While I am thrilled that we are having such an amazing summer in Montreal, I'm also excited that fall, aka the most elegant fashion season, is just around the corner. One of the trends that I look forward to this season is pairing chunky or embellished knit sweaters with more feminine pieces. Lately, have been utterly smitten by Line Knitwear. I mean look at the sophisticated silhouettes from their latest lookbook; it's just so sleek and cosy.
Don't you like when fashion fits the needs of the modern woman? I certainly do!
Enjoy the long weekend ahead if us and see you soon!
I often visit Etsy for dainty jewellery pieces and fun stationnary such as thank you cards and chic pencils. But what I enjoy above all is to find truly inspiring watercolour paintings made by talented artists. Here are my latest colourful finds that could bring an elegant touch to any room:
Get ready to add a new i-word to your vocabulary: the iStore is now open!
I don't pretend to be the geekest woman around, but I'm definitively one who enjoys well-designed gadgets and brilliant accessories.
So it's with sheer enthusiasm that I attended the iStore international launch last week at the Centre Rockland. This exciting new kind of store offers the widest range of digital lifestyle products from the most fashionable brands out there. Instead of having to go to three different stores to find a chic iPad case, cool new headphones or a slim portable battery, you can now visit the iStore in Rockland or the istoreworld online to find all of the above and more.
While the Apple store features around 80% of Mac related products and 20% of products from other brands, the iStore has the opposite business model. So you will still be able to purchase the iPhones, iPads and iPods while browsing through a wide collection of digital lifestyle solutions. The elegant store - with a gorgeous black and white checkered floor - is divided into distinctive areas such as audio, cases & bags, accessories, connected home, health & fitness, entertainment & lifestyle and mobile devices. And there is even a sound-proof booth where you can test the range of the wireless speakers available in store. I have tried it, it's such a unique experience!
Not only is the selection impressive, but the sleek and stylish store design is just so appealing. It really caters to fashion forward shoppers who are passionate about technology.
Although its first location is in Quebec and the iStore is a Montreal-based company, the owners intend on opening additional stores in various Canadian malls as well as well as exploring international opportunities.
Isn't cool that Montreal is home to the very first iStore?
TheiStore is located on the third floor of the Rockland Center.
If your son had around 30 food related allergies and you couldn't find a cake to celebrate his first birthday, would you consider opening a bakery? Well, that's exactly what Viviane Nguyen, the owner of the Petit Lapin Pâtisserie, did a few months ago.
Over the weekend, I visited her lovely shop to pick up some sweet treats for my mother's upcoming birthday. Nestled discreetly amid other shops on Victoria Street in Westmount, the tiny and colourful bakery offers the cutest selection of cupcakes, macarons, madeleines and donuts. But there is a twist; all the sweets are allergen free, gluten free and lactose free.
I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Viviane while selecting a few mini cupcakes on Saturday. The charming and self-taught baker explained how she started her own business out of concerned for her own son and the many other children who are affected by food allergy.
As you can imagine, this mother knows a thing or two about food allergies. It was fascinating to hear how her personal experience led her to create organic and vegan sweets that are also free of the following 10 priority food allergens:
- Wheat and gluten
- Tree nuts
- Fish and seafood
- And mustard (who knew!).
That's a meticulous undertaking. And thanks to her efforts, parents can now bring sweets to a party without worries!
Even if you don't suffer from any allergy, I highly recommend this pâtisserie. The mini cupcakes I tried where deliciously moist and sweet. Try the Red Velvet and the lemon ones, they're my favourites.
Raise your hand if you often crave a foot massage...
I am right there with you ladies! And since I have recently found out a great place to unwind while getting my feet pampered, I thought I'd share my latest find with you: Footsie Reflexology.
As I was walking downtown following my last hairdressing appointment, I discovered this unique day spa - on the corner of Maisonneuve and Union - specialised in reflexology. When I opened the doors to enquire about their services, I was delightfully surprised to find the most serene place in the heart of the city
While reflexology is considered an alternative medicine in North America, this medical approach was practice thousands of years ago in China, India and Egypt. It is based on the premise that there are zones on each foot, which correspond to specific organs in the body.
The benefits of this precise pressure technique are well documented. Among other things it helps:
- Reduce stress and increase energy
- Enhance blood circulation
- Improve the immune system
- Stimulate nerve function
- And also improve different health conditions.
Opened a few months ago, Footsie Reflexology offers various treatments such as shiatsu body massage, therapeutic massage, hammam sessions and of course, reflexology sessions. I tried the Kwikie, their 30-minute foot massage, as it was very easy to fit in my schedule.
It was a mind-blowing experience.
Seriously, what's not to like about sitting in a deep lounge chair while having your feet and calves meticulously rubbed with oil by an experienced Reflexologist? All that while sipping green tea, let me tell you, it feels like heaven. I went into a deep relaxation mode during the session and felt completely rejuvenated following the treatment. I felt as though a massive weight had just been lifted off my shoulders.
It's definitively something to try. And at $30 for the Kwikie, it's a very affordable indulgence. Another thing you can do is book their VIP room and treat your BFF (or lover) to a reflexology session that includes tea and hors d'oeuvres.
When you long to be pampered but you don't have the luxury - nor the time - to book yourself a vacation at a well-being spa in Bali, Footsie Reflexology is just the place for you. I can't promise you'll leave with a nice tan, but I know for a fact that you'll be walking on a cloud on your way out.
I have already gone twice, if that's any indication!
Madonna's luxurious beauty treatment is now available in Montreal!
I had heard that oxygen facial therapy was great for softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as improving the overall complexion. So when I discovered that this non-invasive skin rejuvenating treatment - aka the secret to Madonna's glowing skin - was finally available in Montreal, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.
A few days before an important event I had planned on attending, I headed out to Dermapure, one of the largest medico-aesthetic clinics in Canada, which recently opened in Montreal. Located in Old Montreal, the clinic offers various non-surgical beauty treatments such as youth-enhancing injectables, thermage and coolsculpting (a new technology - invented in Harvard - that allows to freeze and eliminate fat from the body).
How it's done?
The procedure itself is very different than your typical facial, which usually includes steam, exfoliation and extraction. It is basically carried out with an airbrush pen that a technician uses to blast pure oxygen, also named hyperbaric oxygen. At the beginning of the treatment, the technician will determine which Functionalab serum will be added to the device depending on your skin type and your current needs. In my case, the lady suggested an anti-aging serum made with collagen, hyaluronic acid, retinol and a blend of powerful antioxidants. The high pressure of the airbrush pen - which emits a flow of 95% pure oxygen - then allows for the serum to penetrate deeper into your pores and treat the skin at a cellular level.
This treatment can help thoroughly clean pores, lighten hyperpigmentation, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone and also remove acne-causing bacteria.
How does it feel?
At first, I thought the stream of high-pressurised oxygen would be intense on the skin, but not at all. It feels like someone is using a delicate blast of cold air on your face. It's seriously cool and soothing. And unlike other facial treatments, it doesn't burn, sting or itch.
The end result?
I was not quite sure what to expect at first. Not only is it relaxing, but the best part is that the results are immediate. You don't have to wait a day or two - and avoid social gatherings - before noticing the results of this refreshing 30-minute treatment. I was quite surprised to see my skin so instantly plumped, especially around the eyes and the forehead. I looked so relaxed, like someone who is returning home after a long vacation. My face was literally glowing as if I had been drinking loads of water. The following day, my complexion was so radiant that very little makeup was needed when I was getting ready for my event. I had that beautiful glow on for almost a week.
After my treatment, I was told that I could help maintain the results at home by using one of the Functionalab beauty packs, which include a serum and Nutri cosmetic capsules made of vitamins, minerals, lycopene and amino acids. Although I like this holistic approach of healing the skin from the inside-out, I haven't started this beauty regimen yet. I wanted to see how long the effects of the oxygen facial would last on their own without any other assistance.
How much does it cost?
At $150 it is certainly more expensive than your average facial. But considering that the results are instants and last a week, I think it's surprisingly good. It's definitively a pre-event skincare treatment to consider if you want to be camera-ready.
Have you tried the oxygen facial? What are your impressions?
Dermapure is located at 506 McGill Street, Suite 200.
Ladies, the Roland Mouret limited-edition collection for Banana Republic lands in stores today! I can't remember the last time I was that thrilled about a capsule collection. I guess I have a thing for body hugging dresses that are both elegant and flattering. And if someone understands dresses, it's certainly Mr. Mouret - aka the master of soft structure - who once said: "Dresses are for undressing. We all dress up to undress".
I can't get my eyes off the strappy sheath on the left, it's so ladylike.
Considering that Bombay Sapphire is a staple in my home mini bar, I was rather intrigued when the company recently invited me to a private party to discover their latest offering, the Bombay Sapphire East. When it's cocktail hour, if I don't drink wine, I am pretty much a gin and tonic kind of girl. I like sophisticated, yet simple-to-make cocktails that are refreshing without being too sweet. While I find this unfussy drink quite chic and somehow masculine - probably with the influence of Mad Men - it also reminds me that the simple things are often the best.
On a bright Thursday afternoon, a limo driver picked me up - along with some cool ladies - and drove us to La Toundra pavilion located on the famous Gilles-Villeneuve racing track. Once inside the event hall transformed for the occasion into a cosy cocktail lounge, I couldn't take my eyes off the breathtaking view of Montreal the venue had to offer on that splendid summer day.
Behind the bar was Manny Vides, a proud finalist of the National Bombay bartending competition - who was also featured in GQ Magazine - and the owner of Mile Public House in Quartier DIX30. Manny was such a good humored and pleasant host for the evening. He introduced us to some tantalising cocktails specially designed for this unique gathering including the sparkling Sapphire with pressed strawberries and mint, which was served in a champagne flute.
I went for the classic gin and tonic. Few other drinks are as refreshing as this on a hot summer day. Manny kindly suggested a refreshing exotic twist to my favourite gin cocktail by using the new Bombay Sapphire East. Infused with Thai lemongrass and Vietnamese black peppercorns, the East liquor delivers fresh citrus notes with a warm spicy finish. In other words, it's divine! It's just a tad spicy, without being overpowering.
As Manny was mixing drinks, he enlightens us about his captivating journey into the world of international bartending competitions. He was quite the storyteller and even showed us a few tricks that I obviously couldn't repeat. Seeing the other guests drinking their fancy cocktails with enthusiasm, I eventually felt tempted to try something new. After contemplating my options, I finally settled on a delicious Sapphire pineapple ginger Collins with fresh pineapple crushed at the bottom. One word…yum!
As I was getting acquainted with Tom Collins, it was our group's turn to go on the helicopter ride over Montreal. I grabbed my glass and my sunglasses and then headed to the limo with my ladies. Once on the tarmac, we took a group shot (read MANY!!) to commemorate the event.
Here we are - from left to right Mel from La pique-assiette, Jen from Braised and Confused, Geri from Paperplanes and myself - on the Circuit Gilles-Villenneuve before hoping on the dark blue Agusta 109 (yes, I know my helicopters). I was wearing my cobalt blue heels for the occasion, which you will only see on this picture.
Here I am holding my Tom Collins while admiring the breathtaking view. And no, if you wonder, there is no massive cucumber in my drink, it's just some pineapple leaf used as a decorative garnish. I'm glad we cleared that up.
That's my favourite view of the city. I like how you can see the skyline, the river and the mountain at a glance.
What an amazing view of the Montreal Casino with the city in the backdrop.
If you are curious to try the exotic Tom Collins I had, here is the recipe:
Sapphire pineapple ginger collins
1 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire East
2/3 oz St. Germain
1 oz fresh lemon juice
4 small pineapple cubes
2 slivers of ginger
2 oz soda water
Build and stir into an ice filled glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf, candied ginger or pineapple chunk.
Guess what is new in my mini bar since my latest summer escapade?
Let me know what is your signature drink, I'll might try something else next time...
We have all been there. Washing your face late at night can be a daunting task, especially if you had a long day and you are already falling asleep. But once you have the right products at your disposal, removing your makeup and prepping your skin before going to bed is a nice opportunity to pamper yourself and reflect on your day.
Today, I would like to share with you my 4 must-have products that will make your cleansing routine not only more pleasant, but definitively more efficient. Here they are:
I was recently in the market for a new face cleanser, one that would be gentle on my skin and formulated without harsh chemicals. I picked up this face wash mainly because it is affordable while being parabens, dyes and sulfates-free. I really enjoy how this silky white gel removes face oil and make-up very easily without drying or pulling the face. I tend to use two pumps of the product that I massage on my face in circular motions for a minute or two before rinsing it with lukewarm water. Since I wear contacts lenses, I make sure to use a face cleanser gentle enough on the eyes; this one fits the bill perfectly.
Sephora waterproof eye makeup remover This is one of Sephora's best-kept secrets! Formulated without parabens, sulfates and phtalates, this make-up remover work's wonder even with long-lasting eyeliner and mascara. The solution can be a bit oily but is gentle enough to be used by sensitive eyes and contact lenses wearers. This is such a straightforward product to use and the best part is that it won't break the bank. What's not to love?
It's not thefirst time that I claim my love for this iconic French pharmacy staple. Indeed, I have been using this watery-like solution as a toner for quite some time already. I think this is the most effective product out there to get rid of leftover impurities and residues. You simply soak a cotton pad with the lotion and gently dab it onto your face and neck. It's just so easy to use and it leaves your skin so clean and refreshed, it's such a great feeling. And since it's very mild and soothing, it won't strip the moisture out of your skin nor will it leave it dry. Try buying the larger bottle, this way you'll get a much better deal.
Neutrogena all-in-one make-up removing cleansing wipes While I don't use face wipes as part of my everyday cleansing routine, I think that they do come handy on nights when you can't be bothered to wash your face because you are sick or simply tired. They are also great to put in your beauty bag - instead of bringing loads of bottles - whenever you travel. As you can notice, this torn pack of wipes has been traveling around a lot lately! I have tried many different brands over the years and I always seem to go back to these cloths. I find them extremely soft and gentle on the skin compared to others I have tried in the past. And they are pretty good at removing dark eye make-up, which is not always the case with face wipes in general.
Are you using some of these products? If not, what are your favourite face cleansing products?