February 11, 2016

Divine Body Treatment at Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie + Giveaway

It doesn't get more luxurious then walking through the beautiful Shangri-la Hotel to get to your appointment at the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie. Passing through the lobby lounge with a man singing as he also played the piano really put me in a relaxing mood. I was visiting the Miraj Hammam Spa to experience their Divine Body Treatment that involves a full body exfoliation followed by a soothing 30 minute massage. The timing of this could!n't have come at a better time. With the temperatures dropping and the heat getting cranked at my condo I have been feeling so incredibly dry. I hate that feeling, especially when no amount of moisturizer seems to get me hydrated. A deep exfoliation is exactly the boost my body needed to feel smooth again. The body scrub they use combines sugar, hibiscus, sesame seed and grape seed oil. As you can imagine the scents were amazing. I knew this would be the case since I've been before for an oxygen facial and loved the scents so much that I came home with a couple products to try and live in my spa dream just a little longer. After you are gently exfoliated from neck to toe you jump in the shower for a nice hot shower to open up those pores and absorb even more of that goodness. Following the exfoliation is a relaxing half hour massage to end things off blissfully. With a treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa you get to relax in their cozy cushioned lounge or if you like you have access to the Shangri-la's pool area to take a dip. I've loved both my experiences so much there and will definitely be adding a couple scrubs to my winter routine each year.
Now, since Valentine's Day is around the corner I've teamed up with Miraj Hamma Spa by Caudalie to share some love with you! Enter to win 1 Couples Hammam & Gommage treatment valid at $200. What is it? This steam and body exfoliation is part of the authentic traditions of the Middle East. De-stress between a private high intensity and low mist steam chamber, the Hammam will cleanse your body while stimulating your senses and imagination. Lay relaxed on Jerusalem gold marble as you experience an invigorating full body Gommage (exfoliation) using eucalyptus infused black Moroccan soap. This experience is considered to be the ultimate detoxification treatment.

Mandatory Steps
+1 entry when you follow Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie on Instagram
+1 entry when you follow Trend Struck on Instagram
Optional Additional Entries
+5 entries when you share the contest on Facebook tagging Trend Struck Facebook page
+5 entries when you follow Trend Struck on Twitter
+5 entries when you follow Trend Struck on Snap Chat
Enter the draw by completing these steps in the box below

Giveaway Details
1 couples hammam & gommage treatment c/o Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie valued at $200.
Contest runs February 11, 2016 8:00pm, EST to February 15, 2016 12:00am EST.
Open to Canadian residents only.

February 09, 2016

Zara's Coveted Biker Pant

Moto pants
Zara really knows how to make pieces go viral in the style blogger world and these pants are a great example of that. I LOVE the biker trend. It creeped into our jacket collections over the past couple years and with much acceptance we started to find the details on our legs. I've always been drawn to mashups of textures, details and colours so pants like this I just had to have. The ribbing is my most absolute favourite feature. I've since incorporated a few other pairs of pants to my closet with that same detail throughout the leg, I just can't get enough of it right now. Especially because my style has gotten more rugged and casual over this past year, it's a look that really works for me that I'm feeling comfortable in. With this biker style very much being a trend right now I couldn't be happier with this pair that Zara designed. Of course I drool over similar styles in real leather that are like 20X the price of these but this is one of those things that I know I will be over with in a year, two tops so taking the cheaper alternative is good enough for me. You can't deny Zara is excellent for exactly that, fast fashion. Let me know if this is a look you are rocking these days or if it's too out of your comfort zone xx
Moto pants
Moto pant, Daniel Wellington
Moto pants, Daniel Wellington
Moto pants,
Moto Pants
Sweater & Pants: Zara | Shoes: Nine West

Photographer / Tania Martinez

February 03, 2016

The New Beauty Trend: Eyebrow Embroidery

Ritual salon and spa toronto, eyebrow trends, beauty trends
So here's the scoop back when I was about 14 years old I begged my mother to let me wax my eyebrows. Being a typical, persistent teenager I eventually wore her down until she agreed to let me go in for a 'clean up'. From that point onward things just went downhill and quite quickly. The problem is I started to obsess when hair would grow back in so what did I do, because again I was an impatient teenager, I plucked them. It's kind of like when we were kids and we had that really bad experience where we tried to cut our own hair. After the cutting, inevitably it was uneven so you would go back and snip some more to even it out but then it was uneven on the other side and you kept trying to perfect your craft until you ended up with a really stupid hair cut. So in this case, I was plucking so much to achieve that evenness that by the end of it all I did - but not in a good way. It was even because at one point I literally only had one hair after one hair creating a line across my forehead. Honestly guys, if only I had my albums from high school to share a pic YOU WOULD DIE. What's so crazy is that people didn't even think I looked weird, or maybe they did, but barely existing brows were just a thing. TREND STRUCK FLIPPING FAIL! Actually I've been a Trend Struck Fail for the majority of my life if we want to really take it there, but I won't get off topic because we have a lot to cover today. So here's the thing, too much plucking over time eventually kills the follicle saying bye bye to the possibility of hair growth FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. So now I'm stuck with these stupid looking commas on my face that I can't do anything about. I DON'T WANT TO BE A PUNCTUATION MARK FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, LIKE THIS TOTALLY SUCKS MAN! And on top of everything, Cara Delevingne decides to surface on this Earth and have a set of brows that immediately go viral rubbing bushy brows in my face! So obviously I decided to try just about every serum on the market to see if I could stimulate some hair growth and although some worked (Eye Envy was the best) it was the areas I didn't need growth that grew and the areas I beg for growth refused to budge. It was accepted that they've flat lined. Hair follicles have been pronounced dead since 2014. What's next? Well make-up obviously, but that's just as difficult as creating a symmetrical cat eye for me. My brows are always different when I draw them on. One is usually longer where another will have a higher arch. My brow game is simply the most hopeless thing about my life. 
Ritual salon and spa toronto, eyebrow trends, beauty trends
One day my hairdresser at Ritual, who also happens to be my friend Shayla, casually tells me I should try this new service they do called eyebrow embroidery. Ummm I'm sorry but WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME ABOUT THIS EARLIER, I'LL TRY ANYTHING! So literally that day I was like sign me up, let's consult, let's do this JUST GIVE ME THE BROWS. The following week I go in to see Heather at Ritual, she's my jam, and we begin our consultation. In this appointment she waxes, tweezes and cleans you up so she can get a good idea of the canvas she's working with. She draws in eyebrows then has you pick apart every little detail you don't like and want to change until you are fully satisfied. That's something I really loved about the experience, although the rest inflicts pain so maybe that doesn't mean much, but Heather was amazing at getting me to communicate as much as possible in order to get exactly what I would want. The procedure may not be permeant but it's still semi-permanent where you get to keep your brows anywhere from a year to three years. After you get it just right she snaps a picture to file away until you come back... if you dare. LOL. I'm totally kidding! I was basically trying to get them to let me come the next day I was so pumped to get some caterpillars on my face. 
Ritual salon and spa toronto, eyebrow trends, beauty trends
If you are nervous about the potential pain you can take Tylenol. I did my first visit but completely forgot when I went in for my second and can't say there was a noticeable difference. In fact, Heather felt that those who did take Tylenol before typical bled more. On your appointment day you will be asked to come in half an hour early so a numbing agent can be applied to the brow area. I suppose it numbed a bit but still expect to feel every slice. While waiting Heather will be working her magic mixing pigments together to match your current brow colour. She then assesses your brow thickness to determine the blade size which I found interesting. Hallelujah to having thin brows for that! Again she will draw on your brows just like in your consultation and measure all the major points perfectly. So here it goes, the blade is getting dipped in pigment, it's getting closer to you face and yep there it is just digging into your skin over and over again. So here's the thing, I personally didn't find it that bad but I also know I have a high pain tolerance and the idea that I was getting a full set of brows at the end of it really helped me accept the pain. The feeling is this, and don't listen to Heather if she tells you it's like getting paper cuts over and over because that is the absolute worst comparison you could ever tell someone which I made her aware of so maybe she won't use that reference again, but more like a sharp kitchen knife grazing across your skin. You hear the scraping sound that's kind of gross but in turn is a good sign. The blade is carving into the skin right until that point of puncturing the skin fully like a tattoo gun would. Although maybe it kind of does since blood was shed. So keep in mind those tattooed eyebrows we are used to are solid lines where this technique is done in strokes in order to mimic the look of hairs. Hence the natural look of eyebrow embroidery. So she's doing this to both brows then rubs pigment into all the cuts and lets it sit for about 10 minutes. Then guess what? You get to do it all over again two more times, YAY! The first round I really did find tolerable but definitely round two and three get more uncomfortable. Your skin is clearly agitated at this point and you are now going over fresh wounds so ya it starts to suck and you'll want to squeeze on some stress balls, which Heather so kindly has available for you. After your third round the pigment stays on longer to really absorb into your skin then TADA! You've got some serious brow action going on. You won't even believe it's real life. Now here's the thing... you have to come back 6 weeks later to do it all over again. Here's why: everyone is different and therefore everyone's body and skin reacts differently. Once it's all healed Heather will be able to see what areas didn't take, could use more love and to play up with colour. It's definitely fair to say that for sure some people probably leave their appointments freaking out with these bigger than normal and much darker than normal brows on their face ESPECIALLY those who have never gone through the process of getting a tattoo. It can be a shock at first but you have to remember that it fades an incredible amount after it's scabbed off and healed. Even though I'm a blonde I love a good contrast with my brow colour so I told her to bring it. She didn't 'bring it' as much as I wanted the first time, for reasons I understand, but definitely did the second time around. The follow-up appointment is the exact process as the first but more tender since she's now going over scar tissue. At least this time you know what to expect.
Ritual salon and spa toronto, eyebrow trends, beauty trends
Ritual salon and spa toronto, eyebrow trends, beauty trends
This is the most critical part of this whole procedure, just like a surgery with the doc. You didn't go through everything you just did to be lazy and land you back at square one. For starters, no heat, sweating, or steam, you want to lock that pigment in! This means lukewarm showers for at least a week and definitely no baths. As for face washing I would recommend going with wipes during the healing period. Also if you have oily skin like me get some blotting papers! My gosh I have no idea why but between my brows and forehead got so incredibly oily it was kind of gross so take note just in case. And if I must actually say it DON'T TOUCH YOUR BROWS! Ritual will give you ointment to take home with you to apply on the area about 3-5 times a day. You must do this until FULLY healed. When showering I slapped some vaseline over my brows to protect them from the water and shampoo/conditioner. Afterward I would dampen cotton pads with water and lightly wipe off for a clean slate to then reapply the ointment. For days that I didn't wash my hair and didn't need to use vaseline I would still at the end of each day wipe off the brow area to start fresh with the ointment. Do not pick at the scabs as your brows are healing no matter how tempting it is! Let them naturally fall off as you wipe or apply the ointment. Scabbing was the most intriguing to me. I had a panic attack the first time it happened because I thought I was losing my existing brows, something I can't afford to lose any more of. I later pieced it together that it was just a scab that looks like tiny hairs. It's so nuts. Some pieces will be small, others will flake off in larger patches. You will have blotchy days but overall it's a quick healing process that changes fairly dramatically each day. After completion all you need to do is enjoy those new brows.

I am not even exaggerating when I say the next morning that I woke up and saw that I in fact had brows was one of my happiest days. I felt like I was literally walking on sunshine, so much I made that my theme song for the day! Here's a day by day break down of what to expect:
Day 1 - After the appointment is complete, the pain is done. It isn't something that lingers, however it will feel tender and warm from the agitation. I was out and about running errands right after. I did have an event later that evening that I did wear a hat to just because of the redness that was still visible.
Day 2 - Still some redness and swelling. When you are applying your ointment you will run over some tender areas but not cringe-worthy. 
Day 3  - A few facial expressions created quick sensations from pulling the skin as it's in its healing process.
Day 4 - As healing is taking place wounds are starting to close up making the skin in the brow area feel tight. You begin to feel some scabbing in areas. Expect a few itchy moments.
Day 5 - A few areas start to scab off. I found that certain areas like the centre between the brows and the ends of the brows were the first to flake off. Since the body off the brow has more protection with existing hairs it takes longer to let go. I definitely experienced more itchy moments and skin dryness around the whole brow area.
Day 6 - More scabbing is happening and practicing weird facial expressions to alleviate the itches.
Day 7 - At this point about 50% is scabbed off making the itch also half the intensity. Skin no longer feels tight with a major amount of the healing complete.
Day 8-10 - The remaining areas fall off over the next few days and your new brows are fully exposed.       
I must admit I went through a lot of different emotions throughout this whole process and I still am quite frankly. The whole idea of this was beyond exciting and my expectations were high. Even after my first session I was over the moon with these thick, dark brows that were now mine. That was until they started scabbing off. How your brows look when you leave your appointment to how they look a week later once they are scabbing away is a substantial difference. Initially, I freaked out that I was loosing all my brows and that they were back to how there were. After they had fully healed I started then to see shape that I never used to have. And the weirdest thing happens around the 3-4 week mark, and Heather mentioned this and I thought she was just crazy, but the pigmentation darkens again. I know this sounds like it doesn't make sense but I swear I noticed it. I don't know how or why or even if that is a real thing but it happened. Here's the thing I have really thin brows so for me it's unrealistic to have those big brows that I keep dreaming of. Eyebrow embroidery I would highly recommend to women with a fair amount of brow that may have sparse areas that could use filling in. That being said I still would recommend this to thin brow girls like me but to those looking for subtle and very natural look in the brow area. I really wanted them super dark but they faded a lot and you know what I bet a lot of women like that because they aren't interested in the impact of brows taking over their face. It is for everyone just people have different expectations for the outcome is all. I will say I am much happier after completing my follow-up appointment. Heather agreed my skin didn't take it as well as other clients and I think since my skin type is oily that it affected the healing. Since I told her I was good with more pain, we went a little deeper and went a lot more darker. The picture above is literally me today, three weeks after session two. I'm not wearing any brow make-up but you can see they have amazing shape and evenness, both of which I've never had before.
Tell me your thoughts on this beauty trend. Would you do it?

If this is something that's intriguing you too, I recommend calling Ritual to set-up a consultation with Heather. If you have any questions at all please leave them in the comments below and I would be more than happy to answer them.


January 31, 2016

Cheers to another one...

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to share with you that I'm back being a shoe ambassador for Le Chateau for another year. I actually can't get over the amount of shoe scores I lucked out on throughout the year. It was such a success that there was no hesitation to continue on with this partnership. I feel like you guys as well are just as eager to see what's in store for the future. I have received so many compliments and thanks for showing off all the Le Chateau goods that it makes me not only excited to see what new shoes will be hitting my shelves but to share with you the next pair to potentially hit yours too! Because of the time of year Le Chateau doesn't yet have new stock but they do have one massive sale on almost every pair of shoes that have been around for the winter season. Luckily, I still found a pair, black booties of course, but this pair with some fringe (also another detail you can always expect from me)! Between the fringe and the boot style I continued on with that western feel by rocking this poncho that I love cozying up in. It's such a simple and casual look yet has a dressed-up element to it. I love those chameleonic outfits that can take you anywhere! See you next month with another fab pair of shoes xx
 Boots: c/o Le Chateau | Poncho: Club Monaco | Leggings: Aritzia 

Photographer / Tania Martinez

January 30, 2016

Boxing with Bench at Big Hit Studios

Bench Bequeth Short Sleeved Top, High Hit Studios Toronto, Boxing Toronto
Snapped by Robert Okine
Boxing is at the top of my list of favourite work-out types. Aside from it letting you get out all your aggression by punching the shit out of things, the results you gain from boxing are insane. I've always been on and off with my work-out commitments but boxing was the one major body transformation that I noticed out of any workouts I've tried over the past 20 years I've been active. I started boxing when I was 22 years old with bags and in a ring. I had a trainer push me into it and thankfully so because I took a taking to it very quickly and that was when my body was looking its absolute best. Since boxing doesn't include weights, only your body weight, you don't get bulky just super toned and lean. Everything you do is engaging your core, it challenges your balance, improves your reflexes and trains your memory. This past week Bench invited a bunch of influencers out to Big Hit Studios to get our box on. I was clearly pumped about the activity they chose but also because I've been wanting to check this place out. After moving to Toronto I got back into my box groove at the gym I was a member of but haven't been in about a year now. Big Hit was just opening up as I moved out of the area but now all my girlfriends are going and it's got me wanting to jump back in. So thanks Bench, for getting this plan in motion! I've never worked on these dummies before so that was new. I have bad wrists so I actually found the impact easier on them than the bags. Our trainer was high energy, although scary at times, it was needed to keep up. This workout is not an easy one but it's just so good. I went so hard in the first 10 minutes that I almost threw up and I still had another 50 to go lol. I'm competitive and like to give things my all but in this case I needed to relax a bit and slow down the pace to get through it. I'll definitely be heading back to do a class a week and get that momentum back up. Also, can I just throw it out there that I love all these activities that Bench sends us on. If you are on my other social platforms like Facebook, you may have noticed they've sent us to do things like ping pong, aerial yoga, rock climbing, axe throwing and workouts on surfboards! I can't get enough of their workout gear, leggings especially. For this class I wore their new Baddah X leggings, my absolute favourite style they make, and their Bequeth Short Sleeved Top. As for the sweater, I've been wearing it pretty much on the daily since I got it. I highly recommend testing out their gear if you lead an active lifestyle. Chat soon xx
Bench Bequeth Short Sleeved Top, High Hit Studios Toronto, Boxing Toronto
Bench Bequeth Short Sleeved Top, High Hit Studios Toronto, Boxing Toronto
Bench Bequeth Short Sleeved Top, High Hit Studios Toronto, Boxing Toronto
Bench Bequeth Short Sleeved Top, High Hit Studios Toronto, Boxing Toronto
Sweater & Leggings: c/o Bench