Essie

Seattle Bound

May 31, 2011

So here I am, on my way to Seattle! I decided to go on a quick trip with my family, which meant driving the wretched 14 hours all the way there (not to mention the way back, yikes!).





Since it's a work free week, I ventured out of my comfort zone and painted my nails with Essie's Mint Candy Apple. Before the purchase of this polish, my entire collection consisted only of pinks and reds. This is pretty exciting for me, hahaha. My manicure is also extremely messy - I worked on this outside while watching my bf & his friend detail a car. Needless to say, there's millions of dust particles stuck in the polish :(



Accent nail done with OPI Silver Shatter. I think the silver looks better on darker tones, but this one is fun too :)

Stay tuned for Seattle adventures & shenanigans :D

dessert

Lunch & Showhomes!

May 27, 2011

Andrew just got back into town last night. After hours missing flights and hectic connections, I decided I had to bring him out for pho at Basil Leaf!

Basil Leaf usually has parking spots in the back that are free of charge - we chose to check them out since we didn't want to pay expensive meter rates downtown. However, we saw that there was free underground parking for Emperor's Palace, the restaurant right next door. We headed down there, to be greeted by a scene that looked like it was taken out of a horror movie.



We ventured up the stairs from the parkade and entered Emperor's Palace. Darn, no exit. We tried another door, and on the wall were written some Chinese words, roughly translating to "this way cannot go to the restaurant. It leads only to the emergency exit". We thought we would be able to leave and get to Basil Leaf! But the emergency exit door was secured with a lock, haha. Not so great of an emergency exit if you ask me. After our exploring we figured we had to get out of the underground parkade and park somewhere else.

I love that everytime I go to Basil Leaf, it's the same lady serving all the tables. Even though I don't go often (maybe once every 2-3 months), she always remembers me and my order. Today's was no different: pho with beef balls, with no cilantro. Delish.


My favourite jackfruit shake! Mmm




After lunch, we headed over to Dream Tea House for mid afternoon dessert(?). I guess you could call it that. We each got shaved ice since it was so hot out. My favourite is always double the amount of condensed milk, with mango jelly & tapioca. Winning combination in my books! Oh, and the waitress gave us a side of extra condensed milk - maybe because the other time I was there, we complained about having too little. Heehee.



Since the Full House Lottery draw is coming to a close, I wanted to take a look at the top 3 prizes - the showhomes! Each year, I try to go see what they look like, not just to see the extravagant and over the top impractical decor and furniture installations, but to get an idea of what I could do around my house to spruce things up a bit. I must admit though, it seems like this year tops them all - the grand prize home had a bar/pub style setting in the basement, equipped with five TV screens too!




this bathroom reminds me of a spa! It's equipped with an electronic towel warmer too!



shower for dogs!


Touring the three houses took us a little over half an hour. It's definitely worth the time spent - the houses are really unique and they give me so much inspiration for decorating my own house! All the money raised from the sale of tickets goes towards the Royal Alexandra and University Hospital Foundations towards funding for improved patient care. Make sure to go take a look before it's too late!

beauty

Physician's Formula Happy Booster Blush

May 26, 2011

I've been holding this review back for a bit, because I was too afraid to use this product! The hearts are adorable, and the colours are so pretty, I didn't want to destroy the design.



I finally took the leap, and I'm pretty impressed with this drugstore blush! The company markets it as a mood boosting blush, with the scent of lavender to mimic the effects of endorphins. When I put it on, I don't feel any different, and can't really smell a strong lavender scent, but the design does make my day a little better! It's just too cute.



It's nice that the design is actually set pretty deeply into the blush, so one swipe will not remove it. It is relatively pigmented, but depending on where you place your brush, you may end up with slightly different colors on each cheek. I recommend swirling your blush brush around & tapping off excess before applying, in order to ensure even color payoff. I chose the product in Rose (Nude is the alternative), which comes off as a rosy, fuchsia pink with a slight shimmer to it. The color is buildable, and blends very well. Definitely exceeded my expectations.



Beneath the blush layer is a dual coloured brush and mirror to be used with the product. I do not recommend using this though, because the bristles are rather stiff and itchy against the skin. That's the only downfall I really found with the product.



Right now in Canada, there are specially marked packages with a $6 mail in rebate. The purchases can be made up until December of this year, so go out & hunt for those packages so you can save some money & get a cute blush!

dinner

We Love You Sam!

May 23, 2011

As life goes on, some doors close in order to allow others open for us to grow and reach new opportunities. Wow, I sound philosophical today.

Anyways, a month ago, one of the assistant managers at work got promoted to manage another branch in Vancouver! So exciting! I wish I was the one moving down to Vancouver. Except, I feel like when you live in a boring place like Edmonton that is Winter 3/4 of the year, it gives you an excuse to get away and enjoy everything that your city lacks. Maybe I'll stay in Edmonton for just a little while longer ;) Makes life seem more exciting when you leave.

Her going away party was held at Boston Pizza in WEM. It's always nice to get together with coworkers outside of the work environment - its relaxing and theres no pressure at all. Leave work behind and just have fun!



I ordered the strawberry pucker to drink, which is supposed to be a strawberry flavoured lemonade. First sip gave me a punch of flavour. Flavour so intense that it was a little too much. The lemonade was overly sour, but that went away after the ice melted, and it became perfect. Not a bad choice if you like sour & tart!

For the main, I went with their Cajun rice bowl. I think I tried this out before, but knowing me, I'll always order what I think sounds appealing. This was an interesting take on the traditional jambalaya though.



The rice bowl is desribed as: A dish inspired in Louisiana! Tender pieces of chicken breast, prawns, tomato, green pepper and red onion sautéed in our spicy cajun tomato sauce. Served over rice. Honestly, I was expecting it to taste exactly like the jambalaya that I know and love, but I probably shouldn't have. It honestly wasn't that bad, but now that I look at the description again, I know why. The sauce itself tasted like pizza sauce, with a little extra kick. Something like an upgraded pizza sauce. This makes sense though, since they described it as a spicy tomato sauce. But what bothered me the most was the "chicken breast". The so called chicken breast seemed to have been replaced by cubes of mush. I even got Jodi to try it, and it was just a clump of soft mystery meat. It almost seemed like it was cubes of processed meat, turkey roll in a cube if you will. It made me think that the chicken was uncooked, because it almost had a raw texture to it. Just plain weird. It brought an interesting texture into the dish, but I don't think I would order this again. Gotta make a mental note now, because I might just order it again if I forget. Maybe I should stick to what they're known for: pizza.

Also, if you read this Sam, I wish you all the best in Vancouver. I'm so excited for you and what's to come out of this promotion! You'll have so much fun in your new city, don't forget about us up here in Edmonton! Come back to visit anytime, we'll be missing you everyday (L) And I'm definitely going to be visiting you!

Boston Pizza
Bourbon Street, West Edmonton Mall
Edmonton AB

nails

OPI Silver Shatter

May 23, 2011

I have a confession to make. Because I'm studying for the MCAT, during the week from Monday to Friday, I seriously don't leave my house. Disgusting. But last week, I found a reason to take a break and get a little bit of fresh air - I went to pick up OPI's new Silver Shatter from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection! Yay.





The collection was officially released here on May 19 - I know it was available earlier in the States *not fair*, but I called early in the morning and had my SA hold 2 bottles for me.



The pink on my nails is OPI Party in my Cabana from the South Beach collection. It's a slightly muted pink creme, leaning towards fuschia in my books. It's beautiful & vibrant! I chose it this week since our weather forecast is looking a little on the gloomy side.



Now enter: silver shatter. The formula is thinner, and in my opinion, more forgiving than the black shatter they released earlier this year with the Katy Perry collection. It will crack different ways, depending on how you apply the polish. I find that a thinner coat will give numerous thin cracks, whereas a thicker coat will produce fewer, larger crackles. Always make sure to apply over completely dry nail polish!

I picked up the mini lacquer set as well, which I will be receiving next week. Can't wait to try them out because I've already read such positive reviews from this collection!

Accessories

Time

May 18, 2011

I'm not really a watch person, but I'm really anal about being on time. As a child, my mother would buy me watches to wear, but to her despair, I would always lose them. At the gym during gymnastics, at the swimming pool, at the dance studio.. I never knew where the heck I left the watches and I would always get in trouble. Since those times, I never ever thought I would buy a watch again.





Since the trend of oversized watches and boyfriend watches came to be in the past couple months, I really wanted to get a watch. Just one problem: my wrists are SO small. Nothing fits. The faceplate of the oversized watches are bigger than the size of my wrist. It's a sad, sad life for me in the watch world. Even if the watch isn't an oversized watch (like a bangle watch), it moves all the way up my forearm to my elbow :(

But! In the end, I think I've found the perfect match. Introducing the Coach Phoebe patent strap watch:







For accessories, I tend towards silver and other bright metals, and this is no different. I find it looks better on my skin than the gold, so maybe it was a good thing that the Michael Kors and other Coach oversized watches I looked into that didn't fit me. The faceplate is stainless steel, while the strap is silver patent leather. Plain & simple, I love it. And how cute is the dangling star?

Did you know that all Coach watches are manufactured by Movado? They're backed by a pretty good name, and almost all their watches are water resistant up to 99 feet. There's your fun fact for the day!

Coach

Can Coach Read My Mind?

May 17, 2011

So, as I'm sitting here blogging and uploading my photos, something at the top of my screen caught my eye. It was an advertisement for Coach on Photobucket (where I upload all my pictures).



The little banner itself was displaying a couple items, with a link to 'shop now'. However, looking at the pictures, I instantly recognized them. Out of the four pictured, I owned three, and the fourth one was a makeup bag I've been contemplating buying purely based on colour. Weird, hey?



Has anyone else seen this ad with different items? It would make things seem less odd. Does this mean I am the ideal Coach customer? HAHA. Just made me smile.

Daiso

Daiso Black Charcoal Cleansing Cream

May 17, 2011

I'm pretty picky when it comes to skincare. Any product sold for small amounts of money (aka dollar store items) are never to touch my face. It makes me think that the product is going to ruin my skin! Well, that's at least what my mother always warned me about. It was either that it would cause cancer, or break me out like crazy. Cause you would think, if it works well, it should be sold for more money, right?



I've actually had this product for a couple months already, as I received it as part of my Christmas gift from Lucy. She knows that I love face masks, and she thought this was a mask, as did I. For a while, I didn't even look at it, because I can't read anything on the bottle. However, a couple weeks ago, I took a look at the package and realized it wasn't a mask, but was rather intended to be a makeup remover. Interesting. I was intrigued, and had to look further into the product.



This product is available from Daiso, which is that Japanese $2 store inside Aberdeen Mall in Richmond, BC. Daiso comes to Canada from Japan, and actually has quite a few locations throughout Asia. However, BC is the only province in Canada that has a Daiso thus far, with rumours of one to open in Toronto in the future. $2 for a makeup remover seems sketchy, but the product is made in Korea, and put me a little more at ease before trying this out, because a lot of my beauty products are manufactured in Korea.



To test the efficiency of the product, I swatched 2 products onto my hand: MAC fluidline in blacktrack, and MAC overdyed blush, without primer underneath.



As you can see, it comes out of the tube light grey, with a creamy consistency to it. I assume that the colour comes from charcoal, which is actually known to cleanse by lifting dust and pollution from the skin surface. There's also tiny black specks in the formula, and I'm assuming that those are charcoal bits.



Using the product, I rubbed it on the makeup, and was amazed with the results! In less than 20 seconds, all the colour was dissolved and it looked like a muddy mess on my hand. I took a tissue, quickly wiped off the residue, and voila, my hand was clean. I could see a very faint mark of where the eyeliner was sitting before, but only if I looked very closely. Pretty amazing for a $2 product if you ask me. The remover left my skin feeling moisturized, but I would probably follow up with a cleanser, because you never know what could be in the product itself that could clog your pores.



Now, assuming that the product was intended to be a cleanser (hence, cleansing cream), I did another trial with washing the product off my hand instead of wiping it off with a tissue. There was a big difference for sure - the product felt VERY oily both under the water and on my skin afterwards. Definitely need a cleanser to follow up afterwards if this is how you use it. I don't know how this product was intended to be used since I can't read Japanese. Maybe someone can help me with this?

The product itself has a light perfumy scent, which reminds me of flowers. I do not mind it, however, because I find that it smells nice. I do like the consistency of the makeup remover, and I ended up trying it on my own face - trust me, it was scary. I specifically tried it on my eye area, to see if it would irritate the area or sting my eyes. It removed makeup quickly and efficiently, including my waterproof mascara, and my eyes did not feel any burning sensations. My vision was a little cloudy though, cause I got some in my eye (I hope I don't go blind!)

All in all, this is a nice product, and for $2 it greatly exceeded my expectations. I'm just a little wary about the vast number of ingredients they have in this product though. I've read that there is another product in this line that is actually a mask, so I may look out for that the next time I head to Vancouver.

nails

I Pink I Love You

May 16, 2011

OPI always has such cheesy names for their nail polishes, but I still love them all the same. It's yet another work week, so I'm sporting another soft shade.



This one is a little special though. Although it seems to be a pastel pink, it actually has a bit of a blue duochrome effect shining through when light shines on it. I can't help but look at the blue reflection when my nails are in the sun! Sneaky! The picture does not do it any justice.

Buffet

River Cree Kitchen Buffet Bistro

May 16, 2011

Okay, I'll admit that buffets are my weakness. Unending portions of savoury food and bottomless desserts just get to me. So. Delicious.

I think the last time I endulged in a buffet was in Vegas last summer. Oh no, I lied. I forgot about Karma from 2 weeks ago. Oops, hard to forget when it was just a few posts down from this one. Piglet confessions :(

For lunch today, I went with my parents to the River Cree Kitchen Bistro to check out their daily lunch buffet. I've tried their breakfast and dinner buffet, but lunch was completely foreign to me.



It's not surprising that the restaurant was basically empty when we got there around 12:30. Out of the 30 available tables, I would say maybe 4 were occupied when we arrived. The location is quite a bit out of the way for people that work, it's not as convenient to get here as it is to walk into a food court. However, the selection of food was pretty good for lunch.



To start, their buffet selection included soup (red pepper & tomato), a DIY salad bar featuring romaine lettuce or spring mix, with various toppings ranging from mandarin orange slices to cheese curds (wtf?), and a sandwich station complete with all the fixins like egg, potato, tuna, and chicken salad amongst cold cuts and cheese slices.

The soup was way oversalted. Just one spoon in my mouth, and I knew not to have anymore. The soup was rich and flavourful. If it were more diluted, I know I probably would have had two bowls! Such a shame. The Greek salad was a hit or miss. Scooping from the top of the bowl gave a plain, bland salad, but the portions beneath sitting in the dressing were perfectly seasoned and delicious. And yes, I do like eating salami by itself with it's greasy goodness.


yes, I got another slice of salami to eat!


Their mains were more diverse, which included a roast beef carving station, along with made to order omelettes and pasta. Steamers of food contained vegetable ratatouille, Parisian potatoes, garlic butter shrimp skewers, and chicken (in a sauce I can't recall at the moment, oops).


made to order penne


Dessert was not too enticing for me, as I was very, very, full. Not to mention, some of the cake portions were gigantic and I didn't want to waste the food! Their selection included hazlenut, chocolate, carrot and maple cake.


Chocolate cake, sugar glazed pecans & mandarin orange slices


Food quality was quite good, but I still think I prefer their breakfast buffet on Saturdays, which runs until 2 in the afternoon. It also seems a little less lonely in the restaurant on weekends. At $15.95 per person, the buffet includes tea, coffee, and pop. If you are a member of their players' club, you get 20% off, bringing the price down to $12.76. Quite a good deal if you ask me, considering lunch can usually set you back anywhere from $15-$20 depending on where you dine.

River Cree Casino Kitchen Buffet Bistro
300 East Lapotac Blvd
Enoch AB

dessert

BOGO FroYo :)

May 14, 2011

To celebrate the opening of Twisted Yogurt's newest location in Terwillegar, they offered a buy one get one free promotion all day today only. Obviously I was going to take advantage of this.



The interior layout of this place features the same light green colours as their location on Calgary Trail, but with a few subtle differences. Just as all fast food locations part of a restaurant chain are different, as are the locations of this locally owned frozen yogurt chain.

I was a little disappointed that they were unable to accept my gift card, but that didn't change the fact that the yogurt was yummy as always!

dessert

Strawberry Cheesecake FroYo

May 11, 2011

Ever since I tried self-serve yogurt in the States, I've never turned back. Yogen Fruz used to be my go-to yogurt joint, but it's just not the same. Their set sizes mean that I am forced to eat the amount they give, and I always find that their toppings are not enough. I like to be in control, and able to choose what, and how much of it I want. That's why I love Twisted Yogurt here in Edmonton so so much (despite that they still don't have mochi!).

As I was on my laptop the other day, I came across an ad for Yogen Fruz. It seems to me that they have upped their game and started putting yogurt creations together in unique combinations. They even have soft-serve yogurt with fresh fruit now, that I might want to try out. But still, all their choices are in set sizes.

Anyways, they have creations like apple pie, pina colada, and candy cane, but what popped out at me the most was their strawberry cheesecake frozen yogurt. Say what? I knew I had to go check it out!



The frozen yogurt was made by blending cheesecake bites into the yogurt, then garnished with strawberries and some graham cracker crumbs. I wasn't a big fan of the graham cracker, because it gave the yogurt a grainy texture. I'd rather have smooth yogurt, with bits of creamy cheesecake here and there, no disruptions from crumbs, please. The frozen yogurt really did taste like cheesecake, and it wasn't an overwhelming flavour either. I like knowing that they used real cheesecake to flavour it, rather than a syrup of some sort. If I get this again in the future, I'm gonna ask them to skip the graham cracker!

McDonalds

Golden Nuggets

May 07, 2011

Last weekend before heading to Tiesto, Vince and I stopped by McDonalds to grab a quick bite since we just got off work. We're healthy, I know. When I entered the fast-food chain, I saw a poster that immediately caught my eye. Chicken McNuggets, 25 cents each, all day long from May 6-8. Amazing.

The memory came drifted back into my head this morning, and I was on a mission to get the nuggets after work!



We arrived shortly after 9pm, and there was quite a long line. Only one line, with everyone lined up single file. I didn't think it would take long to get my order through, but the line wouldn't budge. There were maybe 10 people ahead of us, and slowly, more people trickled in and made the line even longer. It's times like these that I'm thankful for Twitter & Facebook, haha.

We overheard some of the orders being put through, and finally understood why the line was hardly moving. Some people were ordering 40, 60 and even 80 nuggets! My mind was blown. Of course, they were probably ordering for friends and what not, but I choose not to think of that, and just think they're mighty powerful for being able to digest so much chicken & batter. Kind of gross when you think about it.



After waiting 30 minutes, it was our turn to order! Together we ordered a total of 56 nuggets. Holy cow. They were allowing purchases in units of 4, which is smart cause the staff wouldn't have to deal with odd numbers. I have to admit, I planned on being able to eat 16 of them by myself. Vince planned on 28, and the remaining 12 were for my parents. But whoo, after the 12th one I started feeling really greasy and sick. Now I know my nugget limit, and I don't plan on eating nuggets again for a VERY long time.

Buffet

Karma [CLOSED]

May 05, 2011

Everytime I have a meal with Indian cuisine, I must endulge in large portions, and eat until my stomach feels like it will explode. You got me. Everytime I have Indian food, it's gotta be buffet style, or no Indian food at all.

Luckily, I don't eat it often. Or I'd be in big trouble, and gain lots of weight after engaging in a seriously rich meal. I usually find myself at New Asian Village about once a year, but today I branched out and tried a new place: Karma The Indian Bistro. Like the name implies, Karma will get back at me by making me gain weight if I force too much food into my stomach! Vince & I planned to eat here before heading out for some shopping.

Located in the heart of downtown, I thought this place looked like a former little house transformed into a restaurant. Cute, with lots of windows, I was glad it was a nice sunny day today :)



When we walked in, we were guided by signs to head upstairs for the lunch buffet. They have the lunch buffet Monday to Friday from 11-2, which is quite a big time gap, allowing them to accomodate the varying lunch hours that people working downtown may have. We asked to be seated by the large windows, so that we could enjoy the gorgeous weather and people watch while we ate.



Their serving area is decently sized, although smaller than the one at New Asian Village. They still have a wide variety of dishes to choose from, and had some that I've never seen before. Their proteins consist mostly of beans, chicken and beef, so no lamb for those of you that love it!



One thing really surprised me. I liked every single dish they had to offer. Um, what? I'm such a picky eater that such an occurence NEVER happens! I know that the food is laden with cilantro, but I don't care! Everything tasted amazing. At New Asian Village, I'll stick to eating maybe half of the offerings they have in the food trays. But at this restaurant, I loved the flavours of each and every dish, and made sure not to leave one drop of sauce behind, thanks to the delicious naan bread they provided at our table!



The naan was fluffy and crisp. None of that silly naan softened by steam and kept warm in a tray, but the naan was brought to us in a basket, straight from the kitchen. Delicious. Do yourself a favour and please check this place out! The buffet is $13.95 per person, you won't regret it!

Karma - The Indian Bistro
10523 99 Avenue
Edmonton AB
Karma The Indian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Fashion

McQ

May 03, 2011

It's finally arrived!! Say hello to my new Alexander McQueen silk chiffon scarf! Silk chiffon scarves are perfect for spring & fall weather because it can still be a little chilly out. The light material can be wrapped around a bit to give warmth around the neck when the wind blows :)



I ordered it in the black/magenta combo, and it's absolutely perfect. It's so soft, and the colour on it is so bright. I can't wait to wear it out!

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