Review: Caudalie Vinoperfect

As I’ve mentioned in other skincare reviews that I’ve done, my skin is a rather tricky thing. More recently my skincare routine has graduated from a mediocre and lazy 2-step wash and moisturize system to a more advanced regime of makeup removal, cleanse, tone/peel, and moisturize. So things are looking up. But just when I thought I had finally mastered the art of skincare, things like essence and serum were thrown into the mix.

I discovered that a Korean skincare routine could involve anywhere from 10 to 30 products (which is completely mind boggling to me because who on earth has that much spare time to wash their face). Anyway, most North Americans, including myself, are accustomed to a 3-step “cleanse, treat, and moisturize” system. Simple. It only begins to get complicated when there is an attempt to throw in a few Korean skincare steps, particularly the essence and serum part.

Let me break it down for you in the simplest of terms. An essence is a highly enriched, lightweight formula to be applied to the entire face, traditionally after washing and toning, to prepare the skin for oncoming products such as a serum. A serum is a concentration of nutrients to be applied for a particular purpose such as brightening, anti-aging, or to combat specific problem areas of the face like dark spots or acne.

Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

To be completely and 100% honest, I had no idea what an essence was when I started using this product. Is it a toner? Micellar water? Cleansing milk? Serum? Do I drink it? Pour it on my face? What? I didn’t understand. Essence is a somewhat vague and pretentious word to describe skincare if you ask me. Once I did some research and discovered what I was supposed to do with it, it began to make more sense to me.

This stuff is like citrusy, magic water for your skin. Applying it feels like you’re infusing your face with refreshing spa water. The soothing formula includes white peony to brighten and grape water to moisturize. Don’t worry, it’s not another product that feels good but does nothing for you. The Glycolic acid gently exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells without the need for rough cleansers or harsh deep cleaning face masks. Did I mention it smells incredible?

Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

I’ve used a couple of serums in the past and they never really made a huge difference to my skin, so I kind of lost faith in the power of serums. I think the combination of the essence with the radiance serum is what restored my faith. If this product is used solo, the results take longer to show, and the effects are less noticeable. I think that to really notice the benefits it should be used consistently and hand-in-hand with the essence. This product is great for help correcting dark spots and evening out your overall complexion to give your face a more healthy and glowy appearance if it is used after the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence.

Final Thoughts

I don’t have a lot to say. This stuff is like my new skin care crack. I’m addicted. I can visibly see and feel the difference in my skin’s tone and texture. My face looks healthier and glowy, and because of this I feel more confident not wearing makeup. If you’re going to add any of these Asian inspired skin care steps into your routine, I recommend adding the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence. It is definitely worth a try if you’re struggling to get rid of your dull, vitamin deprived skin.

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Review: Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range

I can’t think of anything more frustrating and irritating than a shitty hair day. If your hair looks bad, you immediately feel uncomfortable and out of your element. It is like your safety blanket is damaged and unable to protect you. According to Viviscal, a woman spends nearly $50,000 on hair maintenance during her lifetime, and over 1/3 of women admit they’ve canceled plans because they don’t like how they look, and 1/4 women avoid going on a date when they have a bad hair day. It’s safe to say that having good hair is important to us women.

Viviscal has been researching hair for over 20 years, and have developed the most researched 100% drug-free hair supplement. The new shampoo, conditioner and elixir work with Viviscal’s clinically proven hair growth supplements as a unique dual-action system for thicker, body-boosting volume to attain gorgeous locks. Viviscal’s new Gorgeous Growth Densifying hair care range aims to work from the outside to make your hair look thick and luscious. Each Gorgeous Growth product contains Viviscal’s proprietary complex Ana: Tel™,  which contains clinically tested ingredients from natural sources, including pea sprouts, and nourishes strands with Biotin, Zinc, and Keratin to leave hair looking thicker and fuller. The Shampoo cleanses with a light, creamy lather and rinses out easily. It has a refreshing botanical scent that lasts. The Conditioner has a weightless formula that moisturizes the hair. The Elixir is a lightweight, body-boosting leave-in treatment for thicker looking hair.

My Experience

I’ll be honest, after my first time using Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range (the shampoo, conditioner, and elixir) I didn’t notice a huge difference in the thickness or denseness of my hair. Since I naturally have thick hair, the first time I used the product trio I only noticed that it gave my hair some added texture. It wasn’t until I gave the shampoo, conditioner, and hair elixir another chance that I began to see more noticeable results. Like I said, regarding thickness, my hair is already fairly thick, so it was hard to notice changes at first. But after the second, third, and fourth time using the products I began to see that not only was my hair given extra texture, but it was also starting to be more voluminous, specifically at the roots. I always struggle with getting enough lift, body, volume, and texture in my hair, especially at the roots where I flip my front layers over to the side. I like to have full-bodied hair, and sometimes products leave my hair looking too soft and flat at the time. These products would benefit those people who are struggling with fine and flat hair. For those of you who already have relatively thick hair and are hesitant to try a densifying range of products, I would still definitely recommend giving the Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range a try. It doesn’t make hair feel puffy or frizzy, but rather enhances volume and texture. Say bye-bye to bad hair days!

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Novella’s Summer Sangria Recipes

The sun is shining, the temperature has reached above 20 degrees celsius, and patio season has officially arrived! You know what that means? Sangria. Nothing quite goes hand in hand like patios and sangria. In case they aren’t already, sangria recipes need to be a part of your summer entertaining, immediately. With that said, I have officially dubbed the summer of 2017 the Summer of Sangria! So, for the days you want to indulge in a refreshing batch of the famous Spanish beverage without venturing to a patio, here are two simple sangria recipes to make at home!

Red Wine Sangria

Wine takes the center stage when it comes to sangria; it is the livelihood of the drink. To make a more traditional Spanish red sangria, choose a medium-bodied red wine that is dry and slightly fruity, like a merlot. If you want to make it truly authentic, use a real Spanish red wine like Tempranillo, Garnacha, or other Rioja wines. Just a reminder, the wine doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive to make good sangria!

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1/4 cup of cherry brandy (you could also use rum)
  • 1/4 cup of orange liqueur (Cointreau)
  • 1 orange
  • Handfuls of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries
  • 200 ml of orange juice or 1-3 tbsp of sugar or simple syrup (optional, depending on the desired level of sweetness)

Slice the orange and add berries to a pitcher. Add booze and wine and give everything a good stir. It’s sangria, don’t over think it! Tuck the pitcher into the fridge and leave for at least two hours to let all the flavours steep together and allow the contents to chill.

Instead of adding carbonation to the actual sangria pitcher, this sangria will more enjoyable if bubbles are added to top off your glass. The best way to serve sangria is over ice and topped with club soda, lemon or lime soda, or even sparkling water. Now relax and enjoy!

White Wine Sangria

Don’t fret! If you’re not a red wine person, you can still enjoy a variation of the Spanish favourite. In Spain it is also known as “sangria blanca.” Similar to the red, when choosing a white wine for sangria, you want to pick something that is dry, crisp, and unoaked. Sangria is supposed to gain sweetness from fruit or a touch of sugar, so picking a drier wine is always best. Pick something like a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling, or a Portuguese wine like a Vinho Verde.

  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 1/4 cup of triple sec
  • 1/4 peach schnapps
  • 1 orange
  • Handfuls of pineapple slices and strawberries
  • 170ml of pineapple juice or 1-3 tbsp of sugar or simple syrup (optional, depending on the desired level of sweetness)

Just like the red, mix everything together, let it stand in the fridge for as long as you can (at least a couple of hours), and serve over ice and dilute with bubbles of your choice!

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Review: True Glow by Conair

Shedding your dry winter skin in exchange for soft and supple summer skin can be a challenge. I’ve heard of skin brushing before, but never once have I ever thought to give it a try myself. To be honest, I always viewed it as an additional, and rather unnecessary, part of a beauty routine. My skin has always had a dry and uneven texture to it. And up until recently I also believed that my skin was too dry and sensitive to use a skin brush to exfoliate my face. As it turns out, skin brushing has been proven to have many positive health benefits like increasing circulation, eliminating waste and toxins, reducing fat deposits, and even tightening the skin and toning muscles.

True Glow from Conair is an excellent way to rejuvenate yourself for the summer months and buff away your drab winter skin. True Glow has various attachments to help exfoliate and eliminate dead skin, leaving your skin incredibly soft and refreshed. It also uses Sonic technology, which means there is not just a rotation but also a pulsation to lift dirt from the skin and help to cleanse clogged pores. The device also has a high, medium, and low settings, which makes it perfect for people with different skin types. It is rechargeable, waterproof, and relatively compact, which makes it ideal for storage purposes and traveling.

My Experience

After my very first time using True Glow by Conair, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe I had waited all this time to try skin brushing. The first thing I noticed immediately after using it was the difference in my skin’s texture. I suffer from rough, dry, uneven texture and it has been nearly impossible for me to find something that was consistently benefiting my skin. The first time I used it was in the evening as a part of my bedtime skincare routine. I had removed my makeup before using it, and I decided to use the lowest power setting since it was my first time using the device. Afterward, my face felt successfully cleaned and exfoliated without feeling tight or irritated. It removed all the excess dirt and makeup that was left behind by my makeup remover. Honestly, I also feel like it’s the best way to get the most out of your facial cleanser and skin care routine. The benefits of a facial cleanser are enhanced with the help of skin brushing. After about a week of consistent use, I genuinely believe my skin has never looked or felt better. It looks clearer, healthier, and more toned. I am so happy I jumped on the skin brushing bandwagon, and I can’t see myself ever jumping off! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend giving skin brushing a chance.

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The Modern Career: The Unconventional Road to Success

For most of us, the pressure of going to college/university, picking a major, and following a related career path, has been chiselled into our brain. A lot of our parents have worked in the same job, for the same company, for twenty to thirty years or more. Our parents will, or have already, retired with a full pension, and will die knowing that they lived comfortably doing the same job their entire lives, without ever having, or following, a craving for something more.

But we are not our parents. We have grown up in a vastly different landscape. The world is a different place than it used to be, and younger generations seem to crave something more than just 8 hour work days and full benefits. I am not saying every young person is following a non-linear career trajectory, but more people are following more creative pursuits, and going down the road less travelled than ever before. Some might even say that despite our job market being increasingly more competitive than the decades before us, our generation is happier and more fulfilled with our careers than generations before us. While some traditional things are still important, for many of us, we see that there is more to life than Keeping up with the Jones.

Sarah Milan created her own business known as Sarah’s Soaps to fulfill her needs for natural, preservative and chemical free skin care. As a result, she began creating handcrafted, natural, vegan, artificial free body lotions, bath soaks, and soaps.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I saw myself in my future career, so I struggled with what to take in school. I wasn’t driven towards my program, so I always searched for new creative outlets to explore. I was searching Pinterest one day and came across soap making. It was one thing that I never actually heard of anyone doing so I gave it a try and instantly fell in love with how practical yet artsy the process is.”

Her goal was to create a good product that would also be good for your skin and overall health. By doing so, she also was able to contribute to her local community in Niagara. She sells her products at a local craft market, salons, as well as online on the official Sarah’s Soap website.

“For me, it has totally been worth it. I am the kind of person that chooses to do things based on happiness – if something will make me or others happy I am going to do it. Life is too short to sit at a boring desk job day to day. That is just not for me. I am a creative person, and I need to be hands on,” says Sarah. “Since I have started my business I have met so many amazing like-minded individuals whom I have inspired and taught me so much. You can tell when someone is passionate about what they do, it shows.”

My Experience

What I’ve learned recently is that it’s okay not to have all your ducks in a row at 24. I’ve also learned that it’s okay not to follow a conventional career path. You are not confined to be defined by one single thing. You can be a server and a journalist. It’s allowed, and totally doable. You can be an owner of a business and also an aspiring opera singer if you want, and doing that doesn’t make you any less of a person, or mean you are less intelligent, or that you will be any less successful in life.

When I finished school, I felt this innate pressure to find a job in my “field.” The pressure wasn’t necessarily from my parents, but from comparing myself to this idea of what I felt I should be doing. I was serving tables and applying for jobs, and the more interviews I had, the more I realized two important things. One that I didn’t want to work Monday-Friday from 9 to 5 and sit at a desk all day. Two that I didn’t want to work for someone else. I realized I was the creator of my pressure and stress. It was my life, and I was allowed to do what I wanted. Why should I spend my life doing something I don’t like? I would rather be happy and follow my passion for creativity rather than conventional, and I think a lot of people are starting to view their career path in a similar light.

The Moral of the Story

At Novella, many of us are in this together. We chose to follow our passion and work for Novella while balancing other jobs to help sustain ourselves. We do it because we love it, and it makes us happy, and it’s what we WANT to be doing.

So, stop apologizing for doing what you want and following a career path that is seen by some as non-traditional. It’s your life, not theirs. And at the very least, at least you’ll know you tried. There are so many cool and amazing people doing amazing and creative things that would never have been considered, or even possible twenty years ago, so why not be one of those people? For fear of sounding cliche, just remember, you will always regret the chances you didn’t take.

As for Sarah, her advice for those who are struggling with the urge to follow a “non-traditional career path” is simple.

“Just do it. It is super cheesy and cliché but it is true. A career is a career at the end of the day, so why not do what you love?”

Sarah Milan, Sarah’s Soaps