Giveaway

March Luxe Box & a Giveaway

March 31, 2012

Happy Almost April Fool's Day! Anyone planning on playing a couple pranks tomorrow? :)

Today I have to share with you the March Luxe Box sent to me by Loose Button. A little late, yes, but better late than never!


As usual, the box was sent to me packaged beautifully and personalized.

For this month, the box was filled with: Fekkai Technician Color Care moisture mask, Fekkai Technician Color Care shampoo & conditioner, J. R. Watkins Hand & Body Lotion (Lavender), Prevage Advanced Anti-Aging Serum, and a China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Dance Baby. I don't colour my hair, but my mother does, so she quite happily grabbed the samples out of my hands after I opened my box! If anyone is interested, I can get her opinion on the product.


Other than the hair products, the rest of the items in the box will definitely be used by me. Separate reviews will be posted up for each item soon! I like that there wasn't anything shade specific in the box, and the value of the products in the box this month do exceed the $12 subscription price. Something unique for this month though, is that it is the 1 year anniversary for Loose Button! To celebrate, the greeting card included in each box is loaded with wildflower seeds that can be planted! So cute. For a glimpse of what it looks like, visit their blog here.

Alright, so instead of a trick on April Fools Day, I'm giving you a treat. Loose Button is giving one of my readers a chance to win the May edition of the Luxe Box!

TO ENTER

1. Be a follower of this blog via GFC - just as simple as that! This step is mandatory.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES

Follow this blog via Bloglovin' (+1)
Follow me on Twitter (@littlmissandrea)(+1)
Follow me on Instagram (@littlemissandrea)(+1)
Tweet about this Giveaway ("Enter @littlmissandrea's giveaway for a May @Loose_Button Luxe Box!")
Comment & let me know what beauty brand you would love to see in a box! (+1)

Please fill out the relevant fields in the Rafflecopter widget below - those are the only entries that will be counted. The giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ years of age. The winner will be chosen randomly on April 24th, 2012, and have until April 28th to claim his/her prize. Good luck!

Makeup

Sephora VIB Chic Week

March 28, 2012

It's that time of year again.. For the week of March 29 - April 6, Sephora is offering their VIB members 15% off their entire purchase. I seriously live for the 15% off, haha.

I've been really good lately though - I cleaned through most of my makeup over the past two days to find out what I need and what I really need to finish using! So, with the 15% discount, I'm going to be using it to buy *essentials* or back ups of things I love to use. Gonna spend wisely this time! Here's a little peek at some of the things I'm picking up:



I'm a huge fan of the Sephora Skincare range, so I wanted to try out two other items they have. The pantone collection they have right now is gorgeous too! I swatched the blushes in store the other day and they're extremely pigmented and flattering on the skin. And well.. I just love Benefit :)

If you're not part of the VIB program, find a friend who is! Their discount can be shared on March 29 only!

What are you guys planning to pick up?

dessert

Recipe: Homemade Plain Frozen Yogurt

March 28, 2012

It shouldn't come as a surprise to you if I say one of my all time favourite desserts is frozen yogurt! I always favour frozen yogurt over ice cream, and I love making stops by local self serve yogurt shops like Tutti Frutti or Twisted Yogurt.

But, when it isn't a stop along the way home, or if I'm too lazy to go out, I have a solution: make it at home! This past Christmas, one of my gifts was the ice cream maker attachment to my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I was ecstatic and so excited to try making some froyo! Don't have an ice cream maker sitting at home? No problem, you should be able to make frozen yogurt as long as you have a freezer and some patience.


TOOLS

KitchenAid Mixer, KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker, Bowl
Whisk, Measuring cups, Measuring spoons, Spatula


INGREDIENTS

2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 cups plain yogurt
3 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup berry sugar (superfine sugar)


RECIPE

Freeze the ice cream maker attachment 15 hours in advance.
Place all four ingredients into a bowl.
Whisk together ingredients until fully combined - place mixture into fridge for 5 - 10 minutes.
Assemble the ice cream maker and turn it on to the 'Spin' setting.
Pour in the mixture and allow to mix until desired consistency is reached.

Garnish with any toppings you like, and eat up!

If you want to make the yogurt without an ice cream maker, place the mixture in a freezer safe bowl (or pan), and put it in the freezer. Every 20 minutes or so, take the mixture out of the fridge to mix it around until you are satisfied with the final product.


The ice cream maker attachment is awesome! The frozen yogurt that comes out of it is the same consistency as that from local frozen yogurt shops, and tastes almost exactly identical. It just isn't beautifully swirled into the bowl :) For any leftover yogurt, it can be placed in a container and into the freezer, where it will freeze into a hard block. To reachieve the soft consistency, take the container out of the freezer and allow it to thaw for a minimum 30 minutes before mixing manually and eating it! Super simple, and good for you!

If you do choose to buy the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, just let me mention that the only part I dislike about it, is the mess that can be created when you pour the ice cream mixture in. The mix is poured in with the paddle attachment moving, giving the opportunity for the mix to go everywhere. This can be minimized by pouring the batter in with a bowl that has a spout or tip for pouring.

Froyo lovers, let me know if you try this!

This recipe is from the Food Network

China Glaze

Manicure Monday: Pelican Gray

March 26, 2012

Happy Monday! After the big dump of snow last week, the weather has started to warm up and now there are puddles everywhere.. I'm just glad its warm now, I want my Spring sunshine!

This week I have a colour from the China Glaze Anchor's Away Spring 2011 collection - this one is a beautiful dove gray called Pelican Gray.


For me, this shade is basically the perfect gray shade - not too blue, and not too green. It's such a perfect combination that looks great in the Spring and Summer months because it's not muddy or anything.


The colour itself is a gray creme, packed with silver microshimmer that you can really only see if you're looking under the sunlight, or if you look very closely. It just gives the polish an extra dimension that puts it above other gray cremes out there.




The formula for this polish is smooth, and quite easy to apply. The pictures show the colour at two coats, which is almost full opacity, as there is still some visible nail line under certain lighting. The polish wears beautifully for five days chip free! Love it!

Calgary food

An Indulgent Weekend, Part Three: CHARCUT Roast House

March 24, 2012

Before I start writing up this post, I just need to mention that IT SNOWED A LOT YESTERDAY. Just when I told myself I was ready for Spring, and prepared to break out the colourful jeans, the sky threw billions of snowflakes from the sky all over our city. I, being the smartest girl alive, thought that the snow wouldn't be so bad, and would melt upon touching the ground. Wrong, wrong, totally wrong. I trudged through the deep snow in flats, and vowed to never do it again. My feet are still cold, haha.

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After picking up our pastries, we made a quick detour to Chinook Mall before heading to our hotel to digest our lunch and the numerous pastries we ate. I needed space in my stomach to prepare for an indulgent dinner.

CHARCUT Roast House - 101, 899 Centre Street SW - Calgary AB

When I was younger, I went through this phase where I was unhealthily obsessed with watching Iron Chef. Seriously. Listening to Chairman Kaga shout "Allez Cuisine!" just never got old. That obsession went on to Iron Chef America, then made its way over to Top Chef. Top Chef Canada premiered last April, which is where I first learned of CHARCUT and Chef Connie DeSousa. Watching her throughout the season was so much fun, and I vowed to visit CHARCUT sometime to check out the delicious food!

Some people may think that CHARCUT is overhyped, just because one of their chefs was featured on a TV show. But let me get this out now - this restaurant deserves the attention, and has worked hard to earn its place as one of the most talked about restaurants in the Calgary area. Connie, with her co-chef John Jackson are both very talented chefs, leading the way in Calgary's culinary scene. They consistently advocate for local food, and serve familiar dishes with their own unique twist. Named as one of Canada's top 10 restaurants in 2010, what did I not have to look forward to?

There was one thing. Driving in downtown Calgary. I absolutely loathe driving along all the one way streets and I get frustrated every time. 'Nuff said.


CHARCUT is located together with Hotel Le Germain, and is quite easy to find. There are a couple parkades in the area, making parking relatively easy, considering that it is located in the downtown core by the Calgary Tower. When we arrived for our 6:30 reservation, we were greeted by a nearly full restaurant, and immediately brought to our seats by the friendly host. Our table allowed us to have a great view of the restaurant, and for us to keep an eye on the hustle and bustle in the kitchen.


While the menu changes regularly, there are certain dishes that seem to be permanent residents that are extremely popular. After a quick introduction from our server, we decided on ordering an appetizer, the charcuterie board, and an entree to share.


Warm raclette cheese with brioche & pig head mortadella served with Brassica mustard

While we were waiting, the server brought a surprise gift from the kitchen to our table! And definitely a gift I would never refuse - thank you again Connie & John! If you ever make it down to CHARCUT, this dish is delicious and to die for! The mild, melted raclette paired with the soft brioche is a delicious way to start off the meal. But if you add in the pigs head mortadella - hand mixed pork, studded with pistachios and truffles - for another element of flavour, you really cannot go wrong with this dish. Thinking about this dish has got me salivating right now.


Arugula & Tuna Conserva ($16)

The main reason I ordered the poached tuna dish was because it was a dish Connie put together on Top Chef Canada. Ridiculous, I know, but I don't regret it! I'm not usually a fan of fish, but the tuna had a nice sour, tangy flavour from lemon and herbs that I absolutely loved. At the bottom of the jar were pickled potatoes that tasted great on their own, or together with the tuna, placed on top of the crostini. The side salad of arugula, and celery was fresh, and nice to offset the flavour from the tuna.


CHARCUT Board, chef's selection ($36)

The next to arrive at our table was the charcuterie board - the table beside us gasped in horror, whispering "holy crap that's a lot of food". So funny, but I was determined to finish it all. From top right going clockwise, we had: the hot Sicilian pork sausage skillet w/ jalapeno, spicy Winter's organic turkey tasso - Cajun spiced and double smoked turkey legs, Lonzino - Italian style bar snacks made with strips of pork loin flavoured with fennel pollen, orange & black pepper, Portuguese Linguica w/ shaved Gruyere cheese - dry aged and flavoured with paprika, Piri Piri & garlic, and another preserved fish pate w/ crostini (I believe it was salmon rilettes? Correct me if I'm wrong!). CHARCUT's strengths are found in the house made charcuterie items, and this board really did not disappoint. The only issue I had was with the Linguica - it was quite salty for me, so I wished there was a little more cheese to pair it with. Out of all five, the Lonzino was my favourite! MMmm.


Spring Creek Butcher Steak ($24) with Duck Fat Fried Poutine ($8)

Unfortunately, we admitted defeat to the board - mostly because we felt it would be a better option for us to finish our entree at the restaurant. To share, we had chosen the butcher steak (aptly named after the cut that butchers often reserve for themselves), garnished with arugula, chimichurri and fried matchstick potatoes. The side of duck fat fried poutine (w/ cheese curds & truffle gravy) was gluttony at a whole new level for me. The steak was cooked perfectly, tender and juicy, and it was nice to have the different textures of the potatoes and arugula mixed in there. I wasn't quite sure how I would feel about the poutine, but with the first bite, I was hit by the taste of truffles, the exotic taste associated with game meat, and the melted cheese curds. So. Good.

At the end of our meal, we sat back with full bellies, ready to roll back to the hotel. I wish I had the room to check out dessert, but I guess that will have to wait til next time. All in all, the food was fantastic! Our server was very attentive that night, and he hospitality at CHARCUT is wonderful. Thank you so much for the wonderful experience! Can't wait to be back.

CHARCUT Roast House on Urbanspoon

Canadian

GlossyBox Comes to Canada!

March 20, 2012

A couple weeks ago, it came to my attention that another beauty box was being made available in Canada. Glossybox was founded in Germany and has been available within Europe for quite some time now, and they've now moved into the Canadian market! Just a couple notes that their public relations team sent to me:


Founded in Germany, GLOSSYBOX is a monthly subscription beauty service that is revolutionizing beauty regimes across the world. Each month members receive five luxury cosmetics wrapped in the company’s signature powder-pink box. GLOSSYBOX provides its clients with new beauty trends and products and a fashionable way to store their ever-growing beauty collection. After great success in eight countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy, GLOSSYBOX is expanding into another twenty countries in 2012.

Global success story, GLOSSYBOX, is making its Canadian debut. Every month members will enjoy a sophisticated 5-item luxury box packed with a selection of beauty miniatures from boutique, medical and high-end collections, as well as those tried-tested-and-true favourite beauty brands. To keep the experience truly exciting, a wildcard surprise item could show up in the box at any time. The GLOSSYBOX goal is to share insider know-how and save consumers from
tough and costly decisions by sending the best cosmetic and beauty products right to the members’ door for only $15 a month. GLOSSYBOX invites members online to create a personal beauty profile. This ensures that the items in the box will be tailored to the individual’s needs or an introduction to new trends, and quality cosmetic and beauty products.

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The company was kind enough to send me the first edition of their Glossybox for the month of February, and I was quite impressed with what I found.


The box was shipped to me in a sturdy box, decorated with the symbolic Glossybox crown. Opening it up, there was the pale pink box sitting perfectly. The box itself is very sturdy, and I love that it is decorated with just one small, simple logo. Because it isn't loudly decorated with the company name, I can easily use it to hold my trinkets from around the house.


Similarly to the other boxes like Glymm and Loose Button, the products inside are cushioned by paper confetti pieces, wrapped in tissue and wrapped with a beautiful bow. Lots of care and attention is put into the presentation, making it all the more fun to open.



In the box this month was: Ahava Mineral Hand Cream, Elizabeth Grant Skin Care Moisturizing Stick, Essie lacquer in Neo Whimsical, Oscar de la Renta Live in Love body lotion, Elizabeth Arden Prevage Night Cream, and Beauty So Clean Sanitizing Mist & Wipes. First of all, let me just say the value of the products in the box this month well exceeds the $15 subscription price. What I love is that all the products in the box are not shade specific (according to skin tones), and I'll be able to try everything out. The brands offered by Glossybox are mostly different from those supplied in other boxes, and it feels like their products are received from higher end companies. What I'm most excited to try out is the Beauty So Clean products - perfect for my upcoming trip this summer!

Like other companies, the box contains little notes about the products, application tips, and even little sticker labels that you can use on different boxes. Currently, Glossybox does not sell the full sizes of the sample items you receive, but the website contains pricing and purchase information if you love the product and want to purchase it. It seems that the boxes are sent out expedited via Canada Post, which includes tracking information so you can estimate when to receive your box each month - I love when prices include shipping.

Now what good is a company if you don't get rewarded? Glossybox has a great reward system for subscribers! After trying out a product, leaving a review gets you 20 GLOSSYdots, and accumulation up to 1000 gives you a free box! If you refer a friend to the program, you gain 200 points. Definitely better than nothing!

So what are you waiting for? With a $15/month subscription fee, the subscription is automatically renewed each month, but can be cancelled at any time, free of charge. I will put this out there right now: I have ended my subscription with Glymm and am planning on picking out a new subscription service - so far, Glossybox is looking pretty good in my books. Sign up here with my personal referral link. **UPDATE** Readers of this blog can enter the code GLOSSY24 to receive 10% off your first box!


I will be doing individual reviews for each product - coming soon!

GLOSSYBOX also provides the latest information and the best in beauty tips and tricks from around the world on:
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and the GLOSSYTHOUGHTS blog


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

Manicure Monday

Manicure Monday: Did You 'ear About Van Gogh?

March 19, 2012

It's Monday!! Hope you all had a great weekend and that the start of your week is equally as great. I've almost recovered from the cold I contracted last weekend so I'm pretty happy about that. Today I have to share with you the last shade I picked up from the OPI Holland collection, and it's got the cutest name: Did You 'ear About Van Gogh?



Vincent Van Gogh, such a silly man. If you don't know the story, apparently he cut off his left ear and gifted it to a prostitute! He staggered home and lay unconscious in his blood.. That is one gift I will never understand. I wouldn't want to receive a bloody ear, haha. Anyways!



Did You 'ear About Van Gogh is a beautiful neutral creme polish - I would describe it as a light greyed taupe. It's a nice mix of grey and beige, with a bit of a green undertone and perfect for the transition into Spring.



The polish applied like a dream on my nails and was fully opaque after two coats. The colour wore chip free for 4-5 days with minimal tip wear too! I can definitely see myself wearing this shade through the summer months as well since it's quite light in colour :)

outfit

Red Riding Hood

March 16, 2012

I don't know about you, but seeing all the spring trends popping up everywhere is making me a little upset that it's still cold where I live. I'm sick & tired of Jack Frost, so this is the last winter outfit I'll be posting for this season :) Spring, I'm coming for you!






Jacket: TNA(Aritzia) | Top: H&M | Tights: F21 | Necklace: H&M
Ring: Tony Duquette x Coach | Booties: Costa Blanca

Vince bought me this particular jacket for my birthday last year, and I call it my red riding hood jacket for a good reason. I was pretty surprised he bought it cause I only ever mentioned it once to him - good memory on his part! What drew me to it was mostly the shade of red - vibrant but not too bright either. It's relatively warm but not enough for those -20 degree days.. its okay though, the big hood makes up for it :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

bakery

An Indulgent Weekend, Part Two: The Pastries

March 14, 2012

So after our yummy lunch of pho, Vince and I went in search of two independent bakeries that I had planned to visit. Carmen recommended both Jelly Modern Doughnuts and Yann Haute Patisserie to me, but to be honest, I was most excited to visit Jelly! The reason being that everytime I used to visit Calgary, it was mandatory to stop at Krispy Kreme! Their Original Glazed donut is such a treat, and I would always get one dozen to take home, and easily eat 4 or 5 of them all by myself. About two years ago, Krispy Kreme shut down, and the spot for donuts in my stomach has forever been left unsatisfied.

Jelly Modern Doughnuts - #100 1414 8 Street NW - Calgary AB


Jelly Modern Doughnuts is located conveniently in downtown Calgary, and to our biggest surprise - across the street from the hotel we were staying at! If it weren't for them closing for the long weekend Monday, I probably would've had a very sweet breakfast.


The moment I walked into the bakery, the aroma of delicious, fried dough reached my nose - familiar to the scent of Krispy Kreme, but not as sweet. At the other end of the bakery is a cute little seating area - I could imagine myself enjoying a donut and getting some work done, if only the tables were taller!

Enough of the shop, onto the goods.. in which the pictures will speak for themselves.














They cater to younger children too!

Don't they all just look amazing? Their donuts (with exception to the cake donuts) are available in snack or regular size - snack is perfect if you're looking to try a variety. The donuts were fresh and not too sweet. I loved the soft dough, which wasn't too airy or dense, giving it the perfect texture. If I had to choose, my favourites would be the maple bacon and s'mores flavour. I really want to try the salted caramel the next time I'm there!

Something that I really love about this establishment though, is that they use and support local products, and try to give back to the community as much as they can. Accordingly, everything is made fresh on site each day - they don't even have a freezer on the premises! At the end of each day, any leftover baked goods are given to a local organization. Each month they promote a different charitable organization as well. Although the donuts are quite delicious, I still have to say Krispy Kreme has my heart. Next time I'm in Calgary though, you'll find me here. Love the Food Network? Jelly Modern will be appearing on the show 'You Gotta Eat Here!' on May 18th, 2012.

Yann Haute Patisserie - 329 23 Avenue SW - Calgary AB

After spending a chunk of our day drooling over donuts, the next stop was at Yann Haute Patisserie. Located about five minutes from Jelly Modern Doughnuts, this bakery was situated inside a bright yellow house.


Opening the door to get inside, there was a long line of about 7 people ahead of us. And as we waited, the line moved ahead of us, but also grew behind where we were. Overhearing the conversations, many of the people were loyal patrons, whom told me this bakery consistently produces high quality baked goods. I was extremely excited.


The decor on the inside is simple, clean, and elegant. I loved the red & white! Bold, but classy.. and maybe a little romantic in the spirit of the recent Valentine's Day that passed.


The main reason for my visit to Yann's was for their macarons. I was expecting macarons with similar flavours and sizes to those at Duchess, but I was blown away by their offerings.




Flavours for the day: salted caramel, lavender creme, coconut & chocolate, raspberry & chocolate, hazelnut, mint chocolate, orange blossom, milk chocolate & lime, PB&J, Irish coffee, lemon & pistachio

In addition to their unique flavours, the size of the macarons is about triple that of those offered by duchess. We ended up buying one of each flavour, and I must say that my favourites were salted caramel, coconut & chocoate, raspberry & chocolate and pistachio. The shells were soft with a light chew to them - I could eat quite a few without even noticing it.


Yann's is a place I wouldn't think twice about returning to - their offerings are decadent and perfect to satisfy that macaron craving! Delicious, and highly recommended. :)

Jelly Modern Doughnuts on Urbanspoon Yann Haute Patisserie on Urbanspoon

This post is a continuation to my mini trip to Calgary over the weekend. Read part one here if you missed it!

nails

Manicure Monday: Dutch Ya Just Love OPI?

March 12, 2012

This past weekend in Edmonton was beautiful! Temperatures in the 5-10 deg. Celsius range made it feel like summer. And some people did take advantage by wearing shorts! I think it's a little too early for that, but it was nice to wear a skirt with tights and not feel cold!

This week I have another beautiful colour from the OPI Holland collection to share: Dutch Ya Just Love OPI? Such a cute name!


I think this colour is my favourite from the Holland collection! At first I thought it would just be another creme polish, until I saw that the bottle flashed a beautiful shade of gold.


The deep eggplant purple base is packed with gold microshimmer that shines brilliantly when under sunlight. Holy moly I almost blinded myself looking at my fingers while I was driving! Beautiful. Just don't make the same mistake as I did if you pick up this colour! I took two pictures under different lighting, hoping to show you the gold glitter hiding in the purple :)


The polish was quite sheer when I applied the first thin layer, which I found odd considering it is a darker colour. However, once I painted a second, slightly thicker layer, I had instant opacity and stopped there. The polish wore beautifully for six days with minimal tip wear on my left hand. My dominant hand.. was another story. I had a couple chips after just three days of wear. I'll live with it though, this colour is gorgeous.

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