Shopping: Holt Renfrew’s H Project x ela Handbags x Burt’s Bees Collaboration

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of ela Handbags. Each season I try to add at least 1 piece of ela’s special brand of “humble luxury” to my wardrobe, and I am always tempted to buy more, as cool new styles arrive. Well, now, thanks to the new collaboration between Holt Renfrew’s H Project, ela Handbags, and Burt’s Bees, there’s yet another ela bag that I have added to my bag rotation, and it’s a good one!

H Project has partnered with ela, Canadian accessories brand co-founded by Ela and Martin Aldorsson, and Burt’s Bees, to create an exclusive, limited-edition ‘editor’s pouch’ in support of Pollinator Partnership Canada– the largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. The pouch was designed in Canada, featuring a stunning floral motif, and comes with three beautiful Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lip Crayons – all that for only $50! 100% of proceeds will go to the Pollinator Partnership Canada, so you can feel even better about your purchase.

The clutch will be available at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada starting May 1st, just in time for Mother’s Day. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Photo Credits: Holt Renfrew

Beauty: 5 Lifesaving Products You Need This Spring

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Spring is kinda/sorta here, and I don’t know about you, but after those long winter months, my skin and hair need some major TLC. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying some cool new beauty products that have already made a major difference in the way my skin and hair look and feel, and I hope you like them too.

got 2b All Star MVP Perfecting Cream
After learning about this product at a recent preview, I was intrigued – a BB cream for hair, could it really work?! Well, it does! This product promises to deliver 10 benefits: shape, smoothness, calmer hair, anti-frizz, suppleness, shine, volume, flawless style, shimmer and fullness. And while I don’t know if I noticed any shimmer, it has definitely helped my bleached hair look smoother without losing its volume. If your hair needs a little something-something after those harsh winter months, I strongly recommend this miracle cream.

Vichy Ideal Body Balm
Just like my hair, my skin gets super thirsty in the winter, so to prep it for those glorious days of bare legs and sleeveless tops, a top-notch moisturizer is key. Vichy Ideal Body Balm is a current fave – not only does it smell divine, it leaves my skin feeling baby-soft! Oh, and it sinks right in. Vichy uses active ingredients traditionally used in face care: Hyaluronic Acid and LHA, combined with 10 fundamental oils to deliver firmer, smoother and more radiant skin. Works like a charm!

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
This daytime antioxidant serum isn’t cheap, but it really delivers! Combined with sunscreen, this powerful serum provides “advanced environmental protection against photoaging by neutralizing free radicals that cause accelerated signs of aging.” I apply a few drops to my face before moisturizer each morning, and after only a couple of weeks have already noticed improvements in my skintone. Granted, I have other skin issues right now, but this serum has not aggravated any of my sensitivities, and I feel more protected now that sunny patio days are just around the corner. If you have sun damage, and want to prevent spots and premature aging, this is one kick-ass serum to invest in.

fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask
This mask is part of my nighttime beauty ritual, and I freaking love it! Winter months literally sap moisture out of my skin, and this is the perfect mask to put life (and moisture) back where it belongs. The difference is pretty dramatic, and you’ll be sure to notice the results almost right away. “Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask works in synch with the skin’s natural nighttime recovery process to achieve a lifted, firmer look by the morning.” I apply this on my face and neck at night as the last step of my beauty routine – the smell and texture of this product are great, and it sinks right into my skin (it’s quite thick, so use sparingly). If your face needs post-winter rehab, I can’t recommend this mask highly enough.

CHANEL UV Essentiel
Last, but not least, we all know that sunscreen is super important all year round, but especially so in the spring and summer months, when we find ourselves outdoors more regularly. And while I’ve tried to be good at shielding my face from the damaging rays, I have to say that due to my sensitive skin, I’ve had a tough time finding sunscreen that worked for me…until I tried CHANEL UV Essentiel. This sunscreen is super lightweight, specifically formulated for the face, which means it won’t clog your pores, and it smells amazing too. I’ve been using it daily, and will continue to do so to protect my face from photo-aging and hyperpigmentation. If you hate the idea of adding another step to your beauty routine, I also highly recommend CHANEL CC Cream, which offers both coverage and SPF30, in addition to moisturizing and soothing benefits. Win-win!

And there you have it – my latest “can’t-live-without” beauty products to stock up on this spring. Share your must-haves in the comments!

Toronto Fashion Week: Best Beauty Looks from Fall 2015 Shows

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Another season of World MasterCard Fashion Week has ended and as always, I am here to give you a quick recap on my favourite beauty looks from Fall 2015 shows and how to achieve them, so let’s get to it!

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Hayley Elsaesser was the belle of the ball last season with her bright and quirky spring collection. And her “Midnight Cowboy” fall line was just as good – a combination of 70’s glamour with a touch of Uma Thurman from Kill Bill.

Grace Lee the Head Makeup Artist for Maybelline started her beauty look with a sheer natural palette using Dream Wonder Liquid Touch Foundation and Face Studio Master Prime in Blur + Illuminate all over the face. She then created a translucent smoky eye look using a mix of molten brown shades (Plum Fusion and Taupe Crazy) and added a highlight in the form of Color Tattoo’s Tenacious Teal to the center of the lower lid. The eyes were then finished off with Brow Drama and Lash Sensational Mascara. For the two-toned lips, Grace used Color Sensational Lipstick in Rebel Bloom first as the base and then Vivid Rose on the center of the lips to create an ombre effect.

Redken’s Head Stylist Jorge Joao decided to incorporate blocks of color to the hair to reflect Hayley’s vibrant style. Hair was primed with Pillow Proof and then flat ironed to sleek perfection. He then made two tight braids on each side, which were then wrapped around to created 2 side buns. The ends of the braids were left sticking upwards, creating an almost bird-like effect. The look was sealed with a healthy dose of Control Addict 28 to keep stray hair in place.

Essie’s Lead Nail Artist Rita Remark was inspired by the animal print Hayley had in her collection and decided to recreate it on models’ nails. By blotting one color on top of another she was able to create a fun yet versatile look. Rita used Naughty Nautical, Meet Me at Sunset, Butler Please and Mod Square to achieve this exciting combo.

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More after the jump!
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NYFW Spring 2015: Street Style Hair Trends

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As the latest season of NYFW is coming to a close, I want to revisit some photos I took at the tents last September. As I was shooting, I noticed a trend – fun hair colours! From platinum, to grey, to red, to pastel, to rainbow, people were making loud fashion statements with their hair colour.

Perhaps I was biased and only captured what I wanted to see, since at the time I was freshly platinum, but after shooting for a couple of days and spotting dozens of fun hair shades, I knew I wasn’t imagining it. With spring and summer just around the corner, I thought I’d share these photos in case you needed some hair inspo for those warmer days ahead. Enjoy!

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More after the jump!
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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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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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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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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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