Friday, February 23, 2018

Nyx Cosmetics Love You So Mochi Eye Shadow Palettes & Powder Puff Lippe: Review & Swatches

Spring is in the air! Toronto has finally begun to thaw and on my way to see Black Panther I was able to shed my winter jacket and bulky scarf. To celebrate the warm weather I’ve been using my new Nyx Palettes to create bright uplifting looks with radiant pigments! The Mochi Palettes are available in 2 color collections – Sleek & Chic and Electric Pastels. You will probably want to buy both (because who can resist) and while you’re at it pick up a few of the new Powder Puff Lippies to make your pout stand-out.

Let me start by explaining what Mochi is because some of you may have no idea what I’m talking about. Nyx named their new palettes after a popular Japanese rice cake with a soft marshmallow texture. Calories and carbs aside, the bright rainbow pigments are smooth and silky with loads of iridescent shimmer that makes you look like a fairy princess. The pastels appear vibrant and dramatic but apply soft and radiant with sheer, buildable coverage. You can boost the intensity by layering over primer and the vivid fuchsia, sparkling blue and peachy gold definitely add a unique twist to my makeup kit.

If you aren’t feeling the bright shades then Sleek & Chic may be more your style. It still has a heavy dose of amped-up shimmer but the gold and bronze hues may be easier to wear on a daily basis. I like to match them with matte shadows for more contrast and crease definition but they are perfect for a night out. The pillowy texture, metallic intensity and dazzling illumination makes these palettes totally irresistible! They retail for $25.00 each.

Nyx knocked it out of the park with their new Powder Puff Lippies ($12.00 each). I’ve tested all 8 shades and they are fantastic! The formula is lightweight, soft, supple and highly pigmented for great saturation and cushiony comfort. The cream applies like a lush mousse and sets with a soft powder finish that makes lips appear plush and pouty. You can layer heavily for bold color or let the pigment fade for a beautiful blur.

The Pillow Applicator is great for blending and versatile coverage. There aren’t any sharp angles or edges to help outline but the velvety formula spreads evenly.

There are quite a few neutrals in this collection but surprisingly they are all flattering. I’m not a huge fan of nude lips (unless I’m wearing dramatic eye shadow) but each shade has a pink or brown undertone that suits my complexion.

There are also 3 bright summery shades

The lipsticks retail for $12.00 each and Nyx is available at freestanding stores, drugstores nationwide and online at

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Garnier Fructis Hair Treats 1 Minute Hair Mask Review

Many people are becoming more health conscious about the beauty products they buy so Garnier has created a collection of delicious 1 Minute Hair Masks that are 98% natural. These colorful little jars make life easier because they can be used as leave-in, regular conditioner and rejuvenating treatments to replenish and heal dry ends. The nutrient-rich formulas are vegan and free of parabens, silicones and artificial colorants.

There are 5 blends available to target different hair concerns and for just $5.49 each you can mix and match to create your own fruit cocktail. I don’t like the taste of papaya but I don’t mind putting it on my hair and this seedy melon is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. The mask smells scrumptious and helps fortify and repair damage to reduce breakage and improve texture.

The creamy conditioners saturate parched strands in lush moisture and help detangle. I leave them on for more than 1 minute (usually an hour) but when I’m short on time I use them in the shower while I lather-up.

Avocados are not just for guacamole and salads, this yummy fruit is packed with healthy fats, fiber and emollients that are incredibly beneficial for skin and hair. The rich formula softens, smooths and deeply nourishes for enhanced shine.
TIP: For ultra-soft skin try using the conditioners to shave. They create enough slip for razors to glide effortlessly and make your legs feel wonderful!

I love using Garnier conditioners for co-washing (cleansing with conditioner instead of shampoo to maintain hydration) because my hair smells amazing for days! The Coconut Mask reminds me of the Caribbean and tames unruly tresses for manageability and frizz control.

Goji Berry is considered a “superfood” because it is very good for your health. I like to add a handful to homemade granola or trail mix and the mask helps maintain the vibrancy of color treated hair.

Bananas are delicious in yogurt and desserts which is what this mouth-watering mask reminds me of. It strengthens weak, fragile hair and protects from styling and environmental damage that causes brittleness and breakage.

Garnier is available at drugstores nationwide

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Annabelle Cosmetics Marie-Mai Collection & Marcelle Velvety Blush Review

While traveling I like to pack small, versatile palettes that can slip in my purse and Annabelle has a great selection at affordable prices. Marcelle also has a new blush collection with deep berry tones that sculpt and flatter all complexions. 

Annabelle has teamed up with Canadian singer Marie-Mai to create new pigments that can go from neutral to intense. The shadow palette ($12.95) includes gold, orange, mauve-pink, brown and even a matte yellow. The shade selection may seem a bit unusual but somehow it works. You can define the crease, accentuate the lids, highlight and transition to create quick, simple looks. The pigmentation is sheer to medium but with a good primer you can enhance the colors and create a range of natural effects for daily wear.

The Marie-Mai Ombré Blush ($8.95) is perfect for spring. The bright, silky coral instantly boosts and illuminates dull skin with a beautiful sheen that works as both blush and highlighter. For more radiance dip your brush in the top of the powder to pick up more shimmer, the pigment is buildable, easy to blend and looks great on all skin tones.

The Eye-Tech Palette ($12.95) has 3 matte shadows, 3 satins, 2 sparkling top coats and 2 creams – one for lining the eyes and the other to illuminate. These shades are a bit bland for my taste and they don’t deliver the intensity or vibrancy I usually prefer. The pigmentation could be better and the cream formulas don't work as well as I hoped. 

I love the blushes from Marcelle Cosmetics and the new Velvety powders are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and paraben-free. The super-fine pigments blend seamlessly to provide a natural flush and the shade selection includes a range of rich berry and refreshing blossom tones. There are no harsh pinks or ultra-bright finishes in this line, instead you get soft natural hues that are easy to wear. Each smooth pigment has a light dusting of shimmer for a little extra glow and the deeper shades help contour and define. The blush retails for $12.95 each.

Annabelle and Marcelle Cosmetics are available at drugstores nationwide

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Loreal True Match Lumi Collection: NEW Highlighters

On dreary winter days a pop of radiance does wonders for the complexion. Whether you prefer a soft candlelight glow for date night or dramatic strobing that puts disco balls to shame, Loreal has you covered!

The new Lumi Glow Collection includes a fabulous range of skin enhancers to suit all your moods, outfits and events. From lotions to illuminating drops and pressed powders you can go from drab-to-fab in minutes.

I tend to prefer loose pigment because the color payoff is usually very intense and versatile. The Lumi Shimmerista is a lightweight, micro-fine loose powder that delivers high-impact, dramatic color. One dab is enough to give you a bombshell glow that seems to radiate from within and it can be used to highlight the body for a warm sunkissed effect. While getting glam from head-to-toe why not apply the shimmer over eye primer to create a pretty shadow! This is the most saturated highlighter in the Lumi Collection.

The True Match Lumi Glotion ($20.49) provides effortless illumination and hydration for a fresh, natural glow. There are 3 shades available: Fair, Light and Medium to suit all skin tones and it can be worn alone or under makeup. The deeper hues look a bit like foundation but the formula blends seamlessly and transforms to match your complexion. It instantly boosts and brightens with a subtle sheen that lasts all day.

The Lumi Glow Nude Palette ($22.99) comes in Moonkissed and Sunkissed with 4 shades that create customized, multi-dimensional looks. The pressed powder is dry and a bit chalky with sheer pigmentation that requires more layering to enhance. The finish isn’t as seamless, silky or long-lasting as Shimmerista but you can still use it to get your glow on.

The Glow Amour Boosting Drops ($22.99) is a sheer, liquid-y formula that blends evenly to create a gorgeous sheen. You can mix a drop into foundation or moisturizer for a dewy finish and pat some onto the cheekbones for iridescent luster. The luminous polish radiates beautifully so you can use it to accentuate your décolletage and shoulders for a night out.

Loreal is available at drugstores nationwide

Monday, February 19, 2018

Quo Cosmetics Spring 2018 Limited-Edition Makeup Collection

Many beauty brands have started launching their spring collections and I'm looking forward to floral prints, warm bronzers and bright colors. When it comes to Quo Cosmetics expect to see large palettes featuring pale pink, soft grey and subtle pops of shimmer. For the nails it’s all about glistening pearl and solid shades.

The Face Palette ($20.00) in Golden Girl includes 2 highlighters, 2 bronzers and 2 blushes. The pigments are very mild, sheer and neutral – designed to provide a warm sunkissed glow offset by a light pink flush. These aren’t colors I would normally wear. The silver highlighter is too white, the bronzer is a bit light and the pinks appear a tad chalky on my complexion. I think these hues would look more flattering and prominent on fair skin tones.

The Eye Shadow Palette ($18.00) in Royal Ore contains 3 grey tones (light, medium and charcoal) contrasted with stark white. When I first saw these colors I immediately thought – smokey eye, because there isn’t much else you can do with so much grey. The texture is quite silky and although the pigmentation is sheer, the color can be enhanced for more depth. I was hoping for more vibrancy and variety but if you don’t have basic greys in your collection these might work for you.

The Quo by Orly Limited Edition Nail Polish Collection is more interesting. Many of the pearlescent finishes have a hint of metallic color with a pretty sheen. The formula is easy to work with and once dry the iridescent effect is quite eye-catching. My favorites are Petal to the Metal (pale pink-purple) and Electrum - an elegant blue-grey. There are also 2 bold hues: Second Hand Jade and Stiletto on the run - a bright red.

Quo Cosmetics is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart

Friday, February 16, 2018

Urban Decay Heavy Metals Eye Shadow Palette & Glitter Eyeliner: Review & Swatches

It is no secret that I have a lot of makeup but every so often something really amazing comes along that is totally irresistible. The Urban Decay Heavy Metals Collection was released during the holiday season (when glitter and glitz was all the rage) and the colors are seriously gorgeous! I haven’t been this excited about makeup since UD released Naked Heat (which I still use every week) but these metallic pigments are all about dramatic jaw-dropping color worthy of the red carpet.

These amped-up chrome shades have a rich velvety texture that applies like a dream with incredible color payoff. The formula is full-coverage, intense, non-creasing and long-lasting so no matter how hard you party they never falter.

The shadows are sheathed in a metallic purple case and the tray slides out completely so you can use it like a painter’s palette and unleash your creativity. For makeup artists, this design is practical but for travel and storage the packaging is a tad bulky. The large mirror in the middle lets you get up close to perfect your blending technique.

The right side features warm gold, champagne and sultry bronze tones that I can’t get enough of. These are my signature shades because they look lovely on the skin and transition from day to night. Although the colors are referred to as “neutrals” they are definitely not flat or boring. The shimmer is radiant and highly saturated so I balance them by using matte shades in the crease for more contrast. The shadow I’m most intrigued by is Afterparty – a coppery bronze with mesmerizing red undertones. Although some of the finishes look quite glittery, the color applies smooth and consistent with very little fallout and a beautiful iridescent sheen.

The left side of the palette contains magnificent jewel tones. Some people might reserve these bold pigments for parties or special events but I’m not afraid to wear them on a weekday. The sparkling teal-blue (Amp), potent purple (Metalhead), smokey garnet (Punk Rock) and glistening emerald (Mullet) are incredible but I think the yellow gold and silver are a bit redundant.

If you crave spectacular shadows that make your eyes look phenomenal, I highly recommend Heavy Metals. It retails for $72.00.

The collection also includes the Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner ($23.00) in 11 shades that remind me of tinsel. The best thing about this formula is that you don’t have to deal with messy fall-out. Once dry, the glitter stays put all day with no scatter.

Since the base is clear and the brush is thin it can be difficult to create solid lines. If you want a lot of sparkle you may need to apply several coats but it's easier to layer over liquid or pencil eyeliner for more consistency.

The liners make fantastic overlays – coat the brush with a generous does of glitter and dab it on top of your shadow for a pop of radiance. You can enhance any pigment with a few swipes and I’ve even used it on my lips!

Urban Decay is available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, UD stores and online at Sign up for the Beauty Junkies Rewards Program to earn and redeem points!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Maybelline The City Kits Eye + Cheek Palette Review

Maybelline has kicked-off 2018 with a beautiful selection of new makeup. I’m addicted to the Matte Ink Lipsticks and the highlighters are stunning! There is also a variety of dazzling palettes inspired by chic urban trends and the City Kits are available in 2 pretty color schemes.

Pink Edge is for everyone and I predict that you will use this palette all the time. The shades are neutral yet glamorous with a mix of shimmery gold, champagne, taupe, brown, mauve and silver hues all infused with subtle pink undertones for a scintillating twist. The creamy mattes are nicely balanced with soft shimmers and silky satins to create elegant contrast and definition. You don’t have to be a makeup artist to make these shades work for you, the shadows, blush and highlighter are expertly coordinated for simplicity and radiance. This is a great everyday palette with enough variety to create smokiness and depth for an evening out.

Not only are the City Kits great for travel they are also nicely pigmented, non-creasing and long-lasting. The intensity is buildable and the texture is velvety so you can go from sheer to bold with a few well placed layers.

Urban Light is subtle and soft - reminiscent of spring pastels. The colors are very unique with an icy effect that gives you a pop of iridescence. These aren’t shades I would normally choose for myself but I absolutely love them! The minty green, multidimensional pink and glittering coral blush looks vibrant on the skin.

Maybelline is available at drugstores nationwide
Click HERE to check out the City Mini Palettes

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Annabelle Cosmetics Big Show Matte Liquid Lipstick Review

By now you are probably aware of my insatiable obsession with pretty lipstick and my ongoing mission to find more. I tell myself that it’s for the benefit of my wonderful readers, to keep you up-to-date on the latest tends but it also has to do with being a total beauty junkie. Recently I received some luscious liquid lipstick from Annabelle Cosmetics and it was love at first swatch! The pigments are bold, highly saturated, full-coverage and creamy plus each gorgeous shade is universally flattering. 

I love matte formulas but sometimes my lips can’t handle flat, drying color (especially during the winter). When I need something hydrating and comfortable I break out my favorite cream lipsticks. These bombshell hues are velvety, smooth and vibrant – infused with nourishing Shea Butter and Meadowfoam Seed Oil. The lightweight color glides on with a single swipe and makes lips appear seductively pouty - perfect for date night. 

The applicator works like a charm, delivering a heavy dose of pigment for consistent distribution without feathering or bleeding. I don’t think the finish is completely matte (you can definitely see some suppleness and moisture) but there is no shine, shimmer or glossiness which makes the color appear solid and rich.

There are 6 shades available and no matter which you choose I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I usually go for the reds, pinks and burgundy hues but there is one neutral in the collection. As with most cream formulas the color transfers but still holds-up for hours of wear without accentuating chapped skin.

Swatches from bottom to top: Glamorous, Romantic, Hypnotic and Flirtatious 

For just $9.95 each these lipsticks are a definite hit. Annabelle Cosmetics is available at drugstores nationwide and online at

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Florida Travel Guide: Best Things to do in Miami & Fort Lauderdale

If you follow me on social media you might think I live in Florida. My husband and I visit a couple times a year and the locals recognize us at our usual hangouts. We no longer need a map or GPS to navigate the city and among the swaying palm trees and Art Deco buildings on Ocean Drive I feel completely at home. When I flew back to Toronto last week after enjoying days of sun and warmth, there was a snow storm. It took 15 minutes to drive one block and I immediately regretted not staying longer. If you’re looking for a fabulous winter escape Miami is a short flight away and offers the perfect balance of bustling city life and serene tropical beaches. I call it my home-away-from-home so today I’m sharing a few of my favorite attractions, restaurants, tours and hot-spots to help you make the most of your trip.

For first time visitors there are a number of great hotels and neighborhoods to choose from. You can stay near South Beach – Miami’s popular party street or opt for a quieter area. During last week’s visit I stayed at the Provident Doral because I wanted to enjoy resort style accommodations similar to many Caribbean destinations. The Provident has a beautiful pool, all the amenities you need and 15 buildings, many of which back onto the pristine golf course.

The suites are very spacious with separate living, dining and kitchen areas all designed with modern furniture and fixtures. The bathroom is also quite large with a deep Jacuzzi tub, TV, and waterfall shower for rest and relaxation.

The hotel is also close to one of my favorite places to spend an evening in Miami – Dolphin Mall. This is the liveliest mall I've ever been to which is probably why I’m always there. Aside from a wide selection of great stores, there is a beautiful outdoor area with arcades, restaurants, bowling alley, movie theater and stylish bars. In the evenings the mall comes alive as people gather to have dinner or sip cocktails and on weekends there is usually a live band that gets the crowd up and dancing. At times the atmosphere feels more like a nightclub than a shopping mall so if you’re in the area stop by and let loose.

Duck Tours is one of my top recommendations because it covers both land and water with fun historical commentary. The bus takes you on an exhilarating drive around the city (while blasting Will Smith’s Welcome to Miami song) and when you reach beautiful Biscayne Bay the bus rolls right into the water and transforms into a boat for a fabulous tour of Millionaires Row. You may even see a manatee or two! For more information visit the website by clicking HERE.

Miami also has a Hop On - Hop Off Bus Tour that I’ve taken in many cities throughout the world. It stops at major points of interest and you can sit back, relax and take in everything the city has to offer without worrying about traffic.

Vizcaya Museum and Garden is a beautiful oasis of Baroque Architecture, fountains, flowers and exotic creatures. Spend an afternoon strolling around the villa while soaking up some sun. It is also a great place for photography.

Miami has a beautiful coastline and South Beach/Miami Beach along Ocean Drive is known for its nightspots, restaurants and colorful Art Deco buildings. Walk along the strip, dip your toes in the cool water and stop for lunch at one of the hip restaurant patios. You will find many Cuban eateries with gigantic cocktails as upbeat music plays in the background and mega ships sail in the distance.

One of my favorite places to party on South Beach is Clevelander Bar. You will spot the illuminated palm trees and trendy dance floor as you make your way up the beach at night but parties and drinks are never in short supply in Miami.

When I get off the plane (tired and hungry) I usually head to Jamaica Kitchen for flaky curry chicken patties, spicy jerk chicken and plantain tart. I discovered this Caribbean gem while watching The Food Network and since then I’ve been back countless times. The small restaurant is tucked away in a plaza and owned by a Chinese-Jamaican family. What they lack in dining space they make up for in flavor.

Pinecrest Gardens is a tropical canopied rainforest that seems to have sprouted up out of nowhere. If you’re looking for peace and quiet after a night out, simply escape to this tropical oasis and enjoy the beautiful ponds, intricate flowers and exotic wildlife. I prefer this intimate garden setting to Jungle Island - a small zoological theme park (currently closed due to hurricane damage).

Thrill seekers won’t want to miss the Florida Everglades. While flying over Miami you may notice that much of the city is surrounded by marshland and canals. The grassy wetland reserve along Florida’s Southern tip is home to mangroves, thick vegetation and hundreds of species including birds, turtles, manatees, panthers, deer, large pythons and of course alligators. I recommend touring via airboat since you can pull-up alongside the floating gators and speed through the grassy rivers for the most spectacular views! The 360˚ turns in gator infested water is a bit scary but fun!

I went on the Everglades tour in Homestead and highly recommend stopping at Robert’s Fruit Stand to enjoy delicious milkshakes and all-natural smoothies loaded with tropical fruit.

If you are planning to venture out of Miami (which I always seem to do) I highly recommend the scenic drive from Miami Beach to Fort Lauderdale Beach along the coast. We always rent a car because it gives us the freedom to explore at our own pace. Fort Lauderdale is definitely worth visiting and although the coastal drive may take a couple hours (depending on traffic) you can also get there in about 30 minutes on the highway.

If you’re in Fort Lauderdale Beach (North Atlantic Blvd area) make sure to stop at Primanti Brothers for delicious pizza and their famous sandwiches loaded with homemade slaw, crispy fries and meat. I seem to eat pizza everywhere I go and Primanti makes one hell of a pie. The dough is fresh, the sauce is spiced to perfection and the toppings are scrumptious!

While in Fort Lauderdale don’t miss Las Olas Boulevard - a trendy neighborhood with malls, shops and great restaurants. Stop for a frozen yogurt and have dinner at one of the beautiful patios on the water. Galleria Mall is also a must for some retail therapy.

I also recommend taking a fun dinner cruise aboard the iconic Jungle Queen River Boat which leaves from The Bahia Mar Yachting Center on Seabreeze Blvd in Fort Lauderdale. Arrive early to enjoy time at the beach across the street. The tour travels through “the Venice of America” and Millionaires Row where you will see celebrity mansions and spectacular mega yachts before arriving at Tropical isle for an all-you-can-eat barbecue. The beautiful island is decorated with twinkling lights and tiki torches as a live band entertains you through the meal. The food was good (a bit bland for my taste) but the sides were delicious. After dinner visit the rescued animals in their sanctuaries and enjoy a lovely outdoor show featuring comedians, jugglers and magicians. For more information visit the website by clicking HERE.

I know Key West is not in Miami but if you have a car and you don’t mind a long, scenic drive, I highly recommend spending a couple days in the area. Make sure to visit the iconic Southernmost Point Buoy to snap a photo and stop at the incredible beaches along the way. The sparking white sand and crystal blue water is worth the road trip (or short flight) and in town you may notice a few wild roosters strutting around amidst authentic Mexican restaurants and modern art galleries.

There are a lot of scenic spots in Miami and Bayfront Park is one of my favorites! Make sure to stop at Bayfront Marketplace for a little shopping, take a photo with the oldest tree in the city and have lunch on a patio overlooking the marina as boats sail into the harbor. I usually opt of Chilis Bar & Grill because they serve delicious South-Western Egg Rolls.

Little Havana is a vibrant Cuban Neighborhood in the heart of Miami. I mainly go for the Cuban ice cream at Azucar famous for unique flavors like guava, almond, cinnamon and pear.

This district is also famous for colorful graffiti art, Latin American galleries, cigar shops and cafes with walk-up windows selling authentic Cuban delicacies. You will also notice a lot of eccentric rooster statues designed by local artists.

I enjoy strolling the upscale neighborhood of Coconut Grove lined with chic shops, cafes and Coco Walk Mall. If you have time for a leisurely afternoon, stop at the Grove to take in the lavish Italian style villas, parks and marinas.

One of my favorite new health food eateries in Miami is Diced. The all-natural chicken bowls are loaded with your choice of veggies and sauces for a filling, nutritious meal. 

Over the last two years I’ve spent a lot of time relaxing on the long, quiet beaches of Key Biscayne. This area is a nice escape from the crowds on Miami Beach and the water is calm and shallow. My husband and I like to picnic under the palm trees at sunset.

Many cruises leave from Miami and Fort Lauderdale so after you explore the city why not hop aboard and sail to the Caribbean! Of course this will take some extra planning but I’ve been on 10 cruises and they were all incredible (except for the one departing from New Orleans). I’ve sailed with Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. My top picks are Celebrity if you prefer luxury and amazing food (which I do) and Royal Caribbean for their beautiful boardwalk design and fun amenities.  

There is so much to discover in Florida that I am already planning another trip after I explore a few other destinations on my bucket list. Stay tuned for more travel coverage.

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