Hi, I am Ellie and I like to write about all things beauty, wellness, fitness and travel. I started this blog as a creative outlet in the hopes that I can connect with like minded people and get to share my opinions and experiences with them. I love all things beauty and make-up and that’s what I blogged abut for years.
I’ve always wanted to visit the Greek Islands and last month we had the opportunity to explore Mykonos for a few days. The island was everything I’ve imagined and more. White washed buildings, spectacular views, incredible food and lovely beaches with turquoise water.
We stayed in a lovely villa minutes away from Paradise Beach, a party destination during the summer months. In fact, the entire island is renowned for its party scene so if that’s your thing you’ll enjoy it. We tried to hike and explore around as much as we can but I didn’t find the island easy to navigate nor the roads pedestrian friendly. Driving on the island seemed like an insane adventure, the roads are narrow and windy and unpredictable. The island also has a limited amount of cabs available (I heard 30) which made transportation challenging and expensive. My recommendation is to book a place close to the beach and be strategic about planning day trips and limit transportation unless you are comfortable and brave enough to rent a car.
The landscape is pretty arid and rocky but it’s the views that make it spectacular. We got to enjoy to beaches and the water when we were there and I loved exploring the Mykonos town, which is incredibly charming. I will say however, that shopping in town, much like everything else on the island, is expensive. Very expensive. Unreasonably expensive.
The food we got to enjoy in Mykonos was simply spectacular. Probably the best food I’ve ever had. I strongly recommend you try out Nikolas Taverna, Kiki’s and Stasi Diethnes. Kiki’s is a little restaurant by the lovely Agios Sostis beach and they serve amazing food. We loved the salad bar selection, grilled octopus and brownie. They have a grill on site and the most incredible view. Arrive early as the line is long and take advantage of the small, quiet beach next to the restaurant. Stasi Diethnes was the best food we’ve had in Greece. This restaurant is run by a family, the mom cooks and kids serve and everything is made with fresh, local ingredients. Their spanakopita is absolutely insane and their moussaka was sublime. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough.
Mykonos is a place where you get to enjoy life. There’s not much to visit, no ruins to explore or architecture to admire. You get that in Athens. Mykonos is a small piece of paradise where you can let loose, soak up the sun, go for a swim and eat incredible food. Oh, and party. If you like a good party this is the place for you during the peak season.
I have a sick obsession with highlighters so naturally, I had to get the newest Anastasia Amrezy Highlighter. I’ll admit I picked it up half because I wanted and half because of the online hype. I don’t even like Amrezy but Anastasia is one of my favourite brands and I was curious to test out this new formula of highlighter that reminds me so much of Mac’s Extra Dimension Skinfinish.
The packaging is pretty. Both the product and the box are decorated with little golden stars and the compact does include a full mirror which is nice. The highlighter looks decadent in the pan with its waves of liquid gold. The formula is incredibly soft and finely milled and feels just right, not too soft nor is it too stiff. There’s very little kickback of the product when I swirl my brushes in it but I get great payoff when I apply it on the skin.
The formula is a dream. It’s light yet pigmented and it sits beautifully on top of the skin. One application of the product imparts a soft luminosity to the skin, making it look dewy and glowing in a gentle way while a few passes while give me a more obvious, wet looking finish. I didn’t experience any issues with texture being emphasized when using this highlighter, I make sure I use a light hand and work the product into the skin to get that smooth looking glow.
The Amrezy highlighter pulls neutral on me with a touch of warmth. While I find the product to look rose gold with warm undertones in the pan but when swatched I find it to look incredibly natural. The formula has no sparkle to it but rather a high shimmer and it captures the light beautifully. I really like how buildable this highlighter is and how easy it is to play with the intensity of the sheen.
All in all, this is a beautiful highlighter. The formula is lovely and rather unique and I can see this shade working for many skintones. I can’t get enough of it.
I am not sure when or what made me want to visit Portugal so bad but I have been pretty much obsessed with this amazing country and I am happy I finally got a chance to visit it this past summer.
It is said that Lisbon has a unique light to it and oh boy is it true. There’s something about this fantastic city and the way the sun shines on it and the way the light envelopes everything in a gentle, warm glow.
This city is packed with history and there’s a lot to visit so we gave ourselves a few days to explore it. Lisbon has a few major districts and neighbourhood and deciding where to stay was the hardest part and after a ton of research we settled on a gorgeous apartment in Belem, which is a lovely, quiet neighbourhood a short train ride away from the city center, close to the Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery and the Discoveries Monument and the famous Pasteis de Belem, the delicious Portuguese egg tarts.
Jerónimos Monastery and Vasco da Gama tomb
Pastéis de Belém
One thing I can recommend you do is to get yourself a Yellow Bus Tour Pass, we all loved it. The pass costed us around $40 for three days and granted us access to all public transit as well as the company’s private trams, tour buses and boat. The trams can be insanely crowded so it was nice to get to travel around the city in their trams equipped with audio guides and we loved the whole hop on hop off concept of the busses and we used them frequently during our stay, whenever we got tired of exploring on foot we just hoped on a bus and plugged in our headphones and got a history lesson while we rested.
We managed to explore most of the city and while every single neighborhood has something to offer I, for one, loved the Alfama district, an old neighborhood that is a absolutely spectacular with it’s narrow cobblestone streets, churches, Castelo de Sao Jorge, and spectacular viewponts. Two restaurants we loved in Alfama were Santo Andre and Lisboa Tu & Eu .
View from Alfama
Castelo de São Jorge
The St. Andre restaurant – worth a visit
I didn’t end up visiting any museums while there, exploring the city on foot and the infomrative bus tours were enough for me. Lisbon is such a vibrant city and has so much to offer that we just kinda just got lost in it, explored the markets, had a glass of wine and a bite to eat in different plazas around different neighborhoods and walked around as much as we could to get that full Lisbon experience.
You need to try this drink!
On our last day there I took advantage of the fact that the boyfriend and sister wanted to geek out at the MAAT museum so I went exploring the local flea market called Feira de Lada in Alfama. The market, while charming failed to impress me. It had lots of kicthy items, tons of random crap and a few local merchants but overpriced items. Like with any flea market, I would suggest you go there with an open mind, rested and armed with patience. I love picking up my souvenirs are local markets rather than typical shops. I always manage to score affordable, genuinely local stuff so I can bring home a piece of the place with me.
New from Clarins: Water Lip Stain. A barely there feel and customized, kiss-proof color result, for coloured lips that leave no trace.
We all dream of pretty, coloured lips that leave no trace, which is why Clarins created Water Lip Stain, the rst “no limits” lip product. Its transfer-proof, long-wearing formula resists up to 300 kisses*!
Forget about colours that fade too fast. Forget about leaving traces behind.
Composed of over 77% water, the formula instantly fuses with the lips so you forget it’s even there, leaving behind an imperceptible “tattoo-like” nish. Like an ink, the barely-there texture adorns lips with a fresh veil of colour. Lightweight, it glides on, giving the wonderful sensation of a “second skin” with no drying effect.
The matte revolution is in your hands. Play with colour intensity and customize your make-up result, for a lighter, more natural look or a deeper, more glam e ect with a matte, personalized nish
every time. Create the make-up you want!
The eyeliner comes in convenient, sleek pen form and has a precise tip similar to a fine make-up brush. The brush on this eyeliner is absolutely amazing and makes drawing the finest lines so much easier. The formula of the liner is a rich, satisfying black that dries down to a lovely demi-matte finish, just enough to add a little dimension and oomph. The wear on this eyeliner is great, I have yet to test it under water but I did wear to the gym and it survived quite well. If you have oily eyelids, like I do, this eyeliner will eventually smudge a tad by the end of the day. I find priming my eyes well helps a lot when it comes to keeping the eyeliner intact on the eye and prevent bleeding during application.
All in all, I like this eyeliner. It’s one of the best ones I found and it’s especially impressive for a drugstore product. While the product is not completely budge proof for me due to my insanely oily lids, I do find it to be long lasting. I love the compact pen form and I am a huge fan of the fine, precise brush.
I always get excited when I hear about a new Mugler launch but my heart stopped when I heard about Aura. It skipped a beat when I saw the bottle. I have a soft spot for their perfumes. I remember when I first fell in love with Angel, over ten years ago, in the Paris CDG airport. I remember loving its unapologetic boldness and overpowering sweetness and loved the reactions I would get from people when they caught a whiff. What can I say? I was a bold teenager.
Aura is the newest addition to the Mugler fragrance roster and I was so curious and intrigued by it before I even got my hands on it. For one, the bottle is exquisite. An emerald heart framed by a metal “M” that begged to be held in the palm of my hand.
Mugler describes the scent as a “masterful orchestration that combines five substances, three hearts, two overdoses and one magnetic field”.
The “Beating Heart of Instinct” is the backbone of the fragrance featuring Tiger Iiana, a Chinese medicinal plant used to treat heart diseases and balance the equilibrium of the body. It’s rich, sharp and smoky with a sugared almond scent. The “Botanical Heart” ads a touch of fresh and fruity thanks to the rhubarb leaf and orange blossom. The ” Animal Heart” ads woody, spicy notes thank to the Bourbon Vanilla and Wolfwood.
The fragrance starts off with strong herbal notes that quickly make way for strong woodsy, leathery ones. I also detect a bright and floral tone that help balance out the stronger, “serious” notes. Aura has that unique Mugler smell to it, woody and sweet thanks to the vanilla but it’s also so different thanks to that fresh herbal (almost minty) tone that somehow lifts this fragrance. I love wearing Aura during the day and I find it to be a perfect spring fragrance. Like most Mugler fragrances it has great wear and I love how it smells in the hair and clothes even more the second or third day. It almost reminds me of a fresher, more modern D&G Red which was my mother’s signature fragrance when I get a whiff of it on my scarf.
I like how adventurous Aura is and I continue to be pleasantly surprised every time I wear it. It’s bold, it’s different and it has personality and that bottle is a masterpiece.
*Product provided for consideration. This does not influence my opinion or review.
Today I wanted to share a few supplements I take religiously for my skin, hair and nails. My interest in natural health actually started back in the day when I had really bad hair mostly due to malnutrition. That is when I started looking into natural health, supplements and beauty treatments which ultimately led me to working in the natural health field for the past ten years. I want to preface this post by pointing out the obvious: supplements, just like medication and nutrition should be customized according to each individual’s needs. I would recommend you consult with a health care professional and educate yourself on each supplement you take and if it might be right for you.
With that out of the way, I do think most people can benefit from a wholesome diet and depending on the quality of the foods we have access to and lifestyles we lead, supplements can help fill nutritional gaps. I was a vegetarian for ten years so I relied on protein and iron supplements to help me out and I take vitamin D religiously during the cold months. Again, it’s always a good idea to consult a holistic nutritionist or naturopathic doctor to help you identify what your needs might be.
Here are a few supplements I have been taking, how I take them and why.
Also known as vitamin B7, biotin is found in small amounts in nuts, seeds, organ meats, eggs and some vegetables. There is some evidence that biotin can help improve hair, nail and skin health. I did rely mostly on anecdotal evidence and advice I’ve read in most of my natural health books when I decided to start taking biotin. For me, it works. Biotin is a water soluble vitamin so I am not terribly concerned with the dosage but I try to keep it at around 1000 mcg. I don’t think there’s a need to take more than; if anything I have seen reports of people experiencing breakouts at higher dosages. My approach is to take a smaller dosage and take it daily.
I was a vegetarian for the past ten years and have had low iron levels despite my best efforts to have a balanced diet and my hair suffered. Blood Builder is my favourite iron supplement ever. I take it during that time of the month, either an entire tablet every two days or I break them in half if I do take them daily. Blood Builder has a gentle, available form of iron along with vitamin C, folic acid, B12 and beet root which make it a truly complete supplement for me. It is very effective, very gentle and my iron levels have been optimal ever since I started taking it. If you are at risk or have anemia, check with your health care practitioner and look into this supplement. It’s the best iron supplement I’ve seen so far.
I broke my vegetarian streak with collagen. It took me a long time to do it but I’ll do anything to keep my hair, skin and nails healthy. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and our natural production declines with age which can result in wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, joint problems etc. Collagen has been proven to help improve skin(*1) as well as joint health (*2) and I like the fact that it is a great source of protein and rich in glycine and proline which have tons of benefits on their own. I have been taking collagen for about a year now and I like it. I really feel it’s made a difference. My hair feels thicker, my nails are stronger and I haven’t had joint pains.
Make sure you look for a good quality collagen. My personal approach is that if I will use an animal product I need to make sure it’s as clean as possible. I like this one and this one.
I’ve talked about Biosil before. I have used Biosil for ages and always go back to it because I know it works. Biosil is a “patented choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid” and bascially helps the body produce collagen which makes it a great option for vegans and vegetarians. Biosil is quite backed up by a few studies (3)(4) and I have personally experienced its efficacy. I originally took Biosil religiously for a about 1.5-2 years a while back and saw a dramatic change in my hair quality. It took my hair from a brittle, fine mess to a thick and strong and my nails are, well, hards as nails . You can find Biosil in most health food stores.
Fish Oil is one of those supplements that I think everyone should take. I mean, there are just so many benefits to taking it, from joint health, to brain health, mood disorders and of course skin and hair health. I will either take my fish oils in capsule of liquid form depending on the day and I like to alternate between a vegetarian source (like algae!) or regular fish oil. It’s always a good idea to make sure your fish oil is a good quality one so always look for third party testing verification such as IFOS or Pure Check. My favourite brand for years has been NutraSea.
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Peanut butter and chocolate. Two ingredients loved on their own but are even better together. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but my boyfriend does so I always try to make healthier treats for us to enjoy. It’s fun!
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These peanut butter cups are relatively easy to make, I actually used a recipe from Happy Healthy Mama’s blog. I found the original recipe to be to sweet for my liking so I tweaked it by adding more coconut oil and less maple syrup.
These treats are satisfying and delicious, loaded with a good amount of fats via the coconut oil (I like this one) and peanut butter that helps lower the glycemic index of the treat. The maple syrup brings a touch of sweetness along with essential minerals, trace minerals and antioxidants and also has a lower GI score than regular sugar. Sugar is sugar but if I’ll eat it I want some extra benefits, you know?
You can substitute peanut butter for any nut or seed butter. One tip I would have is to make sure the butter is nice and thick. If you prefer a runnier one, make sure you raise the chocolate mixture alongside the edges when scooping it in to create a cup that’ll hold the peanut butter in nicely.
Blend maple syrup, melted coconut oil and cocoa powder until you get a nice, glossy paste. If the paste is too thick add more coconut oil or maple syrup and blend again. The paste should be light and glossy and be not too runny but not too thick either.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners and scoop 1 tsp into each. Use the back of the teaspoon to push down the centre and raise the edges to create a cup shape. Pop the tray in the freezer for a few minutes until the chocolate hardens.
Once the chocolate cups are firm, scoop in peanut butter. Pop the tray back in the freezer for a few minutes until the nut butter becomes firm.
Finally, cover the peanut butter with a layer of the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle each cup with a touch os pink salt and pop tray back in the freezer until the cup is nice and solid.
Make Up For Ever has kicked off the new year with a launch of their new Artist Color Shadows. The shadows feature a new formula and design that is supposed to fit into their customizable palettes. The new launch features a range of 121 “highly pigmented, and blendable” shadows in variety of finishes: Matte, Diamond, Metallic, Iridescent and Satin. The brand claims the formula features “atomized pigments and water technology to deliver complete saturation with one swipe”. Oil binders and Synthetic mica make it blendable and give a smooth texture and the shadows claim to be deliver a “superior, 12-hour hold”.
I like the customizable feature. Especially the Make Up For Ever version. The products and palettes are compact and sturdy and are travel and storage friendly. I’ve used Make Up For Ever products since the beginning of my beauty obsession days and I am quite familiar with various formula they’ve gone through through the years.
The new formula has a slip to it and a silky finish for both shades I have (they’re both matte). Compared to the previous, most recent formula which was very rich and creamy this one seems stiffer in the pan and doesn’t pack as much of a punch when finger swatched. I liked using this formula, I found it easier to use. It blends very nicely, it’s subtle and buildable and I personally really enjoy that silky texture. They are not the most pigmented shadows and that’s what I like about them. They are wearable and easy to work with. I don’t need to worry about priming and powdering my eyes and spending 20 minutes to blow out hard edges. If I want more intensity I can build it if and when I need it. These shadows are just so easy to work with and I love both shades as an overall lid color as well as base and transition shades. They play well with other formulas and they wear really nice on their own.
I usually choose to wear matte shadows because I have the oiliest eyelids and everything creases on me. These shadows lasted all day long without budging. COmpared to other matte shades, this formula did not fell dry or look flat on the lid, they both have a lovely satin finish.
M720 Apricot M647 Speculoos
*Products provided for consideration. This does not influence my opinion or review
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Sometimes you just need a treat. A rich, decadent coconuty chocolatey treat. And that’s exactly what these clean Bounty bars are. They’re easy to make, feature simple ingredients like dark chocolate and coconut oil (I like this one) and shredded coconut. Coconut oil is packed with good for you fats and MCTs and I like having one of these as a sweet treat or as a pre workout snack. The fiber and oil keep me satiated and the sugar from the maple syrup gives me the energy to push through an intense spin class without the crash.
If you are keto you can just skip the maple syrup and optionally can add in some MCTs (I like this one) for that bulletproof kick.
The hardest part about making these bars is having them in the fridge. Knowing they’re there and making up excuses to have another one every 30 minutes. Keep them in the freezer to keep temptation at bay.