Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Packing & Luggage | HEYS Portal SmartLuggage

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I love to travel (I mean, really... don’t we all?). 

Traveling is one of my favourite things to do, but packing is not. Fortunately, luggage has come a long way and there are new small but intuitive changes that make packing that much easier for me.

I have a couple big trips planned (and we’re also approaching a busy travel season), so I thought I’d take you along on my packing journey and have a little chat on luggage.

Picking new luggage can be a tough decision, but making the choice depends on what you need & your preference. Here’s what I look at when shopping for new luggage:

1. The Material — this is probably the most obvious when you’re choosing between luggage sets. Your choices are typically between nylon, polyester, or polycarbonate. Choosing between the three is essentially choosing between durability (and also aesthetics).  I have always gravitated towards polycarbonate because the hard sides do a great job of protecting my stuff. Plus, they’re often really lightweight and look pretty sleek.

2. The Size — bigger isn’t always better when it comes to choosing a size. Be wary of 30” suitcases! Sure you can fit three extra pair of shoes and two extra outfits in there, but it also adds to the weight. The heavier the suitcase, the more likely you are to pay extra for it. Plus—traveling can sometimes be tiring enough without having to lug around a cumbersome suitcase.

3. The Wheels — you haven’t traveled until you have traveled with four-wheeled luggage. Having the ability to easily glide luggage beside you rather than pulling it behind you is a simple yet effective luxury. Standing at long customs lines has never been so hassle-free. Plus, if you are in a situation where two-wheeled luggage is a benefit (i.e. Parisian cobbled streets) then you still have that option.



Enter the HEYS Portal SmartLuggage*. Readers beware: I am biased because I’ve always loved traveling with HEYS products (by the way, did you know they’re a Canadian company—founded right out of Toronto?).

This HEYS Portal SmartLuggage ticks all the boxes of my luggage criteria:


  • It’s a hard-sided luggage (durable, lightweight, and in a great colour that's easy to spot in the luggage carousel)
  • It comes in a check-in size of 26” (and also a 30" size for the brave)
  • It sits on four wheels that spin at 360 degrees

  
My favourite thing about this luggage set: compartmentalized packing. Unlike traditional luggage sets that only allow you middle access to the luggage, this Portal SmartLuggage gives you front access, too. Seems simple enough, but this design makes packing and accessing your stuff much easier.

Let's start with how I pack my check-in...

This is the Portal 26" SmartLuggage. It's large enough to fit everything I need for a three week holiday but small enough to be carried around easily. Clothes, shoes, and laptop cord take up the bottom half of the space...



While my extra purse, extra pair of shoes, undergarments, toiletries and luggage scale take up the top half of space. I love the mesh pockets in the divider... it allows you to store items to prevent them from getting tangled with the rest of your stuff. The entire divider is also removeable, which allows you to access the very back (or the bottom) of the luggage using the front access system.


I always travel with my HEYS Packing Cubes. I've used them for years. They're a great way to organize your stuff and they also save you a bit of space. My favourite thing about them is that they can go straight from your luggage to a counter or a drawer. You don't have to go through the hassle of unpacking your clothes, you can just keep your stuff in the packing cubes for easy access.



I reserve my carry-on luggage for things like my makeup case, leather jacket (not for the flight but for when I get out of the airport), headphones (loving these ones from Frends) and external camera microphone...


The Portal 21" SmartLuggage displays the front access system at its best. In the front, I keep my camera, extra lenses, chargers for my phone and laptop, a sweater in case it gets chilly on the plane, and my laptop...


Buckling the two front clips on the side allows much easier access when the luggage is in the upright position. You don't have to worry about your things flopping out.



The front access also houses a padded laptop sleeve that fits my 13" MacBook comfortably (it's actually sized to hold up to a 15" laptop). What I love about the front access is that you don't need to lay the luggage flat in order to get something out. If you put the items you're likely to need during your flight in the front, you can always them access easily.



Other Cool Features


Each piece in this set comes with a built in three-digit combination TSA lock...


They also come with a 3-dial combination lock for the front access zipper. I love that it's a combination lock because I always worry about loosing keys to travel locks. Plus the TSA feature allows Security to easily unlock, inspect, and re-lock your luggage easily. It's disconcerting to think of someone going through your stuff without knowing but at least you don't have to worry about your lock being broken or cut.




On to the giveaway...

HEYS was nice enough to give away a Portal 21" SmartLuggage in your colour of choice (conditional on what's available at the time) to one of you. This giveaway is open to Canadian / US Residents only. 

Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below...


Good luck if you're entering!

The HEYS Portal SmartLuggge comes in a three piece set. You can check them out on shop.heys.ca or heysamerica.com.




(*) This post contains products sent to Stylish & Literate for consideration. Read disclosure here.

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Friday, September 05, 2014

GODIVA | A Chocolate Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration

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A limited edition chocolate box? How can you say no? 

GODIVA is celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with a limited edition box of deliciously themed chocolates. This concept was initially launched in Asia about seven years ago & it was such a hit, GODIVA brought it to North America.

This year's mooncake collection combines new tea and fruit flavours with my first love—chocolate. The latter is smooth and creamy, while the fillings are rich and flavourful. If you love mooncakes and chocolate as much as I do, you'll love this!

The box contains nine chocolates. In addition to the large dark chocolate centerpiece filled with crunchy grapefruit mousse and a black-tea infused chocolate ganache, the collection also includes three additional mooncake flavors: 



1.

Milk chocolate filled with goji berry mousse, macadamia cream and cocoa nibs, and topped with a black tea-infused chocolate ganache.


2.

White chocolate filled with mango apricot mousse blended with Brazilian hazelnut pieces, and topped with a green tea-infused chocolate ganache.



3. 

Dark chocolate filled with ginger-spiced mandarin orange mousse topped with a black tea-infused dark chocolate ganache.


My personal favourite is a tie between the milk chocolate and the white chocolate. The mango / green tea combination of the white chocolate was delicious but at the same time, the goji berry mousse in the milk chocolate was heavenly.

If you want to give these sumptuous treats a try or gift them, it will set you back $50. You can pick up a GODIVA chocolate mooncake box right now in GODIVA boutiques nationwide (if you're in Canada, click here to find out where your closest boutique is).  The individual mooncakes retail for $6.50/ea and are available exclusively in GODIVA boutiques. The collection is available for a limited time (only until September 8, 2014), so, go, go, go before they're gone!

Ps, there are two chocolate mooncakes—Grapefruit Black Tea Crunch and Lychee Green Tea Crunch—that are available individually exclusively in GODIVA boutiques.

I don't know about you, but a GODIVA visit is definitely in my foreseeable future.





(*) This post contains products sent to Stylish & Literate for consideration. Read disclosure here.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Sun Stuff | L'Oreal Sublime Sun

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Summer is coming to a wrap and while it probably wasn’t the hot, sunny and rain-free season that we were hoping for, we still had to protect our skin from those UV rays! Here are some sun protectors I’ve been loving this summer:






L’Oreal Sun Oil SPF 30



Unlike tanning oils, this is a non-greasy, lightweight dry oil spray that will not only nourish your skin but protect it from UV rays. Plus, spritz this on your legs if you want an effortless glow! I am now on my second bottle of this… though I did opt for the SPF 50 this time.




L’Oreal Silky Sheer BB


I hate face sunscreens that feel sticky or leave white streaks on my skin… luckily, this does not do that. I love that this sunscreen has a bit of a tint to it (though not nearly enough as to provide any sort of coverage). I tried by first tinted sunscreen last summer (the TiZO Facial Mineral Sunscreen) and I think they’re the bomb dot com. They act like a lightweight tinted moisturizer to give your skin a glow, but more importantly, protects your skin from harmful rays.










L’Oreal Silky Sheer Mousse SPF 30


No, this is not for your hair. Yes, it is a foam sunscreen for your body. What will they think of next? Though it may seem gimmicky and while I use up way more of this than I probably need to because I just can’t grasp the foam-to-sunscreen ratio, I love this stuff! I much prefer this over regular (read: boring) cream sunscreens. It has a slightly cool feeling when you rub it into your skin and it absorbs really quickly.








L’Oreal Silky Sheer Lotion SPF 50


This is the one that I have been keeping in my purse throughout the summer. I love it because it’s lightweight, non-greasy, and it’s great to reapply on my face or skin throughout the day. No weird white streaks and it doesn’t clog up my pores.



L’Oreal Sublime Sun — 

After Sun Rich Repairing Lotion


We’ve all been there, sometimes you just get a little too much sun and your skin is feeling really dry. I’ve used this After Sun lotion a few times this summer—I definitely needed it after a Blue Jays game one afternoon (I could just feel my skin cooking under the sun). This lotion is in fused with Aloe, which is not only cooling but uber soothing, too. Perfect after a sun overdose. I love to apply this after a day out, it makes my skin feel so rejuvenated.




Application Tip //

Dermatologists say that you’re supposed to use about a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face and about a shot glass for your body. That’s every time you reapply, too!




Here's hoping we'll need some of this for the last long-weekend of summer, but in case the weather forecasts are right & it does end up raining... Keep these in mind when getting ready for your next tropical getaway! I think we could all use a real taste of summer, even if it’s just for a week or two.




(*) This post contains products sent to Stylish & Literate for consideration. Read disclosure here.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Combat Frizz | Live Clean Hair Oils

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I have an addiction to hair oils. I’ve just found that there’s no time of year that hair oils aren’t my best friend. My hair gets frizzy—there’s no other way to put it. During the dead heat of summer (and after spending a little too much time in the pool) or during the blistering winter when the cold air just zaps (or freezes) the moisture out of everything, my hair needs all the help it can get to stay shiny & silky throughout the year.

Why do I love hair oils? Well, it’s great for styling, it makes the frizz disappear and it gives me real-life TV hair (read: glossy but not unrealistically glossy hair).

My foray into hair oils started with the cult favourite, Morrocanoil. I loved it for many years (mainly because I didn’t know what else was out there) and while it’s no longer my favourite, I can’t deny the quick shine it gives.

Since then the hair oil market has boomed and more products have caught my attention… more specifically these silicone free beauties from Live Clean.


Age Resist Miracle Nutrition Oil



I’ve been using this for months now—I’ve already raved about it in a past favourites video.

The Age Resist Miracle Nutrition Oil is a multi-layer oil (much like the Ojon Rare Blend Oil) that can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment or a leave-in treatment. Personally, I love this as a pre-shampoo treatment. I shake the bottle to mix all the layers, massage it into my hair, let it soak in for about 10 minutes, and then hop in the shower to shampoo & conditioner.

The oil is a combination of Jojoba, Avocado, and Rosehip extract leaves my hair feeling so silky and smooth afterwards. To add to the love, it also has a “thick bond protein,” which essentially makes my hair look thicker / fuller. I know… amazing.


Exotic Silk – Keratin Oil Treatment



This Keratin Oil treatment is a combination of phyto-keratin and Buriti Oil infusion with macadamia nut oil and wild flower honey. Fancy, right? It essentially strengthens your hair from root to tip while locking in the moisture to smooth the frizz away.

This one is my favourite as a leave-in treatment. I massage a pea-sized drop into wet hair & then blow dry my hair for a silky, smooth finish.


Exotic Vitality – Monoi Oil Treatment



This Monoi Oil treatment is infused with (yes, you guessed it) Monoi Oil. While this oil is only gaining popularity in North America, people have been using Monoi as a skin and hair softener for years. Monoi is also used to prevent protein loss in hair. This oil treatment is also infused with Jojoba Oil and Bamboo extracts to retain moisture & keep dry hair at bay.

This oil treatment can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment or a leave-in treatment, but I love using it as an overnight treatment. It’s great for strengthening the strands to prevent breakage. I apply a couple drops into my palm & massage it into my hair, really focusing on the ends. Just don’t use your fancy pillow cases when you do this!

If you're interested in these hair oils, you can find Live Clean in a myriad of stores like Shoppers Drugmart, Walmart, Target, or Well.ca



Tips & Tricks

  • Remember that less is more! Hair oils are more effective when you don’t use too much. One to two drops max! This will also prevent your hair from looking like a grease ball—especially if you have fine hair (like me).
  • When applying a leave-in oil, apply it to wet hair. It’s so much easier to distribute evenly this way. Plus, you avoid the oily patches that you can sometimes get when you apply oil to dry hair.
  • Avoid getting the leave-in oil on your scalp! It’s called “hair oil” not “scalp oil.” This will keep the oil from weighing down your hair & it will also extend your second or third day hair.
  • Apply hair oils as often as you like! When using silicone free hair oils (like these Live Clean ones), you don’t have to worry about build-up!


Are you in a love affair with hair oils? Let me know what you’re currently using!


(*) This post contains products sent to Stylish & Literate for consideration. Read disclosure here.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Olay Fresh Effects | Review & Giveaway

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I’m always looking for new ways to tweak and improve my skincare routine. I mean, aren’t we all? Especially after the winter we just had— the frigid temperatures really dried and dulled my skin.

Lucky for me, I've been able to try out a new range of skincare out there that has helped. Enter Olay Fresh Effects— a new line of cleansers and moisturizers that will freshen up your skin and your mood.

"Out of this Swirled" Deep Pore Clean + Exfoliating Scrub


Cleansing is one of the best things you can do for your skin, amiright? Using gentle exfoliators accompanied with salicylic acid is up there, too. This new cream / gel cleanser is a combination of all those things.

Now, it does contain exfoliating microbeads (so if you're not into physical exfoliators then this is not for you), but it’s still gentle enough to use in conjunction with my Clarisonic for an extra deep cleanse. Also, I haven't any problems with the microbeads getting stuck in my eye— I thought I would just put that out there since it's becoming a growing concern of mine with exfoliators.

It comes in three different scents... I can only vouch for the Green Apple & Jasmine Tea one, though. I should also note that this cleanser is also sold as the Olay Pore Minimizing Cleanser + Scrub (says so on the back of the packaging).


Fresh Effects Wet Cloths


While makeup removing wipes aren’t for everyone, it’s hard to deny how handy they are for those lazy nights.

I’ve tried my fair share of these, so I’ve developed a checklist in my head of what I like and what I don’t like.  I like to use makeup removing wipes that remove face makeup well (doy), that feels gentle on the skin, that is not too saturated but not too dry, that doesn’t leave a sticky residue (or any residue, for that matter), and that smells nice.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask, right? Well, this ticks all the boxes.

I've tried two versions in the range— the Fresh Effects Everything off Makeup Removing Wipes and the Fresh Effects As Fresh as New Exfoliating Wipes— and I like both of them.

I was a bit hesitant about the exfoliating one, but I’ve grown to love it. It’s pretty unique (at least I think it is). One side is a soft cloth and the other side is textured, which is actually really handy for exfoliating certain areas of your face. Personally, I love using it for the sides of my nose, my forehead and my lips. It’s a bit too abrasive to use on my entire face, but hey— that's what the other side is for. Nonetheless, the exfoliating side has been really useful.

The regular makeup removing wipes are great for removing face makeup and also what little eye makeup I do wear. I haven’t really tested it with heavy duty eye makeup, because frankly… I can’t even remember the last time I wore eyeshadow. 

I love these wipes because they’re easy to use and they leave my skin feeling cleansed and fresh (not sticky or grimey).


"Bright On Schedule" Eye Awakening Cream


I suffer from dark under eye circles. I'm sure some part is genetic but I definitely don't help myself by sleeping too late and waking up too early.

In the morning, my under eyes definitely need a boost and this gives my eyes an instant pick-me-up. Seriously. The tri-rollerball applicator feels so good on the skin! It’s cooling, refreshing and just the perk I need in the morning or throughout the day— yes... I've been known to take 30 seconds out of my day to massage my under eyes with this (especially after staring at a computer screen non-stop).

The eye cream is nice and fairly hydrating, but I usually couple it with something more potent (like the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado or the Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting HydraSwirl). The star of the show is definitely the applicator.



"Dew Over" Hydrating Gel Moisturizer


Skincare (especially moisturizers) are a tricky business because everyone's skin is different (go figure, right? :). This gel moisturizer is great for my skin type (I have normal / combination, btw). It's lightweight, absorbs quickly into the skin, and it doesn't clog my pores. I'm not crazy about the jar packaging, I definitely prefer when skincare products come in a tube with a pump. There's also a strong scent with this product, but it does leave your skin smelling (and feeling) fresh. My favourite thing about this moisturizer is how it minimizes the shine on my forehead. It's bit pricey for a drugstore moisturizer but you only need a small amount to cover your entire face / neck.


"Long Live Moisture" Satin Finish Lotion



This moisturizer is also moisturizing on the skin (but still not effective for very dry skin). The lotion is lightweight and non-greasy, it keeps the dry spots on my face moisturized and the oily spots from becoming too shiny. Satin finish is a good way to describe this... it's not totally matte on the skin, but it doesn't make you look super shiny, either. I especially love using this at night, actually. When I wake up, my face still feels hydrated.



The Fresh Effects line is available at all major retailers (Target, Walmart, Shoppers Drugmart, etc) and the prices range between $7.99 - $15.99 (depends on where you buy).

Have you tried any of the products in the Fresh Effects line? Let me know what you think!


Giveaway

If you haven't tried any of the products, then here's your chance to win some! One person will receive a goodie bag containing five Fresh Effects products (click here to see exactly which ones)...

It's easy to enter, just click on the rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will end on June 22, 2014 and I will be contacting the winner via email (and announcing on Twitter // the blog). It's open worldwide, too. Good luck if you're entering!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ps, check out my late night routine & a get ready with me video using some of these products :) x

Late Night Routine //


Get Ready With Me //



(*)  The Olay Fresh Effects line was sent to Stylish & Literate for consideration. Read disclosure here.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Scent Rotation (& Giveaway)

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have a love affair with fragrances. As long as I can remember, I have always been a lover of scents and perfumes. While picking and choosing a scent is a totally personal experience, I thought I would share the fragrances I have on rotation at the moment (beware, I am totally awful at describing scents through text)...

Lolita Lempicka

This is a warm, yet delicately spicy scent. While it has hints of fruitiness, there's an underlying base of licorice. The green ivy note adds a freshness, and the violet mixes great with the licorice. Plus— adorable bottle, right?



Chloe Eau de Parfum

I love the fresh floral mixed with the classic powdery rose scent of this fragrance

With notes of pink peony, freesia, lychee, magnolia flower, lily of the valley, rose, cedarwood, amber, and honey... It's hard to resist. 



Marc Jacobs Daisy

I can describe this fragrance in two words: fresh and feminine. It's a cocktail of strawberry, violet leaves, ruby red grapefruit, gardenia, violet petals, jasmine petals, musk, vanilla, and white woods. A great all season fragrance. 



Nina by Nina Ricci

Think: white flowers, chocolate, vanilla, apples and fun.

I feel like this fragrance is best in warmer temperatures. During the winter, it transforms into a bitter apple scent, but spring / summer days bring out the praline to balance out the citrus of the apple and lemon. A fresh and sweet scent for this season.



J'adore Dior

This fragrance screams femininity and luxury with a hint of sensuality. It's a lovely floral bouquet of ylang-ylang, Damascus rose, and sambac jasmine. I always spritz this on if I need a little confidence boost.



Giveaway

Loose Button was sweet enough to send over the newest (limited edition) fragrance from Nina Ricci called La Tentation de Nina. I don't have this version, but I have sniffed it extensively in store and it's beautiful! It's actually a collaboration between perfumer Olivier Cresp and Vincent Lemains, the master chef of the famous Parisian patisserie Ladurée! Yes... that Laudurée. This fragrance smells good enough to eat!

La Tentation de Nina is a fresh floral - fruity and  gourmand fragrance. It smells like Nina macarons topped with raspberry jam, with lemon drops and rose flavor. The composition begins with citrusy notes of bergamot and goes into the heart of raspberry, almond, lemon and Bulgarian rose absolute, which are connected together in the macaron accord, softened by notes of Bourbon vanilla ,white musk and sandalwood at its base. Doesn't that just sound yum?

If you're interested in winning a bottle, then enter via the rafflecopter below. I will be mailing this fragrance out myself, so it's open internationally (pending any shipping rules regarding the shipment of fragrances).




(*) La Tentation de Nina fragrance was provided by Loose Button for giveaway purposes.

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