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Hot Dates: Canadian-Designed Jewellery for Valentine’s Day

Treat your sweetie to jewellery by Canadian designer Anne Sportun

February 14

It’s that time of year again: Valentine’s Day, when Cupid takes flight and the air smells of red roses and chocolate. Treat your number-one love to a gift that lasts a lifetime with beautiful Canadian-designed bling by Anne Sportun, an East Coast jewellery designer who has wowed with her stunning designs since the early ‘90s. Peruse her pieces at Kiss & Makeup.—Jennifer Patterson

5 Spas To Get You Ready for the Weekend

Pamper yourself at one of Calgary’s luxurious inner city spas. Photo: Sante Spa.

With the weekend just around the corner, urbanites on the go can book some last-minute weekend pampering at one of Calgary’s numerous inner-city spas. Check out our top 5 picks for the most luxurious massages, facials, pedicures, manicures, waxing and more in the downtown area.


Hot Shopping: NARS Releases a Skin Care Line

The luminous bottles of NARSskin are beauty’s latest must-have items

The best things in life really do come in the prettiest packages. This month, make-up powerhouse NARS releases a line guaranteed to change the face of beauty: NARSskin. Illuminated skin is key in this new collection, and creator Francois Nars’ personal philosophy of “the best skin is skin that can reflect light” shines through. So treat yourself to some serious pampering with nine top-of-line items including a gentle cream cleanser, double refining exfoliator and aqua gel luminous mask. At The Bay and Sephora.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Fruits & Passion’s New Fragrance Smells Like Summer

Fruits & Passion’s new fragrance, Pomelo Granité

With its notes of currant, pomelo, wild mint, sage and sugar, the new Pomelo Granité fragrance from Fruits & Passion smells good enough to eat. But try to avoid any nibbling as you lather up with the shower gel, hand soap or foaming bath. Afterwards, layer the crisp scent with the quenching butter for the body, eau de fruits (pictured) or hand cream. It’s pampering at its most delicious.—Sheri Radford

Hot Shopping: Natural Make-up from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Lush’s new line of natural make-up

The name of the game is beauty, and Lush scores big with its just-launched line of natural make-up. Shelve your foundation during the hot summer months and opt for a skin tint; fight mid-day oiliness with a translucent powder; swipe on some no-smudge liquid eyeliner to make the eyes pop; and complete the look with a swish of mascara—the first-ever from this cult-favourite company. Struggling to choose between the 29 colours for eyes? A personalized reading using the colour wheel (pictured) helps to narrow it down to three choices.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Special Edition Philosophy Products Available Now at Sephora

Philosophy, the beauty and skin-care line known for its packaging with charming vintage images of children and inspiring quotations, is celebrating its 16th anniversary. To mark the occasion, a limited-edition Cinnamon Buns shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath ($21) is being sold at Sephora.

And if you love the brand’s products, you can now take its bestsellers on the road with you: the Happy Travels kit ($42) includes conveniently sized versions of five items, including Hope in Jar moisturizer and Amazing Grace shampoo, bath and shower gel.

Hot Shopping: Vancouver-Inspired Cosmetics by Stila

The "Vibrant in Vancouver" cosmetics palette by Stila is full of shimmery browns, golds and pinks, inspired by the West Coast's beaches and sunsets

Blend in with our sun-kissed locals using Stila’s custom cosmetics palette “Vibrant in Vancouver,” which is inspired by nearby beaches and sold exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale. Glamorous girls on the go turn to the all-in-one compact for its five eyeshadows, combination lip and cheek shade, mirror and make-up tips chart. It’s a sure-fire way to get BC beautiful in minutes.—Kristina Urquhart

Whistler Spa Guide: 4 Places to Get Pampered

Photo courtesy Fairmont Resort Spa

Unwind after hiking or biking with an appointment at one of these calm-inducing spots.

1 Re-energize at Vida Spa with Ayurvedic-based treatments that rebalance the three doshas in the body: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

2 The Spa brings the best of the outdoors inside with BC Glacial Clay Wraps and West Coast Marine Body Scrubs.

3 As the only authentic Javanese spa in North America, Taman Sari Royal Heritage charms with centuries-old massage techniques.

4 Breathe in that fresh mountain air at Scandinave Spa. Alternate between the hot and cold pools, followed by a nap in a hammock.

Jennifer Patterson

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Hot Shopping: Mother’s Day Gifts from Lush

Mother's Day gift set from Lush

Before Mother’s Day (May 13) rolls around, purchase some sweet-smelling goodies for the woman of the hour. This collectible tin from Lush comes packed with fresh bath bombs, a body scrub and the famous Dream Cream—and it’s selling out quickly. Website orders must be placed by May 10 at noon, but you can try your luck in-store, too.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: A Canadian-Made Lotion for Dry Canadian Skin

George's Light Special Moisturizing Lotion

It’s no secret Canadian winters can do a number on the skin. Salvage dry limbs with George’s Light Special Moisturizing Lotion, invented by Albertan George Doherty, now carried in Ottawa. A lighter version of George’s Special Dry Skin Cream, this lotion is fragrance-free, gentle enough for everyday use, and is perfect for those with sensitive skin. $2.99 for the 30 ml, $10.99 for the 360 ml, available at Loblaws grocery stores.

Indulge: Five Luxury Items that are Worth the Splurge


Treat yourself to a day of indulgence in the nation's capital.

You work hard, it’s time to enjoy yourself! From small splurges to big-ticket items, we’ve highlighted five luxury items that — bonus — also make great souvenirs from your trip to Ottawa.

Nothing says luxury like taking time for yourself (why is that?). In this day and age of smartphones, laptops, and nonstop digital communication, there is no greater feeling than turning off and tuning out to curl up with a magazine. The glossy pages, beautiful photographs, and scintillating stories offer an escape — if only for a little while. Whether you’re reading fodder for the mind or guilty pleasure rags, this act (and its inexpensive price) is one of life’s simplest pleasures. While in Ottawa, a trip to Mags & Fags on Elgin Street is a must. In business for 30 years, this shop carries 4,000 magazine titles that range from obscure and special interest to mainstream favourites. 254 Elgin St., 613-233-9651.

koko chocolates: delicious, rich, and local, too!

Local chocolatier Jen Winter has created quite a reputation for her gourmet sweets, koko chocolates. A perfectly grown-up treat that won’t break the bank, her tasty truffles have creamy ganache centres and are dipped or molded in premium Belgian chocolate. Find fine flavours such as Thai Chili, Triple Chocolate, Margarita, Passion Fruit, and more, as well as seasonal offerings. Retails for about $5.25-$6.50 per 3-piece sleeve. Available at The Candy Store, 350 Richmond Rd. in Westboro, and several other locations in Ottawa.

Hot Shopping: Bargain Beauty Brand

Essence's "XXXL Shine Nudes Lipgloss."

Spring is coming, so it’s time to revamp your look and add some pretty pastels to your palette. That should be easy (and affordable) with a new makeup line that’s just come to town. Essence is an award-winning value cosmetics brand from Europe that features a full line of products, from mascara to nail polish. And with prices ranging from $1.49 to $4.99, you can shake up your morning makeup routine. We suggest the fresh-faced “XXXL Shine Nudes Lipgloss” for an unbelievable $2.49. Available at Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Ottawa.