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Summer Family Vacation & Fun at Blue Mountain Resort

It has been a long time since I had written a travel post as I was pregnant all of last year and taking care of a newborn really puts the idea of having a family vacation in the back of your mind.  However, now that Ethan is 6 months old I told my husband that I'm comfortable enough to go on a family vacation to just unwind and have some quality rest, relaxation and fun. The first place I immediately thought of was Blue Mountain Resort. For those of you who don't know, they are so much more than just a ski resort in the wintertime. In the summer, they have so many outdoor activities you can do with your friends and family, from golfing, mini-golfing, to riding on the gondola and canoe-ing, all the activities are listed here

For those of you who don't know, Blue Mountain Resorts holds a very special place in my heart as my husband proposed to me there. He got a suite for us after having picked me up from the airport from visiting my best friend in Calgary, drove me to Blue Mountain, checked in and cooked all of my favorite meals there. Afterwards, he proposed to me and ever since then, we have gone back a few times with our friends in the winter for skiing and me with my girlfriends a few years back ~ I had written about it here if you're interested in reading it.
What is great about Blue Mountain is that they have two lodging areas that are dog friendly - the Blue Mountain Inn and The Westin Trillium House. The Blue Mountain Inn offers great value in terms of accommodation. Call me sentimental, but I really wanted our first family vacation to be our entire family - that includes furbaby Bentley as well! 

The cost is lower at the Inn and the lodging accommodations are excellent. They recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation project and everything has been upgraded, especially the rooms. They have an excellent restaurant on-site called The Pottery, which you can read more about below, and even have individual hot tubs outdoors all year round where you can just sit back and relax in. The Inn is only a few minutes walk from the main village area and there is also a shuttle bus you could take for free (when you're a guest of the hotel/inn) that takes you right to the village if you wanted to. Parking is free in the main village area until 2am I believe? and parking at the Inn was free.

I chose to stay here with my family as I could leave Bentley in the room unattended (so long as you do have a crate) and also it was kinder to my wallet. The Westin Trillium is an upscale luxury resort and you cannot leave your pet in the room unattended, you would have to make arrangements with the hotel prior to arriving to have someone in their staff to come babysit your furbaby :) I do one day want to stay at the Westin as it would be such a great splurge, however right now on that EI maternity leave pay, it just wouldn't be too smart. 

After we checked in to our room, we decided to head over to the main village area and walk around and have dinner ~ I have never been able to take Bentley to a restaurant before, and it was so great that a majority of the restaurants there allow dogs, they just have to be outside. Most of them also provide waterbowls for the furbabies which is so thoughtful! 
For the first night, we went to Camino Taco for dinner, their guacamole was DELICIOUS as was the margarita, I could have drank two but I held back! For the tacos I would recommend the Barbacoa which is a braised beef that was very tender and flavorful. I was not a fan of the Korean Fried Chicken as it tasted nothing like the true Korean Fried Chicken, it seemed like they just put on the red pepper paste sauce as an afterthought to make it "korean". The fish taco was quite greasy and wasn't great, the batter was too thick. My husband had the Barbacoa burrito bowl which was well worth its money as the portion was huge for $13. The tacos I had were $6 each and they had a special which was 3 for $16 but you had to get THE SAME three tacos... which was a bit silly. 

For dessert, we HAD to go to BeaverTails, it's literally a tradition of going to Blue Mountain - the trip isn't complete until I have one and I always get the classic cinnamon sugar one...mmm...
The next day, we slept in and then went to the village for lunch at Firehall Pizza Restaurant. Again, I had to have a Margarita (yes they are my favorites!) and we had the Shrimp Pasta Scampi and Spanakopizza which were both very delicious. The pizza had basil pesto, spinach, feta, goat cheese, garlic and caramlized onions. 
Later that afternoon, I had the ultimate relaxation retreat at The Scandinave Spa. Again, this is tradition - I always love to go to this spa when I go to Blue Mountain. If you haven't experienced this spa before, you really do have to go. You can easily spend hours there just removing yourself from the distractions of life, being away from your cell phone, from the city and from any type of loud noises. All you hear is the sound of water and nature as you relax in the varied temperatured waters or sit by the fire pit or lie in the hammocks. My favorite is the Eucalyptus Steam room, it opens up your sinuses and just clears the mind. My husband took care of Ethan and Bentley for the afternoon as I took some time to work on myself... and I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend it, seriously! It's open all year round (except Christmas I believe) and I've been during the colder months before and it is still great.
That night for dinner, we were graciously treated to dinner at The Pottery Restaurant (located at the Inn) - this restaurant recently went through a complete renovation, just like the rest of the Inn. They work very closely with local suppliers in the Georgian Bay Region which means they consistently have fresh and in season foods with a changing menu.
For appetizers, we decided to try the Beet Variation ($11), Roasted Bone Marrow ($12) and Caeser Salad ($13). My favorite was the beet salad - it was so light and refreshing and had a perfect balance of beet to goat cheese, berries, oranges and nuts. It also has some pesto and taro root chips to finish the dish. I highly recommend this appetizer! The Bone Marrow was delicious, the garlic oil really complimented the marrow which you ate with the crostini, I just really wish that there was more of it ~ It was quite shallow so I think we only got one tablespoon worth, not enough to use up with the crostini. It was honestly still so tasty though! Just.. want....MORE..mmmm...! The Ceaser Salad was okay, the romaine lettuce you can definitely tell was farm fresh - I just hoped for more of a garlic kick to the dressing :) The egg was cooked to perfection as was the pancetta crisp. 
For the main, my hubby had the special that day which was the lamb and I had my usual go to - the prime rib ($30). Both of the mains were cooked as requested - medium rare ~ mine looks a bit darker as they put the merlot jus on the prime rib directly. The yorkshire pudding was light, airy - crisp on the outside and tender and fluffy on the inside. 

Lastly, the dessert which was unexpectedly the BEST part of the meal. Originally, I had only wanted the rose water creme brulee ($10), however our server had insisted that we try the Baked Phyllo Wrapped Cheesecake ($12) which has whisky caramel roasted apples, house-made granola and a caramel sauce on top of the cheesecake. This cheesecake handsdown was the BEST thing I had that day - think baklava and cheesecake making a baby - and you get this. I would literally drive all the way here to have this again and go to the scandinave spa... hhaha! 

Lastly, to cap off the end of my trip, the next day I had a facial at the Kalola Spa within the Inn, I was treated to the Ultimate Facial which lasted 75 minutes by the wonderful spa owner, Carol. It was SO relaxing, I received two personalized masks, had deep cleansing done which included extractions and exfoliation while also getting a relaxing massage. The facial is said to contain botanical products that brighten and firm your skin while boosting collagen. You can totally tell from the before and after facial pics of me below that my skin looks rejuvenated, plumped and hydrated. It has more life to it and just felt more youthful and glowing! I also got some items from the store, and will definitely be posting a review of them soon! I am currently still in the process of trying everything out!

I would like to thank Blue Mountain for the most amazing dinner, Carol for the facial and want to really emphasize how great Blue Mountain is for a getaway! It is only about a 1.5-2 hour drive from Toronto and being able to bring my furbaby along meant the world to me. I look forward to so many more vacations to come here and making it a tradition to come back every year! 

Until next time, XO - M.

Review: Sea Berry Therapy - Polishing Facial Cleanser and Hydrating Face Serum*


SIBU Sea Berry Therapy has recently rebranded itself to Sea Berry Therapy and I was sent two items to try out. Being a fan of Sea Buckthorn Oil (because of the Fresh Seaberry Nourishing Cream I've raved about for 3 years on this blog now) I am well acquainted with the healing properties of it. If you want to learn more about the company and the oil itself, you can click here.

The two products that I was sent are: 
1. Polishing Facial Cleanser ~ this cleanser is lightweight and works well to cleanse the skin of dirt, oils and make-up. I typically don't wear mascara everyday so I cannot attest to how it removes mascara but it did a thoroughly effective job in removing foundation, eyeliner etc. The cleanser contains small biodegradable jojoba beads that exfoliate the skin and rids it for dead skin cells. It smells very refreshing, a faint citrus scent and wears off quickly and is not overwhelming. My skin felt very cleansed and hydrated after without feeling any residue or dryness. 

2. Hydrating Face Serum ~ This serum is packed with Hyaluronic Acid (my favorite for hydration), Seabuckthorn Oil and has the same scent as the cleanser. It absorbs quickly on the skin so you won't feel any weight on the skin. In addition, a little drop goes a long way, in the swatch below, you can very well use it for two applications. 


The product I really want to try out would be the Miracle Stick as it seems like an all in one product to really keep in the house - it helps with sunburn, windburn, cracked heels, cuticles, eczema, cuts, wounds and insect bites/rashes. It obviously contains the organic sea buckthorn oil and also is made with a coconut oil base. 

Until next time, XO - M.

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.

Review, Swatch & Tutorial: Flawless by Friday - Natural Knockout Collection


One of my favorite skincare brands, that is right here made in Canada, is Flawless by Friday. I have written about them a few times in the past, so if you're interested in learning about their products then click here. I have been using their skincare products for the last two years, so when I learnt that they had recently launched some MAKEUP items, I had to get my hands on them ASAP and review it. 

Their makeup collection comes in four different collections: Natural Knockout, Modern Marilyn, Smoke Show, and Glow Getter. Each collection comes with an eyeshadow palette (linked previously), a face palette and a corresponding lip product (gloss and liquid lip). They also came out with false lashes and brushes - I really want to try the brushes, they look so fluffy and soft!

I was graciously sent the Natural Knockout collection which I was super excited about since those tones just really shouted to me - I am a lover of purple and neutral shadows, so this was perfect. Those who know me, will know that my go-to is a natural look, I do that everyday and it's what I am most comfortable about. 

First, we have the Natural Knockout Faceology swatched below. It retails for $38 Canadian and contains a setting powder, two bronzers (one that can be used as a contour ~ Mohogany), two blushes and a highlighter. These are buttery and packs pigment! Stream is the most gorgeous highlight that gave me a beautiful glow that is buildable from sheer to in your face! The bronzer, Clay, is a true bronzer that makes you look sunkissed and has no orange tones in it whatsoever. It blends effortlessly and does not make . you look muddy. I really liked Finale as a setting powder for under the eyes, it brightened it and I used it for my t-zone area as well without translating white. 



Below, we have the Natural Knockout EyeDucation Palette ($38 cad) - which contains 6 shadows (2 mattes, 3 satins and one microglitter) and a brow powder duo. As you can see from the swatches below, the mattes are beautifully creamy as is the microglitter (Effortless). The purple shade, A Dash of Flash is a vibrant purple and the shade Barely is used more like a brow highlight as it is a sheer champagne beige satin wash. One thing to note is that the mattes do have quite the amount of kickback on the pan, however there is no fall-out when applied to the lid. I was able to get a full day's wear of A Dash of Flash (the purple satin) with no primer and there was no creasing and the shade lasted all day, which is thoroughly impressive. 



The lip duo ($18 cad) is created to match the two palettes - this was a great "my lips but better" shade, and the liquid lip is like a whipped formula that did not feel drying nor did it crack on the lips. I really loved this formulation and would love it if they made it in individual liquid lips and in more shades. The lipgloss portion feels cushiony on the lips and very comfortable as well, not too sticky at all and did not bleed.


Below, I created tow looks for you - one more of a daytime natural look with the purple on the outer corner, this is more of my everyday look and the second look is a purple smokey eye,more of what I would wear at night. Everything on my face is from Flawless by Friday, minus the foundation, concealer, primer, liquid liner and lashes. 


Until next time, XO - M.

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

Review: Getting my skin summer ready with Belif Skincare!*


Summertime is in FULL swing and it's hot, humid and icky outside. We've had some crazy heat waves lately and honestly, anything above 32 is gross, especially when it's humid and then it feels like closer to 45... we had a few of those days! I'm sure you know that it is important to keep yourself hydrating by drinking tons of water, however do you know that you have to keep your skin hydrated externally as well? In comes the Aqua Bomb from Belif. I've written about this product several times on the blog, so if you're interested in reading about it, just search the side bar! 


One other thing is when it is so hot, my skin goes bonkers - it goes from my normal winter skin to oily combination so I'm always looking for skincare and makeup products to control oil secretion. The Eucalyptus Toner will do just that! It is obviously formulated with Eucalyptus and also contains apple mint to help balance, tone and sooth your skin. It is specifically created for oily/combo skin people (like me) to help control the oil production which leads to shiny foreheads and greasy noses and t-zones. This is also great for those who are prone to break-outs as it helps to soothe and calm the area. This is slowly becoming a favorite for me! 


Until next time, XO - M.

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.

Review: VICHY - Aqualia Thermal Collection*


Vichy Canada has launched its brand new range of Aqualia products that focuses on using 97% natural ingredients to provide 48 hours of hydration and working to smooth out fine lines. As with all regular Vichy products, it contains an anti-adhesion formulation to prevent pollution particles from harming the skin. 

Some key ingredients in this new Aqualia range include the Vichy mineralizing thermal water, hyaluronic acid, minerals and vegetable mannose. All of these ingredients work to slow down water loss and strengthen your skin's barrier. 

As always, I really appreciate that Vichy creates specific formulas to address different skin types (as you can see below in the image). This collection includes:

1. Aqualia Thermal Rehydrating Serum - $42.95 - 30ml ~ for all skin types

2. Aqualia Thermal Rehydrating Cream - Gel - $39.95 - 50ml ~ for combination to oily skin
3. Aqualia Thermal Rehydrating Cream - Light - $39.95 - 50ml ~ for normal to combination skin
4. Aqualia Thermal Rehydrating Cream - Rich - $39.95 - 50ml ~ for dry to very dry skin

These items are available for purchase at drugstores and online at vichy.ca

I personally am using the gel formulatiom now for my combination to oily skin. It makes my skin moisturized and plump. It's light weight and has a very subtle scent to it. It absorbs quickly on the skin and feels weightless. I gave the Rich one to my friend as she has dry skin. I will be saving the Light formulation for the colder months when my skin becomes more normal/combo. I do recommend the purchase of this product and the serum!

Until next time, XO - M.

*items were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.

Review & Swatch: PIXI - Glow-y Gossamer Duo & Liquid Fairy Lights Eyeshadow*


Everyone longs for way to achieve that dewy summer glow - whether it is natural lit from within or the blinding highlight you can see from space. I am personally more of the natural glow type gal so when I saw that PIXI released the Glow-y Gossamer Duo sets, I was so excited to try them out. In addition, they also launched their new Liquid Fairy Lights eyeshadows which I have swatched below. So, if you're interested in finding out more, just click the link below to learn more!


Product Empties and Review: March - June 2018


It's time to round up some of the products I've used up in the last 3 months and I've sorted them into categories below - skincare/bodycare, foundations/primers/concealer, mascaras, misc and makeup. Keep on reading below to see what I will repurchase again and what I really enjoyed. 

Review: IT Cosmetics Secret Sauce & Miracle Water*


IT Cosmetics has recently launched two new products housed in beautiful iridescent packaging. First we have the Miracle Water, which is a 3-in-1 Tonic ($48cad for 250ml) and then we have the Secret Sauce, an anti-aging moisturizer ($88cad for 60ml). 

The Miracle Water as mentioned above is a 3-in-1 Tonic, which is a Skin-Brightening Radiance Booster, Anti-Aging Treatment Essence and a Skin-Softening Micellar Cleanser all in one. It contains Radiance-boosting tonic to instantly brighten and hydrate your skin while purifying it. The Secret Sauce Fermented Complex deeply absorbs for a powerful anti-aging result that you can see immediately. It also contains Drops of Light Technology Concentrate, diamond powder, vitamin C and licorice root for youthful looking skin that makes you look like you are absolutely glowing from within. 

Personally, I like to use this as a Radiance Booster/Treatment Essence vs. as a Micellar Cleanser as it does leave behind product that you can feel on the face. Typically in Micellar Waters, I prefer something leaving the skin absolutely squeaky clean which is why I typically avoid oil based cleansers as well because I just like it when my face feels weightless afterwards if that makes sense. However, using it after cleansing my face as an essence made me feel all sorts of wonderful. It helped control the oil production on my face and also it made my skin feel more radiant and plump. I also felt like I regained some color to my face, like you know that "after the facial at a spa" look? I really enjoyed this product and will continue using it.

 

Above, we have the Secret Sauce, Anti-Aging Moisturizer which works to instantly hydrate and transform your skin. Like the above, it contains the Secret Sauce Fermented Complex, Drops of Light Technology, diamond powder, vitamin C and licorice root. In addition, it contains collagen, peptides and hyaluronic acid (my favorite) to really help with the hydration and overall youthful plump-ness of the skin. This skin appears to be thick as you can see from the jar, but it does absorb rather quickly on the face. I like to apply this at night before bed and just let it do its magic overnight while I'm sleeping. It is a bit rich as a day cream as I wear make-up so as a night-cream it's perfection. My skin looked radiant, hydrated and I even got compliments on how my skin looked very good. 

I do highly suggest purchasing these two products!

Until next time, XO - M.

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

Review, Swatch & Tutorial: Joe Fresh Makeup*


I have been a user of Joe Fresh Cosmetics on and off through the past years and have included them in a few blog posts that you can find here if you're interested. They are a very reasonably priced make-up line that offers cosmetics that are on trend and great in quality and color selection. If you are interested in reading my review of the products above and seen below in my make-up look then keep on reading below...


Five Months Postpartum - my thoughts and journey so far...


I have never shared my pregnancy story with you all, perhaps I will at one point or another ... however, I thought that I could share my postpartum journey with you as I am going through it right now. As this is my own personal experience, please keep in mind that nothing below is meant to be insensitive to others - it is what I have personally experienced and how it has made me feel. I've talked to a few new moms recently who have also shared the same views/frustrations so I thought that someone else would probably read this and have felt or is currently feeling the same way at some point as well. Also, keep in mind that I had to narrow it down to just the main points so far, I can't share every single thought... so here goes....

1. Breastfeeding vs. Formula ~ I was one of those women who never had her milk production come in. I don't want to hear that I haven't tried hard enough, because I have. I tried lactation cookies, teas, soups and other concoctions. There was lots of frustration, guilt and overall anxiety about how I couldn't produce milk. My doctor even told me, sometimes it just doesn't happen to some women and you are one of them... and even my mom was asking why I was torturing myself to try to do this. Early on, my baby was losing too much body weight and was really battling jaundice and was told that he's not being fed enough.. so I finally turned to formula. My pediatrician said 15 minutes per boob and then the rest, top him up with formula - at a certain point if you're not producing enough milk and your baby is just working hard to suck nothing out... they are just burning more calories than they are absorbing. That made total sense to me ~ I am here to do what is best for my baby. That is my number one priority. 

What is really frustrating is those who (whether intentionally or not) like to express their opinions on formula feeding vs. breast feeding. How they never know what it's like to ever have had to use a bottle or wash one... how they're baby is only ever breast fed and how they're so lucky to have enough breast milk. I guess it's just knowing who you're talking to.. and knowing that each person has their sensitivities right? It's almost like now I completely get why it's so bad to ask people "when are you planning to have kids?" ~ How do you know that they're not trying? How do you know that they're not experiencing difficulties? How do you know that its not a choice that they're not having kids? Sometimes, it's better to just keep comments to yourself....there's no need to compare yourself to others. 

2. Unsolicited Advice ~ If you have to begin your sentence to someone with - here's some unsolicited advice for you... chances are, don't finish that sentence and don't bother saying what you have to say, especially if you are so distant from that person. 

3. Having an off day or days ~ We all have bad days there's no doubt about it, but just because I am a new mom, it does not automatically translate to postpartum depression. I completely agree that Postpartum Depression is a very serious topic that has to be discussed and there should be more transparency about it, however what I am talking about is just how being a new mom... and if I am just having a rough few days and you can see that I am having it, it should not directly translate to me having depression and thereby someone suggesting that I need help for it. I had someone very distant to me read on my instagram post that I was having a rough few days ~ and then began the "unsolicited advice on what I should do as a new mom and how I should address my depression before it gets worse". I don't think that is truly the way to handle something like that.. especially not via a DM on Instagram. 

4. Hairloss and Swelling ~ I was fortunate enough to not experience any swelling during my pregnancy, but approximately 1 month postpartum my ankles began to swell so badly that I couldn't even sit or stand without the skin in my ankles hurting when it folded because it was so swollen. It almost felt like the circulation was cutting off when I sat down. The hair loss is no joke - just when you think that the huge chunk you have lost during the shower in your drain is it, you then blow-dry your hair and the entire floor is covered with hair once again. That beautiful hair you have grown during pregnancy is now all on the floor and you have just about enough to make your very own cousin IT from Addams Family. That does stop though, now that I am 5 months postpartum it has finally slowed down and I see the baby hairs growing. 

5. The return of the period ~ I actually got my period back 4 months postpartum and yes it did suck after not having my period for about a year. What makes it worse is when people ask you if you got your period back yet and they say oh wow that sucks, I don't know how it feels like because I didn't get back for a year and a half. Sigh...no...just.. don't do that ...repeatedly to someone. It's not nice.

6. Getting intimate again... ~ when the time comes that you want to get intimate again after you have had your baby, know that things will definitely be different. Your lady bits went through alot during childbirth so sometimes, you may not be too loose but there are also cases where when you are stitched up, you have been over corrected. 

For those of you who are moms... what have been some of your postpartum experiences? 

Until next time, XO - M.