Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

I am back from my short, yet very sweet getaway to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. This was my first time in the Dominican Republic and I already can’t wait to go back to explore the other parts of the DR. Such as Santo Domingo!

This trip was booked last minute using the travel site cheapcaribbean.com. I’ve booked several vacations with them, so I knew exactly where to go when looking for flight and accommodations on such a short notice.

I took a very early flight Saturday morning, which got us into the DR in the late afternoon.

As a part of our booking, cheapcaribbean.com bundled together round transport to and from the airport. The transportation company they use is called AmstarOne of the most reliable and reputable companies in the country. We’ve taken them several times before and never endured any hiccups during our vacations.

Upon our arrival to the Now Onyx Punta Cana Resort in Uvero Alto. Which is about a 30 minute drive from the international airport. Hotel staff greeted us with a chilled cocktail and hot towels to get our 3 night, 4 day vacation started!

The resort was kind enough to upgrade my friends and I to the preferred suites, which was the closest building to the beach side.

We wasted no time in checking out their dining and drink options. First up was the Barefoot Grill. An outdoor dining experience that served up primarily grilled foods.

The pools at Now Onyx close at around 7 pm daily. So we had just under 2 hours in the pool on our first day, but loved every minute of it!

Before heading back to our rooms to get ready for the night. We booked our excursions for the following days, right from the resort lobby.

It might just be me, but when I’m on vacation. I have an increased appetite. So after heading back to our rooms from enjoying the pool, it seemed fitting to me that I get room service for while I get ready to head to dinner (lol) and a bar later that night.

Now Onyx provides 4 menus for their room service. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Late Night.

I ordered their chicken quesadilla and nachos. *Not pictured here because I was starving lol.

Our dinner reservations were at Spumante, an Italian restaurant located in the neighbouring resort, Breathless Punta Cana Resort and Spa. Golf carts are the means of transportation to and from resorts and are simply a call away.

Dinner was impeccable! I ordered their chicken penne in a spicy arrabbiata sauce.

Granted Now Onyx isn’t an adult only resort, it does have adult only areas, which are accessible to Preferred Guests. We had heard that their sister property Breathless Punta Cana Resort had amazing nightlife, so headed over for the remainder of the night.

One point that I cannot go without mentioning is that when you stay at the Now Onyx Resort, you gain access to nearby resorts as a part of their Sip, Savor and See program. Guests have access to all bars, pools, amenities and restaurants at the specified sister/nearby properties. Restaurants are however only accessible for dinner and require reservations.

The next morning, I was determined to be up at 5:30 am to catch the sunrise but because of the early start we had the day before, I couldn’t get up until 7:30 am.

However, the views from my balcony and the hot sun beaming down on me, was nothing short of perfection.

Breakfast this morning was at the Carnival International Buffet. My go to, was made to order omelettes, all of the tropical fruits I could get my hands on and some decadent pastries.

Our pickup for our first excursion was at 12 pm, so it gave us some time to enjoy the pool. As well as nice ice cold Presidente beers brought right over to the pool.

Una cerveza por favor!

I had suggested doing a ‘party boat’, as I love catamarans and thankfully everyone was on board with the idea. This excursion involved going to the Marinarium. Where we would board a catamaran, do some snorkeling, swim with the sting rays and sharks. Then end off with some free time to float around in the shallow waters of the beach.

Also, you might ask, why there aren’t any images of the sharks or sting rays? Well for one, I am a novice swimmer and the rough waves in 40-50 feet deep water had me holding on for dear life lol. Also, to be noted, I don’t know why I wanted to swim with the sharks or sting rays in the first place because I am deathly afraid of both!! I touched the sting ray with one finger and had my eyes closed.

You will never be caught with an empty cup in the Caribbean. The bar service extends out even into the water, with a fully stocked bar in a floating tube!

The following morning we made our way to Coco Cafe, which offered heavenly coffee and treats. Before heading over to breakfast at the Carnival International Buffet.

Since it was Monday, a few restaurants on the resort were closed, so we opted to have dinner at the neighbouring resort. I was in the mood for some Asian delicacies and the Breathless Resort had availability at Silk City, a Teppanyaki table.

It was 8 pm by now but our night was only beginning, Pickup for our next event was at 8:30 pm. You can’t leave the DR without checking out Coco Bongo! A show and disco, all under one very lively roof! When I first heard the showtime, I was kind of shocked. 9 pm – 2:30 am. I really didn’t know if I could hang that long lol. From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, the energy remained constant. My favourite part of the show were the aerial performances.

Coco Bongo is about 30 mins from Uvero Alto. So after a night out, I naturally had worked up an appetite. Thankfully room service was available 24 hours and prompt even at 3:30 in the morning.

Our last full day in the DR consisted of waking up to a nice quiet breakfast spread in the comfort of our room.

I wanted to get my hands on some authentic Dominican gifts to bring back home with me. Hotel staff suggested that there was a strip of local shops right next to the resort. The walk over was less than 2 minutes and I’m so glad to have shopped there vs the touristy resort gift shops! The shop keepers were wonderful and very inviting. I left with gifts for loved ones and small tokens of appreciation from the shop keepers for giving them business.

Now Resort provides a complimentary shuttle to their select vendors. One of these vendors happened to be one, I had planned on visiting before I got to the DR, so I was happy to be able to check it out!

The shuttle brought us to an area where you can find authentic Domincican goods, such as cigars, rum, coffee, chocolates gifts and jewelry.

We first did the Don Lucas Cigar tour, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

The tour involves getting to see from start to finish, how a cigar is packed and rolled. All while enjoying a complimentary cigar that you are free to smoke throughout the entire tour.

Next up was rum tasting at Oliver, Rums for Connoisseurs. Take a seat in this relaxed bar setting and enjoy a variety of complimentary rum tastings based on your preference.

This next vendor, I was quite excited for. El Cibao is where we saw how authentic Dominican coffee is made. From raw coffee beans to the point where they are roasted and packed for sale. The aroma of strong coffee is one I will never get enough of!

Kokoa, was the second last stop. Where you can enjoy all of the sweet treats, from dark to creamy white chocolate and everything in between. As well as stock up on to take back home!

Our final stop was at Azul Mai. A jewelry store where you can find endless varieties of the local Dominican jewels. Larimar, which is a pale blue stone marbled with white and amber. I picked up a few pairs of earrings, which were all beautifully crafted.

Our final morning in the Dominican consisted of soaking up as much sun as we could! I may have gone a little over board since I ended up with a painful sunburn, but hey I don’t regret a thing!

I took my final walk along the beach before I headed back to the room to checkout.

If you’re interested in videos from my trip, they can be found in my Dominican Republic Instagram story highlights here.

I won’t forget this trip! Thank you Dominican Republic! See you next time!

Cilque

Cilque

Today, let’s talk about a skincare product. One that isn’t an anti-aging cream, toner or serum, and doesn’t need to be applied to the face either. Simply slept on! Now that’s a skincare regime, I can stick to lol. I’m talking about the Cilque Pillowcase, a 100% silk case.

Available in 7 luxurious shades.

You might ask, how does a silk pillowcase act as anti-aging product or what benefits does it really have? Well for starters, think of the preventative measures you take on the daily to defy wrinkles, ie. applying skincare in the opposite direction of gravity, not tugging on the eyes, etc.

So for tummy/side sleepers like myself, where your face is buried in your pillow for 6+ hours a night. The soft silk material helps prevent those crease marks from forming on your face. Which, with time can become deeper.

I’ve also found the Cilque Pillowcase to play a part in helping with my acne. As it’s sensitive on the skin and silk keeps a constant cool temperature throughout the night, to avoid further irritation to existing breakouts. As for preventing new breakouts, anything you put in your hair or on your face is likely to end up on your pillow. A silk material case can help prevent that from being absorbed into your case.

As someone who has dry skin, I’ve found that my products soak into my skin better at night when sleeping on a Cilque case vs a cotton pillowcase. As cotton cases often draw moisture from your hair and skin, leaving you in this constant cycle of dehydrated skin.

I have to say the number one reason for me being head over heels for my Cilque Pillowcase. Is the fact that it lengthens my hair styles. Blow outs last almost twice as long and I no longer wake up with tangled hair. The silk material helps reduce friction between your hair and the pillow.

You’ll ideally notice the difference if you have a hairstyle you want to last for a couple days (blowout) or if you have colour treated/bleached hair. As bleached hair can be brittle and the silk material prevents breakage from contact.

Making one small change to your sleep routine can result in better sleep health and in turn better skin!

Cilque Pillowcases retail for $79 CAD for a Queen size and $99 for a King. Available online at cilque.com and in store at thebay.com.

Sample kindly provided. All opinions are my own.

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation

Last year, Make Up For Ever launched their Matte Velvet Skin Foundation. A product that checked off practically every one of my requirements for a foundation. Fast forward to the present day, where they’ve launched a powder form of the foundation, the Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation!

Available in 30 shades, the MUFE Powder Foundation is said to provide full coverage with a life-like matte finish.

Let me start off by saying that powder foundations are my least favourite type of product and here’s why. I have dry skin, blemishes and hyper-pigmentation. To me, powder foundations just sound like a major no-no for such skin types. As I’ve never been able to achieve the coverage I want, regardless of how many layers I go in with. It simply looks like a layer of powder sitting on my face.

That being said, since I did have a very pleasant experience with the MUFE Matte Velvet Liquid Foundation, I gave it a go!

I tried out the shades:

Y315
Y365

Encased in a tight snap closure palette, is the powder foundation and a sponge applicator.

The powder is silky to the touch and practically weightless on the skin. One application provides a sheer wash of colour. The MUFE sponge allows you to choose your coverage, one side is for a sheer application where the other provides full coverage.

I go in with a peach colour corrector for the areas that need a little more coverage. Then I like to apply just enough of the Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Powder Foundation in the shade Y365 to even out my skin.

I would say I get medium coverage with a satin finish. It’s not at all dry-looking as many other powder foundations! Plus the fact that it blurs pores is absolutely incredible!

In regards to wear time, I get about 8 hours of flawless coverage before the product starts to move and reveal some of my imperfections.

I have to say, I really enjoyed switching up a full face of heavy makeup for a more lightweight option, without compromising coverage. Especially in this heat!

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation retails for $50 CAD and is available online and in store at Sephora and TheBay.com.

Samples kindly provided. All opinions are my own.

Fenty Pro Filt’r Foundation

Fenty Pro Filt’r Foundation

As the season changes, so does my requirement for my makeup. In the Summer heat I lean towards long wearing, yet breathable coverage foundations. While in search of the perfect product, I received the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation. Available in an astounding 50 shades!

Before I dive into the product’s performance. Let me touch upon how amazing it is for a brand to have a whooping 50 shades of foundation with various undertones. For someone like myself who is of a medium complexion, I often find myself mixing shades together to create my own shade. As there are often gaps between the lighter shade and the next deep shade, in most ranges of foundations.

Moving on to the packaging itself. The Fenty Pro Filt’r Foundations come encased in frosted glass tubes with pump applicators.

I tried out the shades:

  • 235
  • 255
  • 260
  • 290
  • 310
  • 345

My perfect match for Summer is 290 and for the cooler months I feel 260 would be a close match for my complexion.

Natural Light. L-R: 345, 310, 290, 260, 255, 235
L-R: 345, 310, 290, 260, 255, 235
Direct Sunlight. L-R: 345, 310, 290, 260, 255, 235
L-R: 345, 310, 290, 260, 255, 235

Upon application, the formula is on the runnier side. You have a decent amount of time to blend out the product before it sets. Granted it is a soft-matte finish.

With one application it provides medium coverage, which can easily be built up to full coverage with a second application.

I would definitely note, that this foundation works best if your skin is well prepped beforehand. Otherwise it has the ability to enhance any imperfections if you go in with a second application. Less is definitely more, so always begin with a small amount of product. That being said the finish is absolutely flawless!

Fenty Pro Filt’R Foundation wears for well over 12 hours. Since I have dry skin, I actually prefer how my skin starts to look at the 4/5 hour mark.

Fenty Pro Filt’R Foundation survives the Summer heat and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. Which is important to me. As I want the coverage but there’s nothing more horrid than the feeling of a thick layer of makeup under the beaming sun. Thanks to their oil-free formula, which is “made with climate-adaptive technology that’s resistant to sweat and humidity, and won’t clog pores.”

Fenty Pro Filt’R Foundation retails for $45 CAD. Available online and in-store at sephora.ca.

Samples kindly provided. All opinions are my own.

Fenty Sun Stalk’r Bronzers

Fenty Sun Stalk’r Bronzers

Today, I’m taking my Summer glow one step further with the Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’r Bronzers!

Gone are the days where there was only one generic shade of bronzer! Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’r Bronzers are available in 8 shades, to compliment various skintones.

Let’s talk about Fenty’s eye catching packaging. These reflective rose gold octagon compacts house a generous amount of product.

I tried out the shades:

  • I$land Ting
  • Shady Biz
  • Private Island

Fenty’s Sun Stalk’r Bronzers are incredibly smooth to the touch and their mildly creamy formulas, allow it to blend seamlessly. It has a matte finish that stays put for about 8 hours, before it begins to fade.

I am in awe of the natural glow the shade Shady Biz provides! For a more sculpted look, I go in with Shady Biz and I$land Ting.

The bronzers are long-wearing and transfer-resistant. Which provides peace of mind knowing you can extend the application out to your collarbone and decolletage without worrying of transfer.

Top – Bottom:
I$land Ting
Shady Biz
Private Island

Fenty has two makeup brushes for your choice of bronzer application. If you’re looking for an all over bronzed glow, they recommend the rounded Cheek-Hugging Bronzer Brush 195. If you’re looking to sculpt and contour than give the Sculpting Bronzer Brush 190 a try!

Fenty Sun Stalk’r Bronzers retail for $40 CAD and are available online or in store at sephora.ca.

Samples kindly provided. All opinions are my own.