What I’m Loving Right Now

What I’m Loving Right Now

Music: I’m still loving Lana Del Rey – her latest album, Ultraviolence, has been on heavy repeat. But my summer love this year has got to be Bebel Gilberto, and her album Tanto Tempo has been my “weekend spent lying in the sun on the dock reading” soundtrack. I’m all about the Bossa Nova sound these days.

TV marathon: Well, Netflix has been a game changer, and allows me to watch a series in the best way – marathon! I still love HBO (riveted to Masters of Sex, disappointed by True Blood series finale) but Mr. Selfridge was so wonderful, I just adored it! I think it has something to do with the creation of my favourite floor of the department store – the ground floor! How the selling of beauty and perfume products in public, in sight of everyone, was a radical thing to those Edwardians. The set of the show was sumptuous, with Selfridge’s perfume department stocking the perfumes our mothers and grandmothers wore: Yardley, Guerlain, Floris, Caron, Penhaligon’s and more. After researching which ones were right for 1914, they approached the companies and were surprised to receive many valuable bottles from the perfume houses’ archives. The French house, Caron, lent large crystal and 24-karat gold urns. Customers used to bring their own perfume bottles and the undiluted perfume was decanted into them at the counter. Drool-worthy stuff for the perfume nerds of the world!

Can you even!

Can you even!

Food: Ah, the simple and delicious beauty of the chopped salad! If there is one thing I ate TONS of this summer, it was the chopped salad. Believe or not, Dole makes an amazing one and it is so easy to customize with more yummy stuff. Cheese, grilled meats, cold cuts, antipasto stuffs….the possibilities are endless. I was discussing the beauty of the chopped salad with friends last night (as they were raving over Dole’s Italian Chop) and we all agree- the finely chopped ingredients mean you get a perfect mouthful every time!


Fashion: The summer of the kimono! I just love them, and the boho touch they add to any outfit. A flowy chiffon kimono makes channeling your inner Stevie Nicks easy!

Distressed "boyfriend" jean shorts, silk cami top, & silky flowing kimono

Distressed “boyfriend” jean shorts, silk cami top, & silky flowing kimono

Skincare: I am a hand lotion junkie, and am NEVER without a tube of something lovely in my purse. I saw Hand Chemistry at the drugstore. A quick Google told me Hand Chemistry sold out when it was launched in the UK, and that women loved it so much they were using it on their faces. WHAT. For around $20, I was in. Hand Chemistry doesn’t advise using it on your face, it does admit its lotion was inspired by face creams. ‘As hands can age more dramatically than the face, we had to include higher concentrations of a selection of the most effective anti-ageing technologies to be able to produce a very visible difference within just a few days”. I love it! It smells soft and fresh, makes my hands feel beautiful, has no greasy residue, and I use it around my eyes if my skin feels dry when I’m out and about. They have a body product, too, but I haven’t seen it yet. As soon as I do, it’s mine!

hand chemistry intense-youth-complex


Makeup: I have two favourites in heavy rotation this summer! First, the silky soft and super pretty DDM Lip Gloss in St Tropez ($12.99). Feels great I love the soft natural look it gives my lips. Second, it’s Hourglass Gel Liner ($45 for a 3 pack) – this is serious HG material! I use it to tight-line my upper lashes and I swear this stuff does not budge until I remove it.

DDM Lip Gloss St Tropez Hourglass Gel Liner

DDM Lip Gloss – the wand lights up! So pretty.


Longest day ever & Hourglass Gel Liner has not budged. Crazy!

Perfume:  This summer I’ve been feeling the florals. I have a bottle of vintage Jean Patou Joy eau de parfum (my favourite concentration of this scent…) and just a little spritz of this gorgeous classic makes me feel dressed up, soapy clean and beautiful.

Vintage Joy ad - Eau de Joy became Joy Eau de Parfum

Soft Hands, Gorgeous Nails & Tame Cuticles Can Be Yours

Soft Hands, Gorgeous Nails & Tame Cuticles Can Be Yours

I have small hands, with small nails. More specifically, my “nail beds” are small. The nail bed is the area of skin under the nail, and if one has naturally long nail beds, their hands and nails look longer and elegant, even with short nails. Shorter nails are chic as well as practical, and don’t take quite as much work and maintenance as long nails. One doesn’t have to watch what they do or constantly worry about “breaking a nail”.

I’ve had acrylic nails, nail tips, gel nails etc etc. We all know by now what acrylic nails do to your nails bed – they us a flipping Dremmel on your nails to prepare them for the acrylic. This damages the nails, and, sometimes even fungus grows under them. Ew. Gel manis require regular visits to the salon. I prefer to do my own nails, switch the colour and wear my nails bare at times. So no gel nails for me.

How does one keep their nails short, chic and lovely without looking like stubby little baby nails? There are tricks – you can change the look of your nails without applying thick heavy chemicals or Dremmel-ing them into submission.

revlon nail enamel vintage ad red

Starting with clean nails, gently file your nails into the shape you like. I like the “squoval” shape, which is a square-ish or flat nail with slightly rounded corners. Although, the “almond” shaped nail is making a comeback these days, sort of a throwback to the glamorous nails of the 1970s. Or even the 1940s, frankly. I’m experimenting with a short version of a slightly oval shape. You will have to play around to find the shape you like, that looks best on your hands, and that doesn’t break or tear. One has to be careful when filing the edges of the nails, as too much in the wrong direction can weaken nails. Nail blogger Loodie Loodie Loodie takes an analytical approach to nail care – seriously, she is amazing – and here is a link to posts on nail shapes and what might be best for you. I recommend a glass file, as it appears to file the nail gently, with less tip damage than a rough emery board.

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover

The easiest way to make your nails look groomed and improve the look of your nail bed is to manage your cuticles. Do not cut them – I repeat – do not cut your cuticles. For some reason, cutting them makes them grow back and become harder and thicker. So I prefer the “remove and push back to make them the shape you want” method. All you need for this is Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and a cuticle pusher and/or orange stick. I like to apply the cuticle remover and let it work, while I file my nails. Then, using the orange stick, push my cuticles back gently. This helps to expose more of the nail bed, and over time, will make your nail bed larger, and then your nails look longer.

end of foam nail file pic

Then, using the most gentle buffer I can find, I gently buff the tips of my nails. This helps to smooth the edges that have been filed and seal the nail so there are no rough edges to catch on anything. Your nails may have some slightly rough bits along the cuticle – this is easily remedied by using the buffer. It can be an awkward spot to buff, so I use the soft side of a cushioned nail file to push back the cuticles again. The round edge is gentle to your cuticles, and gentle grade of file is just enough to buff out the rough parts.

essie apricot cuticle oil

Then, I wash my hands. I do this quickly, as bare nails absorb water quite easily. I like to scrub my nails, and I like to use a soft toothbrush. They have enough texture to get rid of the dead skin around the nails that the cuticle remover has softened, and clean under the nail. If you’d like to give your nails a treat, dry them well, and apply a nail oil. I love Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil. Apply it to your entire nail, the cuticles, and the areas all around and under the nail. Leave it for a bit, then rub in well. Apricot and jojoba oil have molecules that are small enough to penetrate the nail and nail bed so they offer true moisturizing properties. Use a rich hand cream and then you apply nail polish the next day. You can apply the cuticle oil around and under your nails after they are polished as well. You will notice a difference within a week – I guarantee it. Another amazing product is LUSH Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter.

You may want to prime the nail surface to be sure the polish adheres. I use a little acetone mixed with glycerin on a cotton pad. This is also what I use to remove my polish. It’s easy and inexpensive to make yourself, and has become my favourite nail polish remover. I put it in a refillable pump bottle because it simplifies my life.

pic frame OPI Anti Bleach Lucky Lucky Lavender

Even short nails can look elegant. Also, try my tricks on your toes!

Then, apply your fave polish. I do this routine every ten days to two weeks. Do you have a routine for doing your nails?

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Meditative Rose ~ Salvador Dali

Meditative Rose ~ Salvador Dali

I love all things rose, as my regular readers know, so was very happy to add some more gorgeous rose products to my collection. I also love oils – for my face, for my hair and for my body, so the fact that I have found a perfect combination of the two things I love so dearly. Both of these rose products are unique in that the scent is sweet, simple and slightly fruity. Most rose products in recent history have been slightly “dark” and are slightly heavier with woodsy notes like patchouli grounding them and adding depth. These are pretty enough but my taste has turned to lighter scents lately…

aftelier rose body oil hair elixir

Aftelier Perfumes is the award winning niche perfume house where founder Mandy Aftel makes and offers scented delights from perfume, to body, skin and hair oils, to chef’s essences (how amazing do those sound!). I love her award winning Honey Blossom (my review here) and consider it to be the most perfect and delicate honey scent I’ve ever tried. Mandy is a master of nuance and all things gentle, which is something I adore in my scents, so it’s really a match made in heaven. I recently got to try a sample of her Rose Body Oil & Hair Elixir  and it’s official – I’m in love. The scent is a soft sweet honeyed rose, and it brings to mind a fruity rose, almost like a rose jam. Wow. It smells so pretty and yummy I want to lick my arms. From Aftelier’s site, the base is “a nourishing non-greasy base of moisturizing jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil. This lightweight formula absorbs easily, immediately moisturizing, softening, and conditioning. Damp hair is the most vulnerable to frizz: our oil won’t weigh hair down and seals the cuticle to prevents moisture from creating frizz.” I can attest to all of things, and add “it makes your hair smell like heaven.” The oil/elixir has a lovely silky texture, but is not a “dry oil”. Instead, it just leaves behind a soft glow, with an equally soft scent. If you wanted a rose scent that is light and perfect for office wear, you could just use this oil. I need more Rose Body Oil & Hair Elixir, because I can get used to hair and skin that smells like sweet honeyed roses. A large 105ml bottle is $60.

Body Shop wild-rose-hand-cream

The perfect addition to my hand cream collection is the latest offering from The Body Shop, their Wild Rose Hand Cream. It is a much lighter texture than their famous Hemp Hand Cream, which is very thick and rich, as well as heavily scented. The Wild Rose Hand Cream has almost a whipped texture and is immediately absorbed into the skin. This makes it easy to use on the run, as you aren’t all greased up while you wait for your hand cream to soak in, and you’re left with soft skin that is softly scented with a sweet simple rose scent. It has rosehip oil, which helps even out skin tone. This is a real winner for The Body Shop, and I would love to see a full line of body products with this scent! I have the large tube, which is around $20 if it isn’t on sale.

Daly Skincare Love: Eucerin Lip & Hand Care Must-Haves

Daly Skincare Love: Eucerin Lip & Hand Care Must-Haves

Suzy Chapstick never has chapped lips

As you know, dear readers, I am always looking out for you and looking for ways to keep your skin soft and moisturized. Lips, too, need special care, what with all the mistletoe action at this time of year (note: keep Tic Tacs in purse). Eucerin, long known and loved for its cult moisturiser, Aquaphor, the petrolatum based miracle worker. If you have severely chapped or dry skin, you need Aquaphor. But back to our everyday needs and Eucerin.

Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm is amazing when you need a little more than just a moisturizing product. This repairs and nourishes beautifully with glycerin, shea butter, evening primrose oil, panthenol and lactic acid in a petrolatum base. Before you freak out about petrolatum, remember that it is the main ingredient in Kiehls Lip Balm, (and Carmex, Blistex etc etc) one of the best lip balms on the market. Why? Because nothing holds moisture in better. Ok back to Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm – I love the addition of lactic acid. It is terrific for dry flaky lips for two reasons: the lactic acid molecule works to pull moisture into the cells of our skin, and exfoliates surface cells which helps to perfect the skin’s surface and restore a natural glow, as well as improve absorption of topical treatments. The Eucerin Lip Balm is pretty much fragrance and taste free as well, which is a plus for me. I can smell Carmex lip balm from across the room, let alone on my own lips. Verdict? Love. For around $5 you can’t do better than this.

Eucerin Repair Hand Creme with 5% Urea is meant for intense help with dry, cracked hands, and even for eczema. It feels like silk going on, soaks in beautifully while leaving your hands amazingly soft and smooth. It feels so good and rich you feel like your hands would be greasy and sticky after applying it, but that’s not the case at all. I like to rub it in around my cuticles and fingernails as they seem to suffer the most at this time of year. It is fragrance free which is important in my hand creams. I like my perfume in my perfume and a strong hand cream can take away from that. Eucerin Repair Hand Creme promises improved skin condition over time, so I will watch to see how that pans out. So far I have been using it at bedtime and after having my hands in hot water and am very happy with the way it works. No dry cracked skin on the backs of my hands means it’s working. Verdict? Love. A 75 ml tube is around $10, and a little goes a long way.

Eucerin products are available at drugstores and Walmart.

Summer Must-Have: Clinique Even Better Hand Cream SPF 15


Summer is the best time of the year, as far as I’m concerned. I spend as much time outside as I possibly can, drive with the top down when it’s not raining (so, like all summer so far….) and love to spend time in and on the water. Obviously, sunscreen is an important part of my skincare regime. I always put sunscreen on my hands, but honestly find most too thick, too greasy or too sticky to be comfortable. Especially when driving.
Clinique Even Better SPF 15 is the perfect solution to the sunscreen on the hands dilemma. It has the tone correcting benefits of Vitamin C that is in their Even Better line, which means it will help reduce the appearance of spots and sun damage. It also has SPF to help prevent future discolouration. Some salicylic acid helps exfoliate dead skin cells keeping a smooth and even appearance. Hyaluronic acid helps retain moisture, and broad spectrum UVA and UVB sunscreen protection prevent the future formation of age spots.
It has a lovely rich texture that sinks right in, and a very soft fragrance. I’d call it beachy citrus, if I had to categorize it, but again, it is very soft. It is thick, but seems to melt upon application, while leaving softly moisturized skin behind. It isn’t greasy at all, and adds a lovely glow to the skin. I’ve also noticed my cuticles seem to the love it. Clinique Even Better Hand Cream lasts for hours and allegedly through 2 hand washings! I have not put it to that test yet, but it does very well through one hand washing! And, watering the garden. Knowing that most people can accurately tell a person’s age by viewing only their hands, I plan on looking after mine!

Clinique Even Better Hand Cream is available for around $35 at Clinique counters.

Rodial Glam Balm Hand Could Make Me A Hand Model

I think I am in love with a hand cream. Rodial products have been causing quite a stir in the beauty world and the Glam Balm line had me quite intrigued. The Glam Balm Hand is so amazing it really blew my  mind. There are plenty of lotions and creams out there that protect the skin but I really wanted something that would heal and help reduce the signs of sun damage and all that dishwashing that makes my hands look so much older than I am. Really. 

I could feel the difference immediately with Glam Balm Hand- it actually sinks right in and there is a visible improvement in the appearance of your skin right away. With a week of regular use, everything is improved. It is chock full of good stuff like vitamin E & shea butter to moisturize, olive leaf oil and vitamin C to brighten, and pomegranate to help thicken the skin. Dark spots are lighter, dry and rough cuticles are gone, and those nasty lines and creases are definitely reduced. Oh..did I mention that it smells like the beach? Glam Balm Hand has a very soft coconut/tiare scent that gently fades over time and is not strong enough to compete with my perfume. Smells clean and comforting and makes putting on hand cream like a mini holiday.
Yes- my hands look younger. Combined with my recent rosewater therapy, I think a future in hand modelling is not far fetched….
In Canada, Glam Balm is available for $39 at The Bay and Murale. In the US, you can check locations here on the Rodial Website. Next up? I am SO trying the Glam Balm Lip…