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Product Review: Fresh Lip Sugar Advanced Therapy Serum

With the onset of winter, each of us is likely faced with chapped and cracking lips thanks to the cold outdoors and dry heated indoors.  I recently received a sample of this product with an order from Sephora, and after only 2 uses, I am HOOKED!

This product delivers on its promise to smooth creases, and to provide hydration and relief to your lips and their contour area.  I applied it once before bedtime last night and felt and saw an instant transformation.  I applied it again this morning before leaving for work and despite the chilly temperatures outside, I still felt no need to apply further product.  The product absorbs quickly and easily, and your lips feel completely cared for without being greasy or cakey as many lip balms and similar products might feel.

I also liked that this product has very little fragrance (in fact, I didn’t notice it at all once the product absorbed into my skin), so it wasn’t obtrusive to my husband who frequently complains about overpowering fragrances of different beauty products as he has sensitivities to many of them.

I can already see that this product will be a permanent member of my skin care lineup.201408-omag-OBeautiful-14-949x1356

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 for instant gratification and promises delivered!

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Product Review: Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions


Clinique's Anti-Blemish Solutions - Clinical Clearing Gel

Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions – Clinical Clearing Gel

I don’t generally have great luck with Clinique products, despite their evident popularity.  My skin is fussy and I attribute this to my being a coastal person living in a land-locked and very dry province in Canada.  This constant battle with the elements for which my skin was not designed often results in breakouts of very stubborn pimples, usually in the area of my temples and cheeks.  Very few things have worked for me in attempting to clear up these long-standing blemishes, but I decided to give this product a go since so many things I’d read and heard raved about its efficacy.

I was very pleasantly surprised at how well this product worked.  With dry skin, I am often reluctant to try clearing products since these usually dry out the skin even moreso.  But I was desperate to clear up my spots once and for all and so I persevered and I am glad I did.  I dabbed the product on my face after cleansing with my usual cleanser.  There was only a slight tingling sensation but it absorbed quickly and didn’t dry out my skin at all.  Furthermore, I was able to apply my usual moisturiser as is my normal practice without any interference or resistance from this product.

It took only a couple days of consistent application of this product before my blemishes disappeared completely.  I re-applied for the next few days to ensure that the product was able to penetrate through the top layer of my skin to the root of the problem below.  It has been 2 weeks since I applied any of this product at all and I am happy to say my skin is blemish free and not suffering any ill effects whatsoever.

I purchased the smaller container of this product at $20.00 CAD and still have most of it left.  This product applies well, wears well, and lasts quite a long time because a little goes a long way.

Thanks, Clinique!

Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Product Showdown: Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum vs. Hey Honey Good Morning Silk Facial Serum

I recently received a sample of this product and was excited to give it a whirl.  My skin shows the effects of many fun and enjoyable trips to places like Hawaii, so as you can imagine, there is some slight damage which likely requires some correction.

I was pleased with the overall performance of this product.  I felt my skin was smoothed and the product performed well.  However, there was one aspect to this serum which I did not like and that was the odour of the product.  It has a very light chemical smell and as my skin warmed the smell became more intense.  I can’t precisely describe it, but it closely resembled burning rubber.

Another downside of this product is the price.  On the Clinique Canadian website, the prices range from $69 to $175 per container, depending on the size of the container you wish to purchase.  While it is true that a little of this product goes a long way, I still believe it is tremendously overpriced considering how many other similar products there currently are in the marketplace.

For instance, I also received a sample of Hey Honey’s Good Morning Honey Silk Facial Serum and have been using it religiously every day since receiving the generously-sized sample with my April, 2015, Ipsy Glam Bag.

Good Morning Silk Facial Serum by Hey Honey

Good Morning Silk Facial Serum by Hey Honey

It wears incredibly well, and a little dab travels far and goes on smoothly.  It absorbs instantly, leaving my skin just as supple and smooth as the Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum, but without the unattractive odour.  And at $41.00 per container, it is far more affordable than the Clinique product.

For the Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum:  3 stars out of 5 for an excellent but overpriced and not very nice-smelling product.

For the Hey Honey Good Morning Honey Silk Facial Serum:  6 stars out of 5 for an excellent and reasonably-priced product with no offensive odour.  A bonus star for not testing on animals!



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Make your Products Earn their Keep!

Products which offer more than one function are of great value to me since I generally sleep in later than I should and anything which makes my morning routine less time-consuming is so much better than the alternative of getting up earlier to deal with my personal maintenance.

Plus, getting double the use out of your personal maintenance products will not only save you time, but also quite a bit of money and there will be far less clutter in your bathroom.

Here are a few suggestions:

Try using your creamy body wash not only as a body wash, but also as your shaving cream. I am currently using Balea’s Moisturizing Body Wash for this purpose.  You’ll get a close shave but also smooth skin in the bargain!  And since this particular brand gives great coverage, it will last for at least a couple months of daily showers.  An added advantage is many canned shaving creams will leave rust spots on your tub, whereas the packaging of this body wash (and most body washes) is plastic so there again, it will save you less time in cleanup afterward.

Balea Body Wash, available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Balea Body Wash, available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Use a BB cream as your daily foundation makeup and primer and moisturiser (triple duty!). I recently blogged about using The Body Shop’s All-In-One BB Cream as not only my moisturizer, but also my foundation and primer.

All-In-One BB Cream by The Body Shop

All-In-One BB Cream by The Body Shop

If you’re ever in a pinch for shaving cream, or an in-shower body lotion, try using a bit of your conditioner for some added softness and to save you time on your way out the door.  Any hair conditioner will do.  Just apply, shave and rinse off.

I would LOVE to hear your other suggestions to get double duty out of your products – please leave your comments in the section below.

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Don’t be hatin’…yourself.

The last few Fridays, I have indulged myself in watching TLC’s new show, “Love Lust or Run” starring Stacey London of “What Not to Wear” fame.

I love the show and the positive message being imparted by Stacey in that you can use what you’ve already got and it doesn’t matter what size, colour, race, or age you are, you can still be the best version of yourself.

What troubles me about the show is not the show itself but how terribly frightened the featured applicants are at the prospect of being seen without makeup. To her credit, Stacey does her utmost best to allay the fears of these women and helps them move forward.

Makeup should enhance – not hide – who you are. It shouldn’t be worn as a mask preventing people from seeing the real you. And yet, every show, there are applicants featured on this show who express fear not at wearing only a chunky white bathrobe on national (or international) television, but rather at being seen without their makeup. As if the makeup was some kind of protective shield over their faces.

There could be many reasons for this mindset, but I am disturbed that so many women have grown up from being young girls thinking that leaving the house without makeup on was somehow sacrilegious or taboo.

While I write a lot of product reviews of makeup products, it should be known that I DO NOT wear makeup every day. It doesn’t matter to me whether I wear it to work, or if I wear it out when I’m enjoying a date night with my husband. I wear it simply as an accessory as I would a pair of earrings to go with an outfit. In other words, if I end up omitting makeup from my routine, it’s not the end of the world.

It’s also true that my decision to wear makeup is based largely on whether or not I actually have the time to apply it. If the clock is running low, I skip it all together and simply make sure that I am dressed appropriately and cleanly for whatever I’m about to undertake on my way out the door.

I don’t mean to say that I’ve always been together and this is not a judgment of women or people in general who wear more or less makeup than myself. In my teens and 20’s, I used to obsess over my hair, my clothes, my makeup and how to act or behave around other people. I seemed to be always anxious and tense and finally something clicked in my head where I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore; I wanted to change to a better me.

I learned somewhere along the way that my obsession with my appearance was not only annoying those who had to wait for me to get ready to join them in whatever day we had planned, but it was also robbing me of time which might otherwise have been spent doing things which were so much more fun than being locked in a bathroom preening in the mirror. When I let go so much concern for my personal appearance and whether it was going to be good enough, the world opened up a lot more possibilities and I relaxed and had a lot more fun.

It’s an ongoing process as we women, in particular, frequently fall in and out of this trap. But I encourage anyone struggling with this issue to take a few moments to study themselves objectively in the mirror, focusing ONLY on those things they love about themselves and ignoring all those things they might dislike or even hate. Take, for instance, the colour of your eyes. Or the shape of your mouth, or the smoothness of your forehead. You may have very toned and strong shoulders, or you may have a beautiful collarbone. It doesn’t matter what you find attractive about yourself (I happen to like my feet, as an example), but it matters tremendously that you find yourself attractive even in some small way.

Finding one thing you like about yourself will undoubtedly lead you to discover other things you like about yourself, leading to an altogether better sense of overall well-being which you will be able to impart to your friends, family, daughters and those who rely on you to be strong for them.

If we’re to raise strong, secure women, we must lead by example.

The heartening thing about “Love Lust or Run,” unlike the ambushes on “What Not to Wear,” is that it is completely voluntary and the women featured on the show are simply asking Stacey for help in enhancing and updating their looks to fit not only current trends in fashion and makeup, but also toward their life and career goals. It’s a brave step for many women, but it’s nice to see so many women taking that first step toward happiness and self-acceptance for the rest of their lives.

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Product Review: L’Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm - Velvety Fuchsia

L’Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm – Velvety Fuchsia

I am a fan of L’Oreal products of most any kind thanks, in no small part to Gerard Butler’s involvement with the company (it runs deep, okay?!?). 🙂

I use their BB Cream, for instance, and love it as a lightweight foundation. I also love their eyeshadows and mascaras (I’ll review them later). So, based on my past experience with their products, I wanted to try their Colour Riche Balm.

Also because I’m a Lipstick Junkie and I just HAD to give it a whirl.

I chose the product for its claim to be lightweight and full of colour, as well as for its 8 hours of continuous moisturization. The colour I picked was Velvety Fuchsia since I like a little pop of daytime colour at work.


This lip balm definitely delivers on colour, but it seems to fall short on the other claims. In order to gain any real moisturization, I had to work in the product with my fingertip into the lip surface, and then apply a second coat to replenish the colour.

Also, I found that I had to reapply it often throughout the day, after drinking and eating, as well as after simple conversations as it does not seem to want to stay in or on the surface of my lips and wears off all too quickly. While this may be a genius marketing scheme on the part of L’Oreal, I would rather simply not be bothered worrying about whether my lip colour was staying in place.

This product may be better for those who live in a more humid climate than Alberta, or who have “normal” or “combination” skin as opposed to my “dry” skin.

Thanks, L’Oreal, but I’ll pass on this product since it only delivers to me colour but no staying power.

Rating: 1 Star out of 5.

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Why serial dieting makes you miserable.

Achieve a more harmonious balance for a happier you.

Achieve a more harmonious balance for a happier you.

The Dalai Lama – and countless others – have frequently said that the path to true happiness is to be found through doing kindnesses for others. I can personally attest to this being true since I recently was able to purchase an item for my husband which he had been wanting for some years, but had put off in favour of buying more necessary things for us and our household.

It wasn’t so much the material object itself, but rather the ability to give him something which is meant only for his enjoyment. To fulfill a longstanding wish of his. To put him first. All of these things are what gave me joy, which in turn made me feel better about myself.  I had nothing whatsoever to gain from purchasing this item.  But it wasn’t about me, after all.

When we focus entirely too much on our physical selves, we lose sight of our true selves. We stop nurturing our souls since we’re focusing so much on our bodies. That’s not to say you should entirely lose sight of your body’s needs, but it should not be all-encompassing, and certainly it should not come at the sake of your soul or your spirit.

My suggestion is for every hour of exercise or concentration on your dieting, you allocate another block of time for peaceful and uinterrupted meditation or spending time with or on someone else who will benefit from your attention. If you have no one on whom to lavish your attention, lavish it on yourself.  Read a book.  Take part in a hobby or interest you’ve been putting off.  Enjoy a long hot bath and lose yourself in your thoughts.  Take a restful nap.  Do anything which does not centre around your physical appearance.

In doing so, you may find that your mind and your body reach a more harmonious balance, and your spirit will be uplifted as a result.  Your confidence will grow, and you’ll feel loads better about  your physical appearance.  Trust me as one who has made this journey herself.

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Product Review: The Body Shop All-In-One BB Cream


All-In-One BB Cream by The Body Shop

All-In-One BB Cream by The Body Shop

Instead of regular foundation, I tend to gravitate toward products which perform at least a couple functions since this not only saves me time, but also money. One such product is The Body Shop’s All-In-One BB Cream, which doubles as my light-coverage foundation.

I apply this not with my fingertips, but rather with Urban Decay’s Optical Blurring Brush.

Urban Decay's Optical Blurring Brush

Urban Decay’s Optical Blurring Brush

This ensures that the product is applied evenly and streak-free, and also gets farther into my skin so I can fully enjoy the many benefits of the product.

I apply it after I’ve applied my makeup so I can blur out any errant makeup specs and smooth my undereye area since this product has wonderful moisturizing qualities which aren’t too heavy or greasy.  I have found that the small, fine lines which tend to appear after a couple hours with other foundations are greatly minimized after using this product.

I also like that this product offers me light coverage and simply evens out my complexion, rather than hiding it completely. It doesn’t cover up my freckles, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to cover up their beautiful freckles. Rather, it simply gives my skin a nice, all-over glow which lasts from when I apply first thing in the morning until I go to bed, usually around 10 or 11 o’clock at night.

If you have skin which is more on the ‘normal’ or ‘oily’ side, you may want to obtain a sample to test this before buying the full-size product. My skin is very dry, so this product absorbs easily into my skin and I don’t end up with any unwanted shininess even after a long day in stuffy office air. Oily or normal skin people may wish to follow up this product with a light dusting of powder.

When I know I’ll be in the sunlight for more than 20 minutes, I add a little sunscreen to the mix before picking it up with my Optical Blurring Brush and applying to my skin.

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5.

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Repost: Goddesses in our Midst

I wrote this post a couple years ago, and even though I have switched offices, much of what I wrote about in this post is still true to the present day.

Ladies, and Gentlemen, be kinder to yourselves – be true to yourselves and accept how beautifully unique each and everyone of you are just as you are.

Have a read, let me know what you think.  Thanks for stopping by.

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Me and my Calvin Kleins

Calvin Klein Tights

Calvin Klein Tights

As someone who does not fit the “normal”body type (and I’m not convinced there actually is such a thing), I sometimes find it difficult to find articles of clothing which are both flattering and fit as they should.

Without boring you with specific dimensions, I am not a svelte person but I am of more or less average height at 5-foot-7, but thanks to my multi-ethnic heritage, my legs could most politely be described as “sturdy.” As such, finding pantyhose and tights which fit over, let alone stay up over my legs and hips has been a costly exercise in “process of elimination.” Some pantyhose are long enough, but lack staying power and leave me continually trying to discreetly hoick them up throughout the day which can lead to runs and tears. Others which claim to be “one size” leave me wondering what the one size truly is and from what species they made their determination. Others which are big enough to fit over my legs and thighs seem to want to continue on upward to my neck so I basically end up with a full bodysuit.  Perhaps the idea is to simply tie a knot once the hose reach under my neck or, even better, over my head!

But, I am happy to report that I have found my saviour in Calvin Klein! I have purchased tights and pantyhose of this brand and the size chart is refreshingly accurate. I am thrilled to find an affordable supplier of hose and tights which also deliver performance which lasts throughout the day and into the night with supreme comfort and wearbility. I don’t experience any stretching or drooping/sagging, and they stand up well to multiple washings so you’re not spending nearly as much money since you’re not replacing them after only a couple of wears.

To my knowledge, these tights and pantyhose can be purchased at major department stores like Hudson’s Bay.

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

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