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:


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!

July 12, 2015

AERIN new Rose Lip Balm - So Much More Than Just Makeup

Last year was the first time I tried AERIN beauty products and it forever changed me.

Before knowing much about Aerin Lauder and the brand AERIN, I was captivated by the classic glamour the products exude. The cases and packaging alone are precious collectables that feel both modern and yet harken back to the 20s or 40s. But the quality of what's inside is what's so staggering. I haven never tried luxury brands like Dior, Tom Ford, Chanel and Burberry, but everything I've tried by Aerin Lauder makes me feel rich and nourished and luxurious beyond belief. Simultaneously, there is awarmth to everything she does. From her Beach Cream to blush, its sunny and friendly and approachable, ending with a rich finish and feel.

I was so taken with the two products that I tried last year that I got her book, Beauty at Home. Not only did I read it from cover to cover, I'm redoing my entire house based around it. It's not only inspired a whole new way of decorating for me (fascinating seashells, blue and white additions, and a giant lobster on the wall!), it's changed how I see everything. I know that sounds like a gross exaggeration, but I promise it's not. There is something about her classic beauty topped off with a sunny outlook and a modern edge that I love - both the woman and the brand.

So you can imagine my squeal of delight when the stunning gold compact of Rose Lip Balm showed up at my door. It's so beautiful I keep it right in my desk top, nestled between my laptop and agenda. Not something I have ever done with any other brand or tube - they are always stowed away out of sight in my desk drawer or purse.

A perfect example of what makes it stand above so many others: the texture is such that even though you might apply just a dab, it is the only lip balm I've ever used in my entire life that just stayed put. My job requirements include eating and drinking and in between that, I bite my lips, so never have I had a balm stick around for more than an hour or so. But with AERIN New Rose Lip Balm, the texture is soft on your lip, but on the outside it's a firm barrier, so for the first time ever, I apply balm just once in the morning and sometimes just a touch up after a meal. With any other product, I've always had to continuously reapply. It's a complete game changer.

Fine lines magically disappear as your lips are nourished and moisturized, thanks to viamerine, a natural emollient and organic oil from sunflower. There is a subtle rose scent, something that Aerin adds to many of her products as her grandmother Estée (another beauty icon who's products I feel transformed in) did, and a lovely whisper of pink  that adds just the teensiest bit of colour to your lips. So it looks like your own lips au natural, but better, healthier.

Pop the confetti and champagne. This is not just lip balm, it's THE lip balm.

To some, it might just be makeup. But for me, Aerin's products are a way of life. The very best kind of life.

Shop AERIN now.

July 04, 2015

greetabl - Put a Box on It. A Very Pretty, Stylish Box.

I have loved gift-giving from a very young age. I adore seeking out the perfect gift for someone, coming home, wrapping it and including a heartfelt message to go alongside it.

But life is busier than ever, and while I still make time to get presents for my loved ones, it's a whole other thing to run out to get wrapping, a box and a card all to match. Especially if you've got to get it off to the post office as well.

Which is why I am so taken with greetabl. First of all, the whole premise of their business is that gifts are way better in a box than an envelope. And they are so right - that anticipation that you get and then the added bonus of the element of surprise and you've got yourself a memorable gift, even before you've seen the actual present.

And it gets even better. Small boxes are designed to reveal your custom message, as well as the gift inside, so you don't have to go out and get a separate card - your greeting is written right on the inside of the box. Brilliant!
That, combined with chic designs (no more wrapping!), and that they're made in the US with fab, sturdy, recycled materials (the papers used are fantastic) and well, I'm completely hooked!

And if that isn't cute enough, check out the adorable Shipping Kit, should you need to pop your gift off in the post.

I know not everyone loves scouting around for the quintessential gift, and greetabl knows that too, which is why they've put together the whole care package for you! Superb matching presents and boxes allow you to show someone you care, without all that hunting around. Shop for a new mom, the person that is all about beer, or send off something for the garden, or a cup of tea to honour the occasion.

greetabl is a modern solution to the challenge of trying to give someone a small gift, along with a heartfelt sentiment, all wrapped up in a very pretty package.

Thanks to Joe and Zoë, gift-giving has never been easier. Or more stylish.

July 01, 2015

Estée Lauder Engligten Collection - Say Hello to Your Most Stunning, Luminous Skin Yet

I have never used an Estée Lauder product and said, "Yeah, it's okaaay." It's always a mind-blowing experience, where I look at my skin and think, "This is what people pay top surgeons to get and I got it without the pain of surgery or the insane cost."

My immense joy continues with Estée Lauder Englighten Collection.

For all the troubles that ail you - rough skin, dark spots, uneven skintone - the Enlighten Collection comes to the rescue and cures it all, in one fell swoop, to boot.

I started with the Enlighten Even Skintone Correcting Creme. The first thing you should know is the scent that wafts from the jar is as enticing as Estée Lauder perfumes. It's completely captivating So much so that I put a bit on the backs of my hands and sniffed at them all day long - glorious! The second thing you'll notice is that it hydrates upon contact and then disappears into your skin immediately.

Apply it in the morning - you skin will be bright and soft and and hydrated. Then apply again at night - while you sleep, it continues to drench your skin with moisture, smooths and soothes your skin. Then look in the mirror - your skin will seem lit from within. That radiance and glows lasts and lasts all day long, all the while giving you such an even skintone - a high that you'll never come down from - and riding you of those ugly, pesky dark spots.
With Enlighten Even Skintone Correcting Creme, you'll look more youthful, luminous and dazzling than you ever have. And all in the convenience of using only one product, one jar. Just look at all the space on your bathroom vanity now.

And to further deliver that healthy glow, you've got to get the first ever EE Creme - Estée Lauder Even Effect Skintone Corrector SPF/FPS 30!

I'm besotted with it for so many reasons:

1. It's ultra-sheerness gives you luminosity and a whisper of colour without looking like you're wearing any makeup at all.
2. Transparent it might be, but it minimizes all those spots and marks, pores and any redness and evens out your skin. Buh-bye Photoshop and FaceTune!
3. With a built in SPF/FPS 30, there's no need to remember to apply it separately (you've got enough on your mind already).
4. Delivering nourishment to your skin all day, your face is softer, smoother and saturated with hydration.
5. The healthy glow gives you a sun-kissed look, which is ideal all year 'round: in spring and summer, you look like you've been in the sun - without any of the damage - and completely transforms your pasty, ruddy, rough skin in the cooler months.

The Estée Lauder Englighten Collection is simply stunning. And you will be too, once you try it.

Shop now.