April 26, 2017

Spring Skincare Refresh

The cherry blossoms are officially blooming which means Spring is finally in the air... and it also means a little change-up to my regular skincare routine. I've received a few new products over the past few months to try out and they've made some quick and easy additions to my "pamper time."

I have previously raved about the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules and the company recently introduced an Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask. The packaging is quite unique; the mask pads are separated from the serum and you press down to break the seal and infuse the dry pads. It's kind of a luxe treatment at $14 CAD/pack but what a treat! Plus, you can refrigerate the pack beforehand for some extra refreshment.

In keeping with the treatment theme, face masks continue to be my favourite. Earth Kiss is the organic line from Montagne Jeunesse (which I've reviewed before)  of cruelty-free and 100% natural mud masks infused with Himalayan Shilajit, a rare form of powerful mineralized organic matter. The masks are also super cheap -- only $2.99 CAD/pack. For something more unconventional (and more expensive), there is Bliss Mask A-'Peel'. These cost $15 CAD for a one time use but I'll admit it is kind of a fun concept for an at-home facial. You add water to the powder mixture, stir it up with the enclosed spatula, and apply the thick paste to your face. Once on the skin, it dries to a rubberized texture which you then peel off after 15 minutes.

Lastly, I've been experimenting with EcoTools Polishing Facial Cloths ($10.99 CAD). I have never been a wash cloth kind of girl (I just use my hands to apply cleanser and wash my face), but these muslin cloths are a nice way to really clean your skin and remove all traces of makeup without feeling too harsh.

April 20, 2017

Mugler Angel Eau Sucrée

For 2017, Thierry Mugler has re-launched its Angel Eau Sucrée fragrance -- an even sweeter and fruitier version of the iconic Angel (which I've previously posted about here).

Eau Sucrée leans heavily into the "candy" realm with notes of red fruit sorbet, caramelized meringue, patchouli, and vanilla. I happen to love gourmand fragrances best so I really like this, but others might find this way too sweet and almost cloying. Even if that is the case, because it's an EDT, it is much lighter and dries. While that might be viewed as a negative, I actually think that makes Eau Sucrée a great option for Summer since I have always viewed Angel as more of a Fall/Winter scent.

Available only in a 50 mL non-refillable version for $82 CAD, the star-shaped bottle is a darker pearlescent blue than Angel and feels quite large in my hand. I have the 25 mL version of Angel so this is double the size!

Eau Sucrée is limited edition and is available at Hudson's Bay, Sephora, Nordstrom, Shoppers Drug Mart, Jean Coutu, and Murale.

April 17, 2017

Burberry Kisses in Pink Peony (No. 37) and Lip Velvet in Magenta Pink (No. 419)

I am a huge fan of Burberry Beauty (see previous posts here, here, and here) and believe their lip products, in particular, are the perfect marriage between quality and luxury. There is something about these square tubes with their clicky magnetic lids that just feels so expensive... and for $38 CAD, I guess they kind of are!

Burberry's lipsticks come in two main formulations: Kisses and Lip Velvet. Burberry Kisses are more hydrating with a shiny satin finish while the Lip Velvet is, as the name implies, a demi-matte. Both feel pretty weightless when worn.

I received two new shades from PR for Valentine's Day this year and wanted to make sure I got these swatches up because they are seriously beautiful and if you're looking to splurge on a little makeup treat, these might fit the bill.

For a really sweet, wearable, and shiny pink, I am loving Burberry Kisses in Pink Peony No. 37. In this swatch, I'm wearing two swipes for a more pigmented coverage (the formula is buildable). Seriously, so pretty.

Above, I'm wearing Burberry Lip Velvet in Magenta Pink No. 419. I was surprised at how much I liked this colour since hot pink is not really my thing, especially for makeup. I think the combination of the matte finish with the bright colour was really what won me over. Plus, this formula felt a lot more comfortable and less drying than the other Lip Velvet I own for some reason.

April 13, 2017

My Fresh Prep Experience

Meal prep delivery services have been around for a while in the United States (at least that's what it seemed like thanks to the ads on literally every podcast I listen to) but, as far as I know, they're a relatively new service here in Canada... and in Vancouver, more specifically. I've always wanted to try one so I obviously jumped at the opportunity to when I was contacted by local business, Fresh Prep.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that my Sunday Instagram stories are usually full of my meal prep process for the week. It's something that I do because I prefer to bring my own lunches to work and it also means I can control the food that I'm eating. I was curious to see how Fresh Prep would stack up and now that I've tested it out, I'm ready to share some thoughts.

You're given the opportunity to select your meals for the upcoming week (as long as you do so by 11:50 p.m. on Saturday), and they are delivered to your door during a specified delivery window on a day of your choosing. I got a text message when the driver was on his way with an estimated arrival time, and I definitely appreciated the heads-up. The meals come packed in paper bags and are placed in a large cooler bag so that nothing goes bad.

Inside each paper bag you get an easy-to-follow instruction sheet and all the ingredients you need to make a full meal for either 2 or 4 people depending on your subscription.  Everything comes washed, chopped, and ready to be mixed together. Even with seasonings like sugar or spices, they are perfectly portioned out so you use exactly what you get and nothing is wasted. Prepping vegetables and sauces can be incredibly time-consuming and it's amazing how, by skipping that step in the process, cooking goes so much faster.

The first meal that I made was Miso Glazed Salmon with Seasoned Sticky Rice and Bok Choy (pictured above). I loved the miso glaze and the recipe was very easy to follow and make. Plus, when I plated it, it turned out really fancy-looking. 

The second meal that I made was Hearty Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Bacon. I really like making stews but they often take a long time in the slow cooker or Dutch oven so I was curious how this would come together with only a 30 minute cooking time (all of Fresh Prep's meals can be made in 30 minutes or less). Unfortunately this one really was not to my taste. The bacon and beef was a weird combo. However, I will say that the stew tasted better the next day when I had the leftovers for lunch. Maybe it just needed to marinate more...

Overall, I was impressed with the service although it's not something that I personally would use regularly. I happen to actually like my dedicated meal prep days and enjoy coming up with my own healthy recipes of the week.

If I was a different person, however, I can see a service like this being very useful considering how limited my time is when I come home from a long day at work and I just want to eat something. The temptation for many in this situation would be to grab some takeout but with Fresh Prep, it takes almost the same amount of time you'd be waiting for a delivery and you know exactly what's going into your meal. Plus, for those who don't really know how to cook, it can be a great way to learn some new recipes and get more interested in the cooking process. Or, alternatively, a fun and easy date idea where you whip up something yummy for your significant other without forcing them to wait around watching you wash and chop veggies for 20 minutes. Honestly, the possibilities are endless!

April 7, 2017

Kauai Vacay

A month ago I was relaxing by the pool in sunny Kauai... MAJOR SIGH... and while it feels like much more time has passed than that, I did at least finally manage to get my act together for a recap post.

Unlike my usual vacations where I tend to fill my itinerary up, I was really in need of some full-on R&R so we didn't actually do too many "activities" on this trip. In fact, we really revelled in the fact that we could go to the gym almost everyday, swim and hot tub, read magazines, and take things totally at our leisure. I loved the slower pace of Kauai which, while being about the same size as Maui, has a much lower population.

Driving around the island is also reasonable, so we made sure to visit beaches all along the coast from Nawiliwili in the south to Anini Beach and Haena Beach Park in the north.

Of course, that's not to say that we didn't do anything. We managed to attend a luau which has always been at the top of my Hawaii bucket list. The Luau Kalamaku takes place at the Kilohana Sugar Plantation and was fun night of entertainment, drinks, and food. We had actually stopped by the plantation a few days earlier for some rum tasting at the Koloa Rum Company -- super yummy!

With the island's history of sugar/sugarcane, we made sure to book a mountain tubing adventure. It took us through the historic irrigation system of the former Lihue Plantation, meaning we were tubing past all sorts of beautiful scenery and through dark tunnels. 

Please note: this is the only time you will ever catch me in a pair of Crocs!

We had also gotten a GoPro Hero 5 Session right before our trip, which has voice command, so I felt super fancy saying "GoPro, start recording" and having it start filming. Even though I have no idea how to edit videos (evidenced here), I was able to put together this little highlight reel. 

Overall, however, my trip was way too short and I still have so many things I need to do in Kauai. For instance, there are tons of hikes that we were unable to do due to weather and lack of time. Clearly, I really just need to go back... and sooner rather than later!

April 3, 2017

Comme des Garçons PLAY Striped Shirt

Although this Comme des Garçons PLAY Striped Shirt has been on my radar for years, I only picked it up a few months ago. Since then, I've found myself reaching for it pretty frequently since it's such a classic piece (with a twist thanks to the cute heart appliqué). In fact, all of the items worn here are wardrobe staples of mine -- from the oversized sunglasses down to the slip-on shoes!

Shirt: Comme des Garçons PLAY (here) / Pants: Babaton (Aritzia)
Coat: Massimo Dutti / Shoes: Miu Miu (here)
Bag: Proenza Schouler (here) / Sunglasses: Quay Australia (blue lenses)

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