August Beauty Picks


This summer my beauty routine has centered almost entirely around my complexion. Vancouver has been going through a major heat wave for the last few weeks. That combined with pollutants and toxins from forest fires have left my skin dry and irritated skin very prone to breakouts. Luckily, I have come across a handful of products that have kept my face free of congestion and glowy. From a deep cleansing mask that makes me look like an extra from Avatar, to the prettiest lip gloss I have worn since the eighth grade, here are my five favorite beauty finds this month.

1 // LUSH – Don’t Look At Me Fresh Face Mask

Behold, the delightfully scrubby antidote to oily, sunparched summer skin. Loaded with cleansing lemon juice, brightening neroli and exfoliating ground rice, this bright turquoise mask will make you look like a smurf when you first put it on, but after ten minutes you will be left with matte, baby soft skin that is as clear as the summer sky (not to be overly poetic). Plus, it smells like a lemon tart which is always a bonus.

2 // Organik Botanik – Brown Sugar Face Scrub

If you love DIYing your own beauty products, then prepare to fall in love with this sweet smelling scrub. Organic Botanik is an Australian brand that champions all natural ingredients and simple formulas that are effective and earth-friendly. This scrub is made primarily with, you guessed it, brown sugar, and polishes away blockages and dead cells for a complexion that is hydrated and glowing. You’ll be forgoing your tinted moisturizer after one use, because who needs makeup with a face this fresh?

3 // Benefit Cosmetics – The Porefessional Face Primer

I rarely use foundation, primer, or any other skin of face makeup, other than a touch of concealer and bronzer. Although this silky potion is technically a primer, I like to wear it and nothing else on my face. It glides on like whipped air and blurs everything from pores to imperfections. Seriously, my complexion looks like that of a China doll when I use this (which is quite frequently). It doesn’t provide a lot of coverage, but is great for hot, humid days when the last thing you want to do is layer on foundation.

4 // Urban Decay – Naked Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in Streak

Let’s face it – Urban Decay can do no wrong. Although I am normally a lipstick kind of gal, this punchy coral gloss is too fun to resist. I love it because it deeply hydrates my chapped lips like a balm while providing a sexy, I-just-licked-my-lips sheen. This colour is also gorgeous – not too orange and not too pink. It absolutely pops against a (obviously faux – no skin damage here) tan.

5 // Hikari Cosmetics – Shimmer Bronzer in Flush

If you’re anything like me and have a naturally pasty complexion that you drench  in SPF from May through September, than an authentic sun-kissed glow is kind of a far-fetched fantasy. Enter, bronzer. This multitasking compact can be swept across your forehead, cheeks and nose for an all over glow, or used to contour and sculpt your face for a more polished look. I also love the hint of shimmer it gives. It’s not so much sparkle that I look like a disco queen, but is just enough to give my face a lit from within glow.

What are your favorite summer beauty products? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Beauty Of The Vine

I’ll be perfectly honest – there are very few things I love more than wine. I adore wine. Unwinding after work with a glass full of pinot grigio or merlot is pretty much the highlight of my day. Aside from it’s delicious taste and ability to help us relax, wine is also packed full of antioxidants and other skin-beautifying properties. Everyone knows that a glass of red wine a day is good for your health, but who knew that it could do wonders for your skin as well? From diminishing the signs of aging to deeply hydrating and evening out one’s skin tone, there’s very little that this magical elixir can’t do beauty-wise. Now, I’m not suggesting that we all go home and start chugging cabernet sauvignon by the bottle (that will only leave you looking ruddy and bloated), but these six wine-infused products pack all of the beneficial vitamins and antioxidants as our favorite beverage, but with none of the calories or, ahem, other side effects. So here’s to having more vino in our lives, in our glasses and on our faces. Bottom’s up.

WINE BEAUTY PICKS

wine-infused-beauty-products

1 // Vine Vera Resveratrol Skin Care – Merlot Collection Moisture Day Cream

Drawing skin-perfecting power from wine’s magic component – resveratrol – this splurge-worthy moisturizing cream deeply hydrates and evens out one’s skin tone. If you’re looking for a powerful anti aging cream that will even out discolouration, this is your best bet.

2 // DeAge – Red Wine Essence

Anything that claims to be the essence of wine has instantly captured my attention. Just a drop or two will penetrate deeply into the layers of your skin, improving tone, texture and elasticity. It also feels super luxurious and absorbs instantly!

3 // TONYMOLY – Pore Care Red Wine Sheet Face Mask

What could be more indulgent than sipping a glass of wine while donning a face mask? Well, this wine-fused sheet mask is here to answer that question. With antioxidant rich jasmine juice and resveratrols from red wine, this inexpensive mask works better than a ton of masks from luxury brands!

4 // Arcona – Wine Oil (Repair AM/PM)

Nothing quenches thirsty skin better than a facial oil, especially if it’s loaded with ultra-nourishing grape seed oil and extract. This lightweight oil is like food for your face with all of the proteins, carbohydrates, fats and polyphenols your skin needs to be healthy and radiant! It’s a splurge, but it’s worth every penny.

5 // Labiotte – Chateau Wine Lip Balm

Your lips will love the silky texture of this balm – not to mention the just-bitten berry hue! This moisturizing formula is enriched with hydrating grape seed oil and Chateau Margaux wine extract, which acts as a natural chemical exfoliant. If satin-smooth, lush lips are your beauty MO (and really, why wouldn’t they be), then this luxe balm is an instant add-to-cart!

6 // Holika Holika – Wine Therapy Sleeping Masks (White & Red Wine)

Whether you’re more of a red or white wine kind of gal, there’s a sleeping mask for you! First, the wine barrel-inspired packaging is adorable. Second, these masks smell delicious. Third, they actually do what they are supposed to. If you’re looking to reduce fine lines and discolouration, slather on a bit of the red mask. Is hydration your concern? A little bit of the white mask will do the trick in no time. If you’re feeling saucy, double dip both masks to address both issues at the same time!

Have you tried any wine skincare products? What were your thoughts on the results? Let me know what you think!

xoxo,

Alicia

Scent Sunday | Forbidden Euphoria by Calvin Klein


NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Forbidden Euphoria by Calvin Klein

NOTES | Raspberry, Tangerine, Peach Blossom, Tiger Orchid, Pink Peony, Jasmine,  Musk, Cashmere Wood, Patchouli

VIBE | Sultry, Decadent, Sexy, Flirty, Feminine, Playful, Sparkly, Energetic

So, this week has been crazy and I hate that I haven’t been able to blog as much as I usually do and would like to. Normally I like to do my fragrance reviews on Friday (Fragrance Friday – catchy right?), but I don’t want to wait until next week because I LOVE this scent. So without further ado, let’s chat about Forbidden Euphoria – AKA the best perfume ever released by Calvin Klein.

Most perfumes that are marketed as being ‘sexy’ are anything but sexy in my opinion. I’m not about musky, spice-laden scents but this fruity, patchouli-laced juice has an effortless sexiness that is lighthearted and fun. Released in 2011, Forbidden Euphoria was created to be the more playful, youthful counterpart to the original floriental, Euphoria. Truthfully, it smells nothing like the original. If Euphoria is the chic LBD you wear to work and to your boyfriend’s sister’s wedding, then Forbidden Euphoria is the sequinned romper you wear out to the club on a Friday night. It’s not what I would call classy or elegant, but it’s totally gorgeous and fun. If you’re on the lookout for a fruity evening scent for summer, then read on, because this fruitchouli is a gem.

Encased in a translucent violet bottle, Forbidden Euphoria opens with juicy notes of tangerine juice, iced raspberry, and velvety peach blossom. The first spritz is bright and effervescent and sparkles for about an hour before the florals in the heart eventually begin to bloom. The fruits in the top don’t exactly smell natural, but they don’t smell so synthetic that the perfume smells fake or like chemicals. The raspberry and tangerine stand out the most, and they smell candied, laced with a dusting of sugar. It’s a little syrupy at first (this is not a formal or office-appropriate scent) but as the florals in the heart become more prominent, it really starts to soften.

I love when orchid is in a scent, and Tiger Lily orchid is the main accord in the heart. Creamy jasmine and translucent peony don’t particularly stand out, but they do compliment the orchid and help to water down the sugary fruits in the top. The florals in the heart add to the feminine sexiness of the scent, and smooth out all of the notes. At this point, Forbidden Euphoria is still fruity, but softer and with a floral creaminess thanks to the orchid.

After around five hours, the fruits dissipate, the florals fade away, and the musky, woody notes of the base come front and centre. Musk, cashmere wood, and patchouli conclude the scent with earthiness and a hint of spice. Not everyone likes patchouli – it’s kind of a love it or hate it kind of note. It’s dark and has a unique aroma that has been compared to everything from soil and mold to coffee and chocolate. I personally love patchouli but even if you’re not a fan, it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t dominate or overtake the other ingredients in the base. The cashmere and wood is soft and velvety, and the musk adds to the sensual vibe of the fragrance. I love putting Forbidden Euphoria on in the evening because the smell of the base on my skin is just utterly sexy and I love waking up smelling like this. The musk and wood also deepens the top and heart of the scent, making it last for ages. If you’re looking for a nighttime scent that would keep up with you no matter what crazy shenanigans you get up to, this is an amazing choice.

As I mentioned before, I would not wear Forbidden Euphoria to formal occasions or to work. It’s quite strong and fruity, and it better suited for evening and for nights out dancing or clubbing. It’s also a good date-night scent because of how sultry it is. If you’re hunting for a nighttime perfume or adore fruity fragrances, then this is totally your jam and you should give it a try.

What’s your favorite Calvin Klein perfume? Have you tried Forbidden Euphoria? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Fragrance Friday | Island Fantasy by Britney Spears 

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Island Fantasy by Britney Spears (for Elizabeth Arden)

NOTES | Citruses, Mandarin, Clementine, Red Berries, Watermelon, Jasmine, Violet, Freesia, Musk, Sugar Cane

VIBE | Tropical, Summery, Flirty, Playful, Bright, Refreshing, Youthful

Tropical summer perfumes always have the same vibe. Whether it’s yet another Escada beach blend or an island-inspired Glow from Jennifer Lopez (seriously, Miami and Sunkissed Glow are pretty much identical), they all smell the same, with heavy doses of pineapple, passion fruit, and coconut. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy these tropical scents, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Island Fantasy by Britney Spears (a beachy flanker of her original, and most popular, scent Fantasy) was completely unique in its interpretation of what a summer fragrance should be. Released in 2013, Island Fantasy was composed to capture the breezy feeling of relaxing on a remote island, with the scent of tropical florals and fruits in the air. Before I begin describing Island Fantasy, I have to say that this perfume is unlike any of her other Fantasy confections. It is not a gourmand and you will find no traces of vanilla, caramel, or any other foodie ingredients. Instead, it is refreshing and uplifting, like kicking back with an ice cold mojito while you indulge in trashy beach reads and soak up the summer sun.

Island Fantasy opens with a sweet yet clean opening of citrus fruits, clementine, red berries and watermelon. The watermelon is what gives the whole fragrance its character and it really dominates the entire experience. When I first put it on it smells tropical but in a watery, refreshing way. It doesn’t smell like a piña colada, but it reminds me of the feeling you get when you plunge head first into the ocean. It’s refreshing and fruity, but it’s also a little bit green. I always feel like I can smell cucumber in the top, but I think it’s the combination of sweet watermelon and the zesty citrus fruits. The red berries are not distinct and I can’t pick them out in the fragrance. They just enhance the fruitiness of the top without taking over like berry notes so often do. I adore the opening of this scent because while it definitely gives off a summer vacation vibe, it’s pared down and refreshing. It’s a fragrance that you can wear in the spring and summer without smelling like a sticky, fruity cocktail.

As the top notes transcend into the heart, the promised beachy florals begin to bloom. Jasmine, violet, and freesia soften the fruity notes, without being overly strong or opulent. Jasmine is one of my least favorite flowers in perfume (I just feel like it’s overdone. It’s in everything.) but it’s very subtle in Island Fantasy. It just adds a soft floral touch that reminds me of sunblock and works well with the other beachy notes. Violet is one of my favorite flowers of all time, but it isn’t strong in this scent. It’s barely detectable and, when combined with the fruity/floral fragrance of freesia, just adds a sweet and powdery backdrop to the more prominent fruity notes. I think the flowers in the heart are perfect, because they compliment the fruity notes of the top without taking over and transforming the perfume into a floral scent.

Finally, as the perfume dries down, all you’re left with is a delicate shimmer of musk and sugar cane. The base is unremarkable and all you will smell on your skin is a bit of sweetness. I hardly even smell the musk. It’s pretty and suits the sheer, almost translucent fragrance, but it isn’t my favorite part of Island Fantasy because, well, it’s a bit dull. It also doesn’t do much to increase the longevity of the scent. While I absolutely love the top and heart of this fragrance, I do wish it lasted longer and projected farther. This is a very light, eau de toilette and it only lasts a couple of hours at best. That being said, it’s quite inexpensive (I snagged a bottle for under $20) so I don’t mind reapplying it throughout the day. It’s very light and doesn’t project very far – others will only be able to smell it on you if they are standing close to you or hugging you. To some this may be considered a plus, but I like my perfumes to be just a touch stronger. I don’t want to walk into a room with a perfume cloud but I also don’t want to have to put my nose to my skin to smell my fragrance. With all that being said, I do enjoy Island Fantasy and it’s my favorite tropical scent right now, among designer and celebrity offerings. It’s a great casual or beach day scent. It’s also a good one to wear to the office just because of how subtle and light it is. If you love Britney scents and/or are sick to death of all the atypical tropical pineapple and coconut fragrances out there, than you need to spritz on a bit of Island Fantasy. Those who love clean citruses and watermelon scents with fall head over heels for this fragrance. I know I did!

What’s your favorite tropical perfume? Have you tried Island Fantasy yet? Let me know your thoughts and let’s talk perfume in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

xoxo,

Alicia

Five Hair Masks That Work Like A Charm

Even if you weren’t cursed, I mean blessed, with super dry curly hair like me, everyone can benefit from introducing a hair mask into their beauty routine. Especially in the summer when chlorine, saltwater and UV rays wreak havoc on your hair. There are tons of masks out there for all different hair types and needs. These four are my favorites and I can promise you, you actually will notice a difference after using them. Say bye to split-ends and hello to silky bunny hair.


1 // Christophe Robin – Regenerating Hair Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil

Okay, I’ll be honest – what first attracted me to this line of hair products was the name. My boyfriend’s name is Chris but I always call him Christopher Robin (like the annoying girlfriend I am) and so my initial reason for trying this mask was pure novelty. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this deeply hydrating, deliciously scented mask left my parched, curly hair soft and shiny after just one use. Enriched with pure prickly pear seed oil, this rich formula quenches dry, frizzy strands and leaves it smelling lovely.

2 // Living Proof – Restore Mask Treatment

Even though I haven’t dyed my hair in six months, the bleach from my balayage has still left my hair more dry and brittle than it had ever been before. This rejuvenating mask is filled with hair nourishing butters and a unique OFPMA molecule which replenishes moisture levels in the hair and repairs damage. It is very rich so I don’t use it all the time, but when I want hydration like nothing else, this is my go-to.

3 // Amika – Nourishing Hair Mask

This yummy smelling mask is like an antioxidant-packed power smoothie for your hair. It’s chock full of brightening vitamin C, thanks to its main ingredient – Sea Buckthorn. Softening jojoba oil thoroughly  moisturizers strands, smoothing frizz and making your mane super shiny.

4 // Briogeo – Repair Deep Conditioning Mask

I received a sample of this mask in an Ipsy bag a while ago and I instantly fell in love. It has a really light, almost gel-like consistency but does wonders for damaged, brittle hair. A lot of the same nutrients your body requires to be healthy, your hair needs too! Give your tresses a huge dose of B vitamins, biotin, algae and vitamin C with this do-it-all hair holy grail.
5 // Garnier – Whole Blends Honey Treasures Repairing Mask
Although I don’t love the packaging of Garnier’s new ‘Whole Blends’ hair care line, I adore the products that I have tried so far, in particular this creamy, sweet as dessert hair mask. It’s packed full on honey, as well as one of my favorite super foods, royal jelly. I also love how low maintenance this is. Simply smooth is onto your hair after shampooing, wait a few minutes, and then rinse it out. Boom – effortless mermaid hair in a blink of an eye.

Have you tried any of these? What are your favorite masks? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Scent Saturday | Linde Berlin by Frau Tonis


NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Linde Berlin by Frau Tonis

NOTES | Lime Blossom, Lime Tree Leaves, Honey

VIBE | Innocent, Airy, Refined, Delicate, Feminine

One of my favorite things about perfume is the way that it can transport me to a certain time or place. For example, the smell of Acqua Di Gio for Men by Armani instantly reminds me of when my boyfriend and I first started dating – I got into his car on our first date, he gave me a hug and I knew pretty instantly that I liked him. I still remember those first feelings when I smell his fresh, aquatic scent. When I smell Linde Berlin, it takes me back to our trip to Germany last year and the unique sights smells, and energy of the city. Berlin is filled with lime trees and linden blossoms – the main notes of this delicate floral perfume – and when I put it on I feel like I’m back in that beautiful city, strolling past historic and modern buildings, and taking in the stunning sights. It’s not a perfume that I wear everyday because it’s special to me and I want to savour every drop. It is a beautiful perfume though, and has a delicate floral aroma that is airy and pleasing.

Most fragrances evolve quite a bit from the top to the base, but Linde Berlin stays pretty much the same throughout the entire experience. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it is lovely. Lime tree leaves, lime blossoms and honey are the only three notes that compose the fragrance and they compliment eachother beautifully, resulting in a scent that is lightly floral with a tough of sweetness and dewy greenery. Lime blossoms (or linden blossoms as they are also frequently called) have a very soft aroma, and it’s rare that they are the main florals in a perfume. When they are mixed among a bouquet of other flowers, they tend to get pushed aside by stronger flowers like jasmine or rose. Lime blossoms take centre stage in Linde Berlin, and their slightly fruity scent is finally allowed to shine. The herbaceous smell of honey enhances the sweetness of the flowers and balances out the green lime tree leaves. Linde Berlin reminds me of a sunny Berlin morning, taking a stroll through a dewy garden.

This is not a show stopping or particularly sexy or flirty scent. It is feminine but with an innocence about it that makes it feel more casual. I wouldn’t wear this on a night out but it’s perfect as an everyday fragrance. It’s super light and inoffensive which makes it ideal for the office, a wedding, or anytime that you want to feel elegant and understated. It’s not a head turner, but it is a lovely floral confection that is timeless and refined. It’s one of my favorite floral fragrances and it will always be special to me because of its sentimental value. Like a white eyelet lace dress or soft angora cardigan, Linde Berlin is a ladylike classic that is always beautiful, no matter what the occasion is.

What’s your favorite floral fragrance? Have you tried any other perfumes from Frau Tonis? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Fragrance Friday | Cristalle eau Verte by Chanel

chanel-Cristalle-eau-Verte

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Cristalle eau Verte by Chanel

NOTES | Bergamot, Sicilian Lemon, Neroli, Magnolia, Musk, Iris, Jasmine

VIBE | Sparkling, Fresh, Refined, Unisex, Crisp, Clean, Green

On a boiling hot summer day, the last thing you want to wear is a sticky-sweet or spicy oriental perfume. No, on days where the thermometer reads 30+ degrees Celsius, refreshing, clean smelling fragrances are all that will do. Case in point – Cristalle eau Verte by Chanel.

Released in April of 2009, Cristalle eau Verte is the modern, more minimalist successor of the iconic Cristalle perfume that was released in 1974. I feel there are two camps when it comes to feelings about this flanker. Some people (like myself) adore it and think that it’s a much cleaner, fresher take on the mossy original (which has been compared to swamp water by some). Others are die-hard fans of the original and loathe Cristalle eau Verte because admittedly, it doesn’t really smell like it’s parent perfume. While Cristalle is also green with white florals and citruses, it also has a heavy dose of oak moss that is not to everyone’s liking. Cristalle eau Verte forgoes the moss in favour of extra Sicilian lemon and airy florals like neroli and magnolia. I like both but I have to say, eau Verte ultimately gets my vote for the best out of the two. Now, that I’ve made my stance on this love it or hate it scent, let me tell you what it actually smells like.

The top notes of Cristalle eau Verte are pure citrus – the Sicilian lemon that we talked about and green bergamot. These are the two notes that give the scent the most of its ‘green’ character. At first spritz it smells almost sharp and astringent, like a cleaning product because of all of the zesty lemon. Never fear however, as the harshness of the opening softens in seconds and the impression that remains is sweet lemon with fresh green leaves. It’s pleasant and clean with a unisex vibe that I find very appealing. It’s modern and minimalistic with a simplicity in the top that is rare for Chanel perfumes. Even though this is a quote-on-quote women’s perfume, I think it has a bit of a masculine edge that would make it fitting for a guy as well (but hey, I believe in wearing whatever fragrance you like. If you’re a guy and are into florals or gourmands – you do you!).

As the sparkling top notes fade into the heart, the soft white bouquet of magnolia, neroli and jasmine come out. Neroli is one of my favorite flowers but it is very light, and like with most perfumes, it’s barely a whisper in this scent. The magnolia is the most prominent in the heart with just a kiss of jasmine to back it up. Even though the heart is more floral, the greenness of the top never goes away, so the scent still feels clean and modern, from the start of the fragrance until the end.

I love when fragrances have unusual bases – are any of you also sick of the cookie-cutter combination of sandalwood, musk, and vanilla? Cristalle eau Verte has musk, yes, but it also has iris which lends a powdery, almost sweet aroma to the scent. Sure, it’s not groundbreaking, but the iris does give it a vintage vibe that is a lot more unique than a lot of other offerings out there, and it blends perfectly with the other components of the composition. Basically, when all is said in done, all that’s left on your skin is a bit of musk, powder, and a hint of green leafiness. The perfume lasts about five hours and I can honestly say that I enjoy it from start to finish as it evolves.

Cristalle eau Verte is a very classy, fresh scent but it’s very versatile. It’s very simple yet interesting. It doesn’t try too hard to be avante garde or bold. It’s the crisp white blazer of your perfume wardrobe. It looks and feels great on, whether you’re at the office, or out for a five-course meal. As always with Chanel, this scent costs a pretty penny but is an elegant classic that you can wear day after day, and year after year without ever getting tired of it. If you love green, fresh fragrances or citruses, then you need to give this gorgeous perfume a try.

What are your favorite scents? Do you have a favorite Chanel (mine are Chanel Chance eau Fraîche and this one)? Give me a shout in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia