Author: elyse270

Holiday Party Essentials

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: holiday soirees filled with yummy food, great music, and sparkly, festive fashion.  So today, I’m sharing with you some party essentials to ensure you look and feel your best at your next holiday get-together.  Let’s get started!

1.Bath and Body Works Signature Collection Fine Fragrance Mist in “Cocktail Dress”

Say hello to your signature holiday-party scent (and can we talk about how perfect the name is?!).  With notes of sparkling mandarin, peony petals, and velvet musk, this scent is elegant and feminine, without being overpowering or heavy.  A formula consisting of moisturizing aloe mist ensures your skin will look and smell great all night long.

2. Sole Patches (Set of 6)

These anti-odour, anti-microbial, and anti-moisture adhesive cushions, will ensure you’re strutting/dancing/standing painlessly all night long.  That’s right, your fabulous sparkly pumps now come blister and bandage-free! What’s unique about these shock-absorbing cushions, is that you can wear them directly on your skin (the ball of your foot, or your heel, allowing for 24 hour wear), or on the shoe itself for a more permanent solution.  Comfort and style?  It’s a Christmas miracle!

3. Jamberry Nail Wraps in “Sculpted”

Lately, I’ve been on a serious marble kick.  There’s something about the pattern that’s just so clean and modern.  So, when I came across these long-wearing matte nail wraps by Jamberry, I knew they were the perfect holiday-party statement piece (and did I mention no drying time?!).  Using light heat to bond to your nails, these wraps are durable and can last up to 2 weeks!  That means these beauties will hold up no problem through your holiday baking, cooking, and ugh…dishes.  And, if by chance the pattern is a little too bold for you, you can always use 1 or 2 as statement nails on your regular mani!

4. Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm

If you’re anything like me, when attending a party where you know you’ll be eating or snacking, you want to focus more on the eating part, than the fixing or reapplying your lipstick part (who’s with me?).  Now don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful, bold lipstick, but thanks to the (hand-laid, 24K) gold leaf on this lip balm, you’ll get a beautiful, elegant shimmer alongside super nourished lips.  And, if you’re adamant on that bold hue, why not pair this on-top or underneath?  Only problem, is that it’s almost too pretty to use (but hey, you’re worth it!).

What are your holiday party essentails?  Let me know in the comments below! 

   Note: Sole Patches  were received for review; all thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

#DealOfTheDay: Jessica Simpson Leopard Pumps

I took my first trip to Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW), a US retailer who recently opened its doors in Canada. As you may have guessed by the name, DSW is known for having designer shoes at warehouse prices.  The store I visited was quite large, had great selection, and was well organized.  The prices were reasonable, and as a deal hunter, I was pleasantly surprised to find a sale section at the back of the store, even with it having been recently opened.  It was there that I was able to score these Jessica Simpson “Venita 2” leopard pumps, (made of printed pony hair and stretch fabric, with a 4-inch heel), for just a fraction of the retail price.  Typically, these pumps sell for $130.00 CDN, however DSW had them marked down to $79.99, and then an additional 70% off, making these beauties just $23.88!  The elastic fabric makes these shoes surprisingly comfortable to wear, and the leopard print is perfect for Fall’s warmer color palette. Love!

What I’ve Been Loving Lately…

It’s been a while since my last post, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of things!  The products I’ve discovered these past few months are some of my all-time favourites, and I hope you’ll love them, too!

1. MantraBand “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly” Bracelet

I discovered MantraBand during a trip to the USA this past summer.  Being someone who loves motivational quotes, I was immediately intrigued by these bracelets, which are sleek and simple in design (available in silver, rose gold, or yellow gold), and adorn various fun, inspirational messages.  In particular, I was drawn to the saying, “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly“.  The MantraBand website describes this bracelet as a reminder to, “Remember to focus on one thing at a time and give it your all. Stay calm, look on the bright side, and keep going. Because it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”  I, like many others, often times find myself rushing to get things done, and I can easily forget to slow down and enjoy the process.  Naturally, I’m now hooked on these bracelets and have a handful of others on my wishlist: “Hakuna Matata“, “Ohana“, and “Que Sera Sera“, just to name a few!

2. L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Extraordinary Clay Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve waited a long time for an affordable shampoo and conditioner that were specially formulated for oily roots, and guess what?  It’s finally arrived! L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay line is perfect for those who have hair the equivalent to “combination skin”: an oily scalp, with ends that could use some love.  These products use the power of various clays (white, blue, and green) to cleanse, moisturize, and revitalize the hair and scalp, leaving hair balanced for up to 72 hours!  The shampoo lathers beautifully and leaves your hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed, and the conditioner is super moisturizing and lightweight.  Oh, and both products smell amazing.  Using the shampoo and conditioner, I noticed a difference in my hair within just two uses.  Next on my list to try is the Pre-Shampoo Clay Mask.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas Box o’Powder Blush

I’d always heard great things about Benefit Cosmetic’s boxed blushes, but had never actually purchased or tried one for myself.  I decided it was time to hop on the bandwagon, and chose the shade “Dallas” (described as a rosy-bronze hue).  Trust me, the shade you see in the box does not do this product justice.  Once applied, it wears as a gorgeous, warm bronze that gives you a healthy glow, and is perfect for Fall.  You can even use it as a bronzer, or to contour, and it suits nearly every skin tone.

4. Quo Effortless Curl Mascara in “Black”

I’m someone who’s lucky enough to have long lashes naturally, but if I don’t use the right mascara, they just fall flat and can end up looking sparse.  I’m therefore always on the lookout for affordable options that give volume and hold curl.  I received this particular mascara in a gift bag from a Quo event, and was hooked after trying it just once.  The formula is glossy and super pigmented, the curved silicone brush adds curl, and it apples clump-free and lasts all day.  This mascara easily compares to high-end versions, and is just a fraction of the price. Definitely recommend!

5. Michael Kors Eau de Parfum in “Sexy Amber”

This is a perfume that has been on my wishlist for a long time, but due to it’s higher-than-average price tag, I always hesitated.  When Shoppers Drug Mart hosted their recent redeem your points event, I decided to finally take the plunge.  First off, this product is an Eau de Parfum, meaning a little bit goes a long way (making it a good value for money). It comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with gold accents, and the signature Michael Kors logo.  The scent itself has notes of warm amber, sandalwood, and white flowers.  It’s warm and musky but still feminine, and it’s perfect for the colder months ahead.

6. Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar”

Surprise! Another warm, musky scent that I can’t get enough of.  Until it was recently discontinued, Bath and Body Works’ “Twilight Woods” was always one of my favourites.  However their new scent, “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar” has now replaced it as my number one.  It has notes of almond creme, Bartlett pear, brown sugar, toasted hazelnut, silken vanilla, and decadent pistachio mousse (hungry yet?).  It’s a pretty, sexy scent, but is also subtle and not overpowering.  I pair the shower gel in the same scent with the Ultra Shea Body Cream for an extra scent boost.  Note to self: stock up on this before it’s gone!

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

#DealOfTheDay: Payless BOGO

With my birthday having just passed, I received my annual coupons from various stores, including one for 25% off my purchase at Payless Shoe Source. Right now, Payless is also having their BOGO event (buy one, get one 50% off), which you can combine with birthday coupons (or the survey coupon you receive on the bottom of your receipts).  While all the prices at Payless are reasonable, I always check out the clearance first.  I picked up the Ivy City Sandal (shown on right).  I don’t typically go for a chunky heel, but was drawn to their simple, classic look (they also come in royal blue).  For my second pair, I chose the Elektra Platform Espadrille in black (on left).  I love the way the modern, faux snake print upper contrasts with the beachy, casual, woven trim on the bottom.

So just how much did I score these for?  Both pairs of shoes were on clearance for just $21.00 CDN each.  This alone is already a great deal.  But, with the BOGO offer and my birthday coupon, my total came to just $23.62 plus tax!

Have you scored any #DealOfTheDay’s lately?  Let me know in the comments below!   

When life gives you lemons…

I first learned of ILYMIX when I came about their account on Instagram, and was drawn to their pictures of beautiful, bold statement necklaces and earrings.  This one in particular stood out to me: it’s bright, fun, and kind of reminds me of something Kate Spade would release.  I love the adorable lemons and lemon slices paired with starfishes and pearls (I mean, it pretty much screams Summer).

I paired mine with a J.Crew Factory sweater, American Eagle jeggings, and Payless Shoe Source pumps (shown below).


I definitely recommend checking out ILYMIX.  Their products are reasonably priced, ship quickly, and are of good quality.  There are tons of other items on my wishlist, from sunglasses, to scarves, to bracelets (and how cute is this watermelon clutch!?).  If you’re interested in making a purchase, ILYMIX has generously offered to give my readers 20% off your purchase: just use the code Elyse20.  Happy shopping!

*Note: Necklace provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Spring Favourites

With just a couple more weeks of Spring left (helloooo Summer!), I wanted to share some of the products I’ve been loving for the past few months.  Let’s get started!

1. Beauty With a Twist Daily Shampoo and Conditioner*

Created in 2013 by celebrity stylist Oliver Ifergan in an effort to capture the essence of the California lifestyle (palm trees, sandy beaches…basically everything I dream about), Beauty With a Twist’s products are formulated with only the highest quality, certified-organic ingredients.  Their products are not tested on animals, and a portion of their sales are donated to The Beagle Freedom Project to help end animal cruelty.  Their Daily Shampoo and Conditioner smell amazing, (notes of coconut and soft peach), and leave hair feeling soft and moisturized.  Both are formulated without parabens and are sulfate-free, ensuring they protect and preserve colour treated hair.  Beauty With a Twist products can be purchased in Canada exclusively on Amazon.ca.

2. Sahajan Discovery Kit*

This Discovery Kit is like an adult goodie-bag full of nourishing treatments for your face, body, and hair.  All of Sahajan’s products are natural and organic, and are developed and made in Canada (Toronto to be exact!) with eco-friendly and sustainable practices.  This kit is the perfect way to test out some of Sahajan’s products and includes: Nourish Face Cream, Restorative Eye Cream, Protective Face Serum, Nurture Hair Oil, and Ritual Body Oil (plus a handy linen makeup bag and a natural-wood mirror).  All of the products in this kit are impressive; they are nourishing, lightweight, and smell beautiful.  If I had to choose just one favourite (and trust me, it’s hard), it would have to be the Restorative Eye Cream.  A good eye cream is hard to find, and this one left the skin under my eyes feeling soft and moisturized, and looking brighter.  You can purchase this Discovery Kit, or the individual Sahajan products at Toronto’s Blossom Lounge.

3. Skechers Flex Appeal Sneakers in “Floral Bloom”

For me, these sneakers were love at first sight (um, hello, do you see those flamingos!?).  Not only are they bright, adorable, and perfect for Summer, they are also extremely comfortable, thanks to their memory foam insoles and stretch mesh panels.  They are light-weight (a women’s size 7 is just 6oz!) and are super flexible, allowing them to bend and flex naturally with your feet.

4. NYX Lip Lingerie in “Corset”

After reading positive reviews about this colour and formula online, I decided to give it a try.  This product is a matte liquid lipstick with a griege-ish tone.  It is long-lasting, and, as is commonplace for the NYX brand, is affordable without compromising on quality. If you’re looking for a super-unique yet wearable tone to add to your makeup collection, this is it.

5. Prada Candy Eau de Parfum

I’m one of those people who likes to switch up their scent on a daily basis, so it’s not often I find one that ends up on repeat.  I received a sample of this scent about a year ago, and brought it with me on a trip to Mexico.  Now, maybe it’s that every time I smell this scent I recall sandy beaches, warm breezes, and pina coladas, but since purchasing a full-sized version a couple of months ago, I still can’t get enough.  With notes of caramel, musk, and vanilla, this scent is soft and sweet with a nice warmth to it, just like a Summer night.

What have you been loving these past few months?  Let me know in the comments below!

Note: products indicated with an asterisk (*) were received for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Year-End Gift Ideas for Teachers Featuring Foxy Originals (+Giveaway!)

When I learned that one of my favourite Canadian jewelry brands, Foxy Originals, created a teacher-inspired collection, I just knew I had to share.  A love of teaching is something I’ve always held close to my heart, (I originally went to school to be one, after all!).  I think it’s such a kind and meaningful gesture to give back to a teacher who’s made a difference in your year (or perhaps your life).

Foxy Originals have created 2 necklace designs (both of which come in gold or silver), that arrive ready-to-gift on a card that reads “Live. Love. Teach”.

The Inspire Teacher Necklace reads “Inspire” one one side of a circle charm (1.38″ diameter), and “Live Love Teach” on the opposite side.  This necklace comes on a 17″ chain is just $20.00 Cdn.

The second necklace (and my personal favourite) is the Teacher’s Charm Necklace.  The front of the charm (1.25″ x 0.75″) reads, “It takes a big heart to teach little minds”, and the back reads, “Live Love Teach”.  Also on this necklace is a tiny heart charm, and small beaded charm.  This necklace is also on a 17″ chain, and retails for $25.00 Cdn.

Both of these necklaces are made from fine pewter, and are then plated in gold or silver.  Every item Foxy Originals makes is lead-free and is produced locally.  Both of these necklaces are affordable, meaningful, and versatile gift ideas (you can wear each of them 2 ways!) that a teacher will truly appreciate and use.  They’re also great for dance teachers, singing teachers, and beyond!

Giveaway! 

Foxy Originals has generously offered to host a giveaway of their Teacher’s Charm Necklace in gold to one of my readers!  To enter, simply click the “a Rafflecopter giveaway” link below and follow the instructions.  This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, and will close on Tuesday, June 14th at 11:59pm EST. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For Skin that Glows, and Makeup that Lasts All Day: Farmacy Skin Dew

I recently reviewed one of Farmacy’s Lip Blooms, and was given the opportunity to test out another one of their products: Skin Dew, a hydrating essence mist and makeup setting spray.  The name alone sounds super luxurious, and a product like this is perfect for the hot summer months ahead.  As mentioned in my previous post, the foundation for all of Farmacy’s products is GreenEnvy, (a variant of Echinacea Purpurea), which is a natural antioxidant that protects, firms, and evens skin tone.  In addition to GreenEnvy, Skin Dew is also formulated with kiwi fruit extract (to improve the skin’s barrier function, and improve tone/pigmentation), glycerin (for hydration), Horsetail Juice (an antioxidant and skin-smoother), and a blend of essential oils (Rosemary, Peppermint, Bergamot) that act as a light astringent (and smell amazing!).

Skin Dew can be applied in the morning before or after moisturizing, or after applying makeup as a setting spray.  Because it creates a light veil over the skin, it prevents oil-migration, and is perfect for those who often find their makeup shifting on their face throughout the day (i.e. me!).  It can also be re-applied throughout the day to freshen skin and increase radiance, or to help touch-up makeup.  The sleek, frosted plastic packaging is beautiful and is compact enough (3.3 0z) to tuck in your purse or beach bag.  To use, simply hold the product 8 inches from your face and spray, starting at your forehead and working downward.

Free of artificial colors, formulated with natural ingredients, and not tested on animals, this product is one that is good for both the environment and your skin.  You can purchase this product on Farmacy Beauty’s website, or online/in-store at Sephora.

Have you tried Farmacy Beauty’s Skin Dew, or any of their other products?  Let me know in the comments below!

Note: Product received for testing purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own. 

My Top Picks: Quo’s 2016 New Product Release

I recently had the opportunity to attend Quo’s Sweet 16 party, which was by far the chicest birthday party I’ve ever been to.  There were gorgeous flowers, treats that were almost too pretty to eat, and, of course, makeup as far as the eye could see (I pinched myself to ensure I wasn’t dreaming).  Besides celebrating 16 years of Quo, (Shoppers Drug Mart‘s makeup line), it was also an opportunity to get a sneak-peak at the new products for 2016.  I am incredibly grateful to have been sent home with a bunch of goodies to test out, and have chosen my top 3 picks to share with you today!  Also, stay tuned at the end of this post for some pictures of the event!

1. Quo Brow Kit, $18.00

This kit comes with everything you need to create the perfect arches: 2 brow powders, an applicator, and a brow gel.  Why 2 powders, you ask?  This allows you to create the perfect shade to match your brows, and takes the guessing out of choosing the right colour for you while at the store (one size fits all!).  Simply mix the powders, apply to your brows using the applicator, and finish with the brow gel to keep everything in shape.  This set is an amazing value for money, and is also great if you change your hair colour frequently (your brows will always match!).

2. Quo Colour Spectrum Refillable Lip Gloss, $12.00 (Refill: $10.00)

Available in 6 different shades ranging from nude to pink, this lip gloss is rich, creamy, and beautifully pigmented. What’s most unique about this product however, is it’s packaging.  Purchase the full lip gloss to start, and then simply purchase refills at a lesser cost!  This product is a fun, innovative way to reduce packing waste (and recycle!) without sacrificing style.

3. Quo Contour Kit, $23.00

If you’re anything like me, the idea of contouring can be a bit scary.  As someone with oily skin, I worry that by the end of the day, my makeup will have shifted and I’ll look like a watercolour painting.  But this kit actually inspired me to give contouring a try.  Why is it any different?  The products in this kit are powder based, which is perfect for oily skin (as opposed to thick, creamy products). It also comes with fool-proof instructions built right into the packaging!  Included in the kit are a bronzer, highlighter, and contour shade, as well as a super-soft brush to achieve the perfect look.  There’s also a built in mirror for when you’re doing your makeup on the go, or touching up throughout the day.

Pictures from the Event

Have you tried any of the products from Quo’s new collection?  What are you most excited to try?  Let me know in the comments below!

Spa Day Essentials Featuring Blossom Lounge

With a long weekend just a couple of days away, it’s the perfect time to prepare for some rest and relaxation.  And hey, why not make your extra day off feel like one spent at the spa?  Today, I’m featuring 3 fun products to help you do just that.  All can be purchased at Blossom Lounge, located in Toronto’s Distillery District (I’ve featured them previously here and here). Be sure to follow them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) to stay up to date on new arrivals and more!

1. Graydon Clinical Luxury Superfood Mask + Scrub

This unique mask gently exfoliates and brightens skin, and is formulated with 19 superfoods (including papaya, matcha green tea, white willow bark, cinnamon, activated charcoal, and more!).  Each mask is individually portioned in a vegetable-derived capsule to ensure the product stays as fresh as possible, without oxidizing.  So how do you use it?  With clean, dry hands, simply break open a capsule (learn more here), mix it with your favourite creamy cleanser, soap, or face oil, and massage it into your skin.  Leave it on for as long as you’d like (try for at least 3-5 minutes), and then rinse off with water.  Repeat up to 3 times per week.  For an even more natural touch, try mixing the mask with ingredients such as full-fat yogurt, raw honey, coconut oil, or mashed avocado instead of your cleanser!

 2. Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in “Subtly Sassy”

This nail polish is the perfect everyday, cool-toned, nude (seriously, it matches everything).  But aside from being the perfect shade, it’s also an impressive, long-wearing polish: mine lasted a week with just a basic base and top coat.  The rich, creamy, 7-free formula only requires 1-2 coats, which, let’s be real, is a rarity in the light-toned, cream-polish world.  Another perk?  It’s also vegan and cruelty free.

 3. Coal and Canary Candle in “Gimme Some Sugar”

This candle’s unique notes of brown sugar, honey, yam, and vanilla, make it the perfect cozy-up-and-relax scent (and may also make you crave baked goods!).  Hand poured and made in small batches, these Canadian-made candles are created with only the highest quality soy/vegetable wax blends and fragrance oils.  The wooden wick burns cleanly (no smoke or soot here!) and provides a soothing crackle when lit. What I love most about the brand, aside from their unique scents, are their fun, catchy product names.  Some examples: “Good Beats & Eatin’ Sweets“, “Hiking Trails and Breaking Nails“, and “Peach Pies & Cute French Guys“.   Coal and Canary candles are 8 ounces each, and the burn time is an impressive 45-50 hours.

Which product are you most excited to try?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.