Locked + loaded: Essie Gel Couture nail polish

ESSIE TITLEAs much as I love Essie polishes, I’ve always found the wearability on them to be short. Usually when I paint my nails with a gorgeous Essie shade, it’s chipped by the next day. And I’m not talking little chips here, I mean those long peeling ones that make you angry that you even painted your nails in the first place. The colours are great but the formulations don’t have the longevity like other brands.

Well that’s all changed. Kinda…

Coming out this summer, the nail polish giant has released a 42-shade collection that are no-light-needed gel, called Gel Couture. Essie is late to the game with this release with many brands already having their own lines of at-home no-light gel polish. With that being said, I guess Essie didn’t want to rush it because their polishes are probably the best ones out there.

They come in the same Essie bottle, but with a twist (literally) and the system is like its counterparts; that is colour plus topcoat.  Since at-home gel colour uses the UV from the sun, the topcoat bottle (like others out there) is in a non-translucent white bottle to protect it from the sun’s rays. All you have to do is choose a shade, skip the base coat (as it’s built into the polish), paint a couple coats, then seal it with the topcoat.

CompareSeven day difference

Essie says that you can get two weeks wear of colour and although I only got one week, I didn’t see chips until the seven day mark, and even they weren’t even that bad.  Yes, I had perfectly manicured nails for seven days straight. Not a chip in sight. That’s unheard of. Especially for Essie polishes.

Available in four different collections (Fashion Show, embodied by brights; First Look, embodied by pastels; After Party, embodied by deeps; and Atelier, embodied by neutrals), there’s definitely a shade for everyone. I got the colour Haute to Trot, a lavender rose, at the London Drugs Fall Beauty Preview 2016 a couple weeks ago in Vancouver. I’ve heard amazing things about the line so I was super excited to give it a try, especially since my relationship with Essie seems to be hit and miss. Well, I can gladly say that the Gel Couture line is a huge hit. Probably the best at-home gel polish I’ve tried. You definitely need to experience it to believe it. Kudos Essie!

Which colour from the Essie Gel Couture line do you want to try?

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Unplugged: A staycation at The Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg

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Feeling overwhelmed?

Between having a full-time job, teaching fitness and blogging on the side, having an active social life and making time for my boyfriend and dog, I’ve been finding myself feeling really worn out lately.  I love my life and everything that I choose to do, but I just haven’t gotten enough me time lately.  Sometimes we just need some downtime to really focus on ourselves and with my busy schedule, I just didn’t see how that was going to be possible.  Then I got offered the chance to experience the Unplugged package at The Fort Garry Hotel here in Winnipeg.

The Fort Garry Hotel is a landmark here in Winnipeg. The independently-owned hotel was built in 1913 hosting guests and executives of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Today, the building still stands and is one of the city’s most prestigious hotels boasting a spa, conference  and business facilities, restaurants and ballrooms.

I’ve never had the opportunity to stay at the Fort Garry as I live here, but have taken part in most of the amenities that it offers: the Sunday brunch on special events, dinner in the Palm Lounge, massages and pedicures at Ten Spa, and many events held in their lavish ballrooms.

Front steps Sitting in lobby Close up in lobbyWalking out

The Unplugged package that the hotel is offering is a mix of all my favourite amenities that they offer, and at $189 a person (based on a double occupancy), you really can’t beat this deal.

It includes a one-night stay (either a Saturday or Sunday night), afternoon yoga class at Yoga Public (located on Fort Street, north of The Fort Garry; it’s a 10 minute walk or the hotel offers a shuttle), self-administered Hamam at Ten Spa, plus all the amenities that you receive at Ten Spa (showers and steam, refreshments and small bites – I die for their hummus and pita – etc.), dinner in the Palm Lounge, and a full hot buffet-style breakfast before you head home.

After taking part in many of the things that The Fort Garry offers, aside from actually staying there, when I saw the price of this package I was floored. $189 for a yoga class, hamam treatment at Ten Spa (the best spa in the city, in my opinion), dinner and breakfast!? Oh, and a hotel room? I should have booked a staycation sooner.

Ten Spa lobbyLeg reflection at ten spa

I got to unplug last Sunday with three other blogger friends, Susie from WinnipegMom.ca, Jennifer from Pretty Little Details, and Monique from Style Hunter Fox. We checked in at 3 p.m., headed to our room to unpack (I bunked with Monique), then went straight to Ten Spa to check out the self-administered Hamam treatment.

I was the odd one out as I’ve never done the Hamam before but have only heard amazing things about it.  The Hamam is a spiritual and physical cleansing treatment. Originating in Turkey, the Hamam cleanses the body and skin from toxins, as well as increases blood circulation and contributes to mental wellbeing. We were given pestemal wraps and fluffy white robes before being escorted into a room with a heated bench. From there we were told about the story behind the treatment and then led to a large heated area with steam.  First we showered before applying aromatic sea salts all over our body.  Then, we sat down on the heated slab while the attendant rinsed us with water. It sounds strange, but it was one of the most incredible feelings to have that water being poured on you. After, we just laid there for awhile and every so often she would come by and pour water on us again.

After the Hamam (you can actually visit Ten Spa for the self-administer treatment for only $55 Monday to Thursday, or $75 Friday to Sunday, which in itself is a steal; I totally didn’t know they did that!), we made our way to Yoga Public, a massive yoga and fitness studio located at 280 Fort Street.  It’s a 10-minute walk, but since we were running short on time we chose to take the shuttle. We joined in a hot flow class, which is done in a heated room.  I’m used to doing hot yoga, so the heat didn’t bother me, in fact, I’m used to much hotter rooms, so it was really nice. I’ve always wanted to try out Yoga Public, especially their aerial yoga, so I was so excited to finally get to check out the space. It’s much bigger than I imagined and hands-down the most gorgeous yoga studio in the city.

Yoga Public with Jen Yoga Public

After yoga, we walked back to the hotel and went to our rooms to shower and change. The rooms at the Fort Garry are very 1913, as in they are quite old, however, there are modern touches that bring it to reality.  I’m a huge hotel person, so modern and boutique are definitely more my jam, however, the chic dog pillows, comfy beds, and not to mention novelty of the hotel definitely make it memorable.

After getting ready we headed down to the Palm Lounge for dinner, a set menu of chicken and veggies, as well as a dessert, and some cocktails (extra). Since we were so zenned out, we headed back to our rooms to sleep around 10:30 p.m. (hey, it was a Sunday after all!).

The next morning, since there’s no in-room coffee machine, we ordered coffee to our room, which I kid you not, came in four minutes. The coffee also came with a baked cookie, which was a really nice touch.

After waking up with some java, we got dressed then headed downstairs to the Broadway room for some breakfast. They have a chef there so you can order up eggs or waffles, and there was also a table full of pastries to munch on, and cereal and oatmeal as well.

Ten spa bag on bed Rooms Dress in closet Blow drying hair

After breakfast we went back to Ten Spa as they offered us bloggers a chance to try out the Ten Skin RX (which is not included in the package). Ten Skin RX is a 15-minute laser treatment which works to treat a number of skin conditions by incorporating the medical Regenlite Transform laser (delivers 585nm of SmartPulse light from a hand-piece) directly into the lower layer of the skin. The laser light (which feels like a pen going across your face) delivers maximum collagen stimulation with less energy. Think of this this way, our skin is like an elastic. When we are young it’s nice and sturdy, but as we age it starts to loosen up, creating wrinkles. Since our skin is made up of collagen, this machine adds more collagen to it, essentially reversing the signs of aging. They promise amazing results with regular treatments. Since I already have nice skin we just did a normal treatment, but I was told it works wonders on wrinkles and improves skin clarity, tone and texture.

I have a pretty high pain tolerance and use a laser hair removal device often on my face, so I didn’t think it would hurt. I had to tell the aesthetician to turn the machine down since it stung so bad. Because I’m so fair skinned though, she said that she had the machine on high since my skin tone could take it.  It’s not a long procedure though, so if you can hack it, beauty is pain, right?

Ten Skin RXSelfie at ten spa

The Ten Skin RX treatment was our final activity in our staycation and I was so sad to grab my things and go (they also included underground parking, by the way).

I definitely got some much-needed me time and loved every minute of it and was already thinking of people I would love to do this package with again. Spa, yoga, food, and hotel? Yes, please!

Have you stayed at the Fort Garry Hotel?

Please note, The Fort Garry Hotel graciously paid for my stay and my participation in the Unplug package. Aside from that, I received no compensation for this post.

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Feathers: A festival fashion look

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With festival season in full swing here, it’s hard not to get caught up in all the fashion.  My local H&M is still stocking the brand’s Coachella collection, and just about every retailer have festival-inspired outfits to please just about anyone’s inner hippie.

I’ll be heading out to the Winnipeg Folk Festival (July 7-10, 2016 in Birds Hill Park) next month and after going last year, I can finally see what the hype is all about. Although I’m more into electronic music (I also went to EDC last year in Vegas), the Winnipeg Folk Festival, or Folk Fest as us Manitobans like to call it, was such a fun, relaxing atmosphere that I was asking myself why I’ve never been to it before.

The performance schedule is up via their official site, but aside from figuring out which artists I want to see and which stages they’re playing at, I’m still trying to plan what to wear on each day.

Bench Forest

I got this dress from Zaful and it features multicoloured feathers and a shorter length (it’s also super affordable!), making it perfect for listening to music underneath the hot summer sun.  I paired the dress with a cropped jean jacket from H&M as it gets cold at night, some gold bangles, and dressier flip flops.

For the makeup, since you’ll be spending all day outside, you want to keep it simple so nothing smudges. I went with Rimmel London’s Match Perfection foundation, Benefit’s Fake Up Concealer (so I don’t look tired throughout the day), Vita Liberata’s Trystal Tan for bronzing (an absolute must!), lots of highlight for a dewy look (Benefit High Beam and Becca Champagne Pop over top) and a nude lip (Kylie Cosmetics Gloss in So Cute).  I kept the eyes super simple since I tend to smudge the most around that area. I just popped a highlight around on my brow bone and since I have eyelash extensions, I just let those command the attention. I also applied some facial jewels from Sephora to give it a more boho feel.

Close up purple hair

For the hair, I sprayed it with some dry shampoo then braided a strip on the side. I also applied some purple temporary colour to an underneath section of hair for a pop of colour (ColorMe Lavender).

I have a few more outfits planned that I’ll be rocking at Folk Fest. I love this dress since I think it’s so music festival appropriate. Umm hello, feathers? Totally something to rock in the middle of a provincial park in the hot summer months surrounded by good tunes, good eats, and great people.

Sitting In front of tree

Are you heading to the Winnipeg Folk Festival this year? What’s your go-to festival look?

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