Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: Cetaphil Restoraderm

Ah, winter. The good news is that we’re about halfway through. The bad news is that for eczema sufferers, we have another few months of battling dry air and, as a result, dry skin. After writing my article on How to Save Your Skin in Winter, Cetaphil contacted me to review their Restoraderm line. I’ve struggled with eczema and atopic skin for years. Every dermatologist I've seen has recommended I try Cetaphil, so I was more than happy to check out the complete Restoraderm line that has earned the Eczema Society of Canada’s Seal of Acceptance.

Cetaphil Restoraderm Nourishing Moisture Wash

The Nourishing Moisture Wash has converted me. I tossed my boring old bars of soap and now use this both in the shower and as hand soap. You don’t get a huge lather out of the wash, which I consider to be a good thing. When a product lathers, it usually means it has sulfates in it, which is not helpful for dry, sensitive skin.

After using the wash, my skin felt clean without that tight dry feeling. I followed up with the lotion to lock in the moisture.

Cetaphil Restoraderm Replenishing Moisture Lotion

The Replenishing Moisture Lotion is really the star in the Restoraderm line. It contains filaggrin proteins, which researchers have found is lacking in eczema prone skin. The lotion also has ceramides, which are naturally occurring lipids that strengthen skin. The combination of the two ingredients forms an advanced system that replenishes your skin and improves its ability to retain moisture.

After a few weeks, my skin felt less itchy and much softer. I really appreciated that the lotion sank in quickly and was non-greasy. As a testament to how much I liked the lotion, I bought a second bottle for my office so I could use it as a hand moisturizer throughout the day!

The nice thing about both Cetaphil Restoraderm products is that they are paraben, fragrance and nut-oil free. During winter, almost everything aggravates my skin, so it’s very important that my products be as pure as possible.

If you have dry, itchy skin, I would definitely recommend giving Cetaphil Restoraderm a try. For my readers, Cetaphil Restoraderm is giving away 16 sample kits containing both the body wash and moisturizer! To obtain a kit, you must be one of the first 16 people to comment below stating how you cope with dry skin in the winter. After commenting, send me an e-mail at with your full name, mailing address and telephone number. I will forward it to Cetaphil who will send you the kit directly!

Excuse me now while I return to hibernating until this awful season is over!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fashion Friday Taping at Cityline!

I'm going to be honest. Everything I know about fashion, I learned from Cityline. I've been watching the show since my early teens (now 10++ years...EEK!) and between Marilyn Denis, Tracy Moore, Sandra Pittana, Lisa Rogers and Lynn Spence, every Friday I have gotten an invaluable education in the what and what not to wear.

I missed the boat and never went to Chicago to see Oprah, and I vowed not to let the opportunity pass to see the Canadian Oprah (Tracy!) in Toronto. Fashion Friday is Cityline's most popular show, so audience tickets are selected by lottery two to three months in advance. I applied a few times before without being chosen. But late last year, I applied for literally every Friday possible in January and February and was finally selected! 

The night before the taping I was SO excited I couldn't sleep. It worked out well as I decided to wake up at 5:30AM to let my curls dry naturally so they would look their best. Nobody said the life of a TV star is easy! hehehe...

The set was much smaller than I anticipated. Before the show started taping, there was a flurry of excitement between the producer, cameramen, and set assistants, and of course the buzz of the audience. Bill Rowley, hairstylist extraordinaire, was doing the makeover and went through the audience searching for someone who wanted a drastic change, not just a quarter inch trim. A mom who was there with her daughter was selected and was whisked away to have her before-photo taken and her makeup removed. I always thought that the makeover team was seriously pressed for time to complete a transformation in an hour, but they were done with her about half way through the show!

A few models came out before the show to have still shots taken and I saw that Sandra Pittana would be the guest fashion expert. Sandra has the most fun style out of the three fashion experts. Her hot pink top matched her nails AND her glasses!! (Fashion takeaway: I need to expand my glasses collection by infinity!)

I had a mini crisis trying to figure out what to wear and what to make my boyfriend wear (I'm his personal stylist), but I immediately knew I made the right decision in my royal-blue peplum suit when Tracy came out wearing the exact same color! She said that the audience looked great and looked to my boyfriend (one of the only two males in the audience) and commented that he looked "shnazzy!" in his vest suit with coordinating tie, handkerchief and socks!

The multiple massive cameras somewhat blocked our view, but the actual show taping ran very smoothly. We saw two fashion shows, one on swimwear from Melmira and the other on activewear from Sporting Life. Bill did a segment on hair care 101 and Bahar Niramwalla, the makeup expert, showcased cleansing oils and a lesson on how to line your lips. I was surprised at how quickly they moved between segments. The show isn't live, but they still took the equivalent of a commercial break to switch from one segment to another. Two hours after we arrived, it was all done!

Of course like a groupie, I had to get photos with all my favourite personalities. I was literally star stuck and barely got two words out with them but whatever. Every single person I encountered was so incredibly kind and down to earth. Tracy was even more stunning in person and even though she was in a rush to catch a plane, she took photos with everyone! 

Me with Tracy Moore, host of Cityline. We look like twinsies in our matching outfits!
The always fabulous Sandra Pittana! (When you watch the show, notice how she starts off with a necklace, but then takes it off. It was interfering with her mic!)
Bill Rowley said he liked my hair!! :D
With the makeup experts, Bahar Niramwalla and Tracy Peart!
Cityline videographer Patrick Reynolds!

Of course, Cityline wouldn't let their audience members walk out empty handed. I got a Dior lipliner, a prize pack with full size versions of various Palmer's Cocoa Butter products and a $50 gift certificate to First Choice Haircutters. I traded my First Choice gift certificate with my boyfriend for his lipliner and cocoa butter goodies!

A cameraman took video of the audience so you MIGHT be able to see me when the show airs. You can catch it on CityTV next Friday, January 24th. You can also stream the show online here:

Thanks Cityline for letting me see how the magic happens!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How to Save Your Skin in Winter

I'm not sure where in the world people are lucky enough to have four distinct seasons, but in Ottawa, we have two. The hot, humid, only-a-Corona-will-save-me-now summer and the frigid, dry, peace-out-I'll-see-you-in-six-months-when-it's-a-helluva-lot-warmer winter.

Unfortunately, I have eczema (an itchy ultra dry skin issue) which thrives in neither condition. Basically, my skin is only happy when I'm in a perfect room temperature of 21°C. My eczema started as a child and by my early 20's I thought I had outgrown it, but a few years ago my eczema flared up in the most awful of ways. Extremely dry, raw, red itchy patches popped up all over my body. The worst areas were around my eyes where at times it was so bad it looked like I had been in a catfight, and on my hands where it hurt to do the dishes and wear bracelets or my beloved Fossil watch.

After many dermatologist and naturopath visits, I was diagnosed with a severe nickel allergy (there was nickel in my tweezers (!!!) which was why my eyes were flaring up). Through a lot of trial and error in nutritional changes, moisturizers and medicated creams, I have *knock on wood* mostly gotten a handle on my dry skin.
The upside on all of this is that I am now a walking encyclopedia of how to keep your skin moisturized. Here is my guide on how to save your skin this winter:


Between the cold, wind and dry air, winter is no party for your skin. The best technique for keeping your skin supple is to pat dry your skin (as opposed to rubbing) with a towel and to apply your moisturizer immediately as you get out of the shower and each and every time you wash your hands, while your skin is still slightly damp. For your body, wait about ten minutes for the moisturizer to sink in before putting on your clothes. Consistency is key to help your skin strengthen it’s protective layer.

The best moisturizer is a matter of personal opinion. Try and look for creams over lotions, and ones that contain high quality moisturizing ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

My personal favourites are:

Add Oils

Oils are amazing in preventing water loss and moisturizing the skin. The trick is finding the right oil for your needs. For dry winter skin I mixed my moisturizer with a small amount of coconut, jojoba or argan oil. No matter how dry your skin is, you need to use it sparingly or risk looking like a grease ball.

My naturopath introduced me to the all natural Suki line which has a fantastic face oil called Suki Pure Facial Moisture – Nourishing. One to two drops combined with my Cliniderm Soothing Cream leaves my skin glowing!

Wash Your Face Once a Day

Unless your skin is incredibly oily or you’re fighting acne, consider washing your face just once a day. No matter how gentle your cleanser, most are stripping away precious oils in your skin, which are in high demand come wintertime.

Wash your face at night to remove the day’s makeup and environmental pollutants, then in the morning just splash water on your face, moisturize and you’re ready to go!

Watch Your Diet

It’s no secret that what you put into your body shows on the outside. While severely dry skin can be the result of a complicated mix of genes, environmental triggers, allergies/intolerances and just bad luck, eating healthy will ensure your skin is nourished from the inside out. Experts recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water, plenty of fruits and vegetables and healthy whole grains. Limiting nasties such as caffeine, sugar and processed foods will also help. In terms of vitamins, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B, E, biotin, zinc and essential fatty acids.

Careful in the Shower

Hot showers rob your skin of moisture, so limiting your time in there will only help your skin. While showering or bathing, keep the water on warm and spend no more than ten minutes with your rubber ducky!

Get a Humidifier

Think you’re safe from the cold winter air once you get into your home? Think again. Your heating system can dry out the air – and your skin. Put the moisture back in through a humidifier. I keep mine in my bedroom and turn it on before bed. Adding a humidifier made a HUGE difference for me in terms of my skin comfort while sleeping.

Seek the Help of a Professional

If you’re skin looks drier than usual or is cracking, itchy or inflamed, seek the help of a dermatologist sooner rather than later. If you do have eczema, you will likely need a medicated cream to get rid of it. As much as I don’t like to take medicine (even in cream form!), NOTHING else worked to make it go away permanently.

Good luck this winter and if all else fails, perhaps a winter getaway to a more tepid climate is in order! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let's Talk

This is just a quick post to let y'all know that I updated my social media icons! Check out my right sidebar to see them. You can find me on the following platforms:

Image Map
For my blogger friends, if you're interested in creating similar social media icons, I used PicMonkey to create the photo and then used a free image mapping tool, to make each icon clickable.

Let's stay in touch! :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

OOTD: Rules for Wedding Guest Attire

In an alternate universe, I would attend numerous glamourous galas. This would necessitate the purchase of a new gown each and every time, and hours of primping to make my grand entrance in the ballroom of some exquisite mansion. My reality is that day in and day out, I have about half an hour in the morning to haul myself out of bed and press out a corporette outfit to make my debut in my four wall cubicle. 

I'm now in the thick of the wedding years with my friends. Of course I'm ecstatic to celebrate the union and love of the happy couple, but I'm equally ecstatic to have an opportunity to get dressed to the nine's for a night on the town!

I had a hard time finding the perfect outfit for my friend's wedding in September. I wanted something that adhered to my rules of wedding guest attire:

Keep the attention on the bride. 

Don't forget you are a guest at the wedding. I liken it to being a fashion accessory. You shouldn't overshadow the main piece (the bride), but rather compliment it. Keep the attention on the bride by avoiding anything flashy, short, sparkly, tight or revealing. If your outfit makes jaws drop, it's not the right outfit for a wedding!

Stay classy not trashy.

This links with my first rule. If you're wearing something trashy, you're taking away from the bride. Of course, a skanky dress will not outdo the beauty of a bride, but it does detract attention away from the more important things of the day.

No red, white or black.

Most people know you should never wear white to a wedding. I'm a bit old school and extend it to red and black. I love red and wear it frequently, but to a wedding it's like putting a spotlight on yourself and saying look at me! Lady in red! In terms of black, if you have nothing else that appeases all the other rules - you can wear your black dress. But personally, I prefer a more celebratory colour as opposed to one traditionally associated with mourning!

Dress up!

The bride and groom have spent oodles of money on their special day. Show respect to their efforts by dressing your best. Be sure to check the invitation for dress code instructions such as black tie, cocktail attire or formal. Even if the dress code says casual, jeans are always a no-no.

When I laid eyes on this lace number, I knew it would be perfect for a Fall wedding. Since I'm nerdy, I made my boyfriend wear a coordinating tie and handkerchief. 

Breakdown: Le Chateau dress and clutch | Enzo Angiolini shoes | The Bay earrings | Gifted bracelets

I saw my lovely hairdresser to get my hair blown out into what I call Victoria Secret Angel hair. The wedding was fantastic and hopefully I have another one to go to soon before the baby years come on. While I can equate a wedding to a gala, I'm pretty sure a baby arrival doesn't require the same wardrobe!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ottawa's Great Pumpkin Charity Ball Review

Given my love for dressing up, it's no surprise that I love to transform myself on Halloween. Always as something attractive of course - I'm too vain to go as something truly scary! I had a good five Halloween's as a princess in my youth, and over the years I've upgraded to more original, although equally girly costumes. This year, I decided to drag my boyfriend into a couples costume and after a lot of Internet searching, I we decided to go as Lumiere and Babette (the candlestick and the feather duster) from Beauty and the Beast. I like to think of it as the unsung love story of the Disney classic! 

From a house party on Saturday night - that's one half of Google Maps behind us!

On Friday night, we took our costumes and went to Ottawa's Great Pumpkin Charity Ball held at St. Brigid's "Haunted Castle". It's a former church in the market that was converted into an Irish Cultural Centre. After I got over the initial shock of seeing a party at a church - with people drinking and a rockband in the altar - I realized that this was an amazing idea. The charity ball is a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing. The ball has frequently sold out and this year was no exception. 750 guests filled the former church to dance until dawn.

I was so impressed with the professionalism of the volunteer led event. As I entered St. Brigid's, a toga wearing fraternity member welcomed me and escorted me to the downstairs "Disco Dungeon". Before entering the dungeon, another volunteer invited me to enter the $1 000 cash prize draw and I got a professional photo taken with my posse.

The disco dungeon had a a fabulous DJ who thankfully kept the Halloween themed music to a minimum and played current songs as well as some of the best from the 2000's (hearing Spice Girls was an unexpected happy surprise!). The organizers rented $75 000 in lights and lasers and it was totally worth it - the place looked amazing!

Upstairs the altar was set up for a band called Hair Nation. I was downstairs mostly so I didn't hear them play. At midnight, everyone congregated (har har) upstairs to hear who won the prizes (raffle tickets were also sold for separate hourly draws of a very extensive prize list). Best costume went to a head to toe blue Avatar couple. My favorite get-ups included a puppet complete with strings, a werewolf, a larger than life Domino's costume, a Sailor Moon group and various convincing dead looking people! Given the amount of time and effort that went into our costumes, I'm glad that everyone did the same. I have never seen such thoughtful and elaborate costumes! The crowd was really friendly and nice. Strangers would come up to each other and ask to take photos and compliment their outfits.

Before I left, I enjoyed some cookies made by Algonquin College's Culinary Program. Throughout the night they were offering finger foods - although the cookies were the only things I was able to get my hands on. 

While it was 19+, most people seemed to be in their mid 20's to mid 40's. Overall, I LOVED the Great Pumpkin Charity Ball and now have a ton of ideas for next year's costume! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

OOTD: Lace and Love

There’s something about lace. When I put it on, I instantly feel like I could walk out the door to my limo, be brought to my private plane and jet off to Paris to meet mon amour for dinner above the Eiffel Tower. Oops…reality check: I just feel more ladylike, romantic, grown-up and pretty!

Next month my beau and I are celebrating our anniversary. We wanted to make this one special and have a getaway somewhere – but November is usually such a cold miserable month, we decided to celebrate early instead! We hopped on Via Rail and headed to Quebec City for an extra-long weekend in early September.
For our anniversary dinner, we went to the ultra chic, Pain Béni, located in central Old Quebec. I have said this before – ambiance is just as important to me as the quality of the food  and the restaurant oozed a lace worthy ensemble.

Breakdown: Homemade dress | Franco Sarto pumps | Aldo clutch | Le Chateau necklace
There’s something that’s almost a little bridal about this dress. I find it’s a little too dressy for most occasions but our anniversary dinner felt like a very appropriate time to bring it out!

The patio at Pain Beni. I LOVE the chandeliers!
Interior of Pain Beni.

The food at Pain Béni was scrumptious and quite innovative. In the spirit of love, we shared an appetizer, which was a bad idea – a tomato pastry tart with mozzarella and balsamic gel. It was so good – we each wanted our own!

I’m not a major fish lover, but I decided to try the salmon and Nordic shrimp tartar with tzatziki as my main. The b/f had Bérarc farm braised lamb with pappardelle pasta and sesame carrot purée. They were absolutely delicious!

While it wasn’t Paris, Quebec City was my city of love, because my love was there with me!
Editor’s Note: I promise no more sappy love posts until at least our next anniversary! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...