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#SELOVES: The New Alcatel Idol 4

Let’s be honest, we’re all a little obsessed with our smartphones. I can admit that I’m very attached to my device, but it’s because it isn’t just a phone; it’s a phone, camera, calendar, e-reader – essentially, it’s a mini-computer that disguises itself as a phone. With the advances in smartphones, I have been able to leave my camera at home and just take my phone with me, whether I’m going across the street for a coffee or hopping on a plane across the pond. My phone is my ultimate accessory and I was recently given the Alcatel Idol 4 to test drive, so let’s see if it lives up to the standard.


At first glance, the phone is simple and sleek With its metal frame and 7.1mm thick glass body, but the Idol 4 is more than what meets the eye. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 Octa-core processor, offers a microSD expandable card slot and is preloaded with Android Marshmallow v6.0.1. It also features a 2,610 mAh battery and 3.6-watt speakers featuring Waves audio technology.

When it comes to a smartphone, my essentials are: the camera and battery life. I recently took the Alcatel Idol 4 with me around town and on a quick jaunt down south to see how the camera would hold up in different lighting conditions. The main/back camera is 13MB with phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash, while the front camera is 8MB with LED flash. The camera also features geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama and HDR. Here are just a few of the shots I’ve taken with the Idol 4.


The battery life is just as impressive as the camera. The Idol 4 comes equipped with a non-removable Li-Ion 2610 mAh battery, which offers 15h of talk time and 520h of standby time. On a day-to-day basis, when I use my phone regularly, it lasts a whole day without charge (that includes, talk, text and lots of data usage). When I’m away on vacation, it lasts even longer. As it’s mainly used for photos and videos on vacation, I can usually go a day or two without requiring a charge.

Additionally, the Idol 4 features a ‘Boom Key,’ a dedicated button that can be used to create shortcuts to certain applications, as well as other tasks such as increasing the volume or instantly opening the camera app (obviously for me, it is the latter).


With its 5.2” Full HD 1080p display, microSD expandable card slot, a 13 MP camera and a long-lasting battery, it is a surprisingly capable smartphone at a very affordable price (the phone is available for $0 on a 2-year contract and $299.99 on a no term contract at Bell and Virgin Mobile). For a phone in the “budget smartphone” category, it is worth every penny, whether at home listening to music, across the globe or just snapping your latest lunch.

For more information on the specs and more details about the Alcatel Idol 4, go to alcatel-mobile.com.

– Chenessa Lam

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#SELOVES: Get Moving with MEC

Once the whether cools off, the desire to hibernate is stronger than ever (believe me, my spirit animal must be a bear), but instead of giving in, find something to keep you motivated. For me, that’s usually something fun and with a friend, or as I’d like to call them “accountability partners”.

I recently checked out MEC’s Outdoornation Think Outside Summit where MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op) encouraged attendees to submit ideas to get people outside. The program offers funding, mentorship and support to enable leaders to inspire others (and we even learned how to slackline!). The goal is to get people outside and get them moving.


Aside from the Think Outside Summit, MEC’s Outdoornation works with local collaborators to organize events like Chasing the Sunrise (which includes sunrise hikes, secret camp-outs and yoga sessions), Les Chèvres de Montagne (encouraging females to climb and camp) and Surf the Greats (where you can surf the Great Lakes). It’s a great way to keep active while also trying something new and maybe even outside your comfort zone. Either way, it’ll be an experience to add to the books. MEC Outdoornation, their collaborators and their events can be found at outdoornation.mec.ca.


Aside from MEC Outdoornation, MEC locations also offer activities (which vary depending on location) such as meet-up runs, digital navigation, bear awareness and you can even witness a polar bear migration – you just have to be in Mantioba for that one! Check out MEC’s events at events.mec.ca.

If you need some motivation, here it is! MEC is striving to get people active and their goal is to create events that “make it impossible for you to bail”. I don’t know about you, but I’m in. Instead of channeling your inner bear, sign yourself and maybe even your accountability partner, the adventurer in you will thank you for it.

– Chenessa Lam

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#SELOVES: The Beauty of Estee Lauder

While there are many people (particularly women) who love the beauty aspect of, well, beauty products, I have always been fascinated by the R&D. Call it curiosity, or just plain geekiness, but knowing how and why a product does what it promises has always peaked my interest.

When it comes to the production of efficacious beauty products, Estee Lauder is usually at the top of the list. They know their customers want – and expect – the best from them, and they comply with new products and updates of classics, year after year. And for fall, the time formulating their concoctions in the lab has been worth it.


The Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam removes makeup and pollutants, which rinses easily and leaves skin feeling clean, soft and refreshed. For those looking for something non-traditional, there’s the Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm. Applied over dry skin, the lightweight balm melts into a silky cleansing oil, then transforms with water into a milky emulsion that rinses easily for a clean, conditioned feel without any greasy residue – three different textures in one cleanser.


While not everyone owns a bottle of Advanced Night Repair, chances are most people know the iconic brown bottle. To stay a step ahead, Estee Lauder has introduced Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules. Each ampoule is a precise dose – with new dual-action ChronoluxAI Technology – and help skin address those issues of irritation that can cause premature signs of aging (not to mention support the synchronization of skin’s natural nighttime repair, just like the original Advanced Night Repair).

Building on years of cutting edge research into the natural activity of Nrf2 (a protein naturally found in skin that supports multiple anti-aging pathways), the Revitalizing Supreme + Power Creme is part of a collection that features an exclusive moringa extract which supports skin’s natural activation of Nrf2 to “turn on” multiple anti-aging benefits, including anti-oxidant pathways (no red wine allowed!) and a prickly pear cactus extract nourishes and strengthens skin’s moisture barrier. The end result is skin that looks and feels deeply nourished and with the benefits of “bounce back” after regular use.

It should be noted this is no way a sponsored post; the products are just that good.

– Steven Carver

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SELOVES: Feel Better Remedies

We’ve all done it, go straight for the medication or pain killers when you have a headach or run to the walk-in clinic  when your throat and chest starts to hurt. But, what about nipping that headache right when it starts or trying to prevent the pesky bug before it creeps up on you.

It’s all in the natural wellness these days and sure, there are so many things we can do to prevent a cold or feel better but it’s time to take it back to the basics. We all have our go-to remedies for feeling better, my personal favourite is using essential oils. But, we also can’t forget about the remedies that we not only grew up on but the ones that are still recommended by doctors today.

Here are a few home remedies you need to try that recently nursed me back to health without me having to take any antibiotics or medication.

Saje Wellness:
These natural products are a great way to feel better, faster. Recently I visited Saje and stocked up on a few of my favourite and effective products. Try the Saje throat spray and chest cold soothing balm to relieve your sore throat and chest congestion.


Warm Salt Water Rinse:
It seems simple, but it’s often forgotten. Try gargling and rinsing with salt water after every meal to cleanse your throat and help heal the pain from constant coughing. Rinsing with warm salt water will also help kill all bacteria and help you bounce right back to normal!


Hot Water with Lemon & Honey:
It’s the perfect homemade tea that can be done anywhere and in seconds. Try having a teaspoon of honey to soothe your throat, this is great especially if you’ve been coughing a lot and finding in painful to swallow.


These remedies may seem simple, but that’s the best part. Try them the next time you’re feeling under the weather to help you feel better naturally and faster!

– Vanessa Cioffi

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#SELOVES: Something Blue

Coordinating your nails with your outfit is always a great fashion and beauty combo, it adds a little extra detail to your look keeping you looking polished and well put together. Now, how about pairing your nail colour with your very special day. If you have been dreaming about your wedding day since you were 10 years old the chances are you have also been rehearsing the classic must haves too. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Well, here’s the thing Something Old is an easy one, and if your borrowing it from your mother or grandmother you have officially just checked 2 out of 4 on your list, Something Old and Borrowed. Something New can be many different pieces from your dress to your shoes or a headpiece to a veil, its not hard to have something new on your wedding day. But, here’s the kicker, finding that special Something Blue and it really can be anything that is significant to you like blue flowers in your hair, a blue garter belt or my personal must have to complete any look, blue nail polish!


Rock The Boat & Find Me An Oasis, Essie

A fun shade of baby blue is always a great hint of colour that can be added into any look so why not on your wedding day. Finger nails or toes, this colour will defiantly shoe guests that you’ve thought of it all while sticking to your obsession of having your nails always on point!


– Vanessa Cioffi

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