Monday, January 19, 2015

Makeup Monday: Draw the Line - Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend to just relax and recharge. Life has been crazy busy lately and it's been pretty difficult to find the time to just sit and unwind, but I'm hoping to be back into the swing of regular postings soon. :)

For the first Makeup Monday of 2015 I've got a brand new product from Make Up For Ever to share. If there's one thing in my daily makeup routine I can't live without, it's a good eyeliner. As a follow up to the release of the Artist Liner last year, Make Up For Ever has released two new jet black liners for you to add to your collection. Ink Liner is a matte black liquid liner designed for precision, while Graphic Liner delivers ultra-fine lines with ease using a felt pen tip.

In my makeup routine I typically alternate between gel and fine-tipped pen liners depending on the type of look I want to create. I love pen liners primarily due to their ease of use and precision, so I was immediately drawn to the Graphic Liner. Just look at that sharp tip!

Like other pen liners, the Graphic Liner is light and easy to grip. What's different about it though, is that you do not need to shake the pen in order to distribute the formula onto the felt tip. This makes it feel much lighter in your hand compared to other pen liners. The felt tip is also very stiff, unlike many other felt liners that feature a flexible tip.

After testing the formula for a couple weeks I have to say I have a love-hate relationship with the Graphic Liner. For an eyeliner, I love how pigmented and precise the lines can be. The liner doesn't run during or after application and can last a full day of wear without smudging. It's got a nice semi-gloss finish and the pen itself is lightweight and easy to use. What's there not to like? I'm not the biggest fan of the stiff felt tip which can be a bit irritating during application at specific angles. I personally like my pen liners to have a flexible tip so as to give a smooth application without feeling the pen drag across the eyelid. When the dragging occurs I find the lines are less precise and have the tendency to allow the ink to spread a bit outside of the drawn lines.

Aside from the stiff applicator, the Graphic Liner is a solid eyeliner I would definitely recommend. It's available through Make Up For Ever boutiques and Sephora across Canada for $29 CAD, which can seem pricey, but the wear time and pigment intensity is worth the investment in my books. I'm considering giving the Ink Liner a try, just because it does feature a flexible tip and a matte black finish. Has anyone tried the Ink Liner? Let me know if you have and your thoughts in the comments below!

*Disclosure: This product was sent for consideration of a review.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sorrentinos: Back to Basics

After numerous meals over the holiday season my body needs to take a break from the heavy eating. Eating lighter meals without sacrificing flavour is what I aim for, and for me it usually involves getting pretty creative with salads. A couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon with Sorrentino's to see what their solution was for post-holiday meals.

For the month of January the different restaurants under the Sorrentino's Restaurant Group offer what they call the 'Back to Basics' menu. Simple, traditional Italian recipes handed down from the Rago & Saccomano families are highlighted in this menu.

Chef Claudio Tentenni & Twyla Campbell working on pasta

Alongside a handful of food writers and bloggers I was given a preview of the Back to Basics menu inside of the Sorrentino's cooking class kitchen, but not without first putting in some effort. Under the watchful eyes of Chef Chris Hrynyk and Chef Claudio Tentenni, the group of us spent the afternoon practicing our kitchen skills to make fresh pasta, veal meatballs in cream sauce, and chicken piccata.

Veal meatballs

If there's one thing I learned during the cooking class, it's that quality of ingredients is paramount. In the Sorrentino's restaurants, almost everything is made from scratch and it is so important to use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients.

Pastas: Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, Tagliolini

Chef Chris Hrynyk

The hours flew by while everyone had an enjoyable afternoon in the kitchen. With a little sip of wine here, and a taste of cream sauce there, I gained some valuable skills in the kitchen and a greater appreciation for the amount of effort chefs put into their finished plates. While simple, the food we cooked was flavourful. It was refreshing to have a fresh meal compared to the rich, heavy meals of the holidays.

I never knew that Sorrentino's offered public cooking classes, so the afternoon spent cooking simple, traditional dishes was a pleasant surprise. The chefs were so patient and willing to share their knowledge, and of course eating the food we cooked ourselves was very rewarding. I had a wonderful time in the cooking class and would definitely return again in the future. If Italian food isn't up your alley, Sorrentino's offers many other themes to their cooking classes as well. February is focusing on Spanish cuisine, while March will feature Greek food. At $85 per person per class (or cheaper if you buy a multi package!), the cooking classes are very affordable compared to some of the options in the city. I've got my eye on their Friday date nights, where couples can register for a class at $170. Corporate team building classes are available as well, so they're able to accommodate a variety of groups. Classes sell out quick, so book soon!

If you're interested in tasting some dishes off the Back to Basics menu it will be available until January 31, 2015, in addition to the regular menu.

*Disclosure: as this was a media event, views expressed in this post are solely mine. I was not expected to feature this cooking class on my blog, nor obligated to do so. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.