30 July 2018

Review: Sunday Riley “The Influencer” Foundation

I am always on the hunt for the next best foundation, so when I was browsing the aisles of Sephora looking through some of their new "clean" beauty brands and stumbled upon The Influencer, I had to try it. It's promise is to be clean, long-wearing foundation with medium-to-full coverage. Here's what I found...

The Feel
When I first applied it, the first thing I noticed was the feel. Before application, I thought it looked very pigmented and might be too heavy (especially in this current heat wave), but once it was on my skin it blended well and did not feel heavy at all. The colour was easy to match. I have become a pro at finding my match in foundation colours. Probably because I spend an hour a day inside various cosmetic stores trying out new products, reading ingredients and doing "research". 170 is a perfect match for my mid-summer skin tone. It didn't oxidize at all, but I did find my skin got pretty oily throughout the day -- probably because of the silicone in the product (more on that later).
The Look
I found there to be a very wide range of skin tones to choose from. I bought the 2nd one I tried on my arm and it happened to be a perfect match. My problem lies in that they say it's a medium-to-full coverage when it is more of a sheer-to-medium coverage in my opinion. I definitely needed cover up and setting powder with it, and in order to achieve even a medium-type coverage I had to layer it on quite a bit.
The Ingredients
Something I am really trying to encourage is for you to READ ingredients, and know what to look for. It's one thing to trust a company when they say their product is "clean" but just because you've removed Parabens or are free from animal testing doesn't mean a product is safe to use. This product claims to be free of Cyclopentasiloxine, synthetic fragrance, talc, gluten and Parabens. It is also cruelty-free. What is it not? It is not silicone-free (silica) and contains Dimethicone. The company claims that the silicone is mean to make your skin look fresh all day... but silicone is actually HORRIBLE for your skin. It creates a rubber-like barrier on your skin and traps oil and dirt sending it deep into your pores. This causes acne, and enlarged pores. So avoid any products with Dimethicone, Silica or any other form of silicone in the ingredients list!

The Bottom Line
I won't be buying a bottle of The Influencer. It's too bad because I was really excited that I found a true match for my skin tone so easily. But the right shade doesn't outweigh the ingredients, especially as someone very concerned about products which intensify my acne.

Tried it? Let me know what you think in the comments below...

19 July 2018

Clean Perfume

There are so many synthetics in fragrance that we purchase. Chanel, Tom Ford, Hermes... these are all brands I am guilty of purchasing AND LOVING. I must admit, perfume is the last of my products to switch to "clean." Mostly because I LOVE the look of beautiful designer fragrances on my vanity. The bottles are such a lovely touch to the decor in my walk-in, and even if I don't spray them, I will continue to collect them there.

I have been doing a lot of research lately on clean perfumes, aka perfumes derived from essential oils. And it turns out there are A LOT of them, which naturally makes me VERY happy! These too come in beautiful glass bottles. The only difference? The aren't harmful to your health.

I haven't tried many, but I already have a short list of favourites. My #1 of course being from my girl Gwynnie. I LOVE the Goop line and there is no stopping when it comes to their perfume. Make sure you go check it out at The Detox Market, it's to die for. So let's start...

#1. Edition 04 by Goop
Inspired by orchards, this scent is largely fill with aromas from apricots and hay - weird right? But it is the perfect balance of musk meets sweet, and has been my go-to scent since I discovered it.
Shop Edition 04 by Goop here.

#2. Desire by Pura Botanicals
You'll know exactly why I like this once I tell you what's in it. Grapefruit, other citrus notes, Bergamot and Lavender. All of my favourite things. Perfectly packaged in an affordable body mist.
Shop Desire by Pura Botanicals here.

#3. Melpomene [beautiful] by IME
An empowering (but not overpowering) scent, with hints of wood, musk and amber. The entire line of IME scents is inspired by various Muse's - courage, intuition, beauty, etc. They are lovely to layer or wear alone. This scent just happens to be my favourite from the Muse Collection.
Shop Melpomene by IME here.

#4. Joyful by My Daughter Fragrances
Jasmine and citrus make up this lethargic scent which brings you back to your childhood. It reminds me of days spent in my grandmother's backyard. I am proud to say My Daughter Fragrances are also Canadian (with a perfumery in France), they are also free of phthalates, paragons and colorants.
Shop Joyful by My Daughter Fragrances here.

16 July 2018

Summer in Ontario: Prince Edward County

This year marks 32 years since Tyler's Family started camping at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. The perfect halfway point between family members in Ottawa and family members in Brampton, they now call this beautiful provincial park "Home" for 2 weeks every summer.

I just started camping with them 4 years ago. Coincidentally enough, 4 years ago the Drake Devonshire hotel (restaurant pictured above) opened up in Wellington County. Directly along the rocky shores of Lake Ontario, this now Landmark began the floods of Toronto hipsters into Prince Edward County, opening one craft brewery after another.

As you know from previous posts, I am not one for camping, though I have found some really great shortcuts to surviving these camping trips (See my previous post on Glamping). Since my first year at Presqu'ile I have escaped camp-life by slowly making my way through PEC on mindless day trips through each little town. From adorable motels, to farmer's markets, trinket shops, wineries and cider houses, I continue to find more and more gems hidden inside PEC's 400+ square mile radius.

This year will be no different. I am about to embark on my first of two extra-long weekends (I got a new job so I will not be staying the full 10 days) and I usually try to avoid visiting the same place twice. But sometimes they're just too good to miss year-after-year, so this year I may have a few repeats on my list. But since I consider myself to be a little bit of a County Snob, here are some of my favourite spots to visit every Summer.

Where to Eat -

An adorable food truck on the Rosehall Run property, this little "picnic" spot serves up the most delicious grub. My favourites are obviously the charcuterie and cheese boards, which pair well with all of the Rosehall Run wines. The focus of PICNIC is to deliver healthy food options in a hurry. That being said, I am never in a hurry. But I do love this stop for a little lunch break as we ride our bikes through the county. The best part: This year I can try their Vegan and Gluten-Free options, which I've never been enticed by before... so who says you can't try something twice?!

Norman Hardie Pizza Oven
It doesn't matter how many times I say I need to visit new places, I somehow always end up at Norman Hardie for their wood oven pizza. This is the first year I will pass on Norman Hardie. But for everyone else who CAN eat gluten, make sure this place is on your list. Besides their wines being amazing, the pizza is to die for and the winery is very picturesque. It's located in Hillier not far from Rosehall Run! Pictured above: The wine I enjoyed while I waited for my pizza to arrive.

The Public House at Jackson's Falls
A proud participant in Countylicious (PEC's Spring and Fall version of Winterlicious) this restaurant, complete with a patio and young, serves up native-inspired cuisine with a kick. They serve many local brews and almost always have live entertainment. It's such a fun place to spend an evening after a long day of tastings!

Best Vineyards -

Hinterland Wine Company

I am going to go ahead and say it, I think Hinterland makes the BEST sparkling wine in Canada. I actually feel so great every time I am there sampling all of the wine's I've tasted before. This year I am committing to just one vineyard and one brewery - to save Tyler the pain of trying a million different wines he doesn't enjoy - so Hinterland is definitely our go-to place for 2018. Plus, their lunch menu is amazing ... who doesn't enjoy sparkling wine and oysters?
(Note: They also have amazing gluten-free Ciders)

Rosehall Run
Directly across the street from Norman Hardie, this adorable winery is probably best known for the Pixie Sparkling Wine. Grab a glass of your favourite - or get a few samples - and settle in for some lunch at PICNIC. I love that my two favourite spots to visit are directly across the street from one another, it makes for an easy trip into town!

Sandbanks Estate Winery
You'd probably recognize their Sparkling Rose from my Instagram. It's definitely their shining star, and has ruined ALL other rose options for me. It's not that it's their only good bottle, it's just so good I never buy anything else. In fact, last year for my birthday I ordered myself a case, delivered straight to our door, (Happy Birthday to me?) and it was gone remarkably fast ... You can find the rest of the Sandbanks wines at the LCBO but the Sparkling Rose is quite hard to track down. Doesn't that tell you something? Trust me when I tell you to try it. You'll never look back.

Three Dog Winery
Maybe it's the adorable paw that adorns each bottle, but they had me at DOG. I wasnt going to go back here this year, because I am really trying to find NEW places to add to my list, but this year they opened a new yoga studio on site, making them the first co-located winery and yoga studio in Canada! I'll definitely be stopping by for a yoga class, and a glass... their Pinot Grigio is an easy bottle to polish!

Best Breweries and Cider Houses -

Barley Days

The first brewery to open in Prince Edward County! And probably still one of the best. I haven't tried it yet, and probably never will now, but their Hibiscus Ale is supposedly heavenly. Named after the 1800s crop-of-choice, Barley, it's fitting that they'd open a craft brewery in The County. Located in Picton, the brewery also has a rentable Farm House on the property, a pretty awesome location for a Bachelor Party if I might suggest!

Clafeld Cider House
The sister company to Waupoos Winery, the Clafield Cider House creates some of the most exquisite ciders using the fruit they grow on their orchard. With several different varieties, and a few wine ciders, this is one of my favourite places to stop in and have a flight. The Rose Hip cider wine is amazing, and so is the dry apple cider. Definitely stop in here for a taste!

Parsons Brewing Co.
I think it was their beautiful website that first lured me into visiting Parsons Brewing Co. They definitely have an eye for design. They also brew some of the most amazing beer, and their restaurant onsite is AMAZING. I'm adding this to our must-visit list for this summer since Tyler hasn't been yet and will enjoy the beer, while I sip on their amazing cider.

Where to Stay -

Camp at Presqu'ile!
This is half a joke, and half an honest suggestion. If there was one campground I had to spend 10 days at every year, it would be this one. It's absolutely stunning and surrounded by beautiful rocky beaches. Somehow every year the water in July is just the right temperature for my wussy self to swim in, and I almost always go home with an amazing tan. Every year I look forward to the evening bike rides along the 8km road path to get Kawartha Dairy Ice-cream (which also hurts my stomach EVERY YEAR! But hey - it's tradition), hiking the Marsh Boardwalk (pictured above) and then skipping rocks as we watch the sun set. To say I hate camping would be incorrect because I absolutely LOVE Presqu'ile -- I just maybe hate sleeping in a tent, outhouses and mosquitos at dawn. There is also a Nature Centre (cool for the kids!), a lighthouse and museum/gift shop where you can learn about the extensive history of Presqu'ile. Book a site here.

Rent an AirBNB
As a former AirBNB Host, I regularly scour AirBNB for new places to stay. More and more AirBNBs seem to be popping up in the PEC area, and every single one of them is ADORABLE. It would be a hard to run an AirBNB that wasn't picture-perfect because there is so much competition in the area. Most of them are hidden gems inside victorian homes or old farm houses. Run a search on AirBNB and see how cute they are for yourself... keep your dates open since the nicest ones book up QUICK every summer! My personal favourite spot to stay is The Ferg. I also think THIS tiny home is so so adorable.

The June Motel
I've never stayed here, but it's on my PEC Bucket List. It's the cutest converted motel, complete with Instagram-worthy wallpaper and decor. The owner's visit California annually for inspiration for their hotel. And the hotel has bikes guests can borrow for self-guided winery tours. It's a super adorable spot for a Bachelorette party... Sign me up! Book a room here.

Drake Devonshire
Before The Drake, PEC was a place you went for relaxation. I wouldn't be surprised if the hipsters have forced ALL of the retiree's out by now, but it's for good reason. The Drake Devonshire serves up overpriced accommodation and mediocre food, plus they don't allow pets to even step foot on their parking lot pad (so you definitely won't me there) but I had to list it or this list wouldn't feel complete. Try to book a room here.

What to Do - 

The Millennium Trail
An almost 50km long trail which has been rebuilt over the past few years sits along old farm roads and railroads. To date only 11km are suitable by bike, but the rest can be walked or ran on. It's also accessible through various county points which makes this an awesome "to-do" no matter where you're staying. Check out the full path at www.pectrails.ca

Visit the Lavender fields
This year's annual Lavender Festival is being held on July 7th and 8th in PEC. If you can't make it then, check out Prince Edward County Lavender, in Hillier for the most picturesque fields of lavender all summer long.

Wellington Farmer's Market
One of the cutest farmer's markets I have been to, likely because of the portable stone oven pizza I get there every year (but sadly not this year!). We also stock up on amazing hot sauces and preserves. There are so many sweet vendors at this market, you have to check it out for yourself. It's in Wellington, a few steps from the Drake Devonshire and happens every Saturday 8am-1pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm.

There are also SO many little towns -- Trenton, Wellington, Picton -- with historic main streets and adorable shops and restaurants. So be sure to do your research and plan your trip before you go! But the one thing I've learned about PEC is that no matter how much I plan, it's always more fun to stray and wander, you never know what you're going to find! Enjoy your trip! <3 p="">

12 July 2018

How to Fake Looking Rested

It's summer and it seems like we've been go go go since who knows when. I actually can't remember a time when I sat on the couch and didn't panic about the hundreds of other things I have to take care of. Between teaching yoga, running my blog/Beautycounter side-business AND a Monday to Friday job that requires me to be away from home for 12 hours a day, it's safe to say I am TIRED and it's starting to show.

Our free time always seems to book up faster than I can say "NO"... so it's hard to find time for self-care. But one thing I always make sure I have time for is my skincare routine. As you can probably tell from previous posts I take skincare very seriously. This is because of a lifetime of skin struggles, which still haven't gone away - in fact I would say that this summer they've gotten WORSE and I am wondering if this is because of a lack of rest. *insert sad face here*

I must say, I owe my self consciousness to my nail tech who every 3 weeks tells me "Sera, you look SO tired!" "I AM TIRED, LILY!" I always exclaim to her. So now I've resorted to faking the "rested" look, of course using all of my favourite clean brands. Here are a few of my tricks...

Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!
Dry skin accentuates any problem areas. So if your skin looks dewy and fresh, you'll be better able to hide the bags and droopy skin that exhaustion bring. It's also nice feeling cold cream on your face when you feel completely exhausted. Consider it a nice pick-me-up. My favourite day cream by Beautycounter can be purchased here.

Use Collagen Eye Masks
Using collagen eye masks 3-4 times a week will deliver a concentrated amount of collagen to the delicate skin under your eyes. Why is this important? Well, the first signs of exhaustion come from your eyes, so hydrating and reducing plumping and dark circles will help make you look bright eyed and ready for your day! I love the KNC Beauty Star Eye Masks. Shop them here.

Use a High Quality Eye Cream
Since under eye masks aren't suitable for daily use, I recommend a high quality anti-inflammatory eye cream for morning and night. Just a small amount goes a long way, and dab it around the eye area (don't rub!). The most amazing eye cream I have used is the Beautycounter Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream. It's got Phytic Acid, which stimlates oxygen and awakens tired eyes. Shop it here.

Use a Jade Roller Morning and Night
Jade rollers should be your new best friend. I now use mine day and night, and sometimes I leave it in the fridge overnight for a nice cooling and calming effect in the morning. Jade rollers help to boost blood circulation, loosen up lactic acid build up and calm redness. The bonus? They are so easy to find now. (I search for months and months for a good quality one, before my Naturopath gifted me one!) You can buy the Skin Gym Jade Roller on Well.ca here.

Remove ALL Makeup
What's worse than dark circles? Accentuating dark circles with morning-after makeup. Ensure all of your makeup is removed entirely before bed so that you don't have double the dark circles under your eyes in the morning. Beautycounter Instant Eye Makeup Remover breaks down pigment with coconut and macadamia nut oils for a gentle and quick makeup removal process. Shop it here.

Use the Right Shade of Under Eye Concealer
Use a lighter concealer than your foundation. Using too dark of a concealer will actually accentuate the dark circles making you look MORE tired. I personally use the Beautycounter Touchup Skin Concealer in "Light", which has been continually compared to the YSL Touche Eclat Radiance Perfecting Pen (maybe because the packaging looks similar?). Either way, the Beautycounter concealer is FULL COVERAGE, hides imperfections and under eye circles, and doesn't contain harsh chemicals -- which you definitely don;t want near your eyes. Shop it here.

Drinks LOTS of Water
Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Whether you are physically active, or sitting all day, your body needs water. Even a slight lost in hydration can lead to a tired feeling. Drink enough fluids to keep your pee light in colour, and enough that you'll need to pee every 1.5 hours. This should help with the look and feel of being TIRED! The first thing I do in the morning is drink 2 cups of water with half of a lemon squeezed into it. And, I carry an insulated water bottle with me so I have no excuses for not drinking water all day. Shop my favourite S'ip by S'well here.

Supplement with Collagen
A great way to supplement for a tired, achy body is to ensure you are getting the right nutrients. One supplement I have found extremely helpful is Collagen. It contains the amino acid Glycine, which helps you fall into a deeper sleep. It is in deep sleep that your body has time to regenerate and the Collagen is able to support your muscles and bones. Because collagen helps you sleep, I normally drink a cup of Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water before bed. Collagen is also beneficial for skin health! Shop it here (or at Target stores!).

Avoid Sugar
In short, sugar spikes your insulin levels for a temporary high, and then knocks you right back down. Avoid spiking insulin levels as it messes with your hormones, causes dull skin, tired eyes and an over all feeling of BLAH! This isn't new to you though... eat greens instead :)

05 July 2018

Skincare for the Seasons: Summer Edition

Do you change your skincare with the seasons? You probably should. Depending on the weather (hot, cold, humid, dry) your skin could require different treatment. For example, once the warmer weather came I had to immediately remove the oil from my routine. It's not that oil is bad for everyone in the summer, but for MY skin it was just too much. So, I replaced it with an equally as moisturizing serum. I also changed up my toner/mist for a more calming formula, because in the heat and humidity, I often find myself struggling with red, irritated skin.

I've created a master list of some of my favourite skincare products right now. Check out my Summer must-haves below!

Cleanser -
Beautycounter Nourishing Cream Cleanser
Year-round this is my absolute favourite cleanser. It is moisturizing, doesn't strip my skin of it's natural oils and removes even the most stubborn waterproof mascara. When I find I am more breakout prone, I add a few drops of tea tree oil to this cleanser and massage it into my face and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before rinsing in luke warm water. I haven't switched from this product since first trying it almost a year ago.

Toner -
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Toner
Many of you already know (from my Instagram) that my FAVOURITE brand of Canadian skincare products just opened a storefront in Toronto. I was so excited that I spent my entire lunch hour the first time I went! I was determined to find the PERFECT toner for summer. Turns out there are two... All winter I was using the Beautycounter No.3 Balancing Facial Mist, which was great for my acne and redness but it wasn't as hydrating as I wanted. So when Rocky Mountain Soap Co. opened the other day I went and tried all of the toners to find one that would hydrate my skin after a long day in the sun. I settled on the Aloe and Frankincense (Hydrating) Toner for the evening (you can never have too much moisture at night!), and the Lavender and Arnica (Calming) Toner for morning. That's right, I bought both. I think toner is really important, as it restores you skins natural pH after cleansing, so making sure you choose the right toner is key to a well-rounded skin routine. In this case, I needed both! xo

Serum -
Beautycounter Rejuvenating Radiance Serum
This was one of the biggest changes I had to make. Oils and serums aren't cheap so making the switch was hard for me to justify. But once I bit the bullet, I didn't look back. This serum could be used alongside an oil in the harsh winter months, but for summer, on it's own it's doing just fine. With it's unique combination of vitamin c, fruit extracts, algae and jambu extract, it works quickly to even my skintone, fight wrinkles and restore moisture.

Day Cream -
Beautycounter Nourishing Day Cream
Another product I didn't switch up, and the reason is because my skin is so oily. This is really the only moisturizer I trust to not make me look slick by the time I get to work. But it also doesn't dry out my skin, or cause it to break out. It's the perfect base under my mineral makeup and oddly enough is jam packed with so many nourishing oils. It's also got soothing aloe in it which reduces redness for flawless skin all day!

Night Cream -
Beautycounter Rejuvenating Night Cream
I found the Nourishing Night Cream perfect for the winter, but for summer I wanted something to fight the free radicals and sun exposure I was being subjected to most days. The sun in Toronto can fool you; Even on cloudy days you're exposed to harmful rays (so always wear sunscreen) so I really needed something to fight the aging effects of the sun. This cream has been life changing. I wake up looking so refreshed, my skin looks calm and feels SO hydrated. I also use the Rejuvenating Eye Cream with this at night.

Spot Treatment -
Divine Essence Organic Tea Tree Oil
Knock on wood, but I haven't needed too much spot treatment lately. I have been eating really clean, drinking lots of water and smothering myself with SPF (sun exposure causes me to breakout). But when I do need a little spot treatment, I soak a QTip in organic tea tree oil and then dab it on the problem spot. It's usually dried up by morning.
Note: Careful not to oversoak the QTip! You don't want the tea tree oil to drip off the pimple. It is quite harsh and will dry out non-problematic skin and will cause irritation.

Sunscreen (face) -
Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder (SPF 45)
For years I looked and looked for a powder sunscreen. Am I the only person who breaks out from liquid sunscreen? Maybe because it is so thick, but I was not happy with any that I tried. And foundation with SPF did the same. This year I discovered the Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder with SPF 45 and haven't had any issues with my skin. I use it daily -- and touch up frequently when I am exposed to the sun for long periods of time -- as a face/decolletage sunscreen and setting powder. I also brush it onto the part of my hair to avoid burning my scalp. What I love best? I can buy refills so the cost is cut down significantly when I need to replace it!

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