I love shopping for make-up and beauty products. I could spend countless hours in Murale or Sephora, or at the make-up counters in Nordstrom, Saks, or The Bay. I'm addicted to make-up and skin-care products because they are one of the easiest things to shop for, it can be done in under 10 minutes, and it is never the wrong size. Although I have favourite products that I'll never give up unless they were to get discontinued, I've been trying new products lately, and some of them have been incredible—so incredible, I had to write about them.
Arbonne RE9 Advanced Skin Care
I was introducted to Arbonne (based out of Switzerland) several months ago, and now, I am completely obsessed. It's kind of like becoming a member of a very secret society and once you're in, you know things you want to tell everyone else so they can truly understand how awesome it is. This is how I feel about Arbonne's RE9 Advanced Skin Care line. My sister told me to try the moisturizer and night cream, and after two days, I could honestly SEE a difference, and my skin has never looked or felt better. I sound like a commercial, but IT IS TRUE. It make fine lines go away, it firms the skin, and it just makes your face glow, naturally. Once you try these products, you will never look back, I promise. And you'll never even think of uttering the word "botox" either. Another awesome thing about Arbonne is how pure their products are. They use only natural and safe ingredients, and their products are never tested on animals. (And I have a rep. Let me know if you want in!)
I love Murale, not only for all the amazing beauty products they sell, but also because they have a Benefit Brow Bar inside! I love running over for a eyebrow appointment on my lunch break when I'm at work. My favourite product by Benefit is the Speed Brow, which helps set your browns for a naturally perfect look.
I also love the High Brow pencil by Benefit, which I apply right under my eyebrows to make my eyes "pop." This soft white/pink pencil is easy to apply, lifts the entire eye area, and looks great on everyone. It's my latest discovery, and it makes me so very happy! And bright-eyed, even when I'm sleepy.
The world's best eyeliner is also by Benefit, did you know? Well, now you do! Benefit's Badgal Waterproof Eyeliner is basically a pencil, but is so soft, it applies like a liquid liner. It's smooth, soft, and lasts all day long.
I have a favourite lipstick. I love it so much, when I'm in the store I buy two, because I always worry it will be discontinued. And if that were to happen, it would be a very, very sad day for me. It's pink and it's called Saint Germain, and it is just fabulous. it's one of MAC's most popular sellers, too. It is the prettiest pink, and looks great with tanned skin. I wear Saint Germain pretty much every day, and on top, I apply MAC's RIght Image lip gloss, to give it some extra shine.
Of course, these are just some of the products I love to use.
If you're looking for the best waterproof make-up remover, I suggest Biotherm.
For an amazing selection of blushes, nail polish, and eye shadow, I always shop Chanel.
For the most delicious-smelling body lotion, I use Pure Fiji's Coconut Body Butter.
But when it comes to hair care, although I am a product junkie, I leave that work for the professionals!
What beauty product do you love most of all?
If you're looking for somewhere to go with the family this summer, I have some suggestions for you! Here are my top five family-friendly vacation destinations:
Hollywood Beach, Florida
I love the ocean. I love the feeling of sand between my toes, I love swimming in the ocean, I love the sound of the waves crashing, and I love looking at magnificent ocean views from my hotel room balcony. My children also love the ocean, playing in the sand for hours on end, and collecting sea shells. Every year, we stay at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, because it's a great resort that is very child friendly. The resort has two large pools; one, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and a lagoon style pool, with a beautiful waterfall. We start our day at the infinity pool, make our way to the lagoon pool, and end our day by the ocean. We eat lunch pool side, and even take late night dips in the pool, if we want. We love to spend our evenings in the gorgeous lobby, too, people-watching and drinking warm milk and tea. The resort is in the perfect location, too, past Fort Lauderdale, and right before Bal Habour and Miami. This ideal location means I can frequent my favourite places in the world to shop: Aventura Mall, and Bal Harbour Shops.
The Atlantis, Bahamas
A couple of years ago, my family (my husband, children, mom, dad, sister and her husband) boarded a plane and went to the Atlantis in Bahamas. Whatever wonderful things you hear about Atlantis? They're all true. This resort is amazing, and the most perfect destination for the while family. It's basically an entire city. There are over 20 pools, and the ocean is incredible. There are places to go if you want some peace and quiet, and there is the Dolphin Cay, where you can go to watch a dolphin show, or even swim with the dolphins, if you're not completely scared to do so, like I am. (Yes, I know they're wonderful and harmless, but I'm scared of ants!) There are what seems to be a million different place to eat, so you'll always find something the entire family will love. We loved eating pizza at the Marina, and finishing our night with Ben and Jerry's. There are tons of things to do indoors, as well, in case it rains. There is a library we spent some time in, a huge casino, and a many fine stores to shop at. Let's talk about the pools now. There is the Grott pool, a zero-entry pool with cascading waterfalls the entire family can enjoy. There's the Baths pool, the Mayan Temple pool, the Royal Baths pool, the Blu pool, the Cascades pool, the Lap pool, and there are three amazing children's pools: the Ripples pool, the Poseidon pool, and the Splashers pool. We all enjoyed the lazy river ride, too, and the many water slides. We are already planning our next vacation back to Atlantis! One week is almost not enough to take it all in.
I was crazy enough to fly alone with two very young children several years ago, but luckily for me, my children were very well behaved, and the flight was only an hour long. I took the boys to Washington, D.C. so we could visit family, and my old stomping grounds. I lived in D.C. after university when I was an intern at CBS TV on Wisconsin Avenue. Bethesda, Maryland, which is 10 minutes from D.C., is the only other place I'd ever consider moving to. I love everything about this city, and yes, the shopping is fabulous. D.C. is a great city to visit with children because of the easy subway system that takes you everywhere you want to go, and D.C. also has some amazing museums that children will love, like the Air and Space museum and the Spy museum. We were also able to visit the National Mall, the White House, and the Cheesecake Factory. I know that the Cheesecake Factory is not a D.C. landmark, but I can't go to D.C. without enjoying my Brownie Fudge cheesecake a la mode!
Many years ago, I visited Ogunquit, Maine with a close friend and her family. I instantly fell in love with the quaint little town, and I felt closer to Stephen King than ever before. Ogunquit is right on the beach, and it's no wonder it's such a popular tourist destination in the summertime. I love walking the streets, checking out the pretty little stores, and eating at all the fine restaurants, while overlooking the ocean. We took our summer family vacation to Ogunquit last year, and the boys loved it to pieces. We stayed at the Anchorage Resort, which had two big pools, both indoors and outdoors, and a children's pool, with amazing views of the ocean. We spent a good part of the day on the beach, even though it is too cold to swim, and the other half of the day by the pool. We took trolley rides, visited famous lighthouses, and walked the village at night, stopping in all the picturesque stores along the way. It's approximately a sever hour car ride, and we'll definitely do it again soon, since the boys still talk about it all the time.
Mont Tremblant is a place I've visited many, many times. I used to take frequent ski trips there with my friends, and it's breathtaking each and every time I arrive. Tremblant is an absolute stunning village in Quebec, a mere three hours from Ottawa, and well worth the curvy roads it takes to get there. Whether you're vacationing in Tremblant in the winter or summer, there is always a lot to do, especially for children. My children loved the boat rides, the gondola rides with views of the entire village, and swimming in our hotel pool. It's the perfect place to bring young children, because there is always something fun going on, like activities in the water park to trying all the fabulous food. We can't wait to go back, this time, in the winter, to introduce our boys to the wonderful world of skiing. (I'm kidding, actually. I don't love skiing that much!)
I love to travel. I was on a plane before I turned one, and I lived in Greece for the first year of my life. I spend most of my childhood summers in Greece, and spent winter break down in sunny and warm Florida, because surprise, no one in my family loves winter. From summers in Greece, to vacations in England, Spain, Amsterdam, Venezuela, Aruba, Grand Cayman Island, Mexico, California, Maine, Cape Cod, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and New York City, I can't get enough of travelling. Of course, the list of places I still have yet to visit is a mile long.... and many of the places I've yet to visit are on the top of my bucket list.
Since becoming a mom, we take short trips with our boys. Short means plane rides that are four hours or less, or road trips that'll get us to our destination within seven hours. Our children are growing, though, so I know we'll be ready for an overseas flight next summer. I also wanted to wait until my boys were old enough to really enjoy Europe, and Greece, so we waited, and enjoyed vacations closer to home, instead. We go to Florida every year, and in between, we've visited other amazing places that I recommend to everyone I know.
Other places I'd recommend? Montreal and Toronto, of course. Both cities are jam packed with activities and things to do for the whole family.
Happy vacation planning, and if you have any questions about any of the places I mentioned here, please leave me a comment and I'll answer you right away.