August 23, 2015

Lollycadoodle 100% Wool Pet Toys - Because Your Pet Deserves the Very Best


"Go get the ball/bone/mouse!"

Having grown up with humongous dogs as a kid and then a rather large cat as an adult, these words have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

And as I have become more concerned about what I use and have in my home over the years (buh-bye plastics and chemicals), this thinking has extended to my beloved furry ones. Along with organic foods (they eat better than I do!), health supplements, and all natural cleaners, I try and surround my pets with as many natural materials as possible.

Lollycadoodle carries  pet toys that are not only made from 100% wool that have been felted into a soft material that cats and dogs can't get enough of, they are lovingly handmade

Handmade by trained artisans in Kathmandu, Nepal in a Fair Trade facility, the toys are felted with just soap and water. The wool is put out to dry in the Kathmandu sun and then is shipped out to you. The result is a super-strong, water, odor and dirt-resistant fabric.

The other bonus of these toys (as if there's not enough to love already) is that while you don't want you pet to eat the toy, if they did, they would be all right, unlike if they ate that plastic fishing pole or flattened out duck with the googly eyes from the pet centre. The naturally dyed wool is full digestible, so you can leave your cat or dog with their toys without having to worry. Phew.

I absolutely adore the characters available - there's everything from sticks to rings, rocks and hearts, mushrooms and adorable dinosaurs and the cutest koala you ever did see!

Balls are a must for any pet. But you've also got to get them something with a little pizazz. If you're like me and become smitten with little critters, then you simply have to get the Pig! Complete with bacon stripes, he is so endearing, I think I' m going to have to fight my cat at bedtime for him. I also think he's going to be a big hit with these two lovelies - Porkchop & Charlie Pickles.

If you want a safe toy for your pet, it doesn't get any better - or cuter! - than Lollycadoodle.

Shop now.

August 22, 2015

LURK Perfume Oils - Luxurious, Full-Bodied, Enticing, Original Scents



By now you know that whatever you're putting on your skin, goes into your body. So if you're making the switch over to products with natural, organic ingredients, start with LURK Perfume Oils.

These stunners, made in SoHo, NYC, are as pure as it getsHand blended, hand poured, these sumptuous scents use only pure essential oils in a base of organic jojoba. Just check how many of your current perfumes are loaded up with water and alcohol - I'm going to say almost all of them. You won't find empty fillers like that here, or any chemical preservatives, additives or stabilizers.

I tried the following oils to discover what makes LURK stand out from the crowd:

- AS 01 -  This one's a minx. Sweet rose and tuberose swirl sensuously together with a cedarwood wash. But there's a whisper of spice, giving it a youthful, vibrant edge. Invigorating confidence in a bottle.
Notes of cedarwood, tuberose and sweet rose come together with a hint of spice - See more at: http://lurkmade.com/as-0118-oz-perfume-oil/#sthash.ueL5TubS.dpuf

- BS 003 - An exhilarating tonic of refreshing citrus mingles with dry wood and sweet bergamot. There's a refreshing green grass note that makes me think of Pimm's Cups on a manicured lawn, but yet there's a deep warmth of wood, as if soaked by the sun. In otherwords, it delivers the scent of summer, no matter what time of year. Ahh, pure bliss!

jasmine and rose intertwine with fresh petitgrain
jasmine and rose intertwine with fresh petitgrain
- PRJ VI - Jasmine, rose and fresh petigrain envelop you in an intoxicating, warm, seductive cloud. Think sunshine at the beach, then at the garden's edge and then a delicious rendezvous on the boardwalk at midnight.

- RSW005Ooh, warm sandalwood and earthy rose with a hint of citrus makes for an exotic blend. There's great depth here, with as many layers as a mille feuille crêpe cake, but doesn't cloy or blanket you. It's complex, but not dark like you might expect. Instead, it wafts ever so gently, like waves lapping at the water's edge.

- TBP V1 - Modern and frisky, florals run into a base of resinous black pepper gradually like ombre, but the final effect is pure freshness and optimism. Like crisp clean sheets snapping in the wind, leaning into the ocean spray, and that moment of finding that something that is so "you" - person, place or thing.

All perfume oils come packaged in a printed muslin bag, making them fantastic gifts.

RSW005: 1/8 oz perfume oil.

Warm sandalwood and earthy rose produce this androgenous scent. Smooth with a crisp citrus finish. An essential scent to slake even the most parched perfume palette
- See more at: http://lurkmade.com/shop/#sthash.OoSzywhm.dpuf

BS 003: 1/8oz perfume oil.

Dry woods mix with crisp citrus notes and sweet bergamot
- See more at: http://lurkmade.com/shop/#sthash.OoSzywhm.dpuf
jasmine and rose intertwine with fresh petitgrain. - See more at: http://lurkmade.com/natural-fragrances/#PRJ%20V1
jasmine and rose intertwine with fresh petitgrain
jasmine and rose intertwine with fresh petitgrain

LURK Perfume Oils are some of the most decidedly original and fascinating scents I've come across. So whether you consider yourself Boho, Baja or Oh-So-Downtown, there's something here  made just for you. Now the fun begins in discovering which ones they are.

Shop LURK Perfume Oils now.

August 18, 2015

David H. Chow Chocolates & Confections - Swoon-Worthy Sweet & Savoury Creations


David H. Chow has been making fine chocolates and desserts in Toronto restaurants for some time now, so it's nice to see him out on his own in the spotlight, where he deserves to be.

Because his new product line, David H. Chow Chocolates & Confections, is freakin' impressive. A heady mix of handmade sweet and savoury selections include local ingredients such as delectable Rosewood Honey and the high-end stuff like Valrhona's Grand Cru Couvertures

August 03, 2015

Feetreat Pedi by LOOKBEAUTY - Let the Salon Come to You


Getting sandal ready has never been easier, thanks to Feetreat Pedi by LOOKBEAUTY.

There are two varieties, and you'll want to use them back to back - first the Exfoliating Foot Mask, then the Intensive Moisturizing one.

What I love about these products is that they are so freakin' easy to use. Made into a pair of plastic booties, you just slip them on after washing your feet in warm water, wait the allotted time (30-90 mins depending), rinse your feet and voila - your tootsies look like you've just stepped out of the deeply expensive spa.

I deeply appreciate that it's one of the few foot treatments that you can use and move around in, instead of having to stick them in a bucket for an hour and be stuck there on the couch. Being the multi-tasker that I am, I value being able to get up if I need to. It makes it feel like you're able to do more than just have a dedicated beauty night (It's not I don't appreciate those, but like most modern women, I don't always have the time).

The Exfoliating Foot Mask's cool gel refreshes as soon as you slip your feet into the cute see-through plastic booties (they're kind of Ugg-shaped but form to your feet somehow perfectly). It thickens slightly over the recommended 60-90 minutes. When you rinse them off, your feet will seem somewhat softer in appearance, but it's what happens in the next 4-7 days that is truly remarkable:

Ingredients such as lactic, salicylic and glycolic acids, lemon, papaya, orange and apple extracts, sea water, chamomile flower extract, menthol, cleansing agent PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, and fragrance, work to remove any calluses you have. So much so that your feet will one day - 4 to 7 days after your foot soak - suddenly look like a 90-year-old's, with flaking, peeling heels, toe pads and anywhere other callused areas. I was shocked at the amount of skin coming off. It was like a sunburn peel, without any of the pain. And it was kind of gross at first, But afterwards? Smooth, renewed skin like I hadn't had in decades, and that no salon had ever managed to do, no matter how fancy, expensive or lauded.

I used the Intensive Moisturizing Foot Mask a week later. This time, the kit comes with two pairs instead of one (bonus!), the plastic slip-on booties have a gauze interior, and you just need to wear them for 20-30 minutes.

All sorts of extracts (apple, oat kernel, ginseng root, green tea and witch hazel) oils (tea tree, peppermint) and shea butter soften your feet so much, just try not to touch them. I did mine two weeks ago and they are still baby smooth.

Affordable skin care that you can do conveniently at home, working away on other things if you feel like it or just luxuriating in the treatment if you want a bit of an escape?

You better believe these are now a part of my regular beauty routine.

Shop Feetreat Pedi by LOOKBEAUTY now.

p.s. The thin pouches make them ideal for travel (no oily, leaky bottles or tubes) and stocking stuffers.

August 02, 2015

The Tillow - Beach or Poolside, Your Summer is Now Complete


Heading to the pool or beach, I used to carry a whole bag full of items weighing a ton.

Now thanks to The Tillow, I can relax and sun and swim without having to lug a towel, a pillow, a pouch to keep my belongings and a case for my phone.

The Tillow comes in a variety of cheerful designs (I got the sunny, on-trend pink hued stripe,  but I am coveting the anchors "Refuse to Sink" and California silhouette), complete with removable pillow, water-resistant storage and touchscreen PVC windowed pockets. The only thing you need to bring are tunes and your rockin' bathing suit.

The material is thin and lightweight for easy transporting, but the velevety material -100% cotton velour with polyester lining - is deeply luxurious (so much so, when I'm not at the pool, I use it at home after showering).  The spacious dimensions (35" x 65") makes it luxurious for one and cozy for two (purr!).

it easy to lay comfortably whether you're on your front, side or back thanks to the conotured pillow, so ahead and soak up the rays for hours (don't forget sunblock!) or settle in with a book or pile of magazines. And  the water-/mildew-resistant lining stands up the the elements, whether you're poolside or at the ocean's edge. 

If only every item I bought came with the brilliant touchscreen pocket. The PVC window protects your phone and devices (from water, sand, sunscreen, food, drinks, etc.) while allowing you to text, tweet, talk and play your music, with or without headphones

It's the towel of summer.

July 31, 2015

Accessory Concierge - Jaw-Dropping Jewelry at a Price You Can Afford


Whether you're rocking a BoHo chic, avant-garde or romantic look, all your jewelry dreams come true with Accessory Concierge.

To keep my look fresh, I shopped Accessory Concierge for jewelry that expresses my style and updates my wardrobe (hint: you can wear the same black dress for ten years if you simply change up your jewelry).

My style icons - Jessica Alba, Joan Smalls, Charlize Theron, Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Stone,
Liya Kebede, Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton - all rock a look that follows them from outfit to venue, stage to screen. And they share similar taste  - modern, chic and very streamlined, with a slight edge.

It's what I try to emulate in my own very non-famous life.

For big events, you'll almost always find me in a shift dress with a statement necklace. It's how I feel rich without being over the top (and it's easy to get ready in a flash). Accessory Concierge's Arctic Brass Collar (pictured above) is so jaw-dropping, I've wore it to every event I had for the last three weeks. The mix of crystal and brass has a simultaneous look of both the 40s and so-right-now. And it looks as expensive as J. Crew and Banana Republic's ones that run up to $200, but it less than a quarter of the price! Truthfully, I love it so much, I would sleep in it if I could.

I always dress for the occasion and crowd, so if I want something with a bit of edge, I rock my Rawcut Amethyst Druzy Pendant. The colour and natural ombre of the amethyst is stunning and I am smitten with the unique chain that is simultaneously delicate and very 1950s. And no matter what colour I've worn it with, it looks s-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r.

Having short hair and thick rimmed glasses, I like to keep my earrings pretty simple, and almost always studs. But of course I want them to be stunners, nonetheless. Here are the beauties I am seriously coveting right now:

- Sadie Studs - So much more elevated than my usual plain gold studs, they go with everything and look so luxe despite the affordable pricetag (p.s. I wish they came as a lamp base too).

- Pave Chevron - I can't stop wearing these. They are so freaking beautiful. The construction is perfect - no missing or half stones, no dark background peeking through like the ones I've had in the past. They are on trend, but remain sophisticated, so they work with everything from jeans and a tee to a LBD. And they're available in both gold and silver. Swoon.

- Fulham Studs - I am a huge fan of the bar earring trend. The minimalist line design fits right in with my preference for looking uncluttered.  These take the look up a notch with precisely placed crystals and half inch long 14k gold plated bars, complete with sleek geometric finials. I customize them by changing their position - horizontal, straight up or on a slight slant, following the edge of my ear. Amazing go-tos for life.

- Pave Bar Studs - Extending the bar even more, these elegant studs stretch just long enough to grab your attention, without being dangly or distracting. In other words, they're perfect. They upgrade whatever I'm wearing and are suitable for meeting friends for a casual brunch to a fancy press dinner with dignitaries.

- Tambora Pyrite Studs - While the metallic polish of these hunky rougly-hewn cubes might not be actual gold, they sure look like it (the posts are, with 24k gold fill). The shimmering squares look like they weigh a ton, but are actually super light - phew. Luminescent and glorious, they are simply magical.

Accessory Concierge is one of my best finds all year, so shop now and get absolutely radiant jewelry that makes you feel like a billion, without dropping even a hundred.

July 26, 2015

Yves Rocher Makeup & Fragrance Round Up - The Best of the Very Best



Yves Rocher rocks my world. I fall hard, fast and heavy for everything they make.

Here is a quick round up of some of latest items I tried:

MAKEUP:


Flawless Finish Fluid Foundation and Flawless Skin Concealer truly works with all skin colours. I rocked the pinky light (Rose 100) for my fair skin, while my Mum, who has a darker, more olive-y complexion used the medium (Beige 100) with a flawless finish. Just think - no more dark lines along your chin or having two different shades on your face and neck!

The formula is also mistake-proof as it goes on like a dream. Your mornings of having to blend until you have carpal tunnel are over!

Flawless Skin Concealer is so creamy smooth and hides my dark circles from late nights and early mornings (almost always occurring back-to-back naturally).

Once you try them, you'll have a hard time moving onto something else, like I did.


These eyeshadow palettes make it easy to go from day-to-night in one fell swoop or work a smoky eye with ease. And it's not because you have to have watched thousands of hours of YouTube videos or take weekend workshops - each compact comes with four shades made to work together and then an illustrated guide on which shade goes where on your eye. The mix of effects - matte, satin and shimmery - work both wet and dry (wet, the shimmer and satin turn metallic!).

The long compact comes complete with a mirror, allowing for touch ups along the way, or if you're in a crunch, getting glam in an airplane bathroom (because just look at who is sitting next to you - hello!).

Sophisticated Pink brings out the green in my eyes bigtime (if you have brown eyes, Dazzling Green will make them pop). I use Incandescent Brown for a subtle glow and Deep Grey and Luminous Blue on date night - rwar! Subtle Aquatic is my favourite. Surprising, as it's the most bold, but I love the combination. I rock the multi-colours when I'm on stage, at a big fundraiser or just throughout the week for a bit of BAM!

The sleek rose gold compact looks like a million bucks on the counter or in your clutch, but lucky for us they are inexpensive, so get multiples.

Volume Elixir Mascara

The right mascara can make all the difference in your look. And one of the very best is Yves Rocher Volume Elixir.

While hibiscus peptides work to nourish, protect and reinforce your lashes,  they get seriously infused with volume - without clumps or being weighed down. Get right in there to all the little guys in the corner without having to be fussy - just one sweep does it, thanks to the ingenious conical brush design.

Day or night, you get a jaw-dropping look. Say buh-bye to your fake lashes - you're not going to need them anymore.


Bleu Végétal Shower Gel

The bottles in the collection alone are enticing. A deep teal is oceanic, but the scent is all fresh summer garden. It goes on light, but develops a deep floral headiness that I never tire of. The jasmine and bergamot blend is enticing and refreshing all at once.

The body wash has a light texture, but is luxuriously silky and creamy. Soon you'll find yourself under a soft thick blanket of suds.

You'll come away feeling completely renewed and extraordinary. 

Bonus: It's paraben free and made with with cornflower water from organic farming and +98% natural origin ingredients.

Bleu Végétal Eau de Toilette

Extend that fresh floral feeling with the collection's perfume

The fragrance is slightly spicier than the body wash, but just by a smidge. It still leaves you surrounded in a wondrous garden.

Light enough to wear throughout the day, but enticing enough to rock at night, the scent is so luxe, yet so affordable. Simply breathtaking.


July 24, 2015

BerryBreeze Fridge Fresh - A Must-Have for Life!



As a food writer and restaurant critic, I spend most evenings out at restaurants trying a variety of dishes, many of which make their way home with me for further inspection the following day. So on any given day my fridge is crammed full of a melange of stinky concoctions - curries and noodles, spicy seafood and wilted cabbage, burgers and ribs.

In between restaurant visits, I do try and cook as much as possible so every week I come home from the farmer's market loaded down with fresh produce, fish and meat. What ends up happening more often than not is that on a night I think I'll be making dinner, I'm instead heading to a new spot that just announced their opening or at a food event where I'm downing corn dogs and slow cooked brisket poutine.

Which means opening my fridge can sometimes be a punch in the nose.

Over the years I have tried many fresheners for the fridge. Baking soda has never done the trick - perhaps it worked back when we used to pour a can of soup over everything and call it dinner, but it can't compete with my 40-spice pork loin and the award-winning blue cheese that I got sent. I stopped trying different food preserving methods because the filters and components get harder to find over time, so the devices got abandoned and I am left with a fridge full of smelly leftovers and decomposing food yet again.

I was intrigued about the new BerryBreeze Fridge Fresh when I stumbled across it online, but I was pretty skeptical due to my previous experiences. And also the pricetag is higher than any others I've seen.

But that all changed as soon as I used it. Here's why:

1. Unlike other food preservers, it runs on batteries (D cell even, which I hadn't bought since powering my ghetto blaster in the 80s), so you never have to worry about not being able to find the filters or charcoal packets or whatever they use. And even if you could find them, I guarantee they would not be found close to home, but instead 3 train and 2 bus changes over. Seriously.

2. It comes equipped with a light that lets you know when to replace the batteries. Instead of having to write the date on a piece of masking tape and then have to look at it way back there in the back corner behind the margaritas (what do you mean not everyone has a pitcher or margaritas at the ready in their fridge at.all.times?) and take-out containers (this post is making me very hungry).

3. Produce that I bought two weeks ago looks like I bought it earlier today. And tastes just as fresh. That's due to the timed-release of activated oxygen (O3) and a bunch of other very scientific stuff that is fascinating, but all you really need to know is it's a freakin' wonder is what it is.

4. I have SAVED HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS thanks to BerryBreeze. I used to throw out food on a weekly basis and the only times I throw something out now is if it sucks (just because I eat out all the time doesn't mean it's always good). Not only am I not wasting food and money, I am not adding to our already disgusting food waste problem.

5. So the cost that I thought was exorbitant is actually nothing compared to other systems I've used and the fact that you have it for LIFE? One of the best items you will EVER buy. EVER.

6. I used to groan opening the fridge, as the odours would waft into my otherwise clean, fresh-smelling house. Now I can't wait to see what's inside. Mmm, lamb bhuna, papaya salad, deep-fried pickles...

Buy BerryBreeze Fridge Fresh now.

p.s. My dream? That they can come up with a version to use throughout whole house. Swoon!