Facials: Montreal’s Best Kept Secret…

When it comes to facials, there’s a place where detailed focus, undivided attention and pampering are a priority- and that’s in Montreal…actually, in Laval, Montreal’s close neighbour- at Jenny Bart’s. Today, I was privileged to receive this fabulous service! I was also lucky to get an appointment, because this girl is booked solid- always.

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What makes Jenny’s place so special? Well first of all, her clientele is based mostly on referrals. And, according to most…She really is Montreal’s best kept secret (Ahem, Laval). Her clients come from far and wide knowing that she does not have a ‘one-size- fits- all’, facial routine. She is a true expert. Facials are done according to skin analysis and specific needs. It’s a tailor-made program and treatments are done according to your skin’s needs, health and lifestyle.

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What could be better than a warmed mattress right by a cozy fire, in a freshly scented aromatherapy room?

Jenny is extremely well versed and knowledgeable on all things derma-related, and also takes a particular interest and focus on anti-aging. All this makes her not only extremely interesting to me- but also my go-to source on newest technology and on what works and what doesn’t. For me, at this point, I really want to focus on reversing and slowing the signs of aging, while prolonging my skin’s health.

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This is what I call total relaxation…

Unlike many other professionals who tell you to chuck what you have and buy what’s in their line instead, Jenny advised me on the important agents to look for in my own skin care products. I really appreciated that. Nobody wants to hear they need to throw out every cream they own (for some of us that can be anywhere over $200 a pop- yikes!) This is something I can really appreciate- honesty from an Esthetician.

Jenny does not sell her own line- instead, she tells you which products out there will make a remarkable difference on your skin- and that, is based on an individual analysis. She is also straightforward when revealing your skin’s status and the creams you are already using. So what about My reveal? Apart from sun damage (I’m a sucker for Floridian and Greek beaches, what can I say?), my skin is apparently very well maintained and it shows that I take good care of it! (So happy about that, cause I really do!).

I left my Esthetician with a world of knowledge along with a list of ingredients I should read up on; and of course what I should get for my skin. Surprisingly…none of it will kill my budget. No nonsense advice that I can live with!

Here’s what I got done today:

-Double Cleanse

-Followed by a light chemical peel

-Skin analysis

-Treatment: Light therapy and Toning Therapy

-Anti-Aging Mask

-Face Massage

All this followed by: Serums, Moisturizer and SPF

While relaxing, I also got a hand and forearm massage.

Oh, and did I mention how good my skin feels? It also looks amazing! All I needed today after my facial (because I never leave home without a full face of makeup)- was only a touch of powder, mascara, liner and gloss. I look and feel refreshed and, is it my imagination… or are those darn ‘eleven’s starting to shy away? Booking my next appointment!

That’s that my Darlings! Feeling totally zen.

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Jenny’s Instagram Feed:  @jennybart

#confessionoftheday: Indulgence in taking care of my skin is not a privilege- it’s a necessity!

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Let Mother’s Day Sparkle and Dazzle!

Do you love glitter and all that shines? Then I wish you could have joined me at the Katherine Karambelas sample sale that took place a few weeks ago! The place shone with the most precious sparkling temptations!

I can’t begin to tell you how crazy I am about this line of exquisite semi-precious jewelry. Every piece is a true work of art- seriously. The jewelry is created using precious and semi-precious stones and metals, as well as, Swarovski crystals.  The epitome of chic, and, all meticulously hand-made.  Incredibly fashionable and suitable for women of all ages and styles, well-priced and original…the Katherine Karambelas line is perfect for us, Darlings:)

There’s much that I admire and adore about this brand. Besides, beauty, quality, originality, and authenticity, for me, the fact that Katherine, a Montreal designer of Greek origin, works alongside her three daughters, heading, creating and developing a business for women, by women- is a true heartwarming inspiration. A wonderful mother and daughters’ story…

I can’t fathom anything more appropriate for Mother’s Day! Thinking of offering something splendid for this wonderful day?

So…Without further ado, let me whet your appetite- drum roll please!

Here I am with two of the beautiful and talented Karambelas sisters: Nektaria and Faith.

A little bubbly and more sparkles…

Here’s one of the pieces I purchased.

This is what it looks like on me..

And I just couldn’t resist this piece!!

And one more! Haven’t worn this one yet but with the warm sunny weather ahead- and vacation time; I can see myself wearing this one all summer long.

So these were my beautiful purchases!

And just when I thought I’d had my heart’s content…earlier this week I was surprised with this arrival in the mail! Thank you so much Katherine Karambelas. I’m a true KKit Girl now!

Magical!

Katherine Karambelas also takes special orders to create unique pieces for clients. Here are two necklaces in Swarovski created just for me. I wear these all the time, dressed up or casual…

And this one in darker stones…

 

Mother’s Day is almost here! Check out Katherine Karambelas’ splendid creations here at:

katherinekarambelas.com

Instagram @katherinekarambelas

When Looks Can be Deceiving…

Pick the right outfit, take some photos; edit, crop, delete or switch around-, write a post, share on all your social platforms, inspire and set a trend! Repeat.

For me this is always a fun and easy process, as I love: writing; fashion; trend setting and inspiring. But I also am very intent on always being genuine when I post. I like relevancy and good dose of honesty. Which brings me to the photos I decided to post this Monday afternoon…

These photos were supposed to post last Thursday evening- time appropriate for my preparations for Greek Orthodox Easter. Lots of happiness, calmness and a look of peaceful ease on my face. That’s exactly how I felt on Thursday- but for some reason I ran out of time to post.

And then, on the following day, Montreal was on flood alert!

Right upto Thursday we were doing fine…but come Friday morning, all hell broke loose. My entire family and I spent the next 3 days bagging and placing sandbags around our property. Neighbours also pitched in, as did the police and firefighters. We worked knee-high in water, around the clock up until Sunday afternoon.

I believe in kindness and of giving of oneself to help others- but what I witnessed went beyond. It was cold, raining, but no one stopped. Drenched in two feet of water- everyone diligently built those walls- helping to keep my house safe and dry. Neighbors offered extra pumps, tape, snowblowers..you name it. Anything to get the job done and get that horrific water from destroying it all.

The waters finally tamed on Sunday evening…and all is stable so far. That’s how we spent Easter weekend.

But! No water came in. We are not flooded. The situation is stable. We are Thankful.

 

Why am I telling you all this? Well it occurred to me that when I would be ready to post my fashion photo today, it also needed to be genuine. I feel very relieved today and also extremely thankful that the water has calmed down, that I have a wonderful family, fantastic neighbors, a city that responded, that my family and I are safe.

There. Now I can post these photos the way they were meant to be posted: I am happy, serene, thankful, and blessed.

My look is not deceiving…I am genuine- the way I always want to come through. Today is the right day to post. Hoping your weekend was a blessed one xx.

#Confessionoftheday: Breathe. All is well:)

Italian Sunday Meal: No Fuss Lasagna

Who are we kidding- when is lasagna, no fuss?

And then, yet…if you prepare some of it in advance, there’s hope!  For instance, your sauce need not be prepared the day of.  Prepare it up to a few days before.

Cheese?  Grate that mozzarella the night before (or better yet, buy the pre-grated in-a-bag-mozzarella).  Same goes for the actual pasta used; you can buy the oven-ready kind.  It’s just as good.  All I do is pass it under hot water and then place directly in pan over first layer of sauce. Easy peasy.

As for the beschamel…well, that one you gotta do on the spot.  Unless you can prep this too the night before?  Never tried it- but if you have, let me know.

Note: For Beschamel sauce: melt about 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour on low heat. Gradually pour in milk. Stir on low to med heat until thickens. Pour as much milk as needed until you get the right consistency.

Alternate layers between beschamel and sauce.

All that’s left to do is put it in the oven for about 45 minutes covered at 200 c. Then uncover for another 15 minutes of cooking. Et voila!  Serve with a side dish of cauliflower and another of coleslaw.  Simple!

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And there you have it:  No-fuss Lasagna.  Enjoy!

 

Leave a Trail and Make your Mark: A word about Fragrance…

Don’t be a prey…Leave a trace of your scent…not for them to track you down; but for them to follow the leader -Lucy Bertoldi   (Did I just write that? I love it! Repeat this and Tag me!)  

Nothing can leave more of a lasting impression than a woman’s fragrance. Your signature fragrance is an extension of yourself- as much as the way you carry yourself the tone of your voice, the way you dress, the way you smile or stare.  So it’s important to get this right since you only get one chance to make a first (or lasting) impression.

IMG_1299_Facetune_23-03-2019-17-58-43( Me about to start to start my shift- ready to make a good impression lol!)

And when you find that one fragrance that works for you, you’ll notice how those around you will also love the way you smell and will also tell you they know it’s you just by the trace you leave.  Scent is a powerful thing.  It can bring back memories, transport you and even make you feel a certain way depending on the circumstance.  Choose your fragrance well.

Since I am also in the Fragrance world as part of my work, I often  hear women tell me they want to try something new because they can’t smell their fragrance anymore.  This is normal!  When a fragrance suits you, it becomes part of you.  Your subconscious registers it and it no longer needs to constantly recognise it!  Trust that what you loved still smells wonderful.  It’s only when you can actually smell it and you find the scent different and unpleasant that you should reconsider.

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But, as women, we are entitled to our choices (and to change our mind as we please) -so I know many of us like to try different perfumes and that’s ok! Since we do feel differently depending on seasons, times of our lives, hormones- name it.  Yet, I’m convinced that when you’ve found the One, you always somehow find your way back.  It’s a feeling.

Personally,  I have my One-go-to, and I stick to the brand but often change it up depending on the seasons or occasions- but they are all from the same Maison.  For those who know me, it’s no surprise that I’m a loyal Chanel girl.  I find it so much easier to switch it up within the line.  After all,  the compositions are based on similar notes and florals- so I’m naturally attracted.

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If you are on the hunt for your personal signature fragrance, try looking within the same line you already are accustomed to buying,  More often than not, you will be sure to find a fragrance that  varies while still remaining pleasurable and exciting to you.

What’s your favourite fragrance?  How do you switch it up?

#confessionoftheday: I often spray two different Chanel fragrances to create my very own personal signature. (Did you know you can do that with Chanel fragrances? Yes you can!)

Make Time for Besties…

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Having good friends is everything. Family comes first, but true friendship is a close runner up. This is true for every stage of our lives…but I think it’s especially important in midlife. Most of our baggage almost empty; we’ve got so much less of a load to carry.  At this stage we’ve pretty much eliminated the irrelevant and kept the most precious. Friendships have had many purposes in life. Most often related to: work, kids, neighbours, hobbies and interests, higher education, community…Let’s just say that more often than not, these relationships flourished for a particular time and period of our lives. And once these stages done, so was the friendship.

But then, there are those that stuck around through it all- or at least popped back in here and there- but never, ever disappeared. Those are the friends I’m talking about. The kind that may have been on break while we were busy making other ‘necessary’ or ‘timely’ friendships. The kind of friends that you could pick up the phone at any time for whatever reason. Recognise them? You know who they are. So that’s who I’m talking about.

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Now more than ever, these people add so much more to our lives. Now because, having peeled off our mandates and all the responsibilities that those entailed, we are clear and free for Part 2 of our lives. A much carefreer self, we come full circle and those friends are part of that. To laugh, share, care and confide as though not a day had passed. Doesn’t the mere thought of that bring a smile to your face?

Darlings, let’s enjoy these precious beings that we call soul sisters; besties, partners in crime- or whatever term of endearment you’d like to use. We need these girls now more than ever, if just to bring back the laughs or remember the tears. They’ve seen us at both our best and our worst- lived through tears and joys, and, seen us evolve.  They just love us infinitely for who we are. Time to celebrate this friendship- call your bestie now and set up a date (just like back in the day!)

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Good friends remind you of who you really are and where you started off. Good friends bring out the truest, most beautiful you. And you know what is so awesome about that? That’s the part you really love most about yourself too!

Make time for your true friends Darlings. It just makes life that much sweeter.

#Confessionoftheday: I’m not always so good at picking up the phone…Thank goodness for text and social media!

Oberstdorf- Beauty in the Bavarian Alps…

 

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Click Here to see this beautiful hotel: HOTEL MOHREN

Being a figure skating mom does have its perks…travelling! Apart from the jet-lag and all the stress that goes along with being a Mom/ Chaperone to an athlete, I really am thankful for the opportunity of visiting so many overseas places. Our last trip was to Oberstdorf, Germany. We stayed at Hotel Mohren. Right in the middle of the town. The view was unbelievable- and the fresh crisp air made me feel so healthy. Bavarian Alps at best! This ski town, bustling with families, athletes from all over the world and the locals…perfect mix!

Besides being picturesque, quaint, but happening, Oberstdorf’s streets are lined with athletic shops, fashion boutiques, handcraft and souvenir hubs, cafes and upbeat restos and fine dining as well. The traditional look of Oberstdorf makes it sweetly appealing; especially when mixed with modern facilities to render your stay ever so comfortable. It still has the old European feel with traditional breweries, yodeling and all!

Being from Montreal, I can ‘somewhat’ compare it to Mont Tremblant…mostly because of its touristic feel. Oberstdorf has more streets, more restos, more shops and definitely more history. I enjoyed the food and of course dove into the schnitzel, as it’s traditional. It really was delicious.But these cabbage rolls though!

We did go to a cafe on our last night. But what really impressed me were the cafes along the streets. Everyone sips their coffee and dessert on outdoor terraces…uhm, it’s winter? No matter! People watching is all the rage, and why not sip your latte outdoors!

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And with me, some things never change…I was on a relentless lookout for fashion. I have to admit they have some pretty chic haute couture boutiques- but the athletic wear shops rule. So ski wear apparel was obviously de rigueur here…but I have to tell you- you know the typical Heidi mountain sweater look? Well, there’s still a lot of that too. Knitted sweaters, hats, mitts and more are still the rage here. And I was amazed to also find a shop that sells traditional Bavarian costumes!

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Oh and since it’s almost Valentine’s…chocolate and candy fest is alive and well here in Oberstdorf!

 

 

So with the excuse of going to a competition…I had myself a really good time in Oberstdorf Germany!  Good times with my beautiful youngest daughter…

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Hope to see you again, my lovely…Auf wiedersehen!

 

#confessionoftheday: those hourly churchbells still chiming in my ears- seriously though.

Part 2 of Your Life… Are You an Empty Nester?

Middleage Divas…Welcome to Part 2 of your life. This is what I call the part of life where almost all the kids have grown and have either moved out for school, or to be on their own, or for marriage…

I’m not quite the empty nester yet; my eldest daughters got married last year but since I still have 3 kids at home, the next two are seemingly very close to leaving the nest. So, the exiting part I’m kinda getting used to, or rather expecting. And perhaps I’m not quite phased about this because I never really imagined my husband and I ever being on our own.

With 5 children, there’s always been a full house. And, the fact that we had our last at 40, I simply never even thought about living in an ‘empty’ house. It often feels like that little one will be with us forever. So, my darlings, the real thing I never even thought about or imagined was…being an empty nester.

Where has time flown? My youngest is still only 17. And by the time she moves out, I’ll probably be at the grandma stage from at least one of my four other children. But this one is my baby. So this is what is drumming on my mind and soul- when she leaves the house one day- that will truly be the end of this act for me.

Did I think she would be a baby forever? Yes I did. Of course she’s not leaving anytime soon- but still, I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared. This one has been around for my better part of my parenting years. I love all my children equally, yet sometimes I feel I was granted a second chance to do things a bit different. With my first four – all were very close in age, and I was much younger myself. Life was more hectic and what I did for one, I did for all. With my last, she had the stage pretty much to herself. Maybe she had it a bit easier and better- Not that she would agree of course…when you’re 17 you don’t realize any of this. So right now I feel quite grateful that I still have a few more years of this fantastic time. But I know it won’t be for long…

It’s all bittersweet and part of life. So as I realize this, I find it all the more important that women over 50 find something meaningful to call their own. Personally I don’t believe I’ll ever find anything more important than the raising of my kids; the citizens of tomorrow’s world. And yet! Maybe this is the time to rethink our paths. All that devotion and care taking took first place and consequently, many of our personal passions we learned to simply forget or closet away somewhere.

Today, I do feel wiser, more assertive, more spiritual, more carefree and more accepting of myself. I like to believe that all those years of mothering paved the way for this. This is the new me. Darlings, there’s so much we put on the back-burner (because of love and devotion!)- And now we get a second chance! So let’s get out there and live our dreams – big or small- the time is right! And that’s the best part…TIME- we finally have some! So, take up a course, catch up on your reading, make art, travel, start up a business, volunteer, exercise, become a chef- the sky’s the limit!

And, dear Darlings, if like me, you still have a young one at a home, then all the more reason for getting a start in planning ahead. Hopefully, by being prepared, when we hug and kiss her as we send her off one day, that dreadful lump we fear so much will be that much easier to swallow. It might just help make things seem a little less empty. We can do this. Let nothing or no one stop you. Remember: If God is for us, who can be against us? Rom.8:31

#confessionoftheday: letting go is the hardest part for my mommy heart

 

Are you an Empty Nester yet? If not…are you prepared?

Over 50? Dressing Up For Winter Goes For Your Skin Too..

So you’re bundling up for the cold. Mitts, hat and scarf, heavy coat, boots- all set…but what about your skin? Are you preparing your gorgeous face for our cold winters? Moisturizing and prepping is most important at any age but even more so in your 50’s and up. By middle age our skin loses it’s souplesse, hydration and resistance to harsh temperatures, the sun and pollution. Time to protect my Darlings!

Because you’ve asked- I deliver! Here’s my skincare regimen that I am completely devoted to:

Mornings:

1-Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam. This adds such radiance to my skin.

2-La Lotion by Supreme- Sublimage by Chanel. Restores my Ph balance and honestly feels like a gentle layer of pre-hydration.

3-Shiseido Ultimume Power Infusing Concentrate. This one I cannot live without. It’s a pre-serum that prepares my skin to literally soak up the following serums and creams I apply. It seems to activate them to work even more effectively.

4- Le Lift Firming- Anti-Wrinkle Serum. Because I am a firm believer of the technology and research behind this product. I see the firmness results and I love it. (Shiseido’s Future Solution X is also a contender- although I’ve only used a sample and loved it!! But at 200$ more than Le Lift…they’ll have to really convince me it’s that much better than Chanel’s).

5- Hydrabeauty Serum by Chanel. Because I need that extra layer of penetrating hydration! Keeping me moist and dewy all day long.

6- Finally my moisturizer: I ALTERNATE between Sublimage La Creme / Le Lift Smoothing and Firming Rich cream/ or Shiseido Bio Performance Liftdynamic Cream. But, truth be told, Sublimage is the ultimate in moisturizing for me. It works on all areas needed. I love the feel and the way makeup applies so well after this cream.

Le Lift is my go to when I need that extra targeted pick-me-up in terms of firmness and wrinkle control.

And Shiseido’s Bio Performance is so rich that this one is a total indulgence for me when I want another layer of luscious creamy protection.

For my eyes:

1- Shiseido Ultimume Power Infusing Eye Concentrate

2- Sublimage La Creme Yeux

AND, just before applying my makeup: Sunscreen of course! I can easily become a creature of habit…and that’s what’s happened with this sunscreen- been using it forever!! Clinique!

Nighttime Routine:

1-Bioderma eau micellaire– To remove my makeup (French Divas swear by this- and so do I!)

2-La Mousse Crème Nettoyante, Chanel; A deliciously foamy yet gentle face wash.

Then I proceed with Step 2 and 3 of my morning routine

3- And now for my Favourite Serum in the world: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair.

4- Shiseido’s Benefiance Wrinkle Resist24 Night Emulsion. I love the feel of this moisturizer/ Lotion!!

Eyes:

Again: Sublimage Creme Yeux

I also dabble with other sample creams and I love masks as well. But the only mask I truly adore- and will indulge in about once a week (maybe more in the winter): Sublimage Masque.. It just feels like an extra loaded moisturizer. I sleep with it and feel gorgeous in the morning.

This may sound extensive, but it actually only takes me about 10 to 15 min at MOST. And with another 10 min of makeup…I’m done! What’s that L’Oreal commercial…Because I’m worth it!

What is your Skincare routine?  

#Confessionoftheday: Boy am I thankful$$$$ I work in the beauty industry and that my youngest works for Pharmaprix!!

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