Is this the cheapest and most effective Hyaluronic Acid you can buy? Review: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Solution

So lately I have a love affair with Deciem. I first came across this brand navigating through the Queen Street Bay’s beauty aisles in the basement a couple of years ago. Their beauty supplements and shampoos were on display and I decided to invest in the shampoo. Of course, I wasn’t disappointed. I kinda forgot about Deciem until I came across their store which had opened last year in Toronto. If you haven’t set foot in a Deciem store, please take an extra long lunch and venture to one of their stores. It’s a really fun shopping experience. Anyhow, that is how I came across this hyaluronic acid serum. I had been looking for an effective hyaluronic acid serum and had tried a few serums I had purchased from Sephora. After spending lots of money on these serums and using them for months, I didn’t notice any visible difference in my skin. So when I saw this solution at the Deciem store, and looked at the price, I was like naah, this isn’t going to work – it is only $6.80. Yes, you got that right, this is less than $7.00 for a 30ml bottle of the good stuff!

If you don’t know all the fuss about Hyaluronic Acid, well read up on it on The Ordinary’s website. The molecule of Hyaluronic Acid they use in this formulation offers hydration and also plumping of the skin, compared to other products with Hyaluronic Acid that actually draw moisture out of the skin because they use too large of a Hyaluronic Acid molecule. I had no idea about this, and this explains why those other serums weren’t effective when I used them.

So of course I purchased this serum and tried it the same night. Ok I kid you not, this product INSTANTLY plumps your skin. You actually notice a visible difference. I wear it at night before putting on my night cream and I wake up to amazing looking, hydrated skin! I wear it under my makeup too, and it plumps my skin to the point where people were commenting on how fresh and plumpy (is that even a word?) my skin looked. This product has done wonders for my skin and is definitely being added to my can’t live without products inventory! Happy plumping!

 

 

 

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Is this the best anti-aging hand cream? Review of Hand Chemistry by The Abnormal Beauty Company (DECIEM)

OMG. OMG. OMG. I didn’t even know I needed an anti-aging hand cream until I walked into the Deciem store in Yorkville. Here’s the deal – I am in my early 30s, my hands are dry as hell, they aren’t plump and soft like they used to be, and well, honestly, they are showing signs of aging (I am in my early 30s). I went in to purchase stuff for my face, I mean who cares about anti-aging for the hands – I honestly didn’t even know anti-aging products for your hands existed. The very helpful sales associate at the store walked me through a number of Deciem’s product lines (there are a lot of them and you actually need someone to help you, otherwise you will be utterly confused). I came across the Hand Chemistry hand cream and asked him what the deal was. He told me that this was one of their best selling products, and it was an anti-aging cream for the hands. Of course I was interested! He then described how you can tell someone’s age from looking at their hands, even if their face looks young – I don’t want to be that someone! I want young looking hands!

So this is what Hand Chemistry claims to do – it is supposed to target 8 signs of hand aging (I didn’t know there were 8 signs of hand aging BTW). It improves brightness, elasticity, firmness, smoothness, density, evenness, hydration and texture – Woah! Also, you can expect visible results in 11 days!

Of course I ended up purchasing Hand Chemistry, and a bunch of other products (which I will be reviewing later). I have been using Hand Chemistry for 3 days now, and honestly, my hands look amazing. My sisters commented on how “nice” and “pretty” my hands look. To put this into perspective, I NEVER get compliments on my hands. I haven’t had a manicure, and I didn’t even have nail polish on. Also, we are in the dead of winter, which isn’t exactly pretty hand season. My hands look a lot smoother and they definitely feel more hydrated. They look brighter too! I can’t comment on firmness, density or elasticity, but I am going to keep using to see what happens at the 11 day mark!

So far I am super impressed, and highly recommend the Hand Chemistry hand cream. Also, this stuff smells amazing!! Did I forget to mention that it only costs $20?

Wishing you all gorgeous hands!

 

 

 

Trying yet another natural deodorant… Let’s see if it actually works! 

I have tried my share of natural deodorants and have mixed reviews about a lot of them. Let’s be clear – these are not antiperspirants. They won’t stop you from sweating like those aluminium filled speed sticks we have all used. But a little sweat doesn’t bother me, as long as there is no odour. 

I landed upon this store while strolling through the Toronto Path. It’s called Consonant Skincare. Their products are 100% natural and also use organic ingredients. The lady at the store told me that this deodorant is really effective and that if it doesn’t work I can return it. So why not give it a go? I was debating the purchase when a guy came in, grabbed two of these bad boys and went to the checkout. Hmmm if this works on men … Then it will work on me?

I made the purchase. 

Check back in a few weeks and I will post a review!

Happy perspiring?!!

Glow Medi Spa in Toronto Review: Facial

I am trying to take care of my skin this year and we all know maintaining good skin requires regular facials. I decided to give Glow Medi Spa in Yorkville, Toronto a try after reading about it online. So this is what their website says … they are “recognized nationwide for … quality services …” and their “exceptional team of caring professionals”. Impressed with all of this – I thought why not give them a call and book an appointment. So they book you in for a “consultation” where the skin care professional will evaluate your skin and then recommend a treatment. And guess what? The consultation is $50.00. But wait, if you book a treatment following the consultation, they waive the $50.00. Ok makes sense – I scheduled a time and was looking forward to my facial appointment. (But if you don’t like your consultation, you are stuck because you can’t cancel the facial appointment …)

So how was my experience at Glow Medi Spa in Toronto? Let’s just say I was not impressed… Continue reading “Glow Medi Spa in Toronto Review: Facial”

Ten Spot Leslieville Review: Brazilian Wax and Pedicure

Ok, so I have had my fair share of waxing experiences in the downtown core. I have tried them all, Ten Spot, Fuzz, and Waxon.

Waxon – wasn’t a fan, I mean please leave the room while I undress, it is weird.

Fuzz, hmmm what can I say inconsistent service, high turnover of staff.

Ten Spot, what, I can get waxing and a pedicure done at the same place? Sounds good right? Continue reading “Ten Spot Leslieville Review: Brazilian Wax and Pedicure”

Toronto’s Best Restaurants Right Now

Ok so Toronto is buzzing these days. The NBA All Star Game is weeks away. We now have a train from the airport to the downtown core. And to top it all … we have amazing places to eat in this city. I love eating out, and I love good food. Here are my top picks for where to eat in Toronto. This is not a comprehensive list, just some of my favourite places!

1. Bar Raval – 505 College Street, Toronto

Yes, we have heard about Bar Raval time and again. But there is something about this place that makes you keep coming back. Whether it is the semi-heated outdoor patio where you freeze your butt off while eating tapas and sipping absinthe cocktails, or the indoor bar area with wooden arches, or the fact that you could be standing next to strangers and finding yourself conversing with them, Bar Raval is an experience. Grant van Gameren is probably my favourite chef in the city – his food is divine. Who ever thought bread with tomato could taste so good? But it does at Bar Raval. My favourites on the menu are the Manchego Cheese, the Mushroom Tower, the Chilled Octopus, and the Cuttlefish Fideo. Pair that with an Absinthe-minded cocktail and you are set for having a great night out!

2. Bar Isabel – 797 College Street, Toronto

Grant van Gameren makes an appearance again. This space has more of a restaurant feel to it, although I have sat at the bar and loved it. Food is spectacular – its Grant van Gameren after all. The King Crab is spectacular. Go there and experience it.

3. Seven Lives – 69 Kensington Avenue, Toronto

Yes, I know, tacos are like so 3 years ago … but, this tiny hole in the wall spot in Kensington Market has heavy lineups. If there is one taco in this city you want to try (trust me there are a lot of tacos in Toronto), it is Seven Lives. Baja Fish is my personal favourite, but the octopus taco is a close runner up. Oh and the ceviche. The ceviche is one of the best I have tried in the city. They only take cash and be prepared to wait, and then stand to eat your tacos, unless you can find a spot on the one communal table. Hours are sketchy sometimes, they close at 7 sharp, no exceptions.

4. Buca Yorkville – 53 Scollard Street, Toronto

I never understood the hype about Buca. I went to the King Street location and was underwhelmed. I decided to give Buca Yorkville a try this summer and well, what can I say, I was impressed. This place isn’t cheap so come prepared to spend a lot of money on excellent food. Seafood charcuterie anyone?  The menu is heavily focused on seafood, which I don’t mind at all. Try the braised octopus or the zuppa di pesce – you won’t be disappointed.

5. Jacobs and Co. Steakhouse – 12 Brant Street, Toronto

There are some great steak places in Toronto. But Jacobs tops them all. Whether it is the service, the overall ambience, the piano in the entrance, or the table side caesar salad, Jacobs is where you want to eat your steak. They have an extensive steak menu, with varying prices of steak, but don’t be alarmed by the prices, you don’t need to spend $400 on a steak to have a good dining experience here. Let the waiters help you with ordering, they know what they are talking about. Sit back, relax and enjoy the experience that is Jacobs.

6. Byblos – 11 Duncan Street, Toronto

As much as I despise Charles Khabouth outposts for their lackluster food, and their “where to be seen” persona, Byblos actually has great food. The fare here is “Eastern Mediterranean Cuisine” – this isn’t your falafel joint, people. Start off with a Gulab cocktail – who doesn’t like rose petals in their cocktail? Then order the Turkish Manti Dumplings, the Yogort Baked Fluke and the Sweet Jeweled Rice. The food here is full of flavour, service is great and cocktails are delicious.

7. The Gabardine – 373 Bay Street, Toronto

If you find yourself in the financial district at lunchtime, this cozy restaurant is full of Bay streeters, getting away from the pretentiousness of it all. Home cooked meal – that is what the food at Gabardine tastes like. Delicious, simple food. Try the Mac and Cheese, the Po Boy, and the Chicken Pot Pie. They don’t take reservations at lunch so try getting here at 11:45 if you want a spot.

8. Burger’s Priest – various locations, Toronto

Sometimes you just want a good ol’ burger. But you don’t want a defrosted burger patty, that tastes rubbery. You want freshly ground burgers. That is what you get at Burger’s Priest. Melt in your mouth burgers. There are locations on Queen West, Queen East, and Adelaide Street. I personally like the Adelaide street location, it is bigger, lots of places to sit and no lineups. This is the best burger in the city hands-down.


 

The list can go on … Toronto is full of amazing places to eat, new restaurants are opening all the time. These are some of my favourites, places I go to repeatedly. Some other mentions here, Churrasco Villa on Eglinton Avenue (best Portuguese chicken in town), Pomegranate on College Street (best Persian in the city), Enoteca Sociale (Italian), and Queen Margherita Pizza.

Happy Eating!

 

Birchbox Unboxing and Review

So I finally decided to cave and join the world of subscription boxes. This is my very first subscription box and of course, I decided on one focused on beauty. I read a gazillion reviews online, and if you are wondering about Canadian subscription boxes, Canadian Subscription Box Addict is a great website to learn all about these boxes full of goodies!

I subscribed to Birchbox and Ipsy and guess what, on a horrible Monday, I come home from work to find these beautiful packages in my mailbox! Talk about brightening a crappy Monday! Continue reading “Birchbox Unboxing and Review”

Toronto #7 on The New York Times list- 52 Places to Go in 2016 – The New York Times

Toronto has been named as one of the top 52 places to visit in 2016 on The New York Times’ list. The Toronto highlights noted in the article included the revitalization of Toronto’s Harbourfront, the trendy Junction neighborhood, the UP Express (it is about time we had a train running from the airport to the downtown core), TIFF and the NBA All Star Game.

Go Toronto!

xoxo

torontoGal

New Year, New You and where to go for Yoga in Toronto…

Hello everyone! It’s taking a while to get back into the regular routine of things after the holidays. I had a week off work, spent time with friends and family and had a few “do nothing” days. This past Sunday, I started to get the usual blues before the start of the work week. You know the “can I retire now?”, “When is my next vacation?” usual musings.

To say Monday morning was rough, is a bit of an understatement. The holidays had made me somewhat lazy, I was waking up at noon and sleeping at odd hours. The alarm clock was not well received on Monday morning (when is it ever well received?). Getting through the workday was a struggle. This morning was also a challenge. I am hoping I can get back into the grind by the end of this week – don’t we always do? and before you know it, the time off or that lovely vacation is just a fading memory.

I am trying to keep positive this new year. I don’t exactly love my job, but right now it pays the bills, and I am focused on finding myself a new one this year. Time to start networking again! Other than finding a new job, I want to spend time my free time doing the things I love, instead of wasting time idly surfing the web. Writing is one of them – I plan to enrol in a creative writing class in February. I also want to continue with my Yoga practice.

Speaking of Yoga, one of my favourite Yoga studios in the city is YogaBe. They are located in the Path which makes it very convenient to drop by during work or after work. The studio has small class sizes, so it is not overwhelming. The instructors are amazing and they have a variety of classes. If you want to try a class, try a class with David Good, he is amaaazing! My favourite classes are Computer Back (if you sit at a computer all day, this class is for you!), Beginner Basics, and Flow and Restore.

In addition to Yoga, I want to focus on my diet and eat as healthy as possible. I want to cook at home more often and incorporate more whole foods into my diet. I also want to listen to more health podcasts. One of my favourite local health podcasts is the Ultimate Health Podcast, by @Marni Wasserman and @Jesse Chappus. This podcast covers a range of topics and introduced me to the world of healthy eating and living!

Stay positive everyone!

XOXO

torontoGal

 

JackRabbit Salon Toronto Review

I wish I had a dedicated hairdresser that I trusted with all my heart and soul. You know the hairdresser that just knows what you want without much direction. The hairdresser that makes you look like a million bucks when you walk out of that salon. I can’t seem to find the “one” in Toronto … Continue reading “JackRabbit Salon Toronto Review”