Category Archives: General

Exploring Toronto’s Deer Park and the Don Valley Trails 

Alright so this post is a little late and is going to be brief, but I couldn’t help but share my experience while exploring Toronto’s Deer Park and the Don Valley Trails about a week ago. Even with living in Toronto for 20 years, it’s something I’ve yet to do.

Now I can’t take all the credit because the idea did come from my boyfriend Stevie while we had a bit of time off together. So we went out as a family, dog and all.

Essentially we started from St. Clair subway station on the Yonge Line (TTC) and walked East on St. Clair until we hit the valley. We then took the hidden paths into the forest and followed the creek.

What we found was stunningly luscious landscapes, cute waterfalls and interesting stone structures scattered throughout. By the time we had gotten to the DVP we started coming across cool areas of graffiti under the many bridges, and then A LOT of greenery. The entire walk took us about 2 and a half hours, and was time well-spent.

The entire time we travelled through the valley we felt like we were in a distant land, as if we had hopped on a plane and left the city. Usually you have to hop on a bus, GO train or take a drive outside the city to find this kind of landscape, but as we discover our city more deeply that has began to change. Though I doubt many people actually explore the vast area so profoundly because it isn’t marked all that well, but that should definitely change in the future; in my personal opinion.

I highly suggest setting aside some time to explore Deer Park and the Don Valley Trails if you have yet to do so. It’s especially nice if you need to clear the mind and forget about all the noise for just a brief little while. Heck, or even a photoshoot!

Charting New Territory,

pG. =D

Kids at Canada’s Wonderland

Happy Tuesday friends!

When was the last time you were at Canada’s Wonderland on a Saturday? If like me, you’re going to answer with something like, “not in the last 5 years.” 

Halloween Haunt doesn’t count, especially when comparing to Kid’s Day.

That’s right, me and my boyfriend accidentally ended up at Canada’s Wonderland on Kid’s Day. We thought going on a gloomy day was a good idea, which ended up turning into a gloriously sunny one and our worst nightmare ensued (maybe that’s a little drastic, but I’m trying to convey my message clearly…).

We got on the Wonderbus from Finch Station and got to the theme park at around 1:30 pm. Once we got our tickets and were inside we totally decided that buying the Fast Lane in order to bypass normal wait times was a good idea… so we paid the additional $70 for the Fast Pass on top of our $60 ticket. I’m not one to complain but SINCE WHEN is it $130 for a day at good ol’ Canada’s Wonderland? I remember when it was $40 a day, who else?

Anyhow, we decided to make the best of it.

We started with Shockwave and ventured on to Vortex, Flight Deck and a few other favourites. It got rather annoying when Sledgehammer and Psyclone went down at the same time and needed maintenance, so Stevie hopped on to the Dance Dance Popup while we waited, presented by Coca-Cola, which definitely gave me a good laugh and a smile. Once we got on Sledgehammer we hopped on two of the newer rides.

Firstly, Skyhawk scares the crap out of me and is a swing seat in the form of a plane that dangles you 135 feet in the air, while you flip two pannels back and forth to try and flip yourself mid-air. This ride is so not my thing, but my boyfriend who flipped 11 times would definitely beg to differ. I’ve tried to convince myself that I won’t die if I do it, but something else within me has a stronger hold on me than my better-thinking does.

Secondly, the newest addition to the park, Soaring Timbers, is unfortunately a sore waste of time. I hate to say it, but it is. The new feature that has two pods seating 16 people, 4 rows of 4, has an arm that swings the pods around, up and then down, as the pods sway back and forth. At some point one of the pods does flip and its not a 100% guarantee, so it’s a hit or miss when looking for a thrill on Soaring Timbers; especially if you wait 30 minutes for it.

Even with the Fast Lane we had to wait upwards of 30 minutes for our rides, which we didn’t expect for the money that was paid. Regardless we did our best to push through the busy day and get on a few of the rides we had intended to.

After about 5 hours, a few rides and some snacks we hopped back on the Wonderbus and headed home. Myself and Stevie mutually decided that unless it was Halloween Haunt we wouldn’t be spending much more of our time at Canada’s Wonderland, because it’s obviously not the same it was 10 years ago.

Fun fact, that’s where me and Stevie met a decade ago. Weird, huh?

What’s your most recent theme park experience like and where should we seek our thrills next instead? I hear Ohio has a great ride or two…

Stay Thrilled,

pG. 😀

Kayaking in the City & Ticket Link 

Happy Thursday humans, it’s almost the weekend… at least for some of us.

Earlier in the week, on Monday, I was taken on a two-hour Kayaking experience with my family, minus my father, to celebrate my youngest sisters’ birthday. We didn’t go too far, nowhere inaccessible via TTC, rather just over to the Humber River at Old Mill and Bloor.

For those of you not familiar with the city, that’s in Toronto’s Western hemisphere.

My mother found a wicked deal on Groupon, as mother’s do, which got us each a two-hour trip for $19.95. What a bargain, right?

Affordable, within the confinements of the city, and also a great way to enjoy a summer day; before it all comes to an end.

Yes? 🙂

Don’t get me wrong the water isn’t deep or crystal blue and there isn’t the craziest of scenery, but it’s honestly a good time that I’ll gladly enjoy again before the end of this season. There was a ton of cute wildlife to spot, the usual ducks and a few other birds hanging about like the Stork, as well as ridiculously gorgeous houses lining the steep banks of the Humber River.

We spent about an hour heading towards Lake Ontario, at which point we turned back and headed back up stream. It was a workout in and of itself but truly, I felt relaxed and distant from all the noise the city often produces. The temperature was mild with a light breeze and a cloud-cast sky as well, which made it an enjoyable environment to Kayak in. 

It was also a great treat to spend that time with my family (hint hint), we don’t do things like this often enough anymore. When in reality, we really should be!

Remember to buy your ticket off the Groupon link before it expires, and then make the booking for your excursion on Torontos’ Humber River.

Toronto Adventures Inc. Tickets 

I know I will be soon, again.

Always Exploring,

pG. =D

Blackheads, What are They Anyways? 

It may not be a widely-known fact but 85% of people aged between 18 to 24 experience Acne. Chances are then that you, like myself, were one of those people or still currently are. Even though it’s pretty much unavoidable, it hinders the way we look at ourselves and the way we think others look at us, too. 

Though the one form of acne that I find to be most commonly responsible for Psychosocial damage, Blackheads.

Blackheads, the little demons, are those little ‘black dots’ either on and/or around the nose, forhead, cheeks and even other areas of the body. They come and go, they tend to bother us and some of them even linger. So, what are they?

They can also be referred to as Closed Comedones and are a darker acne that can be found primarily in milder cases. Our pores contain not only our hair follicles but also the Sebacious Glands that are responsible for producing the Sebum that protects our skin from the elements, both man-made and environmental.

BUT, when sebum is overproduced we tend to notice our pores begin to grow in size and/or clog. AND, our pores turn black once the melanin in the sebum being contained in the Plug oxidizes.

Trouble begins…

Overtime many myths have developed surrounding blackheads and what causes them versus what the truths really are. In order to better understand our enemy, let’s take a look at what actually warrants their presence and what doesn’t.

Occassionally our skin falls victim to overactive sebacious glands and we see a spike in the presence of sebum. There’s a few causes for this increase in production, especially among women: puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycle and birth control. However there are a few others factors that we should too consider as causes of blackheads:

  • Cosmetics and cleansers,
  • Heavy sweating and high humidity,
  • Dietary factors, disease and/or medication.

We now know what blackheads are and what causes them, but what about any symptoms?

Blackheads only exist through their direct appearance on the skin. Heavier cases of acne may have some irritation related to their condition but this generally isn’t the case for more common, milder cases of acne. Instead of physical annoyance what we often experience is the psychosocial effects attributed to acne, more specifically blackheads.

Neither of us are a stranger to peer pressure and the difficulties that youth sometimes face when growing up, heck even adults face it too. One key infulence in this realm is the idea of being the absolute best looking that we can possibly be; and this means clear skin with a booming complexion, right? So those of us who have had, or have blackheads are typically seen to lead a life lesser in quality because of an attained lower self-esteem and feeling of shame or embarassment. As unfortunate as this is, it has become even more difficult to overcome these pressures due to new and additional influence from social media.

However I’m here to remind us that if we should find ourselves in this predicament, there are ways to overcome the pressures by simply taking the time to care for ourselves by Indulging

To begin indulging and remedying our blackhead situation let’s first determine the extent of our acne, and my sincere hope is that it’s a mild case. Here’s the Burton Scale to help us make the determination:

Now we may not be able to count EVERY comedone on our face but we can certainly get a good idea of where our skin stands by taking a thorough look.

Once we’ve done so we can begin to treat.

My biggest suggestion would be to begin with a cleansing in the morning AND evening. There’s no need to wash our face more than that and disturb our skins’ natural state of balance, but instead take the time to find a healthy cleanser that is best suitable for your skin type; one that will also give you a deep enough cleansing.

There are some othet treatments available that require a credible evaluation and a prescription such as Benzoyl Peroxide, which works to break down the plug containing oxidized sebum. Other sources of remedy include Retinoids as well as Azelaic Acid.

Some things I do urge anyone to steer clear of are any kind of harmful extraction methods and popping treatments, as well as excessive exfoliating. It’s only going to cause more damage.

Beauty should not necessarily be pain but also devotion, education and innovation. With time and our sincere focus the results are fruitful and we can thus reduce the impacts of the psychosocial effects as outlined by our society. 

As always, reach out if you have further questions,

Let’s Talk Skin 

Stay Cleansed,

Peter. =D 

How to Maximize on The Beard 

Esthetic. Whether the concept is being preached by a juice-head at Cabana Pool Bar or an actual esthetician completing a skilled service; image is the umbrella and its more of a thing now than its ever been. For many men out there this idea of self maintenance and the associated esthetic is a tad bit intimidating for whatever reason; assumingly because the stereotypical belief is that females are and should be the dominant market for cosmetics. Then comes along myself and a growing band of others whom agree that costmetics are and should be mutually beneficial for both men AND women. 

Photo by @ellenaturel, Barbering by @missvictorious

This is an extremely valid argument considering both Egyptian men and women were some of the first individuals to use cosmetics dating back to 10, 000 BCE. 

Gentleman, I therefore say shed that fear of your girlfriends’ Beauty Blender and get to work. 
Back in 2016 I became absolutely obsessed with the look of a harsh line for a beard on a man’s face. Having density as well as a fresh and symetrical lineup make for a sexy duo. However not all men are blessed with a thick follicle and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, because just as there are solutions to address the needs of women, men have options available to them as well. 

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I have one of the thickest beards around because sadly I don’t. Although I’ve been able to maintain heavier growth around the jawline, in turn keeping the shape of my face defined, I’ve lost much of the density on the cheek due to years of negligent dietary conditions and poor maintenance. Growth has slowly improved over time but I’m still not entirely satisfied by what my natural growth fills out to, so I deicided to play around a bit when I rececived some inspiration.

SPOILER: even though it’s not something I do daily, rather I do this solely for special occassions, I’ve taken up the process of filling in my beard with cosmetics.

Many of you gentleman reading this will probably not attempt what I’m about to explain next, however if you worry about the image your facial hair gives you, you would probably want to attempt my recommendation if you’re currently lacking. 

Here it goes…

Makeup Forever HD Pressed Powder

Supplies you will need:

Clippers & #1 guard,

The Process:

  1. Ensure that you have trimmed all of your facial hair and beard to an even #1, also lineup the hair to your preference. Feel free to exfoliate pre-trim if you feel up to it,
  2. Perform your daily skincare regimine if you have one,
  3. If you already wear additional makeup now is the time to paint prior to filling the beard,
  4. Start to fill the beard by using the coarse makeup brush with the eye shadow to define and enbolden the natural line from your lineup, by emphasizing on it. Do so very lightly by brushing down with the brush, from the lineup on your cheek and down into the jawline so as to blend the pigment. Blend down with the Beauty Blender in order to fade the line, this allows you to control how bold it appears. Be sure to extend this defining line from the sideburn to beside the mouth, right across the cheek,
  5. Now that you have an outline you can use the same coarse makeup brush to lightly and evenly fill in the outlined area. Again using the Beauty Blender afterwards to blend the shading in order to maintain an even appearance,
  6. Once satisfied with harshness, tone of pigment (bold vs. less bold) and the overall visual appearance of your enhanced beard, set it with the setting product. 

Now watch the compliments come pouring in.

    Photo by @ellenaturel, Barbering by @missvictorious

    I know this seems like quite the amount of effort and dedication just to enhance a beard, right? If you enjoy a polished look as well as investing the time and effort necessary in order to establish and maintain your image, then this should become as seemless for you as it is for me.

    I did mention earlier that I don’t do this process too often anymore and that’s only because I like to save my heavier looks for special occassions. Whether that be a photoshoot or party, wherever it may be, the harsh lines come out to play.

    Gentleman if you want anymore advice on how to up-your-game, I’m always more than happy to help; I mean 8 years in the Beauty Industry has left me with something to show for it, after all.

    Stay Bold,

    Peter. =D 


    9 Years in the Making 

    The date was Friday, August 15th, 2008 and I was at Canada’s Wonderland for the day with two of the many girls I had grown up with; innocent as we could be at 16 enjoying a day at the waterpark. While in line for a waterslide this little man with blonde-hair caught my attention with his profuse waving from just down the stairway, the two Catholic-raised friends I was with began making fun of the situation and I was instantly uncomfortable. No one enjoys being laughed at, right? Anyways, slightly off-put by the situation I decided to ignore all ends and move on in the moment. However it was after the waterslide that a young girl approached me with a piece of paper that had a phone number written on it and said, “This is from my friend.” Would you look at that, the first guy to ever hit on me. 

    Funny enough the concept of being gay was one I had yet to even think of, considering my former peers at Dante Alighieri Academy Catholic highschool claimed that I was on their own terms, and so endlessly bullied me because of it. Even more off-putting, why would anyone ever want to be Gay if that was the lifestyle that one were to be subjected to because of their sexuality? 

    It is with great confidence when I say that before I even came out of the closet I endured more than what most do; but still less than some others have. You see I took a grade 11 Geography course in grade 10 and that is where I met the few boys whom I would grow to hate OH SO MUCH over the following two years. 

    However I will thank you now for the thickened backbone,

    XOXO, Gossip Girl. 

    These men went on to cat call the word ‘faggot’ at me while going down the hallways loaded with students on a regular basis, but better yet consistently (weekly) egged my familes’ house by the dozen. Not fun. Although the icing on the cake was when I received a call from my Mother in Toronto while I was visiting my family in Glasgow, about 4 am Eastern Time so 9 am for me overseas. She exploded with anguish and despair into the phone while explaining to me how a group of young boys had just paintballed the exterior of the house I lived in. My family thought someone was trying to murder them, and all because a group of monkey’s wanted to expose that I was gay before I did. 

    I will tell you that by the time I had gotten to grade 12 I took no more shit from anyone and so began the emancipation of Peter. One day I personally drove to each of these boys’ houses, those that were vandalizing mine, and explained to their parents that the vehicles they allow their sons to borrow would soon be part of a criminal investigation should the one-sided war not come to an end. It is safe to say that mommy and daddy were not to impressed, specifically with the one boy who got smacked across the head right in front of me. Ha, what a win. Now you must be able to imagine how all of this made it extremely difficult for me to pick up the phone and dial the number I had received at Canada’s Wonderland on August 15th, 2008.

    Although eventually, I did… 

    Christmas 2015

    What would happen next would be 3 years of phone calls between me and the cute blue-eyed boy with blonde hair, with one or two meet-ups as well. Stevie, is that young boy’s name – now a handsome young man. He is the catalyst as to my coming-out. He knew well before I did and put his bid down before anyone else could, but that could not stop be from neglecting his feelings for me and exploring what else the gay community had to offer instead. Not the nicest move on my end but you cannot blame a young boy and his curiosity; Stevie and myself did keep in-touch through social media on occassion, during this time.

    While time went on I dated, partied, travelled and experienced all that has shaped me into the man I am today; the way life should go for most of us. In October of 2015 I began to settle and slowly began thinking of Stevie more and more, for whatever reason. Eventually I decided to reach out after about 4 years of no direct contact and asked him out on a date. Between us I expected a huge no, but totally got a yes instead. We ended up having that date AND many more to follow. 

    January 2017

    January 23rd, 2017 and here we are living in our Downtown Toronto apartment together with our precious rescue puppy, Crockett. I would be a liar to say that it has been a fairytale the entire time because no happy ending is without the struggle first. We are currently seeking our second apartment together and as I sit here to reflect on the last 9 years that has led us to this point, I have strong faith in where we are going to go. 

    Despite the harassment, obstacles and objections endured thus far, fate had it planned so that we would somehow end up together after all. I do not think either of us would want it any other way  because our bond is strong even through the years. That being said, whatever bullying you experience or taunting you endure just know that it is not forever and you will one day be a much stronger person than your oppressors are today. As hard as it is to believe, by keeping your chin up, shoulders back and eyes straight you will frighten off any piece of shit who thinks they have entitlement over your life; confidence is terrifying to the weak. Your time will come and your love will shine, patience is a virtue after all. 

    If you ever need to reach out and chat, or know someone who does; do not hesitate to email me at thecityconglomerate@gmail.com. My door is always open to those in need of guidance and or comfort.

    Ps to those who bullied me during highschool, your names and faces are forever engraved. Shame on you.

    Stay Confident in your Path,

    Peter. =D

    The Art of Layering

    Each and every morning, as well as night, when I open my cabinet doors in the bathroom I am faced with an array of products that I am privileged to own. Then follows the question, where do I begin? As someone who invests a great deal of time into his skin I often need to take a step back and devise some sort of game plan, in order to provide my skin with what it needs at that exact moment. Of course, there are about 13 products that remain consistent in my routine on a daily basis; however let us also take into account the multiple exfoliators and masques that are incorporated as well.

    For the sake of simplicity I will stick with my go-to system that I find works for me. Keep in mind that we all bear different skin types than one another, but we also carry varrying concerns. 

    The basic starter-system often recommended is a cleanser, toner and moisturizer. This sounds absolutely preposterous to those of us who obsess over our skin, does it not? If you are anyting like me your daily routines probably consist of, wait for it: multiple cleansers, toners, eye creams, serums, oils, moisturizers, sunscreen and a primer. Emphasis on the plural. So where do all of these sit in conjuction to one another?

    Well let us chat…

    Clarisonic with Deep Pore Cleansing & Normal Brushes

    Professionals will suggest that layering should begin with the product bearing a thinner consistency and follow through in order to the product with the thickest consistency. I whole heartedly agree with and operate under this structure as well, always after a double cleanse. The key is to structure your routine so that your products and their ingredients compliment one another, and so that they can also function as a unified whole in synergy. The best way to do this is certainly through trial and error which is when samples become our best friend.

    Things to look for during this trial period:

    • Redness, sensitivity and/or irritation,
    • Bumps and/or Acne,
    • Excess oil production,
    • Dry and/or flaky skin,
    • Uneven skin tone and/or pigmentation,
    • Dull skin,
    • Rough texture. 

    Keep in mind that you want to address your concerns, at least the primary and secondary ones, with your routine. Also keep in mind that your samples will probably not produce immediate results; rather they will give you some insight into the feel, smell and look of a product as well as its potential compatability with your skin. 

    To uncover what your concerns are I suggest a visit to a credible Skincare retailer, or better yet feel free to get in touch with myself for some quick and genuine advice. 

    Now for my routine, in order of usage:

    AM

    1. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Facewash with Clarisonic – Normal Brush,
    2. Arcona Toner Tea Bar,
    3. Kiehl’s Brightness Activating Toner ,
    4. Kiehl’s Age Defender Eye Repair (applying an eye cream before a serum will prevent possible irritations),
    5. The Ordinary. Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (hydrating serums first),
    6. Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate,
    7. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (moisturizers, creams or lotions last),
    8. Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+ (sunscreen is a must as a preventative to aging but also when using any brightening product or one that has a hasrsher interaction),
    9. Hylamide HA Blur – Finisher (to prepare for makeup).

    PM

    1. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil (oil removes oil AND makeup),
    2. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser with Clarisonic – Deep Pore Cleansing Brush,
    3. Kiehl’s Brightness Activating Toner,
    4. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye,
    5. The Ordinary. Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5,
    6. Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate (gels after hydrating product),
    7. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate,
    8. Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream.

    Trial and error has guided me here.

    I am being too true when I say not everyone has the ability to operate at this caliber; I have a sick obsession with personal care. I do need to stress one more piece of advice before wrapping this up…

    Some products work best when given time to absorb between applications. 

    I speak truths. This is not only a fact but I can guarantee that if you put this theory to the test you may be satisfied with the results. I recently introduced this policy into my own routine and I have nothing but positive things to say in return. Some products like Benzoyl Peroxide for example, which treat concerns like Acne, do require up to 3 hours to sit before another product is applied; this allows the Benzoyl Peroxide to function at its full potential. Not all products require this amount of wait time but most do benefit from at least a 5-minute interval when layering. Again, it never hurts to do some research for the overall benefit of yourself, your skin, and your investment into Skincare products.

    The PM Routine

    It is my hope that I was able to provide some insight into how you can perfect your process and maximize on your natural beauty. If you have any questions or would like further guidance please do not hesitate to reach out.

    I do not bite, promise.

    thecityconglomerate@gmail.com

    Stay in Order,

    Peter. =D 

    Meditation has Ultimately, Changed Me.

    Yes, Meditation has most certainly changed me as a person and my ability to hold multiple perspectives in situations thus giving me more control over my thoughts and actions. It really is a powerful experience that anyone can benefit from if we just allow ourselves to Transcend. If you think this is crazy talk, then be prepared for more to follow. Now someone might ask why I started Meditating, as I too have asked people before. Sadly enough it begins with a visit to the Vetirenary Emergency on the Civic Holiday of August 2o16.

    Last April we rescued a Jack Russell/Dachshund Mix from the Toronto Humane Society, a cute little 6-month old bugger by the name of Crockett. 4 months into owning him he breaks his leg, and that’s where the stress and anxiety really kicked in full throttle. To be quite honest I knew there were going to be issues, visits to the Vet and some obstacles to overcome with adopting a puppy; but I did not expect any of it to happen so early in the game. As you can imagine, being caught off guard with a very expensive surgery and bi-weekly visits to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic did it for me, it began to make me feel things I hadn’t quite felt before. 

    August 2016, Crockett helping me read during his recovery

    Come September, 3 weeks post-operation for Crockett and a few days before my Birthday, I reach the final part of the book I’m reading which is Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza. It’s a fantastic read if you really want ‘out with the old, and in with the new’ and isn’t overly scientific or over-baring with beliefs and opinions. The final part of the book walks me through a 4 week Meditation called Transcendental Meditation, where I’m taught to connect to the Quantam Field by travelling through the four different levels of Brain Waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. I was not kidding when I said there was more crazy talk to come. To Transcend is to leave reality behind for a short period of time, 45-60 minutes a day in my case, and extend beyond the boundaries of knowledge and experience to “Fire & Re-Wire” the subliminal past that currently encourages me to take action or react in ways that ultimately make me feel uneasy. The product of a very stressful few weeks.

    4 months, going on 5, of daily Meditation has given me the strength and power I need to push forward in difficult situations; but has also given me, and continues to, much more clarity in terms of what my purpose is and where my life might be headed. How? Transcendental Meditation gives me full control over the outcome of my future by allowing me to leave the past, in the past. This includes my overly-anxious or stress-induced responses in certain situations, my fear of repeat outcomes in particular scenarios or my own self-defeating belief that things can’t and won’t get better, ever. Up until now I’ve worked through emotions and feelings such as anxiety, stress, anger and the occassional lack of confidence. Let me tell you, I feel 100 times better and I’ve been told that I have grown into a much wiser and much more mature individual over this period of time. Don’t we love seeing the fruits of our labor?

    I’m not telling you to that you need to take a class on Quantam Energy and the steps it takes to Transcend to feel like a well-balanced human being. What I am sharing with you is how committing a small portion of our day to understanding ourselves on a deeper level of meaning, beyond what we experience here in reality, can really invigorate the spirit and assist in guiding it appropriately. I know that I have subliminal triggers that cause me to act out in certain ways and this makes me feel ultimately uncomfortable. So, the feeling of having no control over the outcomes in my life terrifies me and there’s many ways to avoid these kinds of experiences, Transcendental Meditation being one. Take the time for yourself to focus on yourslef, you won’t regret it. 

    Remember, what you put out is what you get back.

    Stay Calm… and try to Carry On,

    Peter. Xo. 

    Recovery After Midnight

    When the clock strikes 12 on New Years Eve people often lunge for a kiss given the opportunity, or go prying at some unlucky individual for one. However my thoughts are most definitely eslewhere. I mean I have a boyfriend who I love dearly and we kiss regularly, so a kiss at midnight on NYE isn’t as necessary for us as it may be for others. Instead I’m thinking of how I want to start my evening Skincare routine tonight before I hit the sack. Since I’m working on New Years Day our plans are kept simple and mellow without any opposition from myself or Stevie; which means bed before 1 am. Weird, right? For 24 year olds anyways. We see our two friends Dianna and Aaron as well as their dog Cooper out the door just before 1, and we begin to prepare for bed.

    Ritual has it that I take the bathroom first since my process is a little longer; and you can’t judge a guy who works in the Beauty Industry when it comes to something like this. Personal care is a precious topic to us obsessors. Tonight I begin with the newly launched (in America) Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil from Kiehl’s Since 1851. I wear a bit of Makeup myself so something emulsifying is often the way I start. This was my first product of 2017, it isn’t monumental by any means but this would be the first formulation to touch my skin this year! One of my top few as well.

    The Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil is a product developed and launched by Kiehl’s (NYC) and was launched near the end of 2016. It does not retail in Canada yet but I was lucky enough to get my hands on my own already. You may be familiar with the Midnight Recovery Concentrate or Midnight Recovery Eye already sold by the company and it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that this is an extension of the Skincare line already sold on shelves around the World. The Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil and Concentrate are fragrant with Lavender which calms and soothes my skin, it also has ingredients like Evening Primrose that offer skin strengthening benefits as well. Those are my two personal and primary reasons for using the line. The oil base and scent of Lavender are bonuses in terms of overall calming in the evening before bed but it also allows it to carry anti-aging benefits for the skin too; which we all have at least the slightest appreciation for. Nonetheless, the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil remains consistent in my routine because in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with it and it’s suitable for skintypes across the board. Now to get going on my evening routine.

    I push on the black pump three times and out comes the scent of Lavender in the form of liquid. I spread the Cleansing Oil evenly across my face, and my eyes, and slowly begin to massage the product into my skin, then applying a bit of lukewarm water afterwards. Slowly the Oil emulsifies and my Makeup begins to come off, the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil is a beautiful product. I then follow with a thorough rinse adding some additional water over a basin and I watch as my Makeup slides off my skin while I work my hands in an upwards-circular motion across my face. This product is often my first choice when starting my evening routine if I do have any product on my skin from throughout the day, for the obvious reason that it offers great removal benefits. I then follow with a second cleanse and the rest of my routine.

    In the evening I follow a strict process of double cleansing (the second with a Clarisonic), toning, the use of an eye cream, serum, oil and then of course a moisturizer. Yes, I am a little ridiculous. That’s why the first product I use is usually the one I spend the most time on, I get to enjoy it the most and it has one of the hardest jobs; removing free radicals, Makeup and excess oil from the skin. This is why the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil makes a great fit for the role and an extremely luxurious one at that. Now if I’ve happened to pry at your interest you can do some more self-discovery on the product here, www.kiehls.com. Essentially (pun alert), Cleansing Oils are a growing trend, or have been, and there are so many more on the market to learn about and try for ourselves so the best of luck in your hunt for the perfect one.

    The Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil was a soothing start to my 2017, but what was your first product that you indulged in this year?

    Happy New Year,

    Peter. Xo.

    My Top 6 Pre-Photoshoot To-Do’s

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    Whether you’re a professionally trained human manequin or someone who finds themselves encountering their own recreational glam-gig on the occassion; there’s always a few things we can do to prepare ourselves for that twilight moment. Take it a step further and pamprer yourself before even getting remotely touched by Stylists, Hairdressers or Make-Up Artists, whom do produce the quality results a Visionist and their audience wants to see.

    What comes from this you ask? Self-satisfaction and the ability to ultimately care for yourself, by yourself. While also producing a creature worthy of being photographed.

    Recently I experienced my own moment in the spotlight having my hair balayaged, given a fade and a cut by the talented Victoria Hazell (IG:@missvictorious) while then being photographed by her also talented twin-sister Michelle (IG:@ellenaturel). To be honored is an understatement as to what the entire experience made me feel, a fine blend of excitement as well. I won’t lie and tell you my confidence drove me through it without an ounce of nerves to be felt, because there were definitely butterflies that lingered the evening before the big day. This was also a big project for Victoria and Michelle and I didn’t want to let them down; so to set the nerves aside I prepared myself in a few ways the night before, which of course turned into an evening of pampering and self-indulgance at the same time.

    1. Prepare the look…

    … for either the style of your attire (if you’ve been asked to style yourself) or the facial expressions you want to feature in the photos. As narcissistic as this sounds, get yourself in-front of a mirror and work it like it’s nobody’s business. Trust me on this when I say there is a peace of mind to be associated.

    2. The Hydrating Masque…

    … is key at helping restore radiance (avoiding dull skin) and texture; smoother and brighter is always better. Find whichever brand works for you, my personal favorites are ones that can be left on overnight. If you are having makeup applied it definitely doesn’t hurt to prepare a fresh and smooth canvas for the artist.

    3. Rest is necessary…

    … for the ultimate peace of mind. No one appreciates the, “Will I sleep enough?” jitters. A focused and relaxed demeanor will go much further than someone strung and dependant on caffeine for a positive outcome. I suggest the often recommended 6-8 hours.

    4. Waking up with Meditation…

    … is not only empowering, but can truly center and balance an individual. I personally dedicate 45-minutes to the exercise on a daily basis; however closing your eyes for 15-3o minutes in a calm setting will help build on that ‘I Know Can’ confidence/quality that a model should often have. Finding Homeostasis does not need to come from a trip to the Sensory Deprivation tank.

    5. Brighten and Exfoliate…

    … on the morning of for a glowing and even smoother complexion. Again, choose a masque/exfoliator that works for you, preferably with something effective like Turmeric; and don’t forget to give your skin the pampering it deserves. You want the camera to love you after all, right?

    6. What Skincare routine you use…

    … should be focused on obtaining a healthy and dewy glow (not an oil-slick by any means). Personally my preference focuses on products that energeize, hydrate and protect the skin with anti-oxidants. Keep in mind when wearing makeup to minimize the Skincare to four/five products that achieve the glow but layer well together; and don’t forget to use a Toner. Makeup applications are much nicer when ehnanced from the pH balancing effects that a Toner does provide.

    Well by the time I had gotten to the location of our photoshoot, The Sound Studio Canada (IG:@thesoundstudiotoronto), I was prepared, comfortable and confident in the results I would produce. Needless to say the outcome of the shoot was unreal and if you want to see some photos, hope on Instagram and over to:

    @petergrande

    @missvictorious

    @ellenaturel

    Now that you’re familiar with my favorite things to do before getting in front of a camera, I want to know as well what steps YOU take when preparing yourself for either an event or photoshoot; what nerve-calming routine gives you a confidence boost? Comment below and leave some insight!

    Stay Gorgeous,

    Peter. Xo.