Thursday, April 18, 2019

Mother's Day Gift Guide 2019


MOTHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS

With Mother's Day approaching on Sunday, May 12th, I thought I'd compile a list of some of my favourite gift ideas this year.

Whether you want to treat a Furbaby Mom or Mom to Human Beings, this gift guide has a range of gifts from jewellery to health and beauty. I'm also a firm believer in "treat yourself if no one else will." 😉

Hopefully, this gift guide will give you some great ideas for you or your loved one this year.



Jewellery

There's nothing like receiving a beautiful piece of jewellery as a gift. Make it personalized and it's even better! I have several pieces of personalized jewellery from Sincerely Silver Co. and I absolutely love all of them! They have a ton of options and they are high quality yet affordable. The piece that I'm showcasing here, the Name Necklace, has been a popular style for years and it never seems to go out of style. It's available in silver, gold, or rose gold. I chose the gold here in the 18" length. It's made from solid .925 sterling silver and plated with 18k gold, available in 16", 18" or 20" lengths. Shipping is fast and they have amazing customer service!

Retail $55



Makeup

I'm not one to splurge on expensive makeup, but once in a while, there's a product that is really worth the high price tag. I received this infamous Charlotte Tilbury blush in Pillow Talk blush for my birthday in February, which I had actually requested, and it's totally worth the $50! This is the gift that keeps on giving since I use it most days of the week. It's just stunning and really is a magical makeup product which is what I've always dreamt of but had never found before. If you have a makeup lover in your life, I can't recommend this enough! I have a full review with swatches, linked here.

Retail $50



Bath & Beauty

Crystal Hills Organic Crystal Love Bath Salts are not your average bath salts. The packaging is spectacular and looks stunning by the bathtub. But what's inside is what really makes this special. "This is crystal infused skincare and is certified organic. Made with Rose Quartz Crystals, it's pink hue symbolizes the essence of love. This beautiful gemstone lifts up our vibration to the pure energy of unconditional love, bringing us to a state of peace, happiness, forgiveness, and compassion."

"Enjoy a long and luxurious soak in the tub surrounded with the delicate fragrance of rose blossoms. Sixty thousand petals go into one ounce of the rose absolute that is added into these lavish bath salts." All of the ingredients are natural and the fragrance comes from essential oils including geranium rose, organic neroli, and rose absolute. Muslin bag is included.

Retail $44


Sleep

If you know someone who has trouble getting their beauty sleep, a silk sleep mask is a must. The secret to a good sleep mask is finding one that blocks out ALL of the light. I had tried a lot of sleep masks before I found one that actually did block out all of the light. The secret to it is a large and soft mask, this way it can conform to the shape of your face and nose which blocks out the light. The silk material is not only soft but is breathable and can help reduce wrinkles since it keeps the skin from crinkling up while sleeping.

Retail $10



Beauty Tools

A Jade Roller is an inexpensive way to improve the look of your skin. By massaging the skin with the roller it helps improve Chi circulation, improves lymphatic drainage and can reduce the look of puffiness around the eyes and the face. It can also help with product absorption, and with regular use, you should notice improvements in the look of your skin. It doesn't take long at all to massage your face with the roller and there are all kinds of videos online on how to use the roller to increase lymphatic drainage which will reduce puffiness and rid the skin of toxins.

Prices vary greatly but I don't see any reason to spend a lot of money on this item as long as you purchase one made of genuine materials like jade etc.

Retail $10




Facial

If you know someone who loves to pamper themselves or just take good care of their skin, a facial steamer like this is wonderful! I remember in high school, I used to put my face over a sink filled with hot water and put a towel over my head. Once I got this Kinga steamer it took facial steaming to a whole other level. This was a much more gentle and effective way to steam the face compared to the sink method, which isn't very comfortable and is usually too hot and actually dehydrates the skin. The steam from this professional steamer is very gentle and it cleans out and opens up the pores and prepares the skin for any other treatments. The skin will absorb any treatments, serums, or moisturizers much better after using this product, and it will actually hydrate vs. dehydrate the skin.

Retail $34.99


Masking

The Body Shop makes some of my favourite masks! I usually like to use a detoxifying mask like The Body Shops Himalayan Charcoal one and then follow it up with a hydrating mask like this British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask. I think that any skincare lover would appreciate this gift. The Body Shop is cruelty-free, too!

Retail $28




The Eco Tools Mask Mates set is a must-have! I use the sponges in this kit every day when I cleanse my skin. But, I also use it to remove my masks as it's intended for. The handy brush in the kit makes applying face masks less messy and more precise. It really does make me use my masks more often. Although my first thought was that this product was gimmicky, it is far from it! The sponges are also made from the same materials used in spas.

Retail $10-15



Fashion

I love this affordable version of the trendy Gucci belt. I actually have it in 2 different sizes. It's great quality and no one would know that it's not the real deal. A great gift for the fashion lover in your life.

Retail from $12.99




Health

There is nothing better than the gift of health. If you are looking for a gift for someone who is into health or considering changing their diet or health for the better, I can't recommend this book enough. This is a life-changing book! I purchased it years ago and it changed my life as well as many others after I passed the book along to loved ones. The book, Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline, is eye-opening and will change the way one eats. The reader can take recommendations and customize it to suit their needs. I actually didn't follow the diet recommendations all the way to the last chapter, but it still changed the way I ate and I lost the 20lbs that I had gained and it was quite easy to follow. I still follow most of the principles in this book to this day.

Retail Approx. $13


I hope you got some ideas to treat the special person in your life, or maybe even to treat yourself. 💝





Some links are referral links which support this site. Thank you if you choose to use them! Some items were gifted. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Don't Let Your Hands Show Your Age | Flexitol Anti-Age Hand Balm



Don't forget to show your hands some love! We pay so much attention to our faces and necks when it comes to #antiaging and often forget our hands. And, it's often our hands that give away our age! 😱

Flexitol Anti-Age Balm provides deep and long-lasting hydration. It's clinically proven to visibly reduce age spots and improve elasticity. Made with Plantago, Lanceolata + Urea 10%. I've been using it during the day and before bed and it's cured my dry, red, and cracked hands 😍

Available at Amazon.ca, farleyco.ca, select Apple Drug Mart, Guardian IDA, Pharmachoice, Proxim, and Value Drug Mart Stores. Farleyco Beauty Flexitol Canada



Happy Humpday, everyone! 🐪
.

PR Sample All opinions are mine.

Monday, April 15, 2019

New! Live Clean - All Natural Deodorants That Work!


My favourite all-natural health and beauty brand, Live Clean, has finally come out with a deodorant! Many of us have been asking for Live Clean to create a deodorant, and it took some time, but if you know Live Clean like I do, they don't launch a product until they perfect it, and they definitely did just that!

These deodorants are made with 99% naturally derived ingredients and are free from aluminium, propylene glycol, and parabens, and other harmful ingredients. They provide freshness, comfort, and all day odour control.

Formulated to neutralize and combat odour naturally. Derived with baking soda, corn starch, soothing aloe, and vitamin E, this naturally derived formula is also enriched with certified organic parsley, rosemary and sage. They leave your underarms conditioned and fresh all day.

4 Options Available:
🍃 Fragrance free
🍃 Cool and Fresh
🍃 Sparkling Citrus
🍃 Powder Clean

My favourite is the Cool and Fresh scent which has a very fresh scent as the name implies. My partner's favourite is the Sparkling Citrus scent which I would say leans towards a grapefruit/orange scent and is a great unisex fragrance. The Powder Clean scent has a soft, clean scent with a hint of a baby powder scent. Lastly, there's the Fragrance Free option which is completely void of any scent, great for those who want to avoid any fragrance.

I've been testing out this deodorant for almost 2 weeks, and I can attest to the claims that it offers all-day protection. Even after sweating and working all day, there is no detectable scent. I've even put it to the 24-hour test when I was too tired to shower one night and there was still zero odour the next day!

I've been testing out natural deodorants for as long as I can remember and I can honestly say that these are hands down the best natural deodorants that I've ever tried for odour protection! I still perspire as these are not antiperspirants, but they do prevent odour from forming.

They're Free From:
Aluminum
Parabens
Propylene Glycol
Triclosan
Phthalate
Silicone
Phosphates
Petrolatum
Artificial Dyes
Artificial Fragrance

They're Also:
Hypoallergenic
Dermatologist Tested
Eco-Friendly
Non-Whitening
Non-Irritating
Cruelty-Free
99% Naturally derived ingredients
Made with Certified Organic Botanicals
Pure Vegan
Leaping Bunny Certified
Long Lasting Odour Control

The trouble with a lot of natural deodorants is that they're usually expensive and not easily accessible or they just don't work. This is why so many of us have been asking Live Clean to create a deodorant, they take away all of those factors.

Live Clean claims that these deodorants provide all-day odour protection and I 100% agree with that claim! I am so happy to have found such an effective product that is also free of harmful chemicals, affordable, and accessible! These are the reasons why I love Live Clean Products so much. They've really knocked it outta the park with these new deodorants! I'm so happy that my search for "The One" is over!

Thank you, Live Clean! 💗

SRP $6.99-$7.99

Available at Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws


#LiveCleanDeoWorks


Products were provided free for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Quick And Healthy Snacks That Don't Make Me Gain Weight!


I'm always looking for new food and snack ideas that are healthy and will help me keep my weight under control. In today's post, I want to share with you my current healthy go-to snacks that don't make me gain weight. Keep in mind that you can always make substitutions for any of the ingredients to suit your needs. Hopefully, these snacks will give you some ideas if you too are always on the lookout for new healthy snack options.


HEALTHY SNACKS:

Some of the healthiest snacks need little to no preparation like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Here you'll find my go-to snacks that are quick, easy, and healthy!

Berries:
On their own, with some protein like cheese or yoghurt, or in a smoothie with some protein powder. Berries have the lowest sugar content of the various types of fruit. Plus, they're loaded with fibre and heart-healthy antioxidants.



Nuts:
May be high in fat but they're super healthy in moderation. Almonds are one of the best nuts for those who are trying to maintain or lose weight. I like to throw them in a Ziploc bag with some popcorn and dark chocolate chips for a healthy snack mix.



Popcorn:
On its own or with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on it makes a great snack when you have the need to much on something. The nutritional yeast is packed with B vitamins and the popcorn is loaded with fibre.



Pizza:
Is still doable when you are trying to lose weight! Just use a small whole grain wrap as your crust, top with tomato paste or sauce, and load it up with your favourite toppings. Bake in a toaster oven or regular oven until the cheese is melted and crust edges start to brown. This is so delicious and satisfying. You'll never miss pizza again!



Avocado toast:
May sound cliche but it's delicious if you sprinkle on your favourite seasoning. I like Herbamare on top of mine. Avocado is a healthy source of fat and if you follow a keto-style diet, it's probably already a staple in your pantry. You can add more protein to this snack by topping it with some eggs.



Eggs and Toast:
Is the perfect combination. It's healthy, hearty and satisfying. This snack is packed with protein and healthy carbs when you use healthy types of bread* or a wrap is another option to make it lower in carbs. An Egg cooker can also make your life that much easier, especially if you like to meal prep. Village Bakery has a fabulous list of the best egg cookers which will do just that.



Grill cheese sandwich:
With your favourite cheese. When I make grill cheese, I use only one piece of bread and I use coconut oil instead of butter. Put your favourite cheese on half the bread and fold the other half on top. Grill to perfection in coconut oil.

*Note: The type of bread you choose is really important. I usually eat spelt or Ezekial bread as these are healthier options when it comes to bread and I am able to eat them without gaining weight.


HEALTHY TREATS:



Chocolate Ricotta:
I found this recipe online years ago (don't recall the source) and I've been snacking on it ever since. Just mix the following ingredients in a food processor or by hand and enjoy:

1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 tbsp honey or another sweetener (stevia etc)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Kodiak Cake Muffins:
If you have access to the Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix, there is a fabulous high protein muffin recipe on the back of the box. It can be difficult to find Kodiak Mix in Canada, so when we see it at Costco we stock up! I add berries or dark chocolate chips to make them that much yummier and they add some antioxidants to the muffins.

Gummy Bears:
I purchased Great Lakes Gelatin as well as some silicone moulds and even a gelatin recipe book and now I can quickly and easily throw together a batch of healthy, sugar-free, and protein-packed gummy bears.

Black Bean Brownies:
I love having these brownies on hand. They are so good, you'd never know they are actually healthy for you! They are flourless, loaded with fibre, and low in sugar. It's another recipe that I've been making for years!

Recipe: chocolatecoveredkatie.com

Blondies:
Blondies are similar to the black bean brownies but are made with chickpeas instead of black beans. They are flourless, vegan, and gluten-free. They are super healthy and are such a treat!

Recipe: ambitiouskitchen.com

👉 Honourable mentions go to my favourite beverage, Zevia and 70% dark chocolate from Costco!


I hope I gave you some new ideas on healthy snacks that you can go-to whether you are just looking for healthier snack options or options to help you lose or maintain your weight. 

 If you have some go-to healthy snack options I'd love to hear about them. Please comment below so we can all share our ideas. 😍

XOXO,
Amy



Monday, April 1, 2019

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish and Glow Blush in Pillow Talk Review + Swatches


Featured Product:

After hearing so much about Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk line, I became so intrigued that I just had to try it for myself. 

The Pillow Talk line includes this blush, a lip liner, lipstick, and eyeshadow quad. Because of the high price tags, I just wanted to start with one item and see if it lives up to the hype, so I went with the blush.

From Charlotte Tilbury:

Cheek to Chic in Pillow Talk is a two-tone powder blusher in a dusky pink and champagne shimmer shade that will add a kiss of colour to your cheeks.

With luminous gold flecks in each shade, this blush will add an instant healthy sheen to your complexion for a gorgeous glow! Complete your iconic Pillow Talk love story look with this blush, perfectly paired with the new luxury palette, award-winning lip liner and matte lipstick.

WHAT MAKES CHEEK TO CHIC MAGIC:

• Light Flex Technology creates the appearance of capturing light & re-emitting it for a luminous-looking complexion.

• Colour-rich pigments are rolled into finely crushed pearls to create smoother-looking skin with excellent blendability & perfect colour uniformity.

• The secrets to a glowing, just-kissed blush are de-coded into a two-step “SWISH & GLOW” ritual for a flawless looking finish every time

• The formula is buildable for the perfect, healthy, even glow

• Universally-flattering shade suits everyone aged 18-80

• Paraben-free



When I first received the Pillow Talk blush, I thought that it just looked like a bronzer and wasn't sure what to expect. I actually felt a little disappointed by the shade in the pan as it looked quite basic. Well, I was all wrong! This blush really is magical! Read on and I'll share my reasons why...

Although this two-toned blush is described as pink and champagne, I would describe the outer shade as a beautiful rosy bronze shade, while the centre shade appears more peachy on my skin tone. Just one of the great features of this blush is that it would look fabulous on a wide range of skin tones.

The two shades can be worn separately to really sculpt and highlight the face, or you can swirl them together for a beautiful flush and glow. I find that this blush can make you look like a bronze goddess or a natural beauty or both if you choose. Because this blush is in the nude colour family, it goes with any makeup look! The texture is unlike any blush that I've used before. It's not powdery at all, it's sheer yet pigmented and buildable. It isn't glittery either, it just provides a beautiful sheen to the cheeks.

Sometimes I take my time and use the darker shade as kind of a contour/blush and use the centre shade as a highlight on my cheekbones. But, most days, I swirl them together and apply all over my cheek area. I find that this blush serves as my bronzer, blush and highlight, which is amazing for days when I don't want to fuss with multiple products.

This product is fabulous for aging skin as it doesn't accentuate pores or texture and it really gives a lifted look to the face! This alone makes it worth the hefty price tag for me as I age and my face is going south. For this reason, I think CT should update the description of this product from ages 18-80 to 18-100+!

The product does fade slightly throughout the day but I would say the lasting time is excellent!



Swatches in natural daylight:

Pillow Talk Blush Swatches

Left: Outer shade, Centre: middle shade, Right: blended together



#nofilter 

Trying to capture the sculpt and glow that this gorgeous blush gives


Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk blush is totally worth the hype in my opinion. The only thing I would change is the name, I would call it "sculpt and glow."

If you are looking to treat someone special in your life or even to treat yourself, I highly recommend this blush!

Now I really want to try the eyeshadow in Pillow Talk, too. 😄




Some links are referral.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Surprising skin sins that age your face as explained by a plastic surgeon

SURPRISING SKIN SINS THAT AGE YOUR FACE

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that smoking, not wearing sunscreen and going to bed with your makeup on hardly produces the coveted look of Instagram’s “glass skin.”  Aside from these three ‘skin sins’ there are many others that are not so obvious. We turned to Denver Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Manish Shah who is a big believer in pre-juvenation and a holistic approach to youth. 

Inconsistent Dieting
“Many people think caring for your skin is skin-deep,” quips Dr. Shah. “It is not.“ Inconsistent or inadequate nutrition that has your body mass and weight moving in a yo-yo motion up and down the scale can contribute to ruined elasticity and reduced collagen in the skin. This is part of the reason why specialists will recommend a two-pound maximum weight loss goal per week because your skin needs time to adapt to the loss of mass. Dr. Shah explains that the skin needs to be nourished from the inside as well and many of the trend diets like keto and paleo focus on one group of food and though it can help keep a caloric deficit, it can also create a deficit of the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to keep your skin looking healthy.

Drinking Too Much Coffee
“Excessive amounts of caffeine can increase the levels of insulin and cortisol in the system,” explains Dr. Shah.  Insulin increases inflammation and cortisol is known as the stress hormone. This combination could mix up your sleeping habits and contribute to continued stress which can lead to sleep deprivation. “Sleep deprivation prevents that regenerative rest our skin and mind need to stay healthy.”

Neglecting the Skin Around Your Eyes
"The skin around your eyes is the thinnest and has very few oil glands," says Dr. Shah. Pamper your eyes and stave off signs of aging by choosing a daily eye cream that includes peptides. Dr. Shah explains, “They work to stimulate collagen production and prevent fine lines. Be sure to check the label.” Other notable ingredients that reduce puffiness, lines, wrinkles, and under eye circles are caffeine and nicotinic acid (a form of the B vitamin niacin).

Expecting Instant Results from Beauty Treatments
Most of us are guilty of trying a face cream or anti-aging treatment once or twice and then giving up on it before it has had a chance to work. A majority of anti-aging treatments take up to a month to begin showing positive effects. Dr. Shah explains, “This is due to the cycle of your skin, which undergoes a period of cellular structure renewal over a span of 30 days. In our instant gratification mode, we often toss a product before giving it time to work.”

Taking Medications With Side-Effects on the Skin
Certain medications like corticosteroids for asthma and arthritis cause the skin to thin and weakens blood vessels. Medicine to treat seizures can cause heightened sensitivity to sun damage in the skin which is a common perpetrator in premature aging. Blood pressure medications that block calcium channels have been studied in relation to their inhibition of collagen production by obstructing the absorption of vitamin C by the cells. Vitamin C is an important part of collagen production.  “If these medications are being prescribed to you by your physician then the benefits outweigh their effect on collagen production. There is no need to stress over this, as long as you take care of your skin in other ways you should be fine,” explains Dr. Shah.

Consuming Excessive Amounts of Salt
“By all measures, an excess of salt in your diet is detrimental to your kidneys, your cardiovascular health and, yes, your skin,” says Dr. Shah. Salt absorbs moisture and it can aid in making your skin look dry and less vibrant. Reducing your sodium intake and sticking to a moisturizing routine should help your skin stay healthy and smooth.

Facial Expressions
Every time you move that beautiful face, your skin wrinkles a little bit. Most of the time your face bounces back and those little wrinkles disappear once new skin cells grow.

Soap
While you may think that soap is your skin’s best friend, this is actually not the case. The reason for this is that your skin has an acid mantle which is a natural protective barrier of the skin. When you wash with soap – which is generally alkaline – it can remove this protective layer of oils and dry out the skin, eventually leading to wrinkles. Dr. Shah says that “While it is not advisable to stop washing entirely, try swapping the soap for a PH-neutral and chemical-free cleanser, and bear in mind that there is such a thing as over-cleansing your skin.”

Tugging on Your Skin While Applying or Removing Makeup
To minimize the damage to the skin around your eyes, follow these quick tips from Dr. Shah:
Use your ring finger to pat on products around your eyes, including serums, oils, moisturizers, and concealers. Your ring finger is the least likely to pull or tug at your skin.
Apply eyeliner and eyeshadow by gently closing your eyelids, rather than by pulling them taut. If you’re struggling to apply without pulling, consider investing in products that are made to apply smoothly, like cream or gel formulas.
Have patience when removing makeup from the eye area. Use cotton or another soft product, coated well with your favorite makeup removing solution. Hold the cotton over your closed eye without wiping, allowing the product to break down the makeup. After a minute or so, wipe gently to remove the makeup.

Picking Your Skin
You're not a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician. You should not be picking at your pimples, ingrown hairs, or anywhere else on your face. It's one of the biggest assaults against your skin and can have permanent effects. "The more people press and manipulate blemishes, the more inflammation they create underneath," explains Dr. Shah. "The result is scars, pockmarks, and discoloration that can become permanent.”
Licking Your Lips Constantly
There's a myth out there that claims people can get addicted to lip balm. "These people just have dry skin and miss the feeling of the balm when it's gone," says Dr. Shah. Lip licking can become a bad habit. But when you moisten your lips that way, you actually wind up making things worse. The water in your saliva evaporates, leaving lips dry and cracked. "Saliva can contain bacteria and irritants, so you can end up with a rash around the lips as well," says Dr. Shah. Try a lip balm such as Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm, Original Beeswax with Vitamin E & Peppermint Oil.

About Dr. Manish Shah:

Manish Shah, M.D., F.A.C.S. was born in Canada and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a degree in biomedical engineering. He then completed his medical training at the University of Virginia, earning his Medical Doctorate. During this time, he also completed a one-year fellowship in microsurgery research at the New York University School of Medicine / Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. As a prelude to his plastic surgery training, Dr. Shah completed a rigorous five-year training program in General and Trauma Surgery at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia. His formal training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was completed at the Univ. of Tennessee College of Medicine – Chattanooga Unit. After completing his plastic surgery training, he moved to New York City when he was selected for the prestigious Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. He underwent extensive, advanced training in aesthetic surgery of the face, breasts, and body at the hands of some of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in the world. This fellowship is widely considered to be the best of its kind in the world. Dr. Shah is one of only a select few plastic surgeons in the country who has undergone formal post-graduate training in aesthetic surgery.
Dr. Shah’s specialties include revision facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty (“nose reshaping”), and aesthetic surgery of the breast (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction). He is, however, well-trained in all areas of aesthetic surgery.
Dr. Shah’s aim is to obtain a natural appearing transformation that complements the real you!
Dr. Shah is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  He maintains a private practice in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver.
Dr. Shah is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the Rhinoplasty Society, and the European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Shah is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.



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