outfit

Anti-Bullying

February 29, 2012

Here in Canada, the last Wednesday of February is National Anti-Bullying Day. Bullying is a definite problem within the schooling system and in our everyday lives, no matter where you live around the world. I think the reality of it is that we don't always realize what constitutes bullying. It doesn't have to be physical aggression, it can be as simple as verbal harassment. And with the proportion of our lives dedicated to being online and invested in social media, cyber bullying is on the rise - the hurtful insults don't even need to be said aloud. More individuals participate in this form, as it can be anonymous and perceived to have no consequences if they themselves cannot be found. We've all read the news stories, seen the videos made by victims on YouTube - too many people have been affected and we've lost one too many lives.






Blazer: H&M (similar) | Shirt: F21 | Bottoms: Old Navy Rockstar Jeggings
Boots: purchased in Asia | Cuff & Necklace: F21 | Watch: Coach Phoebe


Anyway, I could go on and on about this, but I guess I'm leaving you with something to think about. For Anti-Bullying Day, Pink is worn as a stand against bullying, and an attempt to spread awareness. We wear pink to support breast cancer, and sport moustaches to support prostate cancer research - so why not wear pink to support victims of bullying too?

Any thoughts?

Accessories

Bits & Pieces: New Jewelry

February 28, 2012

Finished writing another midterm today! I finally feel like I can sit back and relax.. for a day or two before I need to start studying for another one. Exams at school feel like they've been non-stop this semester. Can't wait til my 4 month break is here! Just gotta get through these last two months :)

I received an email from a reader asking for a better picture of the bouquet ring from the Tony Duquette x Coach accessories collection.



The bouquet ring itself is a statement piece, and the colours of crystals used for the petals and pollen of the flowers look so lovely together. While I know big statement pieces are often a worry for petites, my hands are quite small and I assure you that I love the ring and try to wear it at every opportunity I get! It definitely covers more of my hand than the YSL Arty ring, and is very similar in circumference to my boyfriend watch (pic below). The height itself rises higher than the arty as well, so its not like you can ignore the fact that it's sitting on your hand.











The ring is not too heavy, but may take a bit of time to get used to if you don't wear much jewelry on a daily basis to begin with. When wearing it, I would suggest to let it shine - don't wear anything over the top that would pull attention away from the ring. Be minimalistic if you choose to wear other jewelry, and I think most importantly, confidence is key. If you don't feel you can pull off a larger sized ring, why would anyone think it looks good on you either? Be confident in anything you wear! :)

In other news.. I wanted to share with you some of the jewelry I've picked up lately! I've been on a huge jewelry kick lately - especially if its gold, or if its from BCBG. Seriously, I don't think I should step into another store for a while, because I always buy something before leaving the store!


BCBG Beaded Ball Ring | bfrend COCO Bracelet | BCBG Pave Spike Ring
BCBG Pave Leaf Ring | F21 Anchor Necklace




The bfrend COCO Bracelet by Monika of The Doctor's Closet has such a beautiful design. The pearls add femininity to the gold base metal material. The bracelet is surprisingly lightweight, and the chains almost feel like light plastic - makes me wonder what the material actually is?





The BCBG pave spike ring is current & in stores - you can purchase it online through their website. The ring is lighter than I thought it would be, but still carries some weight to it. I haven't worn it out yet, but can't wait to!



I started writing up this post this morning before I headed to school. And after writing my midterm, wouldn't you know it, I ended up inside BCBG on my way home! I saw this beautiful pave leaf cuff and had to pick it up. So happy that its mine :)

Anyone else obsessed with jewelry lately?

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February 29th happens once every 4 years - and it happens to be the last day to enter my appreciation giveaway! I will be announcing the winner within the next two days :)

Manicure Monday

Manicure Mondays: Gouda Gouda Two Shoes

February 27, 2012

Hope you all had a great weekend! Edmonton got a huge dump of snow from Friday to Sunday - 20 cm (7.9 inches)!! And I got out of shovelling it haha. I don't know how many times I've talked about the crazy weather in my city on this blog.. but I will continue to complain about it's bipolar nature until the day I die. Seriously.

So today I'm sharing another polish I picked up from the OPI Holland collection: Gouda Gouda Two Shoes. How cute is the name?



Gouda Gouda Two Shoes is described by OPI as a "beautiful robust rose", but for me, this colour is a dirty peachy rose. The base is packed with gold shimmer, and shines beautifully when seen under the sun. The base is still warm enough for it to be a nice spring shade - any darker and I would have considered it more as a fall shade.



The formula on this polish was perfect. Smooth, streak free, and opaque with just two coats. This polish wore chip free on my nails for five days, surviving through dish washing and lots of cooking!



Now, if you'll excuse me, the snow on my driveway is calling for me to shovel it. Sigh!

PS - if you haven't done so yet, enter my appreciation giveaway! You have two days left to do so!

Edmonton food

Rice Paper

February 25, 2012

A little while back, I had a craving to check out a pho place near my house - which unfortunately closed down! I quickly chose another option and headed out to the West end of the city to discover what type of restaurant claimed to have fine Vietnamese cuisine.

Rice Paper Vietnamese Fine Cuisine - 10080 178 Street NW - Edmonton AB

On our way to the restaurant, it started to rain! In the middle of winter.. thanks to Global Warming. But when we arrived, we were relieved to find a relatively large parking lot, with most spots located close to the restaurant entrance. My friends and I ran from the car, slipping and sliding our way to the front door.

The interior of the restaurant is bright and clean, with most of the decor being brown or black. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a nice, modern environment to dine in.



After being seated, we were greeted with a menu featuring many items. From soup noodles, to rice, to salad, there was plenty of variety and lots to choose from. What stood out to me though, was the lack in the number of available pho options - there were five to be exact, and all of which were apparently featuring a dish from a different region of Vietnam.



To start off our night, we ordered a dish recommended to us by the server - the Rice Paper Special. The dish was basically a do it yourself (DIY) salad roll, featuring different grilled meats.



The ingredients were served up on a bamboo woven dish, and contained grilled chicken, pork, beef, and shrimp along with green onions, grilled onion, carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, vermicelli and lettuce leaves. We were also provided with six sheets of rice paper, fish sauce, and a plate of water to dip the sheets in to soften them up.

Now, don't get me wrong. The salad rolls we made for ourselves were delicious. The only problem is that I would much rather have had the rolls pre-made for me. The table was small and cluttered with cups, cutlery and plates, and the whole process of making and eating the salad rolls was so messy that I was frustrated. I've made these rolls many times before in my kitchen, and have never had any problems, but to sit down and make them, and eat them right away is downright difficult considering the amount of space you have to do so. While we were still constructing and eating the rolls, our entrees arrived, making it a gong show to try to fit everything on the table without having it spill or fall off in the process. If the kitchen had timed things right, it may have been better.


Vermicelli bowl with grilled chicken


After having our large platter removed from the table, it was much more comfortable for us to continue on with the meal. Since the entrees arrived at our table quite early, most of our food had reasonably cooled down.



I ordered the Northern Vietnamese Soup - probably the item I would be most familiar with, but I found it odd for the restaurant to mix chicken & beef together. The soup base in this dish was excellent - reminded me of my favourite at Basil Leaf. The chicken was tender and delicious, and the beef balls had a nice elasticity in each bite, but the beef was a different story. I found my beef to be tough and hard to eat, so I left it untouched.

My other friends ordered the Central and Southern Vietnamese Soups, which they said were pretty good. The portions at this particular restaurant are quite generous, and enough to fill you up. Presentation of the food is great as well, and I quite liked the way the Rice Paper Special was brought out to the table. However, one thing to consider would be the factor of price. The noodle soups themselves are priced from $9.99 to $11.99, which is considerably more expensive than many of the Vietnamese restaurants in the city (I would say a typical bowl of pho is about $7.50 - $8.00 right now..). Perhaps it is attributed to the idea that they are a fine cuisine restaurant..

One great thing to know about them though, is that many of their offerings are gluten free. :)

Rice Paper Vietnamese Fine Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Edmonton food

Filistix Pop Up!

February 23, 2012

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Filistix's first pop up. What's a pop up, you may ask? When associated with the culinary world, it can be a kitchen takeover by a different chef for the night, a temporary restaurant that exists solely for a night, or a temporary dining space where food is served in an unconventional place. They've become increasingly popular in metropolitan areas, and a few have actually taken place in Edmonton as of late. The pop up event took place downtown at The Common - an environment usually occupied by DJ's, mixing beats for partiers throughout the night.


Our seating was at 6 pm, with a booth reserved for Vince & I. The menu consisted of five different preset dishes, all Filipino with the siganture Filistix twist. I love trying out the unexpected.


If you follow me via Twitter/Instagram, you've probably seen the pictures of the amazing food already. But in enlarged form, they look so much more delicious, right?


Lumpia Pembina Pork spring rolls with a mango and jicama salad



Kare-Kare Braised Spring Creek Ranch Beef brisket in a rich peanut sauce



Adobong Liempo Pembina Pork belly adobo



Pancit Canton fried noodles with roasted chicken & shrimp



Leche Flan Creme Caramel


Out of all the dishes, I'd have to say the pork belly adobo was my favourite. So yummy with the added lime! The crew behind Filistix (Ariel, Roel, Kevin & Lauren) did a wonderful job for the night! Everything ran smoothly, and couldn't have been better in terms of having great food & company! Thank you, and hope to do this again with you in the future!

Glymm

January Boxes: Glymm vs. Loose Button

February 22, 2012

My apologies for this super late review! Due to midterms, and the delay in shipment of January boxes, I finally have put together this post for you.

After receiving my first Glymm box back in December, I was interested in checking out other companies within Canada that offer the same type of cosmetic and skincare sampling services. Aside from Glymm (First box review here), Loose Button offers their Luxe Box program to Canadians, offering 4-5 deluxe samples each month for the price of $12, compared to the $10 subscription fee to Glymm. For the month of January, Loose Button was kind enough to send me the box for review.

What should be noted, however, is that Loose Button did have a set back in the shipping of boxes for the month of January, due to a delay in shipment from one of their partner brands. As a result, their shipment was delayed, so they sent an extra goodie box this month as an apology, in addition to upgrading to expedited shipping free of charge.

Now, let's get on with the review!

PACKAGING




As per usual, the Glymm box arrived in its sturdy pink box with a removable lid. The items on the interior were wrapped nicely with a ribbon, and cards describing the contents of the box. All the items inside arrived safely, sitting snug atop of shopping confetti.





The package sent out by Loose Button was a pleasant surprise to open! The box was personalized with my name printed on a card, and all items were wrapped with tissue, secured with a personalized sticker. The box also came with cards describing the products and where to purchase them. The opening of the box was lackluster for me when compared with the elegant ribbon packaging of the Glymm box, but the personalization was definitely a nice touch! All the items also arrived safely, sitting atop packaging confetti. What's different about the box though, is that it is a pull out style versus the removable top of the Glymm box. After you use up the samples inside, both boxes are great to her around the house to store things!



PRODUCTS




For this month, the products in the Glymm box were: Kaia Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths, Anastasia Brow Gel, a Cargo Eye Pencil, Burt's Bees lotion, and Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. Of the products, one was full size (Eye Pencil), which has a normal value of $16, making this month's box worth the $10 subscription price.



In the Luxe Box, I was sent: a sample of Seattle's Best Coffee, Moroccan Oil, Benefit Moisture Prep, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Body Cleansing Lotion, and Purminerals Powder. For $12, I would say the samples this month were quite worthwhile, as I can see myself using them often. There's nothing that bothers me more, than receiving tons of perfume samples that I know I will never use!

In the extra box was a sample of the new Schick Hydro Silk Razor & Fekkai Advanced shampoo & conditioner. Yes, definitely worth the $12.

SHIPPING


For as long as I've been subscribed to the Glymm box service, each box has been sent out via Canada Post expedited shipping. I usually receive my box within 2-3 days from Quebec, which is within the delivery standards. I am currently unsure of the shipping method utilized by Loose Button, but I'm assuming it is not expedited, as they automatically upgraded shipping for all boxes this month since they were behind schedule. Either way, shipping for each service is "free" and included within the quoted subscription price.

PRODUCT AVAILABILITY


For Glymm, each month they try their best to send out the same products to each and every customer, so as to maintain constancy in all their boxes. Loose Button, on the other hand, tends to send out different products to each individual, catering to their beauty profile created when signing up for their services. Thus far, I have not received any repeat products, but I have read that some Loose Button subscribers have received the same samples more than once. Personally, I would want to receive different products each month, so as to have the chance to try out a variety of brands. But when you think about it, each company can only collaborate with so many brands, and convince those brands to bring about different products for their customers to sample. It may be quite difficult to secure different products every month, and not have something repeated once within a year.

All the products sent out in Glymm boxes are available for purchase on their website - an easy one stop shop for all your needs. In comparison, Loose Button does not currently have an online store, but each box sent out contains the information about where to get the full size versions of the samples if you so desire!

PRICING & REWARDS


As stated above, Glymm boxes are $10/month, while Luxe Boxes are $12/month. Both are very affordable options, and each subscription is renewed automatically until you request to cancel. Members of each service can also be rewarded! Glymm features a points system, in which points collected can be used towards the purchase of products. Points can be earned through product purchases, referrals, product reviews and subscriptions. The program at Loose Button is a little different, where the referral of three friends gets you a free box.

CUSTOMER SERVICE


From experience, I can say that that customer experience at both companies is excellent. Their representatives work hard to reply to each email, and answer any concerns that customers may have. Each company can be found via email, or through Facebook and Twitter, giving customers access to representatives through a variety of methods.

OVERALL


All in all, I would have to say that both companies are excellent choices for sampling different products in the makeup and skincare field. However, in order to choose and stick with one subscription service, you should definitely take into account the aspect of personalization. For me, I find that the $2 price difference can be accounted for in the way that Loose Button caters to their clients. It takes a significant amount of manpower to personalize each box (lots of printing and organization of the cards & stickers!), and put together products that target the needs expressed in the beauty profile.

If you like to purchase items and be rewarded for doing so (like me, being a hoarder of points!), I would recommend Glymm. They try to provide a wide range of products to test out each month, for anyone looking to just try something different. Loose Button, on the other hand, would be a better option for anyone looking for products to target a specific concern. But of course, it would be good to check out their featured brands ahead of time, to see if they even interest you at all.

TO JOIN


Both services are easy to join! Here's my personal invite link to Glymm. For Loose Button, they currently are sold out of subscriptions, so you can sign up for the waitlist here.

Are any of you subscribed to these services right now? Let me know!

*this post contains a sample provided by PR for consideration of a review

PS - if you haven't done so yet, enter my appreciation giveaway!

Manicure Monday

Manicure Monday: OPI Holland Collection w/ Pedal Faster Suzi!

February 20, 2012

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! It's family day today where I am, and I've taken the weekend off to head out of town to wander about in Calgary and eat lots of glorious food!

If you follow my updates on Twitter, you'll know I picked up a few shades from the new OPI Holland collection for Spring '12. I must say, there is a wide range of colours from the collection, but I usually lean more towards the brighter colours than the dark.


I picked up: Dutch Ya Just Love OPI?, Pedal Faster Suzi!, Red Lights Ahead... Where?,
Gouda Gouda Two Shoes and Did You 'Ear About Van Gogh?


In the theme of Valentine's Day, I painted my nails using Pedal Faster Suzi! with an accent colour on my ring fingers of Excuse Moi! from the Muppets Collection.



Pedal Faster Suzi! is a light pink shade, packed with silver shimmer. At different angles, I seem to see some colour, but that just might be something reflecting off of it. Either way, it's such a gorgeous pink shade for spring!



The formula on this one was great - easy application, and surprisingly it was a lot more opaque than I had imagined! Due to the light colour, I thought it would be a sheer polish requiring many layers to reach opacity. But nope! Two coats and the colour was perfect!



My only issue with this shade is that it didn't have the best wear time. I was able to see minor chips and tip wear within two days - I normally get a good 4-5 days before seeing anything, so this is quite unfortunate. Hopefully the others I picked out from this collection behave nicely for me!

outfit

Spring is Around the Corner

February 17, 2012

Edmonton's weather has been such a tease lately! It was pretty cold last week, but now that the sun is out a little longer each day, it feels like it's slowly warming up! The temperatures are usually above zero in the afternoon, and that's what I dress for.. the warmth that I long for! So unfortunately, when I head out of my house in the morning, I'm perpetually shaking from head to toe until my car warms up, or until I get into a warm building. Oh the things I do.

It's been a while since I've done a real outfit post - here's something I wore last week to keep myself warm! I'm really loving stripes lately..


Shirt: H&M (current) | Vest: H&M | Bottoms: F21 | Heels: bought in Asia
Clutch & Watch: Coach | Ring: BCBG








Next week is reading week for me! It's intended to be a week off for university students to read and catch up on lectures.. but.. that's not really what I will be doing. I'm going to relax! And maybe study a bit for my midterms the week after. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

PS - if you haven't done so yet, enter my appreciation giveaway!

Chinese

Emperor's Palace

February 15, 2012

About a month back, my family and I headed out to Emperor's Palace for dinner. I've heard mixed reviews about the restaurant here and there, especially when it first opened. Some say it's good, some say it's bad, some say the dimsum is terrible.. etc. I personally hadn't gone before, so I headed to the restaurant with an open mind.

Emperor's Palace Chinese Cuisine - 10638 100 Street - Edmonton AB

Emperor's Palace is located next door to my favourite place for pho - Basil Leaf. They have plenty of underground parking (which might I add is a pretty dreary area, it reminds me of the setting in the first Saw movie..), and the restaurant occupies a very large space. Upon entering, I was pretty surprised by the decor. The front area houses a golden throne..



They also have glamourous chandeliers and quite the impressive floor to ceiling glass wine case. Everything from the decor to the bathroom to the utensils has a classy touch.. but that shouldn't distract from the food!



As per usual, we ordered a set dinner.


Garlic Crab



Creamy Lobster



Stir Fried Green Beans



Beef Cubes



Garlic Pork Chops


The food itself was actually pretty good. The oil used for deep frying and cooking seemed to be fresh, and the dishes came out hot. Everything tasted right (although some saltier than others), so I don't have much to complain about. Nothing in the dishes quite stood out at me, so this is just another average Chinese restaurant. However, the service was up and down throughout the meal. At one point, we were out of water and tea, and it took forever to flag down a waiter.. next thing we know it, we were being bombarded by waiters, getting plates changed up and having them check in consistently.

The only thing that really stood out to me was the decor. Food and service are average, so don't expect to be blown away. Has anyone had a bad experience there?

Emperor's Palace Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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