Archive for Jen O'Brien

A Growing Salon Chain With Celebrity Cred

Local Finds

When Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle visits Toronto, master colourist Luis Pacheco is her mane man. Pacheco is the founder of Medulla & Co. and his chain of casually upscale salons is expanding across Canada to serve brides and A-listers alike.

Pacheco, a master colourist with 22 years of experience, opened his first location in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood back in 2007. A second Toronto location followed on Queen Street West in 2014 and now Medulla & Co. has partnered with luxury retailer Holt Renfrew to coif its well-heeled clientele at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga (with another salon opening in the Vancouver location in 2019).

With more than 40 expert hair stylists and colourists on staff, Medulla & Co. will guide you through every step of prepping your hair for the big day. Start by booking in with Pacheco for celeb-worthy hand-painted highlights that will give your locks the perfect sun-kissed glow, then get to know senior hairstylist Chris Wood, Medulla & Co.’s go-to expert specializing in temporary extensions and chic bridal styles, whether you’re looking for a sleek updo or perfect waves.

Medulla & Co.’s services for wedding parties are available both in-salon and on location, so no matter where you’re tying the knot you can rest assured that your bridal ‘do will be on point.

medullaco.com

How To Plan The Perfect Mini-Moon In Montreal

Travel » Honeymoons

With its world-class restaurants, beautiful architecture and pervading laissez-faire attitude, its no wonder Montreal remains one of Canada’s top tourist destinations. And for an exotic post-wedding vacation close to home, there’s no place quite like this island metropolis.

Even those who have visited the city a dozen times before will be captivated by how it has evolved recently. Stylish new hotels such as the AC Hotel Montreal Downtown are revitalizing Montreal’s downtown core, while mind-boggling art installations will have you looking at the Old Port in a whole new light.

Use this itinerary to plan the ultimate romantic vacation in Montreal.

Photo via AC Hotels

Check in at a chic new hotel
AC Hotels’ first foray into the Canadian market is this beautiful modern hotel in the heart of downtown Montreal, which opened in March 2018. The Spanish hotel chain, which was acquired by Marriott in 2011, prides itself on modern design, thoughtful service and European-inspired amenities that combine to create the perfect stay. Settle into your spacious room (complete with a Nespresso machine and Netflix) then hit the hotel’s indoor pool for a few sunset laps overlooking the city. In the morning, enjoy a European-style breakfast (including freshly-shaved proscuitto) at AC Kitchen. The AC Hotel is conveniently located walking distance from Old Montreal and the chic boutiques on St. Laurent. After a day spent exploring the city, cap off the evening on property with a spectacular dinner of tapas, paella and cocktails at La Palma.

See Old Montreal’s iconic church in a whole new light
Notre-Dame Basilica is as revered as the French-Canadian songstress who famously tied the knot here in 1994; and now there’s an exciting new reason to pay a visit to this Montreal landmark. Renown local entertainment studio Moment Factory has developed a multimedia spectacle to highlight the beauty of the church’s interior using orchestral music, lighting, mirrors and projections to illuminate the building’s exquisite architecture, carvings and frescos. Even for the non-religious, this immersive presentation is a transcendental experience.

Indulge in a gourmet meal
Located in the heart of Old Montreal, Chez l’Epicier offers casual gourmet cuisine inspired by the best seasonal products available in Quebec. Start with the house-made sourdough with wild honey and brown butter then move on to duck corndogs followed by lobster with wild garlic and radish, and pulled Quebec lamb with green peas and purple shiso for a dining experience you won’t soon forget.

Photo via The Coldroom

Hit a speakeasy
The best way to pass the time between dinner and poutine is with a nightcap (or three) at one of the city’s hip speakeasies. Our go-to, The Coldroom, lies down an unassuming alleyway at the corner of St-Vincent and St-Amable in Old Montreal. Ring a doorbell, wait for someone to let you in, then proceed down a flight of stairs following the duck insignias and behind a fridge door you’ll find one of Montreal’s best hidden bars. Try the Albatross, a mix of Guerra vermouth, Lucano amaro, sour grapefruit, black pepper syrup, Ms. Better Bitters black pepper and cardamom or the Duck, a surprising combo of Plantation dark rum, Amaretto, Suze, duck fat and Angostura bitters — all mixed by some of the best bartenders in country.

Summer Wedding Cocktail Recipes

Planning » Reception Ideas

Beer and wine are great, but creative cocktails really take a party to the next level. For summer weddings, having refreshing drinks on hand to serve between the ceremony and the reception is pretty much essential — and it helps if they contain alcohol (bonus points if they’re photogenic).

With this in mind, we set out in search of the tastiest new summer wedding cocktail ideas. These six drinks are reinvented takes on classic recipes and they’re all guaranteed to kick off your night of celebrating in style.

White Sangria (pictured above)
Swap brandy for premium tequila for an updated take on this summer classic.

1.5 oz. Casamigos blanco tequila
1.5 oz. white wine
1 oz. simple syrup
0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. orange juice
2 pineapple chunks or .25 oz. pineapple juice
2 mango slices

Combine all ingredients into a tin shaker and muddle fruit. Add ice and shake vigorously for 6-8 seconds. Fine strain into wine glass and add block ice. Garnish with a large thin mango slice and thyme sprig.

The Better Caesar
“The Whole Hog” features maple bacon whisky in place of vodka.

1.5 oz. Saddleback Maple Bacon Whisky
4 oz Clamato juice
Chipotle Tabasco
1 tsp. barbecue sauce
Bacon strips
Montreal steak spice
Lemon wedge

Wet rim of glass with lemon wedge. Pour Montreal steak spice on plate and fully coat the rim of glass. Combine whisky, barbecue sauce, Clamato juice and 2-3 dashes of Chipotle Tabasco in a glass filled with ice. Stir and garnish with strip of bacon.

The Instagram-Worthy Gin and Tonic
Indigo gin infused with butterfly pea blossom turns soft pink with the addition of tonic.

2 oz. Empress 1908 gin
3-4 oz. premium tonic water
Grapefruit slice

Build on ice in a rocks glass. Stir well. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.

The Chic Paloma
Nicknamed “Pauline’s Paloma” after Chandon’s winemaker Pauline Lhote, this trendy cocktail is enhanced with bubbly rosé.

2 oz. blanco tequila
0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
0.5 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
2-4 oz. Chandon Rosé
Lime
Kosher salt

Shake all ingredients (excluding Chandon and garnish) in shaker tin. Strain into a highball or tumbler glass over ice, finish with Chandon Rosé. Garnish with lime wheel and sprinkle with kosher salt to finish.

The Pina Colada Remix
This lighter take on a tropical icon features premium coconut- and pineapple-infused vodka in place of rum.

1 oz. CÎROC Summer Colada
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. coconut water
0.5 oz. lemon juice

Blend with ice until smooth, then pour and garnish with pineapple leaves.

The Modern Spritz
This reimagined take on a classic was inspired by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s elderflower-flavoured wedding cake.

1 part St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1.5 parts Bombay Sapphire
0.5 parts lemon juice
1 part grapefruit juice
2 parts sparkling rosé.

Combine and serve in a Collins glass over ice

Honeymooning In The Islands Of Tahiti

Travel » Honeymoons

Experience overwater luxury at Le Taha’a. Photo courtesy of Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa.

Anyone who has visited The Islands of Tahiti will tell you it was love at first sight. This group of 118 idyllic islands surrounded by the South Pacific have long enchanted visitors with dramatic mountain peaks, impossibly blue seas and tropical landscapes bursting with exotic flowers – but the beauty extends far beyond these obvious physical attributes.

Look below the surface and you’ll discover a place where unity is intrinsic: from the way land and water work together to support daily life to the way man and nature collaborate to create the islands’ prized vanilla and pearls.

Even the culture marries French and Polynesian sensibilities. And then there’s mana, a complex concept that Tahitians hold dear, that has unity at its core. It’s the energy in the land, the sea and the air that envelops the soul and connects people to this place and one another in an indescribably beautiful way. Think of it as the elusive nirvana of French Polynesia – your first visit may only provide you with a glimpse, but it will be enough to serve as the first step towards travel enlightenment helping you deepen your connection to the destination and each other.

Get to the heart of the islands and discover the mana that lies beyond the iconic overwater bungalows of Bora Bora using this curated honeymoon itinerary.

Step into the past at Marae Taputapuatea. Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.

Get immersed in Polynesian culture in Raiatea
For a primer on the history of the islands, make Raiatea your first stop. A quick 45-minute flight from Tahiti’s capital, Papeete, this wild island sits at the heart of the Polynesian Triangle and is still considered by many to be a place of great spiritual significance. The island’s most important site, Marae Taputapuatea, is a traditional temple and sprawling seaside plaza where some of the most important ceremonies in Polynesian history took place. The marae (sacred place) garnered international recognition in 2017 when it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Book a tour with Polynesian Escape’s Tahiarii Pariente, one of the area’s foremost scholars, who will walk you through the site and explain why Marae Taputapuatea remains a place of pilgrimage for Polynesians from as far away as New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island.

Few travel experiences can compare to watching the sun set over a South Pacific lagoon. Photo courtesy of Taha’a Island Resort & Spa.

Become one with nature in Taha’a
Raiatea’s neighbouring island, Taha’a, shares a common lagoon but the vibe is entirely different. In fact, Taha’a is about as laid-back as it gets, making it the perfect place to shack up during your time exploring these two Society Islands. As far as accommodations go, you’re spoiled for choice. Splash out on an overwater suite at Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa, the only Relais and Chateaux property in French Polynesia where five-star service meets traditional design, or book one of the nine villas at Vahine Island Resort & Spa, a family-owned luxury property on a private island.

Each resort has its own coral garden with world-class snorkelling and both are a short boat ride away from the main island of Taha’a.

In addition to its fabulous accommodations, Taha’a is also the biggest producer of vanilla in all of French Polynesia. Pay a visit to one of the island’s farms and you’ll learn about the magic that sprouts from the soil on “the vanilla island”. In fact, the process of cultivating French Polynesia’s unique strain of vanilla involves hand-pollination or “marrying” the plants to produce the treasured crops.

Check swimming with stingrays off your bucket list. Photo courtesy of Tim McKenna for Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa.

Have an otherworldly experience on the water in Moorea
Water has always been an integral part of life in The Islands of Tahiti. Emerging from the sea after great volcanic eruptions, these islands and atolls were originally settled by ocean-going people who navigated their way to paradise using the stars as their guide. These days, the area is considered home to the most majestic swath of sea on earth and its crystalline waters are one of the biggest draws for visitors. The island of Moorea, in particular, provides once-in-a-lifetime experiences at sea for modern-day explorers.

Settle in at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort and Spa, a luxe property nestled between striking mountain peaks and a tropical lagoon, then get out and explore the ocean. For adventurous honeymooners Moorea Jet Surf, a company owned by veteran waterman Denis Grosmaire, offers a unique way to explore the lagoon on a motorized surfboard, while Corallina Tours operates excursions that will have you heading out past Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, while spinner dolphin’s swim alongside your boat. You’ll drop anchor in a playground for stingrays and black tip reef sharks where you can hop in the water and come face to face with these fascinating sea creatures.

Head out in search of waterfalls on Moorea. Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.

Connect with the land in Moorea
Moorea’s dramatic, mountainous landscape also begs to be explored, and a day trip with Enjoy Moorea is just the ticket. A typical tour of the island with this company begins with an exhilarating 4×4 climb up Magic Mountain, where bewitching panoramic views are par for the course. A visit to The Belvedere provides a different (though equally stunning) perspective of the island and the famed volcanic peak of Mount Rotui. You can commemorate your visit, and your recent nuptials, by adding a personalized “lock of love” to the site. After a lunch of poisson cru, a local delicacy, on a secluded beach you’ll cap off the day with a hike through tropical forest to a remote waterfall where you can take a dip in fresh mountain water and truly revel in the lush natural beauty of the island.

Indulge in a treatment at The Brando’s Varua Te Ora Spa. Photo courtesy of The Brando.

Experience uniquely Tahitian luxury in Tetiaroa
Few places in the world can compete with The Islands of Tahiti when it comes to luxury accommodations, and The Brando is the best of the best. Located on Marlon Brando’s private atoll, Tetiaroa, and serviced by its own private airline, this ultra-refined retreat has been consistently listed among the best resorts in the world since opening in 2014. Designed to blend seamlessly with its pristine surroundings and run on renewable energy, The Brando is also home to the Tetiaroa Society, a non-profit organization simultaneously carrying out conservation efforts and educational programs for guests. With impeccable service, Polynesian-inspired cuisine created by famed French chef Guy Martin, and a beautiful spa sanctuary built into a series of wooden nests cocooned in tropical greenery, its no wonder this property is a favourite hideaway of celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Barack Obama.

Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.

Regardless of how you fill your days, The Islands of Tahiti will send you off with a souvenir you just can’t find anywhere else on earth. Mana, and the connection it inspires, will undoubtedly enhance your first few weeks as man and wife and fuel your desire for a return trip to this magical slice of paradise.

Planning your trip
The experts at Goway Travel, a company that has been providing unforgettable travel experiences to some of the world’s most exotic and interesting destinations since 1970,  can help you plan everything from your international flight to your accommodations.

Air Tahiti Nui offers direct flights from Los Angeles to Papeete that will transport you to the islands from the moment you step on board – cabin crew even distribute tiare flowers to welcome you! After landing, plan to spend at least one night on the main island relaxing at a luxurious property like Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort.

Island-hopping is half the fun of honeymooning in the The Islands of Tahiti and internal flights can be arranged with Air Tahiti. Once you’re ready to get out and explore, everything from car rentals to diving excursions can be booked through Tahiti Tours, while boat transfers and excursions can be arranged through Terainui Tours.

How To Plan The Ultimate Bachelorette Party In Mexico

Travel

bachelorette party in mexico - hotel

A bachelorette party in Mexico does not necessarily have to revolve solely around tequila drinks and tanning. Pick the right location and your pre-wedding bash can be an exciting trip of a lifetime with agave cocktails and adventure in equal measure.

When it comes to upscale-yet-accessible girls’ trip destinations, there are few better places on the planet than Punta de Mita. This burgeoning area, part of the Riviera Nayarit, has become a hot spot for high-end resorts and the W Punta de Mita is the hippest of them all. With with surf lessons, yoga, a 4,000-square-foot spa, multiple cool eateries (including a beachside ceviche bar built into the back of 1950’s Chevy truck) and a location that’s just a short drive from the boho beach towns
of Sayulita and San Francisco, everything you need for an amazing, well-rounded vacation (that will please even the pickiest travellers) is at your fingertips.

Read on for tips on planning the perfect bachelorette party itinerary in this beautiful part of Mexico.

Honeymoon Like Royalty At These Canadian Hotels

Travel » Honeymoons

Few of us will tie the knot in a castle ceremony attended by Oprah and televised worldwide, however, when it comes to honeymooning, the royal treatment is a little more accessible.

Canada has long been favourite getaway destination for royals (Toronto, in particular, played a major role in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s courtship) and there are plenty of luxurious accommodations across the country fit for monarchs on the move.

From Calgary to Nova Scotia, we’ve tracked down some of the most beautiful hotels in Canada that have played host to members of the royal family over the years. With palatial suites, exquisite food and five-star service, these properties are particularly ideal for romantic staycations and honeymoons close to home.

These Royal Wedding Floral Details Will Make You Weepy

Royal Wedding

Photo credit should read Jane Barlow/AFP/Getty Images

Along with the arrival of Oprah, the unveiling of the dress and Prince Harry’s reaction to seeing Meghan Markle walk down the aisle, the floral details designed by Philippa Craddock were a highlight of the royal wedding.

Photo by Danny Lawson/AFP/Getty Images

Beautiful blooms transformed St. George’s Chapel and the sentimental details behind the royal wedding flowers will make you swoon. White peonies, Meghan’s favourite flowers, were paired with white garden roses, which were selected to pay homage to Harry’s mother Princess Diana.

Photo by Danny Lawson/AFP/Getty Images)

Lush greenery not only framed the chapel entrance, it also acted as a stunning backdrop for the couple’s vows giving Windsor Castle the feel of a wild English garden.

Photo by Danny Lawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan’s white bouquet was as understated as her now-famous gown but, though minimal, the arrangement was filled with meaning. It included Princess Diana’s favourite flowers, forget-me-nots, alongside jasmine, sweet pea, lily of the valley, astilbe, astrantia and myrtle, which is a royal tradition. The particular myrtle included in Meghan’s bouquet came from the gardens at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, from a plant which was planted by Queen Victoria in 1845. Queen Elizabeth had the same myrtle included in her wedding bouquet, as did Kate Middleton.

Photo by Jane Barlow – WPA Pool/Getty Images

On top of all this, Harry hand-picked some of the blooms in the bouquet! He selected them from the couple’s private garden at their home at Kensington Palace and gave them to Philippa Craddock to include in Meghan’s arrangement.

Romona New York Spring 2019 Wedding Dresses

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

The latest collection from Romona New York was built on classic silhouettes modernized with beautiful oversized bow details. Airy tulle ballgowns and trumpet silhouettes were cinched at the waist and tied at the back to create looks that dazzle from all angles.

A stunning gown with sequinned spaghetti strap bodice and playful tulle skirt is bound to be the most coveted look in the collection.

Superfood Skin Care Products You Need Before The Big Day

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

superfood skin care

Photo via iStockphoto

Life’s big events provide great incentives for adopting new healthier routines, whether that’s a change in diet or a more regular workout regime. Since you’re likely to start paying more attention to what you’re putting into your body in the lead up to your wedding day, it’s also a good time to start reconsidering what you’re putting on it — especially where skin care is concerned. Did you know that certain superfoods can be just as beneficial for your skin as they are for the rest of your body? According to Charmaine Cooper, lead educator at Dermalogica Canada, nutrient-rich ingredients commonly found in trendy superfoods have long been on the radar of skin care professionals as topical treatments.

“Superfoods support the internal health of the body, which includes our internal organs. However, only about 10 percent of what we ingest, makes its way to the outer organ of the body: the skin,” Cooper explains. “The majority of those ingested nutrients work to support internal functions and our internal organs. Since our skin is the largest and most outer organ of our body, it undergoes a lot of assault. Pollution, harsh climates, UV radiation are among the few elements that we are dealing with daily. The skin also secretes toxins that have been accumulated and loses daily nutrients and moisture that it naturally possesses. It is therefore crucial to skin health that we apply nutrients topically that support the daily function of the skin.” She adds that many of the nutrients available in antioxidant-rich food that you also see cropping up in skin care products are nutrients that the skin should have normally produced on its own, but with age, lifestyle and the weather, the production of key nutrients decreases.

We’ve rounded up three of the hottest new superfood ingredients out there that are also great for your skin.

superfood skin care products

Photo via iStockphoto

Tamarind

What is it? A pod-like tropical fruit that contains sticky sweet and sour edible pulp.

What does it do? “Tamarind seed extract is rich in polysaccharides,” Cooper explains. “It possesses a similar structure to hyaluronic acid and is therefore abundant in its source of hydration for the skin. It also prevents trans-epidermal water loss.”

Where can you find it? Tamarind seed extract is a key ingredient in Dermalogica’s Sound Sleep Cocoon, a revitalizing gel-cream designed to be applied at night to help skin stay hydrated while it works to repair, rebuild and recover from the stresses of the day.

superfood skin care products

Photo via iStockphoto

Kombucha

What is it? A fermented sweet black tea.

What does it do? Rich in vitamins and organic acids produced through the fermentation process, kombucha is thought to offer protection against skin-damaging pollutants and free radicals while enhancing skin luminosity, reducing the look of fine lines and pores, improving elasticity, and enhancing skin tone, texture and moisture levels.

Where can you find it? Kombucha is centre stage in Fresh’s Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence. This age-delay product, which is applied after cleansing morning and night, is designed to protect skin from pollution and promote a youthful clarity while fading fine lines.

superfood skin care products

Photo via iStockphoto

Coconut

What is it? The fruit of a coconut palm, which is filled with fatty, nutrient-dense meat.

What does it do? Packing with essential fatty acids and vitamin E, coconut oil hydrates skin while delivering antioxidants to fight the signs of aging.

Where can you find it? Kopari’s line of coconut skincare products celebrate the tropical fruit and its many beneficial properties. Start by removing impurities with the company’s cleansing oil, then balance pH levels and tighten pores with the Coconut Rose Toner. Finish by replenishing nutrient levels and hydrating while strengthening skin’s protective barrier with the Coconut Face Cream.

Why Namibia Is The Perfect Place For A Royal Honeymoon

Royal Wedding

namibia honeymoon - sossusvlei

Yes, there are cheetahs, lions and zebras galore, but these once-in-a-lifetime safari encounters are only a small part of Namibia‘s charm. The country, known for its breathtakingly vast deserts and seemingly endless horizons, is perhaps one of the best places in the world to really get away from it all and spend time alone with your new husband.

Located in southwest Africa, Namibia is not only home to some of the continent’s most jaw-dropping sights but also some outstanding, remote, luxury properties so you’ll understand why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were repeat visitors and why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would choose this destination for their honeymoon.

Since gaining independence from South Africa in 1990, the country has also developed a strong culture of conservancy. Endangered animal populations that were once dwindling are now on the rise and scenic attractions, like the stunning dunes of Sossusvlei and parched white clay pan of Deadvlei, remain pristine.

Here we’ll introduce you to six of Namibia’s top honeymoon attractions, which are currently some of the best kept secrets in Africa — trust us, they won’t remain so for long!

Namibia Honeymoon Guide

View more from our Namibia Honeymoon Guide ›

The Trick To Looking 10 Pounds Lighter In Your Wedding Dress

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Photo via iStockphoto

There’s no doubt that religiously attending spin classes and sticking with a strict healthy diet in the months before your big day can help you look and feel fabulous when it comes time for your walk down the aisle, however, there’s another (much more easily achievable) way to ensure your body looks its best in your wedding dress. Going for a professional bra fitting and investing in the right undergarments well before the main event can have a truly transformative effect.

“Getting a bra fitting is so important,” says Maggie Hess, a fit consultant for Wacoal Canada. “When you have the right undergarment everything hangs so much better, your clothes fit better, and you can look 10 pounds lighter!”

Hess explains that when it comes to shopping for undergarments, most women are doing it all wrong. “Most wear the band too loose and the cup too small,” she explains. “Ladies also get really hung up on bra sizes, but a number doesn’t mean anything.” Hess recommends trying on every bra you’re considering buying. “Don’t just assume that you’re a 36C and go with that,” she advises. “Not every brand fits the same and not every style fits the same. Sometimes even black bras and beige bras in the same style will fit differently! Just because you like it on the hanger, it may not be the bra for you.”

When it comes to your wedding day undergarments, Hess says it helps to have some options purchased before going dress shopping. “If you don’t have the right undergarment with you and you try on a bias-cut satin dress, for example, you might immediately rule out that style of dress. Without the right bra on hand you might avoid trying on dresses that could be very flattering on you,” she explains.

For women with larger chests, Hess says support should come from the band of the bra, not necessarily the straps. “The band will give you the most support and three to four hooks in the back of a bra will give you more support so you’re not sagging,” she explains. “Also, a three section cup can move your breast tissue to the front so you look less wide.” Hess says that full-chested women should also gravitate towards double-lined fabrics and look into minimizers if the goal is to look both lifted and less busty. “If you have the right bra you might not even need shapewear,” she says.

Smaller-chested women can opt for pushup bras, maybe with an extra pad on the inside, for a bit of extra lift and fullness or go in the complete opposite direction with a more natural look. “I’ve noticed lately that a lot of smaller-chested women don’t necessarily want to look bigger so in that case they’ll go with a bralet or a lacy balconette bra with a vertical seam that will lift the bust and give shape and a bit of cleavage without showing under clothes.”

Hess notes that finding the right bra can even save you money on alteration costs. “I was fitting a lady, she was the mother of the bride, and she had a beautiful dress. She thought she needed alterations for the dress she purchased but she just needed the right bra to make it fit better.”

Finding the right bra for your big day also means looking for a piece that’s high quality. Wacoal bras are some of the best on the market because of the design process, fabric and fit. “Every style and every size of Wacoal bra, from design to production, is fitted on real women. It’s about a nine-month process and they use metric system so the measurements are much more precise,” says Hess. “I do dress making so I know what I’m talking about,” she adds.

How To Take Your All-Inclusive Honeymoon In Mexico To The Next Level

Travel » Honeymoons

all-inclusive honeymoon in mexico - poolside bali beds

An all-inclusive honeymoon in Mexico is the perfect choice for couples that like the idea of a fuss-free beach getaway close to home. Cancun has become a particularly popular spot for these types of vacations with its direct rear-round flights from Canadian gateways, fascinating natural and historic sites nearby, and fabulous beachfront accommodations that are just 20 minutes from the international airport.

Searching for a spot to stay on this swath of sand on the Caribbean Sea you’ll quickly realize that you’re spoiled for choice. However, for your honeymoon no typical packaged trip will do. Your post-wedding mission should be an excuse to spoil yourselves with five-star accommodations, gourmet food, bucket list experiences and the type of service typically reserved for VIPs.

Paradisus Cancun is one property that’s reinventing the all-inclusive experience on the Yucatan Peninsula with its Royal Service offering. This adults-only resort within a resort features luxury amenities for travellers looking for an elevated travel experience (think butlers and bespoke service instead in place of babies and buffets).

Read on to learn about all the ways you can take your honeymoon in Mexico from basic to brag-worthy with a high-end all-inclusive experience in Cancun.

Three Skin Care Ingredients Every Bride-To-Be Should Know About

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

Photo via iStockphoto

Your wedding is obviously a day when you strive to look your best, hence the popularity of bridal fitness bootcamps. But while countless brides concentrate on exercise during the sometimes busy and stressful wedding planning process, proper skin care can often take a back seat. However, considering the number of professional portraits (and selfies) that will be snapped on your big day (probably more than you’ll have taken on any other day of your life), getting your skin in top shape for the big day is equally (if not more) important than achieving that elusive Victoria Secret runway show bod.

So how soon after getting engaged should you get serious about kick-starting your wedding skin care plan? The answer is: immediately, according to Chloe Smith, national education and scientific communications lead for SkinCeuticals. “The earlier you start investing in your skin, the better the results will be come your wedding day. Women should take this time as an opportunity to develop healthy skin habits for life,” she explains.

When it comes to getting your visage wedding-ready, there are a few key skin care ingredients that are guaranteed to give every bride-to-be great results, regardless of skin type. Here’s what they are, where to find them, and how to use them:

Ingredient #1: L-ascorbic acid
“This is the biologically available form of Vitamin C,” Smith explains. “It increases the skin’s antioxidant reservoir to combat oxidative stress caused by environmental factors like UV, pollution, and infrared radiation. Vitamin C also codes collagen gene transcription to both prevent and protect against fine lines.”

Find it in: SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. This best-selling serum is designed to give skin its required daily dose of Vitamin C.

How to use it: Apply L-ascorbic acid as a first step after cleansing and toning in the morning.

Ingredient #2: Retinol (Vitamin A)
“This ingredient interacts with cell DNA to optimize cellular functions such as regulating pigment production, increasing epidermal thickness, and regenerating collagen,” says Smith.

Find it in: SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 or 1.0

How to use it: Retinol should only be applied at night since it degrades in sunlight. Cleanse your face then apply retinol and wait at least five minutes before applying another product (this is to guarantee a full metabolization into the skin. A product applied immediately after dilutes retinol’s efficacy). “We recommend everyone start with Retinol 0.5 once a week,” Smith explains. “SkinCeuticals retinols can have up to a three-day time delay for side effects like peeling, redness, or sensitivity in first time users. As the skin adjusts to retinol, usage can be increased to every other night.”

Ingredient #3: Proxylane
“This ingredient stimulates the production of dermal hyaluronic acid,” says Smith. “Hyaluronic acid is a key component of the dermal extracellular matrix, and it provides structural support to the skin. However, the HA molecule is too large to penetrate the skin so we need ingredients like proxylane that stimulate HA production internally. The result is restored volume, a reduction in fine lines, and smooth skin texture.

Find it in: SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier

How to use it: H.A. Intensifier can be applied twice daily. In the morning, cleanse skin, apply CE Ferulic, then H.A. Intensifier. In the evening, cleanse skin, apply retinol, and then apply H.A. Intensifier.

The Prettiest Canadian-Made Engagement Rings

Fashion & Beauty » Jewellery

Engagement season is currently in full swing and there’s absolutely no reason to look beyond our borders when it comes to gorgeous wedding bling. Canada is home to a host of world-class design studios producing some of the most beautiful bridal jewellery on the market today. And what better way to honour your roots than with an engagement ring that was designed and crafted right here at home?

From internationally-acclaimed artisans who have been in the business for decades to the new homegrown jewellery brands poised for success, we’ve rounded up a collection of the prettiest Canadian-made engagement rings from some of our favourite designers.

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