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Tested: the Emjoi Micro Pedi

beauty, GEAR By August 24, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Emjoi Micro PediI have a friend who is famous for foot rubs.  Excited to be invited for dinner, I asked his wife permission to ask for a quick foot massage, and she was very graceful in sharing her husband.  But when the guru saw my feet he refused to touch them.  Come on!  I haven’t had time to get a pedicure recently!  Dejected and sad I left with sore feet.  But I now have no more reason to be embarrassed.  This tool might be my new favourite beauty product.  The Emjoi Micro Pedi requires 2 AA batteries and eliminates the need for sharp metal callus removers.  It enabled me to skip pricy, time-consuming pedicures at the salon.  (Some find the spa experience relaxing but it stresses me out.)  Seriously.  As if I needed another reason to be a hermit at home!

Within a week, my feet were soft and callus-free.  The roller should be used on dry feet to preserve the roller. Replacement rollers are readily available, as well as rollers of different grades.

Now I need the manicure kit and would never have to leave the house again!

Emjoi Micro Pedi

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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My Hiking Wake-up Call. It's time for Contact Lenses

beauty, FAM, GEAR, health By July 29, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Seeing Clearly with Disposable LensesAs a woman and a mother there are a few things that top my priority list.  One is health for the whole family – being active, having regular checkups and doing a mental health scan every so often.  The other big priority I have is to be a well-rounded, confident woman.  My kids need to see that.  I want to be a role model and inspiration.

Sometimes I get a ‘wake-up’ call that I am falling short of meeting my own expectations.  Not long ago I did a four-hour hike without my eyeglasses.  They are cumbersome, steam up when I sweat and make it difficult to see bears and things out of the periphery.  (Only half joking).  A crazy thing happened.  I grew very dizzy.  My confidence plummeted.  I almost fell and tripped several times.  Nearing tears, I made a decision: I have a responsibility to care for myself and it was time for contact lenses.

With glaucoma in my family I have been diligent about getting my eyes checked and was astounded as a teenager to learn that I suffered from astygmatism.  At that time, glasses were my only option and I wore them on and off.  Mostly off.  The frames made me feel as if I was hiding from truly connecting with others, and they would generally end up on top of my head to keep my hair back.  I would play tennis, take dance classes and ski while accepting my distorted vision.  To wear glasses under ski goggles?  Not terribly fashionable or practical.  Prescription goggles and sunglasses were expensive and I always found that sunglasses slid off my face during sport, fogged up and limited my peripheral vision.

I have also been secretly terrified of contacts.  I pass by the drugstore aisles with solutions, lens cases and cleaners and look the other way.  It’s much like tiling a bathroom.  Could I do it?  Yes.  But would I rather never learn because it seems complicated?  Definitely.  My husband wore contact lenses and constantly complained of dry eyes and running out of solution.

When I had the hike experience and after several near-misses with trees while skiing, I knew it was time for contact lenses.  The best news I’ve heard in years is that they now not only fit my eyes but come in disposables. Technology has advanced so much and  with daily disposable lenses, the maintenance isn’t an issue.  As a busy mom, I can’t afford to add any extra time into my routine and this option is ideal.  Less squinting, fewer wrinkles and everyone around me is much safer!! 

For teenagers in sport, Softlens disposable contact lenses are a perfect option.  Though I can’t ever pretend to excel at sport like Kaylyn Kyle does, I do know that as a teenager, so many factors toyed with my confidence.  Insecurity, acne, body image concerns, decisions about the future… As adults and parents we must facilitate making this a gentle time for our children.  This is the time in your life when our kids begin to define a self-concept.  We have come so far in science and are so blessed that teens have so many more resources that we once did.  I’m embracing my newfound confidence as a mother and woman, and am so proud that I’ve taken care of myself.  See you on the slopes!  (I will no longer be the one falling into tree wells…)

 Disclosure: This is a sponsored article from Bosch & Lomb. As always, our opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Our 20 Favourite Beauty Products for the Summer

beauty, GEAR By June 5, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Top Summer Beauty Picks
We get a ton of products shipped to the office for testing and we try as many as we can.  So we owe it to our readers to share our favs.  Some are a tad racy, so watch out… Presenting Our 20 Favourite Beauty Products for the Summer!  Enjoy and be sure to add your own in the comments section.

Noodle & Boo Afterglow

1.  Noodle & Boo Glowology Afterglow Gel is supposed to be for post-baby firming and slimming but I use it regularly for post-chocolate-chip-cookie firming and slimming.
aqua-rouge2.  Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge Lip Colour.  Developed for the Canadian Olympic Swim team, it withstands pretty much everything except soap.
Vidal Sasoon3.  Vidal Sasoon Pro Series Hair Colour.  Because I’m grey (ish) and I LOVE the lasting colour and soft conditioner.  (Why don’t they sell that stuff seperately?)
H2O plus4.  H2O Plus Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment.  I now use it nightly and I feel way less wrinkly in the morning.  This was given to attendees of Disney Social Media Moms and I am fully hooked on the brand now.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Whitening your Teeth

beauty, GEAR By January 8, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

My Dentist (He deserved to have it capitalized) is amazing.  Patient, not condescending even if I haven’t flossed in a bit, and the kids adore him.  I thought he was perfect.  And then he whitened my teeth and now I know I would marry the guy if I were not married already.

The first appointment in the teeth whitening process was wonky.  That’s a technical term.  Reverse moulds are done by placing trays around the teeth and squirting purple playdough-like stuff into the moulds.  I should have been a scientist.  It’s purple, and then it hardens white!  How cool is that?

A few weeks later, the rubber trays are ready and you are all set to begin whitening your teeth at home.  You get the plaster moulds too which is awesome, since after I whitened my teeth to a stunning shade of pearl, I left the trays in Argentina.  So now I can get new ones made with these exact replicas of my mouth.  You are given syringes filled with 2 types of whitener that also work to strengthen enamel.  The dual-compartment syringes make you feel pretty advanced, and ensure you squirt every crevice of the trays accurately.  You just have to be careful when your nanny/cleaning lady finds the empties in the garbage and suspects that you’re on drugs.

I remember the old-style whitener, where you slept with your trays in.  The trays didn’t cover the whole tooth, you certainly never got lucky overnight, and the next morning you couldn’t enjoy coffee due to tooth sensitivity.  With the Nite White – 10 minutes, baby!  And you notice a difference right away.  You can whiten to the degree you prefer.  (Remember the Friend’s episode with Ross’ fluorescent teeth? Stop before that point.)  Incidentally, you can also leave them in overnight without the morning sensitivity.  You still might not get lucky though.

I wish someone would invent something this easy for flossing.

Dr. Chris Kan own the Arbutus Point Dental Centre in Kitsilano, Vancouver.  He is also possibly a demi-God.

Disclosure: UrbanMommies was given a teeth whitening experience and as always, our opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Nordic Treat Hydrogel Face Mask and Eye Patch

beauty, GEAR, LIVE, nourish By January 8, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Nordic Treat HydrogelThey had me at champagne.  The Nordic Treat Hydrogel Face Mask and Eye Patch contain champagne yeast which stimulates cell renewal, supports the skin’s repair mechanisms, helps metabolism and non-technically speaking – makes your skin feel baby-smooth.  It’s also a great excuse to accompany your spa treatment with some bubbly.  Just sayin’.

Opening the package, I pulled out a white hockey-like mask that was sticky when you remove the backing.  My kids stared and my husband chuckled.  I always have some new product on my skin and he never knows how I’ll appear when I’m doing a pamper session.  This felt wonderful and nurturing for the full 30 minutes and I couldn’t understand how the mask felt so damp on my skin without falling right off.  The formula is based on pure Artesian Water from Norway and the addition of Sparkling wine yeast, which is rich in anti-oxidant Glutathione.  Hydrogel is water in a solid form that holds all of the great nutrients and ingredients.  It feels cool to the skin and evaporates gradually, leaving the fragile ingredients behind.

The eye patch noticeably helped my dark circles and puffiness.  (Though the champagne I imbibed with the treatment probably didn’t help in the end.)  My only complaint?  I wish there were a full-body wrap.  Pretty please?

www.thenordictreat.com

Disclosure: UrbanMommies was sent samples for review.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Nine Holiday Gift Ideas for Every Family Member

beauty, GEAR, toys By November 29, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Like most parents, you probably know exactly what to buy for one or two family members this holiday season. But what about the grandparents? The new baby down the street? The pool boy? (Just making sure you’re paying attention). Here are UrbanMommies’ ‘generational picks’ to get you through the busy shopping season. And you can get them all online, so you can spend less time looking for a parking spot and more time basting the turkey.

For Babies

Holt Renfrew has partnered with Missoni to offer these plush bear and elephant toys for babies, crafted out of their iconic prints in support of OrphanAid Africa. It’s definitely one baby item you won’t have to hide when company comes. $50; holtrenfrew.com.

For Toddlers

The Educo Gourmet Chef’s Kitchen is a wooden option to inspire little ones to earn their Michelin stars. The realistic knobs make clicking sounds and kids can check on what is ‘baking’ through the oven window. Be warned: it’s a top seller you’ll want to order early. $140; raspberrykids.com

For Preschoolers

The new Hexbug Warriors Battle Stadium with Battling Robots is a huge hit in my house. It comes with an arena, is available in different designs and colours (all the better to entertain kids for hours) and is reasonably priced. It makes the perfect stocking stuffer. $20; Hexbug

For Tweens

The new Sifteo cubes are the coolest thing to hit tech since the internet. These motion-activated blocks with full-colour touch-sensitive LCD screens communicate wirelessly and respond to the proximity of players’ gestures during gameplay. (Channeling Big Bang Theory right now). Unlike many other games, kids have to use physical and mental intelligence while playing. $130; Sifteo.com

For Teenagers

The word ‘Teenager’ as almost synonomous with ‘Social’. There’s no better gift than technology they can use to keep in touch with friends, family, and (ahem) – Facebook. With BBM messaging, a fantastic QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth connectivity and a 5MP camera with flash, the Curve 9360 from Wind Mobile is ‘the bomb’ for teens. (And it comes with GPS in case you ‘misplace’ your teen. Just sayin’.) $0 on WINDtab on a $40 plan or $49 on WINDtab on a $25 plan. www.windmobile.ca

For Moms

I let the cat out of the bag. I actually told my husband that car detailing would be a better gift than diamonds. Whoops. So you should get mom that (for her stocking, of course). But for the real gift? Something fun. Like a Coach Legacy bag. Or a trip to New Orleans. Or hot sports gear. Not that we find moms easy to shop for or anything. $348, www.coach.com. (Provide links to other articles on UrbanMommies for each option).

For Dads

Finally, it exists! I may have to keep it for myself though. Sony has come out with the Cybershot 18.2MP with 20x Optical Zoom featuring wireless technology that allows you to share photos instantly on Facebook, email and Twitter. The only catch? You’ll have to tell him your Facebook password and you’ll no longer be able to hide those messages from exes. $449; futureshop.ca

For Grandparents

The ubiquitous photo mug and bottle of scotch are passé. At our house, we get creative and use fiverr.com. With endless options and fun ideas, the dreaded grandparent gift can be acquired with a click . We sent a digital image to one seller that was converted into a watercolour jpeg and purchased another ‘gig’ from an artist who drew the kids in ‘children’s storybook’ format. Add a funky Ikea frame and voila – a gift to cherish that won’t break the bank. $5 fiverr.com

For the Mailman/Pool Boy/Gardener

And you thought we were joking. Ditch the gift cards. This may sound odd, but who wouldn’t want a gorgeous festive Dish Soap? Method changes its designs based on the season, and the holiday designs are stylish and chic (not to mention eco-friendly). We wouldn’t want their hands to get chapped as they do the holiday dishes.. Method

Discalimer: Post sponsored by Wind mobile. As always, opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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What's in my bag? Ann Gallery

beauty, GEAR, style By July 18, 2012 Tags: , , , No Comments

We spoke to PR Pro Ann Gallery and convinced her to ‘spill’ the contents of her stunning Goyard monogrammed purse.  She’s lucky my initials are different or I would have nabbed it.

1.  The cult hair care line Black 15 in 1 recently launched travel sizes of its amazing Twice a Week Shampoo and Conditioner and Miracle Hair Treatment – I keep the 3 Oz hair treatment spray in my purse so things don’t get too out of control on drizzly Vancouver days.

2.  My bag by Goyard.

3. Shortly after we met, my husband Ian gave me a lovely Shamrock Charm in honour of my Irish roots (or was it my feisty red-headed nature?!).  The charm lives on my key chain for good luck.

4.  I can’t get enough of Steaz sparkling green tea, especially the Raspberry and Lemon Lime flavours.  So refreshing!

5.  I’m addicted to CND Shellac manicures and keeping Solar Oil in my purse and using it regularly on my nails and cuticles maintains my mani for even longer than the promised 14 days!

6.  I keep in my purse a quick, fun and portable game like Spot it! to help kill time with my 10 and 11 year old sons between appointments, practices and playdates.  We love visiting www.nognz.com to check out all their amazing products that promote brain health (while being fun at the same time!).

7.  I’m a lip gloss junkie and the sparklier the better! On a recent trip to Japan I picked up RMK’s Gloss Lips N in Holographic Orange and now it’s a staple in my purse.  I also snapped up RMK’s 15th Anniversary Cheek Palette – it makes me smile every time I open the case and it gives me a sun-kissed glow.

8.  Like most people, practically every photo we have is on an electronic device but I always keep a hard copy of this picture in my purse.  I love my boys even when they’ve been away at camp and haven’t bathed for two weeks!

9.  Between visiting family in Toronto and Montreal and a very busy travel schedule for work, it feels like I spend half my life on a plane!  I now just keep in my purse a merino wool Bliss Wrap by Icebreaker – it’s perfect for travelling as it’s chic, cozy and versatile and looks good with everything from jeans to my new favourite summer maxi dress.

Ann Gallery is the founder of Highview Communications.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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What's in my travel bag

What’s in My Travel Bag?

beauty, GEAR By June 10, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Our staff have been on the road a fair bit lately and wanted to know “what’s in my travel bag?” – so I decided to spill the beans on some of my fave travel friendly products!

1.  Black 15 in 1 Twice a Week Miracle Hair Shampoo (because I only like to wash my hair 2x weekly).

2.  Swiss Army Knife: Victorinox (a gift from my Mom in 1992 complete with initials).

3.  ‘the supernatuaral cream’ with SPF 15 and ‘the present’ foundation to smooth wrinkles from Philosophy.  Especially great when you do a photoshoot or live TV spot.  Skin looks flawless.

4.  Cargo Cosmetics Essential Eye Palette (The name of the part of the eye is actually embossed into the shadow so you don’t mess it up!)

5.  Joe Fresh Style Frais Sheer Lip Crayon in Wine (I get compiments on this 6$ product every day).

6.  Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea (works like a charm for jetlag)

7.  Diorshow Blackout mascara (So very Black).

8.  MAC Iridescent Pressed Powder (more luminescent than the studio fix and adds a hint of sparkle.)

9.  Olay Professional Pro-X Facial Cleaning brush (When you are too tired to wash your face this does it for you!)

10.  No! No! Hair Removal system (It’s like a mini laser to eliminate unwanted hair.)

11.  Kerstin Florian At-Home Professional Peel pads

12.  Make-up case: Missoni for Target

We’ll be doing a ‘what’s in the bag’ installment regularly.

Disclosure: all of these products were purchased by the publisher with the exception of Olay Pro-X, Cargo and Black 15 in 1.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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The Mother's Day Glamour Gift

beauty, GEAR By April 24, 2012 Tags: , , , , No Comments

My Mom is a natural beauty.  She writes poetry.  Plays piano.  She breaks nails while gardening and her navy blue suits and gold hoop earrings give her a classic, Jackie Onassis look.  Mom is pretty savvy, but has not treated herself to the latest, cutting-edge products in a long while.  So here’s my Mother’s Day plan – treat her to some great beauty products that suit her natural style, reduce the signs of aging and make her feel young and hip.  (I may also throw in some lessons on Pinterest and Skype while I’m at it).  I’ll present them to her with a hot chocolate in hand and proceed to teach her how to apply everything as I recreate a spa at home.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Mom Gifts: Mothers Day and Valentine's Day

beauty, GEAR, style By April 20, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments

If you’re like most of us, we have no idea what to get our own mothers for occasions such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. In this 2 minute video, we give lots of suggestions – letterpress stationery, sexy sports gear, new shades in a fav makeup brand, or the ultimate… a clean car.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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