Beauty: CHANEL Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum Review

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Lately, my skin has been a nightmare. After years of fairly good skin, I am now all-of-a-sudden faced with rosacea – inflamed, angry, red bumps all over my face. The extent of this problem is touch and go, getting better, getting worse, like a freaking yo-yo, which is why I’ve been very weary of a lot of skin products. I’ve been trying not to use too many new things on my sensitive skin, and only use products that come highly-recommended. Which is why I felt comfortable giving the new CHANEL Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum a try. The Hydra Beauty line has a very passionate following (Diane Kruger is the gorgeous face of the line), and I hoped that this new micro serum could help get my skin through winter.

Almost immediately, I noticed that my skin (normally dry in patches by mid-afternoon) felt more hydrated, looking brighter and better just days after first use. It’s now been a couple of weeks, and I’m totally hooked. The camellia smell is lovely and refreshing, while the extra kick of moisture this micro serum provides is just what my skin needs during the winter months.

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More after the jump!
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Beauty: How to Maintain Platinum Hair

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Ever since I bleached my hair, I’ve been getting a lot of sweet, and oftentimes demanding emails from readers that want to know EVERYTHING about going platinum. I already covered the part about bleaching dark brown hair platinum blonde (I do not recommend you to do this at home), and today, I’m going to share with you just what it takes to keep your bleached hair looking and feeling healthy. And while my hair may not be platinum anymore (it’s definitely a darker grey at the moment), at the end of the day, it’s still bleached hair, and it still demands a lot of maintenance. Below I share with you my (no longer) secret hair routine.

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Step 1: Coconut Oil
First, I slather my hair and scalp with coconut oil. Lots and lots of it – until my hair looks wet/greasy all over. I let it sit for about an hour (longer on the weekends). During this hour I do pretty much everything I would do normally – go to the gym, run errands, watch TV…the coconut oil doesn’t really drip anywhere, so you don’t have to be precious about it.

Step 2: Shampoo and Purple Conditioner
Once a sufficient amount of time has passed, I jump in the shower and shampoo my hair thoroughly but gently with cool water (it helps keep your cuticles sealed). I love Moroccanoil’s Smoothing Shampoo, because my hair feels extra silky after. Post-shampoo, I get as much water out of my hair as possible, run a bath, and settle in for some purple goop action. I like to leave purple conditioner in my hair for at least 20-30 minutes to make sure it does as much toning as possible, and seeing how most purple conditioners I’ve tried have a runny consistency, I don’t want to stand in the shower for half an hour waiting for the hot water to run out. So taking a bath is my solution (and an excuse to have some relaxing “me” time). I put lots of purple conditioner in my hair, making sure to saturate the strands from root to tip, and then I sit back and enjoy my bath. If you don’t want to see any amount of purple or grey in your hair, keep your purple conditioner in your hair for 5-10 minutes max…sometimes my hair does pick up a bit of a purpleish tinge to it, but I actually like it. You’ve been warned.

I’ve tried several different purple conditioner brands, and my faves are Davines Alchemic Conditioner, Aveda’s Blue Malva, and Clairol’s Shimmer Lights. Usually, I would just mix Silver Lights into any purple conditioner I was testing out in order to intensify the colour, but it worked best when paired with Aveda. Davines didn’t need much help, but seeing how expensive that stuff is, I’d say give Shimmer Lights a try. Also, both Davines and Shimmer Lights made my hair feel a lot more dry and tangled, while Aveda’s conditioner actually conditioned my hair, so my winning formula at the moment is: Davines + Blue Malva.

Oh, and I almost forgot about a recent fave! I found this super dark bluish purple conditioner at Shoppers, and it’s called Light Blue Shade. I’ve been mixing it with Davines and Blue Malva to get even more purple in my hair. It’s not very moisturizing, but it’s got a great colour pay off, and it’s not expensive either. If you live in Canada, and don’t have access to Clairol’s Shimmer Lights, this is a nice alternative.

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Rewind 2014: A Year in Photos

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It’s official…2014 is out, 2015 is in! But before we move on to all things new and exciting, I wanted to do a little revisiting, in part to look back on the wonderful year that 2014 was, and in part to have this post for posterity, and in case I ever need a reminder of some awesome things I did last year. If you hate those “me, me, me” posts, then this one may not be for you. Sorry (not really).

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2014 started out pretty well for me, unlike 2013 (credit card fraud galore!), I kicked off the year with a brand new video segment I created in partnership with Yorkdale and Max Kopanygin, called Styled By Nelia. Since January, we shot 9 segments, with 9 amazing retailers, and plan to shoot lots more in 2015. Since I truly hate to be on video, this was a huge challenge for me, but I got more and more comfortable with every episode we shot…and hope to get a little better with each video going forward.

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In February, I had the pleasure of participating in a photoshoot for eLUXE’s Spring 2014 lookbook, featuring Canadian bloggers. And as I will find out later, this will not be the last collab with eLUXE that I would shoot in 2014.


At the beginning of 2014, I also go to test out the Olay Regenerist Luminous skincare line, with beautiful results. Freckles, be gone!
More after the jump!
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Style Days of Christmas: Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris Giveaway

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Holiday season can be a stressful time, which is why I’m especially excited about today’s giveaway. I’ve written about my love of Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris before, and now it’s time to pay it forward and let one of my amazing readers try it out for themselves! Today’s prize is a Hammam, Gommage, and Rhassoul Clay Masque Treatment package valued at $235! Not sure what to expect? You can read all about my Hammam and Gommage treatment here, but in a few words – it’s the most relaxing and pampering experience. One, I’m sure you won’t soon forget.

Located in the luxurious Shangri-La hotel, the Miraj Hammam spa is a must-visit Toronto gem. I’m actually a little jealous, and will be booking my own treatment this holiday season too.

Enter now, for a chance to win this amazing prize!

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Details after the jump!
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Style Days of Christmas: Schwarzkopf Professional Giveaway

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Can’t believe that it’s day 5 of Style Days of Christmas already! Hope you’re having fun entering these giveaways, and loving the prizes. Today’s prize pack (valued at $324) is courtesy of Schwarzkopf Professional, and includes some seriously awesome goodies:

OSiS+ Holiday Pack ($14.98)
BC Hairtherapy Color Freeze Gift Set ($37.95)
BC Hairtherapy Moisture Kick Beauty Balm ($17.75)
BC Hairtherapy Oil Miracle Finishing Treatment ($39)
SKP PRO-Flat Flat Iron ($214.50)

When I first went platinum (and then grey), I had to slash my hair washing days to a maximum of two per week. But between those washes, I still went to the gym, and participated in my usual activities. Thank goodness for Schwarzkopf Professional and their OSiS+ dry shampoo and hairspray which helped my hair look great instead of tragic every day, whether it’s been washed or not. And today, I want to give you the gift of great hair too. Getting ready for holiday parties with this prize pack is going to be a cinch! Sounds good? Enter below!

 

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Details after the jump!
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Beauty: From Dark Brown to Platinum Blonde in 10 Hours

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So after years of waffling, I finally did it – I went platinum! It wasn’t a spontaneous decision…I’ve done my research – I knew what to expect (searing pain and hair damage), I knew who does the best blondening work in North America (Aura Friedman at Sally Hershberger), and I knew that I was finally ready to take the leap (was I?).

After admiring Aura’s artist-like approach to hair colour for what felt like forever, and with an upcoming trip to NYC booked, I gave Sally Hershberger Downtown NYC a call…and had a bit of a rude awakening, realizing that I simply couldn’t afford Aura’s services. I mean, sure, I had the means to pay her rate, but then I would risk my husband divorcing me on a claim of insanity. I’m no model, no actress, and no trust fund baby, so Aura was out. Luckily, she highly recommended her assistant of several years – Lucille Javier. Lucille, a native Los Angeleno, moved to NYC a few years ago and never looked back, working with Aura and learning her unique painting technique. On their days off, Lucille and her boyfriend go around the city cutting homeless people’s hair, listening to their stories, and providing them with small, but much-needed everyday essentials. I knew that I had to meet this woman!

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On the morning of my appointment, Lucille and I had the required pre-blondening consultation. With a stern look on her face, she told me what I already knew but needed to hear – bleach is harsh on the hair, it would cost a lot of money and time to maintain, and I should not expect “cookie cutter” results. Learning that my hair’s been dyed with a box colour within the last couple of years, I was advised that the dyed parts won’t be as easy to bleach as the “virgin” bits, and while my hair may not be snow-white by the end of my appointment, Lucille would do her darndest to make it as platinum as she could without compromising the health of my strands.

Seeing that her tough talk did not deter me one bit, she knew I was serious about going blonde, which meant that I passed the test, and was finally deemed ready to embark on my 10-hour blondening journey. Just 10 hours of my life to go from dark brown to platinum blonde!

dark-hair-to-platinum-blonde-lucille-javier-3More after the jump!
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Toronto Fashion Week: Best Beauty Looks From Spring 2015 Shows

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Another season of World MasterCard Fashion Week came and went in a whirlwind of lipstick and hairspray and I am here you give you a quick recap of the most noteworthy looks of Spring 2015.

Make Up

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Haley Elsaesser had one of the more unique looks of the week. Haley’s “Heavenly Bodies” collection reflected a very bright, sparkly mix of pastel colours and prints. To prep the skin, Maybelline’s Head Makeup Artist Grace Lee used Dream Finish BB Cream, making the skin  look smooth and flawless. After highlighting the bridge of the nose, top cheekbones and eyes, she finished the look with two-toned red and pink lips. Color Whisper in Faint for Fuchsia was applied on the top lip and Color Whisper Oh La Lilac on the bottom.
Star Product: Maybelline’s Color Whisper in Faint for Fuchsia and Oh La Lilac

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Matthew Gallagher’s collection was inspired by the “Rebirth of Spring”, so the make-up reflected this through a mix of soft nude/bronze colours. Skin was made to look fresh and dewy with Dream Wonder Liquid Touch Foundation, contoured with bronzer and then highlighted (with focus on the top of the cheekbones and underneath the brow). Lash Sensational Mascara was applied generously on the lashes, with the final touch of Color Elixir by Color Sensational in Breathtaking Apricot lightly blotted off to give it a worn-in look.
Star Products: Lash Sensational Mascara in Black and Color Elixir by Color Sensational in Breathtaking Apricot

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Mackage’s inspiration came from “a hip well-traveled girl on the go”. Smooth, matte skin created the perfect palette for this natural look. Eyes were kept simple, yet strong with a coat of Great Lash Mascara and the new Eye Studio Brow Drama gel on the eyebrows (a new favorite product of mine) to create a strong brow. The lips were the unique part, with Grace creating an ombre look using Color Sensational Creamy Matte in Magenta as the base all over the lips and then taking Color Whisper in Oh Lilac and gently blotting it on the center of the lips. Natural, but really cool.
Also, noteworthy was the fresh take on the models’ nails with Essie’s Lead Nail Artist Rita Remark taking blue polish and placing a dot on the half-moon at the base of the nail. Fun and easy!
Star Products: Eye Studio Brow Drama in Dark Brown

Best Hair Looks after the jump!
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Holidays 2014: Gift Guide

For some reason, this year, I am woefully unprepared for winter’s arrival, but since it’s practically end of November and there’s snow on the ground, I guess it’s time to snap out of my denial and start shopping. Full disclosure: I have yet to buy any presents, but I do have some ideas as to what I’ll be picking up for my loved ones this holiday season. And just in case you’re in the same boat, I thought I’d share some of my fave holiday gift ideas with you.

I glimpsed most of these back in July, during the annual holiday previews, and I have to say that this year in particular, those previews came in super handy. I got to learn about the existence of cool adult onesies, played with the Big Love Ball, and tried on the gorgeous Thomas Sabo infinity ring; I self-medicated with the all-natural Saje Pocket Pharmacy, and sipped on Inniskillin sparkling icewine. In short, I got to preview and test out a lot of the picks below, and I hope that this gift guide gives you some ideas for your holiday shopping this season. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and presents for him, her, and the kids, then this is a great place to start! Happy Shopping!

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1. Bombki Russian Christmas Ornaments (Net-A-Porter)
2. FLOWER Beauty Powder Brush (Wal-Mart)
3. TOMS for Target Candle (Target)
4. Falconwright Coin Purse (Falconwright)
5. Drake General Store Mountie Thermos (The Bay)
6. kate spade new york iPhone 5 Lucky Cat Case (Holt Renfrew)
7. Saje Pocket Pharmacy (Saje)
8. Big Love Ball 
9. Gap Calf Hair Tech Gloves (Gap)

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1. The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Doll (The Body Shop)
2. Shupette My Precious Glitter Set (Holt Renfrew)
3. Tiffany T Square Bracelet (Tiffany and Co)
4. Jenny Bird RiRi Collar Tri-tone (Jenny Bird)
5. Balenciaga Florabotanica Rollerball (Sephora)
6. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (Indigo)
7. CHANEL Patchwork Shearling Bag (CHANEL)
8. ALDO FAHLSTROM Boots (ALDO)
9. Moschino iPhone 5 Case (Net-A-Porter)
10. Thomas Sabo Glam & Soul Ring (Thomas Sabo)
11. NARS Modern Future Roman Holiday Gift Set (Holt Renfrew)

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1. H&M Oh Deer! Sweater (H&M)
2. ALDO Wallie Shoes (ALDO)
3. 
Yo Sox Burger King Socks (The Bay)
4. KRUPS Barista Espresso/Coffee Machine (The Bay)
5. Samsung Gear 2 Smart Watch (Best Buy)
6. Grey Goose VX (LCBO)
7. Jack Black Cobalt Brush (Holt Renfrew)
8. Drake General Store Arborist Mountie Adult Onesie (The Bay)

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1. Indigo Expressions Pillow (Indigo)
2. Oster French Bull Toaster (Target)
3. Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography (Indigo)
4. Holiday Ribbon Dessert Plates (Indigo)
5. Inniskillin Vidal Sparkling Icewine (LCBO)
6. Byredo Parfums Loose Lips Candle (Holt Renfrew)
7. Nadege Pastries (Nadege)
8. David’s Tea for the Tree (David’s Tea)
9. HBC Collection Cuppa Teapot (The Bay)

 

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1. HBC’s Priscilla the Fox (The Bay)
2. Melissa and Doug Felt Food Taco and Burrito Set (SHOP.CA)
3. Tuck Shop Neighbourhood Toques (Mini Mioche)
4. Sugarbooger Doll Teether Set (Mini Mioche)
5. H&M Sweatshirt with Print (H&M)
6. GummyGoods Nightlight (Mini Mioche)
7. Ele and Ela Bib (Etsy)
8. Seedling DIY Snow Globe Kit (Indigo)
9. Uncle Goose Russian ABC Blocks (Uncle Goose)

What I Wore: Grey on Grey

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Ever since I went grey, I’ve had to make some adjustments in the way that I dress. Out went my fave poppy hues like yellow and red, replaced by grey, taupe, white, and black instead. And though once in a while, I am still tempted to pick up something bright, I am really enjoying this subdued palette for now. It makes me feel more grown up and sophisticated.

I thought I’d get bored of this “no colour” phase, but if anything, it just makes getting dressed in the morning a breeze. A few staples like grey cashmere sweaters, slim-cut black pants, and classic black and white dresses, mixed with kitty flats for a bit of whimsy are all I really need lately, and I don’t mind one bit.

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More after the jump!

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YASSSSSSSSSSSSS: Tilda Swinton for NARS Spring 2015

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Forgive my immature post title, but I just couldn’t help it. NARS has just announced Tilda “Glorious” Swinton as the face of the brand’s Spring 2015 campaign, and I love this SO hard! Also, I can’t stop staring at this first of four portraits of Tilda, shot by NARS Founder and Creative Director, François Nars. Doesn’t she look FIERCE? I try not to use that word often, but she looks fierce and striking, and I’m all over this collab.

Here’s what Tilda had to say about this exciting news:  “I met François only recently when he asked to photograph me for his book, having long been an admirer of his from afar for many years. I liked him immensely and immediately and we were eager, from that first session, to do more things together. I could not be more proud to call him my colleague. Now I understand why his work is so fresh and original, because he is so bright and has such a sweet heart.”

More details will be released in the coming months, but I’m already on board. I don’t need to know what she’s selling, because I’m buying it…whatever IT is. What about you? Are you excited about Tilda x NARS? Share in the comments.