The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

1.The climate crisis. The world climate strike has been a hot topic in the news recently. The climate strikes that happened around the world these last couple of weeks have been impressive. The photos floating around the internet of people gathering in cities and small towns have been incredible. The world may not unite on many things, but people from all corners of the earth are coming together for climate strike action. If you want to learn more about what you can do to learn more and take action, read this post by Joanna Goddard on Cup of Jo.

After reading the article, I calculated my carbon footprint using this carbon calculator. I’m below the Canadian average, but I know I can do better. I am still above the average for the European Union and the world. I (and you, too!) can reduce my carbon emissions by following this advice and reducing use of plastic. We don’t have green bin (food waste) collection where I live, but I might try this simple composting method to discard food scraps. I already do this with egg shells, which has been easy (and good for my tomatoes!).

Individuals can make a difference! Get educated. Stay informed.

2. Books. I listened to Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Melinda Gates’ The Moment of Lift. I enjoyed them both and learned a lot. Both women offered candid stories of the lives of their families and their goals.

I also listened to An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and I liked it.

3. Netflix. I watched Unbelieveable one evening last week. I was so hooked that I stayed up until the wee hours! It held my attention all the way through. It’s a true crime series that centres on the story of a young rape victim. While noone believed her account, in time, two detectives in another state linked pieces of a puzzle together to catch a serial rapist. I then read this article to learn more about the young main charcter – Katlin Dever.

4. Beauty. Has anyone used castor oil for hair growth? A friend recently recommended I give it a try, so I’ve been reading up it. Some articles say there are benefits, but others say there’s no scientific evidence to show that it does promote hair growth. And what about these vitamins? I’m tempted to try them after reading this thread.

5. Charity. I’m run/walking the CIBC Run for the Cure this Sunday in Kitchener-Waterloo. Are you? Where? If you’d like to donate to the cause, please do so here. I appreciate your support!

Beauty: My New Dior Mascara and More

I’m not usually one to carry on about beauty routines and products, but I have a new mascara, and it amazes me. It has impressed me so much that I want to share it with you. While I could have shown you a photo of the product, I have opted to include it as just one part of this post where I am sharing my full daily beauty routine. Interested? Read on!

I preface this whole post by letting you know that I’m very much a newbie when it comes to skincare, makeup, hair, and everything related to the beauty industry. In highschool, when many of my friends were perfecting their makeup brush strokes, I was living it up with a soap + water face cleanse, Maybelline under eye concealer, and Maybelline mascara. On special occasions, I’d really change things up by adding Nivea moisturizer. Since then, my routine has pretty much stayed the same. Every so often, I’d eyeshadow and eyeliner.

A couple of years ago, a friend recommend I visit the MAC counter and ask for some advice. So I did. The MAC people helped me pick a new under eye concealer. They also suggested an all-over BB cream and blush. I even bought some brushes! I continued to stick with my Maybelline mascara.

In Paris a couple of weeks, I opted for a mini-makeover at the Dior counter. Why not, right? I wasn’t intending to revamp my eye makeup, but I was curious about their concealer options. So one thing led to another, and boom, I have a whole new daily eye makeup routine.

Here’s my morning makeup-less face:

Here’s my makeup routine “before”:

Step 1: Cleanse and moisturize. I have been using Cerave for a couple of years now on the recommendation of my doctor. I’m pleased with both the cleanser and cream. I use this duo every morning. I use the cleanser before bed to remove my makeup.

Step 2: BB Cream. I use MAC’s BB cream when I go out, feel like putting more effort into my makeup routine. I think it evens out your skin tone, but sometimes I can’t even tell what it does.

Step 3: Under eye concealer. As per MAC’s recommendation, I use the concealer under my eyes.

Step 4: Mascara. I have used Maybelline’s Great Lash mascara for decades. Yes, decades. I like it. It’s easy. It’s cheap. I can find it everywhere. For this post, I used the waterproof version because that’s what I had. Normally, I have used the traditional variety (with the green and pink container). I normally curl my eyelashes with a Revlon eyelash curler. I’m due for a replacement, and I’m considering buying the Shiseido lash curler when I’m in Japan.

Step 5: Vaseline. I use Vaseline on my lips in the morning. Throughout the day, I use a variety of lip balms. I generally like Burts Bees, SunBum, and Chapstick. Every so often, I remember to apply my MAC neutral-shade lipstick.

Step 6: Optional items. Every day, I skip the BB cream and stick with under eye concealer and mascara. If I go out or I’m in the mood to make an effort, I add eye shadow, eyeliner, brow liner, and blush. I haven’t perfected the application of any of these items.

Step 7: Evening cleanse and moisturize. I use the Cerave cleanser at night to remove my makeup, but I now moisturize using any variety of Valmont products. Oh, these creams smell so good and they feel lovely on my skin. I have enjoyed using every product that I have been given by my friends at Langdon Hall (the Langdon Hall Spa uses and carries Valmont).

Here’s my face after the application of MAC BB cream, MAC under eye concealer, Maybelline Great Lash mascara, and Vaseline on my lips:

Here’s my routine “after”:

My routine since Paris has stayed just about the same as above, but I have replaced products, and I’ve added another product.

Steps 1 and 2: As above.

Step 3: Under eye concealer. The Dior beauty consultant in Paris applied an under eye concealer in a small triangle area under my eye.

Step 4: Highlighter. After the under eye concealer, the Dior beauty consultant applied the Flash Luminizer highlighter all around my eye. I now do the same. For both the concealer and highlighter, the beauty consultant told me to use (and tap) my finger to apply the makeup. So I’ve put my brush aside for now and I’m trying things out with my finger.

Step 5: Mascara. This is where things get dramatic in terms of my beauty before and after. The Dior Pump ‘N’ Volume mascara is magic. It extends my lashes like you wouldn’t believe. I usually do one coat of mascara, but the Dior beauty consultant said that I can keep applying it if I want to be extra dramatic. She applied it on both sides of my top lashes and a touch on my bottom lashes. My routine is to stick to one layer on the top lashes.

Steps 5, 6, and 7: As above.

Here’s my face after the application of MAC BB cream, Dior concealer, Dior highlighter, Dior mascara, and Vaseline on my lips:

Here’s a close up of the eye makeup evolution:

To be honest, I don’t notice much difference in the concealer/highlighter between the two brands in terms of coverage and colour, but I do find the Dior products to be much lighter and more silky than the MAC products.

I hope you can see the difference in the mascara. This is what I find to be the most noticeable, and I’m pretty happy with my mascara splurge.

The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

1. Movies. I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and Instant Family on my flight home from Paris. I loved Bohemian Rhapsody. I was pretty much dancing in my seat. And I cried, too. Instant Family was fine. On Netflix, I watched Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan. I really enjoyed the movie and cried throughout. Jeez. I guess I have a few tears to shed these days! I also went to see Shoplifters – a Japanese film nominated for an Oscar. It was sad, interesting, and engaging. I can see why it’s nominated for an Oscar. It’s a story that hasn’t been told in movies, and the acting was very strong.

2. Linen bedding. Does anyone have linen bed linens? I’d love to try them one day. Parachute has quite the selection of linen bedding.

3. Mascara. When I was in Paris, I had my makeup done at the Dior counter at Le Bon March√©. It was a nice treat. I bought a few things, which was a real change for me as I never buy expensive makeup. But Dior might be on to something! The mascara is especially amazing. My lashes grow like crazy, and it does a great job at separating them. The Dior makeup artist taught me how to layer it on if I want to be even more dramatic. I’m thinking I might do a before and after post to really show you what I’m talking about. Interested in seeing a before and after?

4. Nail polish. I opted for a shellac manicure pre-Paris as I didn’t want my polish to be chipping off while I was away. My nails looked great for over two weeks! I had forgotten how smooth and shiny this type of polish stays for an extended period of time. I don’t think it’s good for my nails, but I think it was a great option for a vacation. How’d I remove it? I dipped my fingers in nail polish remover for 10 minutes or so and then carefully scraped off the polish. It took some effort, but it was fine. I’m giving my nails a break from it as they do seem softer. I’ll likely opt for shellac again pre-Japan.

5. Books. I finished The Witch Elm by Tana French. There are mixed reviews of it online, but I enjoyed it. Now I’m back on another book by Japanese bestseller Haruki Murakimi – Norwegian Wood.

Travel: A Return to The Ritz Carlton Sarasota

I have been spending summers (or part of summers) in Florida since I was 7 years old. Most of this time has been lounging around the beach and pool in Madeira Beach, but in recent years, I’ve enjoyed a vacation-in-a-vacation at The Ritz Carlton Sarasota. In brief, it’s pure luxury. Not only is every detail of the hotel and its offerings well-considered, but the staff at this hotel are so kind and welcoming. The people are definitely what have helped me enjoy my stay each year.

I was in Florida once again with my friend Shannon, and while we love living a retiree-way-of-life in Madeira Beach, we love to get pampered at the Ritz Sarasota, too. We began this visit with a visit to the spa, which was a special treat from the Ritz. Shannon opted for a facial where her skin was treated with the best of the best serums and creams.

I was treated to the Sarasota Touch of Honey. During this 80-minute treatment, after an initial exfoliation of my feet, the massage therapist did reflexology whereby she applied pressure to specific points on my feet to heal aches and pains. In reflexology, pressure points on the feet correspond to organs and areas of the entire body. How did this turn out? Well, I was skeptical at first, if I’m being honest. But then when I could feel tension in my feet and the therapist trying to work out the pains, other areas of my body then acted up. I’m not making this up! At one point, my stomach was making all sorts of gurgling, digestive sounds. At another point, my mind seemed to just open up and become free and clear. If you’ve never had reflexology, I know this sounds kooky, but I’m sharing the truth about these reactions.

I’m all set for my 9am spa call!

After the reflexology, the therapist moved to my upper body and gave me a head, neck, and shoulder massage. It felt amazing!

Post-treatment, the therapist showed me the reflexology map, and gave me some feedback about what she experienced while she was working on my feet. She confirmed that the areas that were tight were also the areas where I was feeling reactions (e.g., gut, mind). Overall, I was glad to learn, my body is pretty balanced. Phew. Let’s hope it continues to be!

digestion, mental tension, and sinuses were on my reflexology menu

After the spa, we enjoyed lazy hours on end at the hotel’s beach club and at the main hotel pool.

I know there’s not much white in this photo, but the shades of blue are hard to resist!

there aren’t many outfit changes on my Florida vacations

The beach club restaurant – Ridley’s Porch – was recently renovated, and since it is filled with white, I had to share it here.

Beyond the outdoors, our hotel room was as it has been in the past – spacious and with the most glorious beds! We spoiled ourselves with room service breakfast on our balcony, too. In our Ritz Carlton robes, of course.

It was easy to fall asleep in this luxurious bed.

Thanks for the sweet white treats, Ritz Sarasota!

Breakfast on the balcony…don’t mind if I do!

light and bright in the room

I don’t usually meet brand partners while I’m wearing a bathing suit, but I also don’t bring many outfit options to Florida!

Because I’ve made repeat visits to The Ritz Carlton Sarasota, you probably already know that I enjoy it, I recommend it, and I will return.

Many thanks to Matthew and Kristine for arranging our visit.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Read about my 2017 visit and my 2016 visit to The Ritz Carlton Sarasota.

Travel: Ritz Carlton Sarasota Spa Experience

How many massages have you had in your life? I’ve had two! Two!? One was earlier this year at the Scandinave Spa. The other was at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota last month.

When my friend and I took a vacation-in-a-vacation to the Ritz Sarasota (read about our stay here), we were lucky to be treated to massages at the beautiful Ritz Spa.

I know the Ritz staff see thousands of people come through the hotel each month/year/day, but when I’m there, I feel like I’m getting all of the attention! How do they do that? My spa visit was a perfect example of this kind of attentive service.

We arrived at the spa first thing in the morning after an easy drive from Madeira Beach, Florida. After reviewing the spa menu and consulting with the Ritz staff in advance of my visit, I was booked in for an 80-minute lemongrass bamboo massage. Here’s the description straight from the spa menu:

“Therapeutic hands, warmed bamboo and an infusion of lemongrass soothe tension through this deeply holistic and balancing massage. Be transformed as your mind rests and muscular stress melts away.”

I can confirm that the description and the reality matched perfectly! I lay on a heated bed under the softest covers. My masseuse started by scrubbing my feet and wrapping them in a warm towel. She then used lemongrass-infused oil on my skin before she started¬† massaging me, alternating between her hands and warmed bamboo sticks. Oh my goodness – the warmed bamboo sticks were incredible! I don’t think I was very stressed to begin with (because I was on vacation after all!), but the systematic, thoughtful rolling of the bamboo sticks across my body really made sure that any and all tensions left my body. It was fantastic!

Honestly, I didn’t know if I would be bored for an 80-minute massage, but there was no way! I was unbelievably relaxed, and if my appointment was later in the day, I surely would have fallen asleep.

Of course there were some points in the massage where the masseuse applied more pressure – and I wasn’t sure if it would lead to some soreness later on in the day – but it didn’t. I felt great! She checked in with me several times about the pressure, and switched the bamboo sticks depending on tension and body part.

My skin was so soft – and my body felt relaxed – for days after my massage.

This spa visit was a very special experience, and I’m grateful to the Ritz Carlton for welcoming us in so warmly.

If you’d like to learn more about the Ritz Sarasota, read about my visit last year, my visit last month., or check out my posts on Instagram at #WhiteCabanaGoesToTheRitz, or #WhiteCabanaGoesToFlorida.

Side note: Love for the Ritz runs in my family. At the same time that I was booking a return visit to the Ritz Sarasota, my sister was booking a return visit to the Ritz Lake Oconee Georgia for her and her family. As you may remember, she and her husband have four kids, and the whole family absolutely loves the Ritz! She has told me that the Ritz staff have treated the kids so well, and there are plenty of fun activities for them! It’s a very kid-friendly resort!

Thanks to S.A. and the Ritz Carlton Sarasota team for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photos are my own.



Travel: Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains, Ontario

This year is all about #Canada150. Our country’s notable birthday is encouraging me to explore what lives outside of my neighbourhood. I’m a traveler as you may have noticed, but traveling for extended periods of time is challenging given my schedule. That’s why I’m trying to travel closer to home for shorter periods of time.

I recently took a day trip to the Collingwood area of Ontario. The region is about a 2-hour drive from Waterloo, which makes it a great day trip destination. The main purpose of my trip was to relax at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain.

don’t be fooled – this is just a photo backdrop since cameras are not allowed in the baths area

the trees are absolutely beautiful – even if they don’t yet have their leaves

I brought along my Sea Bags tote, and it was perfect!

walk down memory lane – here I am two years ago in the same location

It has been a few years since I first went to Scandinave, so my trip was long overdue. Since my last trip, Scandinave has added an infrared sauna, relaxation solaria, and multiple indoor and outdoor loungers.

one of the best parts of Scandinave – the quiet

The idea at Scandinave is to alternate between hot, cold, and rest periods in a calm, quiet environment. We started with the infrared sauna since it was new, and we wanted to try it out. Thumbs up! We moved to a warm bath, then plunged into one of the cold baths (I could only go up to my thighs!). A rest outside turned into a short snooze, then the routine continued. And continued some more. For four more hours. Heavenly! Magical! Perfection!

Scandinave Blue has an infrared sauna, a traditional sauna, a eucalyptus steam room, three warm(er)(est) bath pools, and three cold(er)(est) bath pools. In addition to these, there are multiple indoor solaria with loungers and magazines for rest periods as well as plenty of outdoor spaces with Adirondack chairs, fire pits, moon loungers, and hammocks. The views in every direction are beautiful – even when there are no leaves on the trees. You can imagine the views as Scandinave is surrounded by 25 acres of forested land!

In between this challenging routine of hot-cold-rest, I had to have a massage. Ha! Right? Tough life! (Have I mentioned how grateful I am!?) I booked myself in for a massage because (a) I seem to be on in a self-care phase at the moment and (b) I’ve never had a massage.

I met with Cathy, a Registered Massage Therapist, who explained her approach and told me to relax. Done. I was already in full-relaxation mode because of the baths, but I relaxed to the extreme with the massage! Cathy was great and definitely made my first massage experience a positive one. I thought she was going to massage me karate-chop-style, but she didn’t. Apparently, I believe things I see in movies? Anyway, the massage was definitely a worthwhile experience, and you can be sure I’ll be having another one at some point in my life! If you book a massage, access to the baths is included. It’s best to book your massage months in advance as the website suggests.

The weather on the day I went was absolute perfection. It was sunny and cool, but warm enough to lounge outdoors on the moon loungers.

A day at Scandinave Blue is supposed to rejuvenate, revitalize, and relax you. I’d say it definitely did for me! Mission accomplished.

If you only plan to go to Scandinave for the baths experience, go. If you’re looking for more, try a massage. Bath access is $55 and a Swedish massage is $145. If you’d like to extend your visit, check out the packages as well as the getaway packages.

The Collingwood area is beautiful year-round, so anytime is a great time to go! And if you’re not able to get to Collingwood, there’s a Scandinave Spa in Whistler, Old Montreal, and Mont Tremblant.

Thanks to Mallory and Mylisa for arranging my visit. All opinions are my own.
















Beauty: Indulge in a Vichy Scrub at the Langdon Hall Spa

Please tell me you’re not sick of me talking about Langdon Hall! If you are, then skip this post. If not, keep reading.

As I had last Friday off from work, I opted to book a last-minute treatment at the Langdon Hall Spa. I am not much of a beauty fanatic, and while I do like a good manicure and pedicure, I have only ever had one facial in my life, and I have never had a massage.

Considering my lack of spa experience, I basically asked Julie for any treatment any time during the day. And I didn’t even want to think about it or make a decision (can you tell I’m tired!?). So Julie took the reins and suggested the Vichy scrub. Say what? After she told me it was her favourite treatment, I said “book me in” without knowing anything about it besides that it’s done in the crazy looking shower treatment room that I saw on my spa tour. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Yeah. What the what? But Julie is the Spa Director and she knows a heck of a lot about spa treatments, so I put my trust in her.

Now let me tell you what this treatment is all about.

After I got over the fact that I was in this crazy shower room, I listened to my esthetician (Hi Reem!) who told me to lie on the table/bed. She adjusted the water temperature, then swung the shower head contraption over my body which led to a full body water massage. Definitely interesting. She scrubbed, gave me a hair treatment, and cleansed and tone my skin. The post-water massage part included a full cream application (which was massage-like), which almost had me sleeping. Amazing!

In short, if you like any of the following, you should book yourself in for a Vichy scrub:

  • long, hot showers
  • soft skin
  • scalp massage
  • perfectly scented products
  • massage
  • toned skin
  • not having to do anything while your body is scrubbed and cleansed

I thought the relaxed feeling would wear off as soon as I drove home, but it didn’t. Neither did the delicious smells of the Valmont products, and neither did my soft skin. My skin continues to feel fresh and soft days after my Vichy scrub.

Would I do this again? Most definitely. I learned that people tend to have this scrub twice per year, and people who really love it have it four times per year. Regular visits to the Langdon Hall spa is something I could get used to. I think I need to start a spa fund.

I realize this post is getting rather long, but one more thing before I let you carry on with your day. If you do plan a visit to the Langdon Hall Spa, then I highly recommend that you arrive a little early so you can enjoy the whirlpool, sauna, and steam room.

The Vichy Aroma Rain Scrub is a 50-minute session and costs $135. To book this or any other treatment, check out the Langdon Hall Spa.

Thanks to Julie for making my visit a special one!







Beauty: The Gel Setter Top Coat from Essie

You may be tired of listening to me talk about how I lack understanding of anything related to beauty, but…

I have learned something about nails, and I thought I’d pass on the info.

Up until I was in my 20s, I was a nail biter. It was a struggle to stop, but eventually I did.  I mostly became disgusted by nail biting and I used acrylic nails to help prevent me from biting my own nails. Now, I do my best to keep my nails strong and healthy. I get manicures a few times a year, and in between sessions, I do my own polish application.

I’ve been veering toward Essie polish for a few years now because I like the colour selections and quality. On a recent trip to the drug store, Essie polishes were on sale so in addition to picking up a new colour, I purchased the Gel Setter Top Coat. This product claimed to extend the wear of the polish, to work with normal polish, and to be easily removed with basic nail polish remover. I added it to my cart, and hoped for the best.
People. This gel setter top coat is fantastic! I can get at least 4 days with no chips, and, more importantly, my polish is shiny for the length of wear! Who knew!? And this is with doing many loads of dishes, lots of keyboard typing, and daily chores. It makes me happy, so I was eager to share the discovery with all of you in case you’re looking for a new top coat.

p.s. When I paint my nails, I use Essie’s grow stronger base coat, two coats of polish (usually Essie), and (now) the gel setter top coat. I’m also a fan of the good to go top coat and I sometimes use the quick-e top coat, too.





Beauty: The Langdon Hall Spa

Months and months ago, I was invited to the unveiling of the new Langdon Hall Spa. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all the photos I took of the gorgeous space (oh, those walnut floors!), so I didn’t share it here. I did, however, create a hotel to home post featuring the spa’s marbled bathroom.

When I was invited back to Langdon Hall a couple of weekends ago for a ridiculously memorable dinner (more on that soon), I opted to begin my stay at the spa. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get pampered (as if the dinner and overnight wasn’t enough, right?) and experience the spa as a guest.



I’m so predictable. No mistaking which locker is mine!


Surely, I’m not the only one who loves a good embroidered bathrobe!

I arrived about an hour before my pedicure appointment as I thought it would be a good opportunity to enjoy the whirlpool, steam room, and sauna before my appointment. Good idea, I say! This gave me just enough time to get changed, relax, read a couple of magazines, and then enjoy a tea and treat in the lounge. If you go for a service, I would definitely recommend allotting some time to enjoy the water area. It was definitely relaxing and got me in the slow-spa-mood. You know what I mean? Forced relaxation…that’s what this gal needs!


Spa guests are welcome to enjoy the whirlpool, sauna, and steam room before or after their services.

The spa is beautifully designed. The colours are calming, the decor is traditional yet current, and the furniture is extremely comfortable. I did not want to leave the chaise in the lounge, and I’m pretty sure another guest had fallen asleep on hers. Total relaxation!


enjoying my tea and a magazine – covered in a light blanket!

I had a pedicure on this visit, and I was very pleased with the service and result. The Langdon Hall Spa uses only the best products (hello Valmont!), and the scrub, cream, and polish were all from SpaRitual – a vegan organic product line (The company has been around for just over a decade, but I first learned about it at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota this past summer).

Many of the products are also available in the spa shop. I think I need to go back to pick up the SpaRitual protein nail polish (I can’t remember its exact name.) Apparently, it would be good for my nails, especially during the winter months.


a glimpse at the spa shop

Would I go again? You bet I would! I might try a massage at some point soon – I’ve never had one, but I’m thinking that it would be a great way to relax after my hectic school term ends.


See you soon, Langdon Hall! You know it’s impossible for me to stay away!

Note: I don’t usually apologize for iPhone photos, but these look unusually blurry, don’t they. Any tips? Perhaps my iPhone went into relaxation mode at the spa, too!





Beauty: A Salt Cave Experience at the Windsor Arms Hotel

Last week, when I shared how my friend and I spent 28 hours in Toronto, I mentioned that we started the day off at the Windsor Arms Hotel Spa.



The kind folks at the Windsor Arms scheduled us in for a salt cave experience. Salt. Cave. Say what? Yeah. I had no idea what that meant, so I read up on it on the spa site and decided that it could be an interesting way to spend some time.

The salt cave is also known as a halotherapy treatment (halos means salt in Greek). The microclimate of the salt caves provides natural benefits. Through relaxation in the darkened room and inhaling the salt and negative ions in the air, the experience results in a feeling of rejuvenation. Apparently, regular salt cave treatments can improve respiratory ailments, allergies, blood circulation, and it can also reduce stress.

So after dawning our swimsuits and robes, we entered the salt cave. It was a small dark room covered in salt – salt floor, salt walls, salt everywhere! The four reclining lounge chairs had blankets on them waiting to be used. The room was much colder than I had expected, so the blankets were definitely a necessity.

White-Cabana-Windsor-Arms-Hotel-Spa-2 White-Cabana-Windsor-Arms-Hotel-Spa-3 White-Cabana-Windsor-Arms-Hotel-Spa-4 White-Cabana-Windsor-Arms-Hotel-Spa-5

My friend and I chatted for the first 10 minutes or so, but we soon realized that what we really wanted to do was to take deep breaths and maybe even a short snooze. It was definitely relaxing!

After 45 minutes, the spa director came to let us know that our session was up. I hadn’t noticed the passing of time, but I was getting cold at this point, so the 45 minute time period turned out to be perfect.

I don’t know much about the spa way of life, to tell you the truth, but what I do know is that I left the salt cave session feeling refreshed and very very calm. It was a win for me – especially after a busy work week! Would I do this again? Heck ya!

Beyond the salt cave, the Windsor Arms Hotel Spa offers many services in a lovely white spa space.

White-Cabana-Windsor-Arms-Hotel-Spa-7 White-Cabana-Windsor-Arms-Hotel-Spa-6

Many thanks to Christine K. and the Windsor Arms Hotel Spa for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photos are my own.

Beauty: The Clarisonic Mia

Several months ago (or maybe almost a year ago?), I won a Clarisonic Mia during an online Twitter party with #Clarisonic (yes, Twitter parties are a thing in the online world). I was completely excited, because (a) I know next to nothing about beauty, and (b) I had read good things about the Clarisonic.


Clarisonic Mia 1 Sonic Cleansing Device

For those of you don’t know, the Clarisonic Mia is a skin cleansing device. It’s sort of like a massive electric toothbrush for your face. Basically.

I’ve casually spoken to a few people about the Clarisonic, but I thought it would be worthwhile to share a quick review here.

Overall, I find it to be very effective. I use it 2 to 3 times a week with either the Clarisonic cleanser or my usual Simple Skincare cleanser. I put a bit of cleanser on the Clarisonic brush head, turn it on, then get to work. It only takes a minute – 20 seconds on each side of the face, 10 seconds on the chin, and 10 seconds on the forehead. After the 1 minute of cleansing (all timed out, by the way, so I don’t have to think about a thing), my face feels so darn fresh. Honestly. It feels fresh and clean and soft.

Clarisonic_White-Cabana-2 Clarisonic_White-Cabana-1

I don’t know if I should be using it more than 3 times a week because sometimes I do wonder if it’s too much brush action for my skin. Does anyone know? If so, tell me your approach!

Beauty: Manicure Time in Waterloo

Soon after making a connection on Twitter with Waterloo’s All My Nails‘ owner,¬† Peter, I stopped in the salon for a gel manicure and pedicure. Gel manicure, I learned, is similar to the Shellac manicure. (Gosh – this reminds me that I know very little about the beauty department.) Since I’m generally up for trying new things, I accepted Peter’s invite for a gel mani-pedi.

My nails were in desperate need of attention, that much I knew! Here’s what All My Nails had to work with:

White-Cabana-All My Nails-1-before White-Cabana-All My Nails-2-beforebefore: chipped polish, uneven shaping, dry cuticles

The staff at All My Nails are very friendly, and during my visit, a lot of repeat customers came in. The staff called them by name, and I appreciated the personal attention that was given to each customer. The staff who worked with me were friendly and did a good job getting my nails back in a decent condition.

Here are the dramatic after photos:

White-Cabana-All My Nails-after-1white-cabana-nails-3 white-cabana-nails-2after: shiny and tidy nails

As you can see, I opted for a very light shade of pink for this manicure because I don’t like having colour on my nails when they’re in short, rough shape. Once they get a bit stronger and longer (which I’m hoping will happen after the gel polish experience), I can opt back into a red or another (slightly darker) neutral. My toes, on the other hand, got a hot red coat of pomegranate, and it’s a perfect winter shade.

Before I left the salon, I was also given this little bottle of cuticle oil which should help with my dry cuticles this winter.

white-cabana-nails-1CND SolarOil Nail and Cuticle Conditioner

A gel manicure and pedicure will cost you about $75 at All My Nails, which is generally more than I’d spend regularly, but maybe that’s the going rate? I’m not so sure. That said, I loved the quick drying time of the gel polish (impatient me!), and my nails are still shiny days after my polish was applied. I’m a touch worried about the removal process, but I’ll deal with that in 2-3 weeks, once my nails have grown, and the polish looks worn. Any advice, dear readers?

For those of you in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, did you know that All My Nails has been in existence for 18 years (wow!)? It is located at 22 King St. South in Uptown Waterloo (in the same building as Café22).

Note: I received a discount on my services. All opinions are my own.

Update (Feb. 11, 2016): My fingernail polish held up well for 2.5 weeks, which I was very pleased about. Then, I did something that I wasn’t supposed to do – I peeled off the polish. Terrible. I shouldn’t have. But I did. Against all the recommendations. It’s true. My nails were obviously in somewhat poor shape, but I took care of them, they grew quickly, and they were back to normal in about 2 weeks. My toe nail polish is still going strong. No chips. No peeling. Nothing. I’m way too lazy to go to the salon to remove or change the polish. I’m realizing some beauty routines are just hard for me to upkeep!

Marketplace: The Bathory

When I saw Michelle’s Instagram photo of some bath products, I was honestly attracted more to the packaging than what was really inside. I love design, as you know, but I’m only now really learning a few things about beauty. So I was more than pleased when The Bathory offered to send me¬†personalized bath salts.


Before I talk about the salts, I’ve got to tell you about The Bathory’s website. It’s awesome. It’s beautifully design, incredibly easy to navigate, and it’s amusing, too.

You follow a couple of simple steps to get your personalized salts. First, you choose the type of bath you’d like to create: bask, soothe, or detox.


You then pick one salt mix and three oils.


TheBathory-6If you’re uncertain about the combo of salts and oils, you tell The Bathory how you want to feel.TheBathory-4Aren’t the glass bottles and labels¬†modern?

I followed the two-step process and placed my order for a bask bath soak infused with bergamot, grapefruit, and sandalwood oils.


I’m not sure about you, but I love it when things are all about me. I’m a Leo, so I’m meant to crave attention. It is for this reason that I adore personalized products. About a week after I placed my order, my¬†salts arrived by royal mail (awesome, yes!)


The-Bathory-White-Cabana-2 The-Bathory-White-Cabana-4The-Bathory-White-Cabana-3You’ve heard me complain about my big bathroom, but I do actually feel spoiled with the jacuzzi tub. I have been taking more baths lately, and The Bathory‘s bath salts have come in very handy. They smell good, my baths are calming, and my skin feels pretty good after a soak¬†with the salts.¬†The formula must be working!


From start to finish – my shopping experience with The Bathory was smooth and enjoyable. I’d say The Bathory has something great going on.

Thank you to Brandi and The Bathory for sending me personalized bath salts.

Beauty: Keeping it Simple

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been trying out a new line of products called Simple. This collection of facial cleansers, moisturizers, and cleaners is the number one skincare line in the UK and it has recently made its way to North America.

I’m not one to spend much time on a beauty regimen but when I first learned about the Simple skincare line, I was curious to know how simple (and effective) these products actually were. I’m happy to report that after a few weeks of consistently using the facial wash and hydrating moisturizer, I have noticed that my skin is softer and less dry than it has been in months! (I’m not just saying this – it’s true.) It has also been easy to incorporate these two products into my morning routine. On the downside, I have yet to try the exfoliating wipes – maybe two new products in one month is as much as I can handle.

How about you? What are your essential skincare products?

Many thanks to Kelly Lynn A. for sending me products from the Simple skincare line.

Update: Since writing this post I have tried the exfoliating wipes and cleansing wipes and I’m very happy with how they both feel and work for my skin.

Beauty: TRESemmé Hair Care

Over the last few weeks I have been using a new line of hair care products from TRESemm√© which are specifically designed to combat split ends. Today I am sharing the pros and cons of the products I’ve used.

Split Remedy: A new collection of TRESemmé shampoo and conditioners


– The conditioner really worked well for my hair. It left my hair feeling very soft.

– My ends did seem softer and smoother after regular use of shampoo and conditioner.

– The Split End Sealing Serum also seemed to make my hair feel softer, smoother, and perhaps even shinier.

– TRESemm√© has a great reputation. If it’s good enough for NYC Fashion Week, it’s good enough for me.

РThe TRESemmé products are not tested on animals.

– The bottles are fully in fashion being white, black and mint. If you haven’t figured it out yet, mint is a very hot colour for spring (have a peek at Cassandra’s take on mint right here).

TRESemmé Split Remedy shampoo & conditioner


– There are too many product options for my liking. There are three conditioning treatments (leave in conditioning spray, leave in split end conditioning treatment, split end sealing serum) but I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between them. If I used all three my hair felt way too greasy. Of these conditioning treatments I prefer the split end sealing serum.

– I don’t like the smell of the leave in conditioner spray. I much prefer the classic conditioner.

– These products are supposed to help reduce the amount of split ends. This was too hard for me to measure. The products may have made a difference but I’m not entirely certain.

TRESemmé Split Remedy trio of conditioning treatments

Have you tried any of these or other TRESemmé products? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think.

These products are available at drug, grocery and mass merchandisers across Canada. Each product retails for about $6.

Many thanks to Alexandra H. for sending me these TRESemmé products for review.

Photos by Jordana.

Beauty: Vaseline

They say good things come in three, right?

Vaseline lotion has been a wintertime essential for me (well, who am I kidding, I’ve got a bottle on the go year round). Over the last few weeks I have been using three new products from the Vaseline Total Moisture line. I’m not sure alternating products is really what one is supposed to do when it comes to lotion but that’s been my approach and it’s been working out okay.

The new Vaseline Total Moisture line is just as the name suggests – it’s moisturizing. Like other Vaseline lotions, it absorbs quickly and it feels good for my skin. Three varieties are currently available – Dry Skin, Cocoa Radiant, and Aloe Fresh – so you can be sure that there’s a formula that is right for your skin.

Vaseline Total Moisture lotions, $4-$9, across Canada

Now…I wonder how Vaseline would feel about all-white packaging. Hint, hint.

Many thanks to Erin M. for passing along these products.

Photos by Jordana.

Art: Jannis Kounellis

Greek artist Jannis Kounellis is known for using a myriad of objects, (e.g., live animals, fire, coal, bed frames) in his art installations. I first came across his work at an exhibit I attended¬†a couple of years ago at the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne of all places and I was drawn to his black and white pieces. Much of his work is at the Tate Modern in London, so if you’re interested, and in the neighbourhood, go have a peek and let me know what you think.

untitled, 1983, Jannis Kounellis, MoMA

untitled, 1962, Jannis Kounellis, MoMA

untitled, 1999, Jannis Kounellis at the Tate

untitled, 1999, Jannis Kounellis at the Tate

Images courtesy of MOMA, Tate.

Fashion & Beauty: Goody Hair Accessories

A little while ago I got an amazing box full of goodies from Goody. Included in the mix of hair brushes and hair styling products were some glorious sparkly items. Seeing the sparkly hair accessories put a smile on my face, of course. Who doesn’t love to open a box that contains shimmer and shine?

Here are a couple of the shiny (white-ish) hair styling products that I’ve now added to my collection:

Amelia barrette, Goody

Mila bobby slides, Goody

Many thanks to Goody for sending along these samples. Goody products can be found at Walmart and Loblaws.

Photos by Jordana.

20 Below: Essie's Good to Go Top Coat

On the recommendation of Piece of Toast blogger, Molly Bernadette, I went out and bought Essie’s Good to Go top coat last week. I’m so impressed! This top coat dries in no time flat, leaves nails super shiny and seems to also strengthen while it also protects the nail polish underneath. Two thumbs up from me.

Essie Good to Go top coat, $8

In Canada, Essie polishes are now available at Shopper’s Drug Mart. I bought my Good to Go there for $7.99.

Dove: Go Fresh

Dove has been the #1 dermatologist recommended brand in Canada for over 20 years. From the beauty bars to the lotions to the hair care products, over time I have tried a good variety of Dove products. It’s no surprise then that I’ve been a Dove gal for quite some time.

Most recently I had the opportunity to test out a few new items from this classic company. Rebalance joins other Go Fresh products this spring and what a wonderful début it has made!

This revitalizing fragrance is inspired by nature and has scents of plum and sakura blossom. The Rebalance body wash, antiperspirant and body mist have served me well over the past few weeks and are sure to please many of you as well.

Dove Go Fresh: Rebalance; true colours: purple & white

Look at the pretty sakura blossom. So white and full of lovely details.

white sakura blossom, Jim Atwood

Many thanks to Dove for sending along these products.

Vaseline: Make it a Good Skin Day

Looking for a way to take care of your skin this season? Vaseline‘s line of products keeps skin healthy, nourishes it and increases skin’s moisture level.

Vaseline Art by Jordana

Vaseline's New Line

Thanks to our friends at Vaseline, I have had the opportunity to try out some Vaseline Intensive Rescue products. I’m happy to report that after a couple of weeks of regular use, my skin feels and looks great. Bonus – the lotions are non-greasy (a definite pet-peeve). Double bonus – these Vaseline lotions are white!

Vaseline Intensive Rescue products are available at most drug and grocery stores across Canada.

Art and images by Jordana.

Temp Art

For those who always wanted something a little different: cloud raining dandelion puffs temporary tattoo, $12

It’s the year 2010 and perhaps there’s never been a more liberated era than ours today. So much so that the temporary body art decals we are featuring in this post seem almost yesteryear.

In a Lady Gaga world, is there really anything risqué, rebellious, or even sexy about a tattoo? And how about a temporary one?

Do tattoos still have the power to provoke? Or are tattoos a private joy for the bearer?

To help with these questions, we’ve featured the best temporary body art decals from UK provider Inkwear. What’s your take on tatts?

Inkwear temporary tattoo sets are unique and fun- with zero commitment.

Celebrity tattoo collection.

Images courtesy of Inkwear.

Dove: Simply Clean, Simply White

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make our days brighter. Noone can argue with a no-fuss soap that’s easy on the skin and on the wallet.

Dove Beauty Bar

Now for some more good news: Fashion in Motion is hosting a Dove Beauty Bar giveaway! Go and visit Fashion in Motion for details of this giveaway. Good luck!

Photo courtesy of Dove.


{Update: Congratulations to Christine, Cecilia and Marci on winning the Dove giveaway.}