed by the best French glass maker. I love that the liquid appears to be encased in crystal and elevated by a solid base embellished with a simple pearlescent bow.

La Vie Est Belle is radiant, uplifting and boldly feminine with notes of delicate iris, sweet pear, ripe blackberry, luminous orange blossom, fresh jasmine and a base of patchouli essence. The fruit and citrus accords balance the robust undertones for the perfect blend of sweet and sensual. The aroma is elegant, long lasting and refined – ideal for daily wear and special occasions. It also makes a great gift for the ladies on your holiday list!

Lancome is available at department store counters nationwide, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and online at
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