The Cure Apothecary

FullSizeRender(20)

Part of my wellness journey this past year has been about finding good and natural skincare and beauty products. If I put so much effort in working out, eating clean and being healthy then I realized I should also be putting just as much thought into the products I choose to put on my skin.

A lot of research has shown lately that unfortunately, many products we use on a daily or even weekly basis can be very toxic for our health. A lot of these products are readily available and backed by tons of marketing and advertising dollars. Educating oneself about these products is key because they could be just as toxic if not more than the food we eat or the environment we live in.

FullSizeRender(21)

I’m grateful to live in a city where shops like The Cure Apothecary exist. I happen to find this boutique while walking home from work one evening. The super cute shop located on Queen Street West has been open for just over a year now and is the brainchild of Nitasha Goel. She made the switch to natural beauty products 8 years ago and found it difficult to find certain products that she wanted to try in the city. She’s also a big boutique shopper and has always been a fan of the one on one shopping experience. So when came time to open up her shop, she made sure that she would carry that experience over to The Cure Apothecary.

FullSizeRender(12)

Anyone that has been to the shop before, knows that Nitasha is incredibly knowledgeable, approachable and helpful. She’ll let clients touch, feel, smell and trial products before purchasing them. Though people are becoming more and more aware of what they’re putting onto their skin, Nitasha still feels that the transition has been slow towards adopting more natural skin and beauty products “A lot of people started changing their food and eating habits but that light bulb never really went off that what you’re putting topically is being absorbed. So it’s counteractive if you’re eating really healthy and then putting all this garbage on your skin,” she says.

FullSizeRender(14)

When she opened the store, Nitasha wanted to make sure that the boutique was both for men and women, that all walks of life felt comfortable there and wanted her shop to be a really easy transition place for those who were new to natural products yet also providing different products for early adopters or veterans.

FullSizeRender(17)

Nitasha tries to source newness to Toronto and the area and wants to make sure she only carries the best products available. She makes sure that each product line that she carries comes from the cleanest source. “A lot of essential oils and coconut oil are widely available on the market but you have to do your research. You have to know where that coconut oil is coming from. All of these brands have done that research for you. Even though it may say organic, you don’t know if the farm beside it is using pesticides. So even though it may be an organic farm, pesticides will affect the ingredients, it’s just like our food. All of these brands are using local farms if they can or their own farming facilities so they know what is happening there. They are doing that legwork for you and producing a good product,” explains Nitasha.

FullSizeRender(13)

Don’t stick with one brand, find what’s working for you in each brand. The beauty of organic brands is that you don’t have to buy A, B and C to get one result. You can mix and match and make the formula that works for you,” she adds.

FullSizeRender(18)

People who tend to compare prices between natural products to generic pharmacy products are usually concerned with the sometimes hefty price tag that these products have but Nitasha points out that these are products that will last up to 6 months whereas the generic products tend to only last 1-2 months. She tells all of her customers that less is more when comes to applying these natural products.

FullSizeRender(15)

FullSizeRender(16)

The whole skincare and food thing goes hand in hand. You want to eat local, know that our food is being treated in a certain way and the employees are being treated well so you would want the same thing for skincare,” she says.

Nitasha’s 5 product recommendations for those leading an active lifestyle:

FullSizeRender(9)

Oils – “They are such a big thing. There’s a misconception that if you have oily skin, that the oils are going to make you oily. Oil really balances out your skin. I carry a good amount of oils because I think it’s the best way to hydrate. With moisturizers, people just keep adding, adding and adding and not getting the result. Whereas a little bit of oil will give you the best result. Evanhealy‘s rosehip oil and hydrosoul tonic spray creates a beautiful formula that is great for hydrating.”

FullSizeRender(7)

CV Skinlabs – “They use turmeric, ginger, aloe and mushroom extract. Being in the elements, your skin’s going to get dry (especially if you already suffer from eczema, it’s going to get irritated) so this is going to help heal your skin. It comes in 4 formulas but the spray is great for someone that goes outside a lot, especially in the summer. The spray helps repair the skin. Their balm is also perfect for wind burn and for your lips.”

FullSizeRender(10)

Kypris moisturizer – “For dark spots, when you’re in the sun or outside, you need vitamin C. This moisturizer has Vitamin C Ester, so it’s very gentle but effective.

FullSizeRender(8)

Skin Essence Mask – “Being outdoors, you have to be careful and you have to know what you’re doing to your skin. Any sort of hydrating mask is good for your skin. We do all invest in masks and it’s hard to get through them because they sometimes turn. So 90% of my masks are in clay form. All you have to do is mix it with water or toner or honey and you apply it. It won’t turn so it saves your product a little bit more.”

FullSizeRender(11)

One Love Organics Konjac Sponge – “It’s a plant-based product from Japan. You soak it for a couple of seconds to puff up. You can apply your cleanser directly to the sponge, you can also remove your makeup and cleanse your face while using the sponge to buffer your skin. You can also use it just with water. If you aren’t going to invest into a good scrub, it’s good to at least buffer your skin and get your cleanser right into your pores. If you suffer from blackheads, this is amazing.”

For more info on The Cure Apothecary or to check out their online shop, go here. You can also drop by the shop and say hi to Nitasha at 719 Queen St. West, Toronto.

Wedding Inspiration – Look 1

4996

Beyond thrilled to share with you today the first of five looks we shot last week in Toronto. The goal for this shoot was to showcase some bohemian and rock n’ roll wedding hair inspirations and outfits for people in search of alternatives to the traditional wedding look.

I’ve always dreamed of getting married on a beach and this dream will become reality on January 1st 2016. Because I’ve never envisioned myself wearing the classic white dress and doing a formal ceremony, I’ve been wanting to find some unique looking dresses and spots to celebrate this important day that would be more fitting for my tastes and personality. This shoot served as inspiration for my own upcoming wedding and can hopefully inspire you to think outside the box and know that anything is really possible for your wedding. Whatever path you choose, it’s your special day so why not make all of your dreams and visions come true.

For this shoot, I had the privilege of working with a stellar team. Aylin aka Cabello by Carolina, who worked with me on my #15khairspiration series back in June that you can see here, Aleyah Solomon, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with before here and also Michelle, who’s an amazing makeup artist from Toronto. I was beyond thrilled to also have been able to get the most beautiful dresses from local Toronto designer NARCES. I’m the biggest fan of her collections, she always has the most beautiful detailing and cuts on all of her dresses.

4952

5003

For Look 1, we went for a dress that reminds me of the movie Ever After: A Cinderella Story. The pale gold sequins and train remind me of Drew Barrymore’s dress in the movie.

For the hair, we opted for a braided crown. As Aylin explains “Instead of braiding the hair all around your head, leave it half up/half down. Add some little leaves if you want, this look works on anyone!

To me this is the perfect bohemian and fairy tale look! Check back tomorrow for Look 2!

5061

4978

5033

5041

5077

5078

Photos: Aleyah Solomon
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardeen
Dress: NARCES

Healthy Skin

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

As I’m transitioning towards a healthier and better me, I feel like the next logical step in this transformation is to take care of my skin. I’ve been eating as clean as possible, and working out, so the next logical step is to make sure that what I put on my skin is also healthy.

I started wearing makeup when I was in high school. I remember buying and wearing foundation because I didn’t like my freckles to show and as the years went on, my makeup collection just kept growing. Since I’ve been working in television the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of being able to get my makeup done when I shoot. That said, with having to wear a lot of makeup all the time, I started wondering if what I was putting on my skin was causing my breakouts, eczema, etc.

I never really cared about what I put on my face until very recently… When I started moving towards healthier and toxic-free living, it came to mind that I should also look at what I was putting on my body, since I was already keeping in check what I was putting in my body. After trying out a few local natural brands and after talking to my dear friend Maggie (if you haven’t already, check out her amazing wellness blog My Whole Healthy), it became obvious that I should also make the transition towards healthy skin.

So a couple of weeks ago, after chatting with Maggie and after checking out EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database she recommended, I decided it was time to clean out my makeup bag and only keep the cleanest and most natural beauty products. I also went online and ordered a handful of new natural and clean beauty products following the the Skin Deep guide of recommended brands. If you haven’t used this site before, it’s a must! You can find more than 68 000 products on their site, which they grade from the safest to most harmful for your skin (using the scale below!), listing what ingredients you’ll find in each product and their effects on your body.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 9.29.54 PM

The products pictured at the top of the blog are all part of my new beauty routine. Juice Beauty, Eco Bella and Avalon Organics are products I just recently ordered online after checking out their their toxicity and reading reviews on the database. Kaia Naturals and LOVEFRESH are local Toronto brands that I’ve been really loving recently. I’ll keep posting some of my new favorite natural products as I find them along the way.

I still have a long way to go, but it’s such a great feeling to know that I’m not putting carcinogens or toxic products on my face every day. What are some of your favorite all-natural makeup brands and beauty products? I would love your recommendations! 😀

Feeling Bohemian #DailyOutfit

What a nice and relaxing weekend I spent! So nice to be at home and not do much! My highlight of the weekend: visiting the new Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. I’ll have a special post on the aquarium later this week!

I also saw the new Hunger Games flick, which was very likeable. I’ve always enjoyed the fashion and makeup in this series. They always outdo themselves! I also did a fun little purchase on the weekend: I bought a new suitcase! I know, super nerdy but I’ve been dying to get a more solid and better quality piece of luggage for all the travels that I do. I’m excited to bring it on its first trek to France! Yay!!

Feeling slightly bohemian today… I chose to dress in black with accents of beige. Taking back out some of my favorite boots from last season from Steve Madden. I’m also wearing my Topshop fedora, which really seems to be an eye catcher in the street. My boyfriend and I had fun this evening with his new 50mm lens while sipping on some yummy David’s Tea!!

 photo 2 copy 3

photo 1 copy 3

Photos by @Offner

Forever 21 black shiffon shirt dress

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Biko Jewellery Telsum Bracelet (get it here)

Vanessa Mooney Little Ways Gold Bracelet (get it here)

Biko Jewellery Mira Necklace – Triangle Ring (get it here)

Topshop clean edge fedora hat (similar one here)

Steve Madden brown suede boots

 

Pilot Day 2 #DailyOutfit

Happy Thursday! What a crazy day of shooting it was yesterday! I was completely exhausted after work so I headed to my favorite place for comfort food in the city – when I say comfort food, I don’t mean burgers and fries, I mean a good cheese platter 😉 Terroni has a great and affordable cheese platter with little jams and homemade croutons. I love combining that with their Giuggiolosa salad and a good glass of red wine, the perfect way to end the day!

photo105

Yesterday, the lovely ladies of Uranium in Montreal sent me some goodies from their new fall collection so it was only fitting that I wore some of them for our pilot shoot today. Love love my new “Tripple Thick Ring” and my “Glazing” necklace. The items will be available for purchase on their website very soon! Thanks to Lynne Ryan for the lovely makeup today, she’s the sweetest!

photo104

Uranium White Stripes tee (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)

Uranium Glazing necklace (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)

Uranium Tripple Thick Ring (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)

Zara Batik Mini Skirt (get it here)

Lionette Joplin bracelet (similar one here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Forever 21 spiked and rhinestoned bracelet (get it here)

Zara fabric wedge ankle boots (get them here)