Sunday, September 14, 2014

peaches & roses

Last summer, I rediscovered an eyeshadow in my makeup drawer- Chanel's Ombre D'eau in #40 (Source), and it quickly became a new staple in my daily makeup routine as an inner corner highlight for my eyes. Thanks to the doe foot applicator, it's super easy to apply- no fuss or mess. When I'd first purchased it in 2012, I'd been going through a "I'm a big girl that can afford Chanel now, so I'm gonna splurge!!!!" phase, and the shadow had caught my eye since I'd never seen anything like it before (and truthfully, I loved the frosted glass container as well.) Till this year when I'd decided to go the route of Korean makeup in frequenting a more natural look, I'd always leaned more towards smoky browns and golds (which I realize now made me look more tired & older), so I'd never used the shadow solely on my lids. Unfortunately, by the time I realized how much I was obsessed with it....Chanel had already discontinued the fluid shadows




I spent months searching for a dupe to no avail- till I watched one of Amarixe's monthly favourite videos, in which she mentioned Josie Maran's coconut water eyeshadows, and I noted that it was more or less the same product as Chanel's. I excitedly headed to Sephora and picked out Playa del Pink, which quickly joined my list of favourite products for this summer. It is slightly more metallic and a bit heavier than the Chanel shadow- and I will note that at the end of the day, my lids feel quite...tired and I'm very aware of having it on my lids. It claims that the Argan-infused pigments make lids look less crepey and smoother, but....I'm not sure it works that way for me. For that reason, I tend to only wear it for special occasions nowadays as opposed to on the daily. What I did realize though, is how many peachy/nude & shimmery pinks I own. 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

ice cream social

As should be well known by all readers of this blog by now, I am extremely dedicated to my (self-titled) job as an ice cream aficionado. I constantly have my eyes open for any new gelaterias or ice cream parlours in Vancouver, or perhaps any ice cream related events- and luckily enough, I was alerted via the good folks over at Scout Magazine to BETA5's Ice Cream Social!



I'm no stranger to BETA5- I've tried many of their desserts before and while I hadn't been there in a year or two, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. When I arrived, there were over 15 people in line, and small groups of people were seated all over the parking lot, enjoying their ice cream. I was joined by my good friend, Anneliese, and it made the wait that much better, as we got a chance to catch up. When we finally got to the front of the line, we were greeted by this menu:


Unfortunately, they had run out of most of their ice cream sandwiches, and the only flavour they had left was cookies & cream. As tempted as I was by the other choices, I decided to opt for the sandwich, while Anneliese went for the mojito sorbet cream puff. 





I loved the macaron cookie exterior of the sandwich- the ice cream itself was softer & creamier than I'm accustomed to, but it was quite delicious. I'd foolishly thought that I'd have been able to get back in line and try some other things after finishing my sandwich, but it definitely filled me up, haha! All in all, it was a great night, and I'm thankful to the folks at BETA5 for organizing such a fun event :)



If you haven't already been, I'd highly recommend you go check them out- they're famous for their cream puffs, but I also love their salted caramels & panna cotta in a jar (which I'm not entirely sure whether or not they still offer!)


BETA5 Chocolates on Urbanspoon






Wednesday, August 6, 2014

crackle crème

Here's a little known fact that only a select few of my friends are aware of: crème brûlée is- save for ice cream- my favourite dessert. This has been the case ever since I first watched Amélie on a flight to Paris about 9 years ago. Really, what's not to love? I wish I could describe the first ~magical~ moment I ever had crème brûlée, but sadly, the memory escapes me. However, I can tell you I've been hooked ever since- but unfortunately, I never know where to get any in Vancouver. More often than not, I can only ever find it at hotel functions. When hit with a sudden craving, I've had to go to Whole Foods as a last resort (admittedly, I really do like the crème brûlées there, though of course, the caramel topping isn't crunchy *sad sigh*.)

Luckily, my friend told me about the recent opening of Crackle Crème- a small café that opened in Strathcona, which can certainly stake its claim as the new hip neighbourhood in town, what with The Union and the many small & unique boutiques opening up (believe me, it was a much different case years ago, back when I attended elementary school in that area!) I knew I instantly had to drag Cybil, my friend & fellow dessert fanatic, with me. It's definitely small inside- seats about less than 10 people, but more along the 'cozy' feel as opposed to 'sardines in a can'. There's also a small patio space, and you can borrow a picnic blanket so that you can enjoy your dessert at the park! With over 10 options in flavours, from the simple (such as vanilla, espresso, matcha), to the more eccentric (durian, bailey's, chocolate guinness + bacon!!!!), we certainly had a hard time choosing. However, with my summer matcha obsession, I had to go for that, while Cybil opted for the lemon basil. After taking your order, Daniel, the owner & sole employee, pulls the crème brûlées straight out of the fridge and torches them on the spot. Another small detail I love is that there is glasses of water that you can pour for yourself readily on hand- if you recall my post from the hot chocolate festival, this is something I really appreciate at cafés.




On to the desserts themselves! I was so unbelievably happy to be able to crack the top with the back of my spoon- just the way Amélie does it in the movie! It was sweet and crunchy (the way it's meant to be)- and perfectly contrasted the beautifully smooth custard. The matcha flavouring was consistent and not overpowering at all. I tried a bit of Cybil's as well, and the lemon was light and fresh with a slight hint of basil. So obsessed! I will definitely be returning often to try and tackle the rest of the flavours ;) Definitely go check them out yourselves- don't just take my word for it! As far as I know, the flavours are never the same, and Daniel is constantly coming up with new ones...and if crème brûlée isn't for you, he also has liège waffles + ice cream! I can't for the life of me remember the exact price we paid (I know, I know...what kind of horrible blogger am I?!), but it was definitely only about $5 or so. ALSO-it's important to note that they're closed on Mondays & Tuesdays!




Crackle Crème on Urbanspoon


Hope you've all been having a wonderful summer :)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

healthy snacking



I will admit it- I have a bit of a chip addiction. I was never allowed to have any as a child, so when I hit high school and had a bit more freedom with my allowance, I would buy a bag at the cafeteria almost daily. This irritated my mother to no end and she constantly harps on my weight gain as being a result of my junk food addiction. After giving up chips and such for Lent last year, I've managed to control my urges- I rarely buy potato chips nowadays, only giving in once in a while for Sun Chips, Kettle Chips, or Cheetos.

Of course, when the kale chip fad began a few years ago, I was instantly intrigued, but despite pestering my mom about buying kale, she never remembered and I was never sure where to buy it. Last month, I finally brought it up again thinking my mom would ignore me as usual, but out of the blue, my dad bought a large bunch home from Whole Foods (bless him)


Excuse the phone quality images- my cousin borrowed my camera and my dad took his own back so I couldn't use it anymore, haha. Anyway, I followed the instructions here


Here's what I learned from personal experience:

  • DEFINITELY keep a close eye after putting it in the oven- it can burn very quickly!!!! I followed the times and temperatures listed in the recipe for the first batch but changed it for the second batch as all ovens are different. I constantly moved pieces around as some were crispier than others and it made me nervous since the ones in the middle were still slightly limp. 
  • The most boring part for me was patting it dry, to be honest. 
  • Don't over-salt! I was worried there wouldn't be enough flavouring since I like things with flavour, but the kale itself is already a bit salty so going overboard is no bueno. I used garlic salt on some and truffle salt on others.
  • It wilts and shrinks a HUGE amount, so there isn't really a need to worry about spacing them out on the tray other than to make sure they all bake evenly- silly me by reflex spread them all out for the first batch as if I was making cookies (what was I thinking??)
  • I love how airy light and crunchy they are- just what I needed to combat my chip withdrawal. If there are some that haven't fully been baked, it's fine. I just pretend I'm eating salad and the kale itself is quite good.
Like I was saying about how easily it burns....

I definitely recommend trying it out if you haven't already- it's an excellent healthy substitute for chips- a bunch at Whole Foods costs me $2.99! My mum suggested buying it once a week so it'll be a nice snack and treat for me. It's a bit time-consuming for sure, but I think it's worth the effort :)



EDIT: Since writing the post above, my dad's bought another bunch, so I thought I'd do a bit more experimenting with different flavours. I suspect the large amount I had my first time was two bunches worth- the picture below is exactly one bunch.



I separated that into 4 different batches: one with turmeric, one with all-purpose seasoning, one with lemon zest + lemon juice, and one with the tried & true garlic salt (all with olive oil to mix, of course.)

Official verdict? As expected, the lemon juice batch couldn't really crisp up properly, but I actually liked it- I think if I ever tire of baking them, I'll just do a kale salad with lemon juice and some cheese because the slight tanginess of the lemons really worked well with the kale.

Turmeric wasn't bad but I don't think I'm too fond of turmeric itself, so....eh.

The all-purpose seasoning SMELLED amazing while baking, but the taste itself wasn't too great- though I think I may also have added a bit too much olive oil in this batch so all I got was a bit of seasoning and an overpowering smell of olive oil + wax paper. Gross.

Garlic salt is still my all-time favourite for now! This time I made sure to constantly turn the tray every 5 minutes or so, and I moved pieces around while they were still in the oven. Just like popcorn kernels in a bag of popcorn, there are bound to be bits that don't really end up cooked properly, but what I did this time was pick out all the ones that were already crispy or looked like they would burn soon and left the rest in the oven to bake for a while longer- it worked out quite well (just means a bit more monitoring than usual.)





Wednesday, March 12, 2014

mirenesse

The first time I'd heard of Mirenesse products was through an ad on my Facebook sidebar. I typically ignore those, but this one advertised their Instant Lash Transplant Lengthening Kit, and as someone forever on the hunt for good lash products, I was instantly intrigued, but after clicking through the site, nothing specifically caught my attention, so I closed the tab and moved on. However, a few weeks later, while googling their company, I learned of a promo they were doing where you could receive up to 6 trial products for free, save for S+H. No big deal, I thought- that can't be too expensive! Obviously, I'm never one to sit back when FREE PRODUCTS are on the line, so I rushed to the site to see for myself. So many wonderful products- I filled up my cart quite quickly after hemming & hawing for a while....but when it came time to check out, I was shocked to see the price in my cart at $100+. I kept clicking around, absolutely confused, and I realized S+H wasn't one cost, but was charged per item. A bit disillusioned, I ended up choosing 3 products, which came to US $23.97. I realize that it's still technically a deal because one product alone is worth about $30, but still, I felt a bit sad. 


Here are the three things I went with. I was planning on going with a lash product as that's what they seem to be most known for, but I still have tons of mascaras to go through, and I figured I didn't need another one to add to my pile. I went for two eyeliners as I'm running out of my Urban Decay 24/7, and I was hoping to find something better to replace it. 

   
27hr Eye Kohl on the very right. The two other swatches are of the Estée Lauder Pure Color Intense Kajal eyeliner duo, which I've been LOVING. You can see it in my previous post here!

I was really impressed with the 27hr Eye Kohl. I've always wanted to try a blue eyeliner but was always too worried I wouldn't get much use of it- the Urban Decay ones are stunning but I didn't want to pay $24! Most importantly, this really doesn't budge much. The swatch on my hand didn't come off right away despite persistent rubbing under water, and on my waterline, it stays on for most of the day with very minimal smudging, which is a huge problem I have with my Urban Decay liner (which a lot of people don't seem to have trouble with, judging by the raving reviews it has. I don't know. It always smudges on me.) Here's what it looks like on my eyes:


I just love the bright pop of colour it brings. Am definitely happy with this! However, I'm not quite as impressed with the Auto Eye Liner Duet- it swatches dark & creamy, but that doesn't seem to transfer well on my waterline- it goes on faint and a bit waxy, so I have to apply it more than once to really get a good black line. Ehhh. I'll use it up but won't buy it again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

flare world runway tour 2013 + skincare faves

Ah yes, yet another beauty/fashion post from The Prodigal Blogger. And wouldn't you know it, I'm here to talk about something that happened way back in October of last year! (Typical procrastinator, right?!)

As an avid fan of major fashion weeks: London/Milan/Paris/New York, I've always been quite sad of having to admire said events from afar- while Vancouver has its own fashion week...it's a wonderful event, don't get me wrong, but one that mainly focuses on local designers, not a major designer event with all the drama and glory of ~haute couture~, if yenno what I mean! I was so excited to discover Flare's World Runway Tour, which brings the WORLD'S best fashion & beauty trends to Vancouver/Montreal/Toronto, with the help of Holt Renfrew. Now, everyone knows that I la-la-LOOOOOVE Holt Renfrew, so there was no way I was missing out on this! With tickets in hand, my best friend Angela and I headed off to the Four Seasons hotel...and were we ever blown away.


I'm a bit of a homebody, so this was doubly exciting for me, but the opening reception was absolutely amazing. Servers walking around with trays of cheesecake, macarons, crème brûlée (my fave!), and many more little goodies- and also a table filled with various other desserts! 







Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 hot chocolate festival!

As there are only two weeks remaining in the hot chocolate festival, I thought it'd be best if I quickly compiled a review of the 8 places I've gone to thus far so that some of you can try out my favourites! (I went to 6 places in 6 days before taking a quick break- talk about an obsession!)

This is the 4th annual Hot Chocolate Festival, though I didn't have the pleasure of knowing about it till last year- and even then, I was only able to try out one place. This year, I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into the task of trying as many places as I could- placing precedence over Dine Out, even! As many of my friends are aware, hot chocolate/chocolate milk is my favourite drink ever, so this was certainly a task I would enjoy :)


You can see my dedication in the fact that I spent an hour writing out every single location and menu items. I'm really very proud of this list, haha.

On the first day of the festival, my friend Erica had just come from Miku for Dine Out, so I decided to choose somewhere nearby- the famed Bella Gelateria, which offers six choices: "Monkey's Uncle", "Black Magic", "The Evita", "London Foggy", "Red Hot Chilli Pepper", & "Dark & Dangerous". Being somewhat of a salted caramel fiend (and knowing that said salted caramel at Bella is absolutely sublime), I was quick to choose "The Evita", while Erica decided on "Black Magic". For about $7, you get a fairly large cup of hot chocolate, a gelato bar, and a slice of Erin Ireland's lovely banana bread. Now, I'm sure most people are aware of her infamous banana bread- I'd always thought, "Surely it's just hype- how different could it be from normal banana bread?" Boy, was I wrong. It truly was "to die for"- chocolatey & moist but not overwhelmingly sweet- I'm sure I could eat 10 slices, given the chance! As for the hot chocolate itself- it was great, though nothing extremely exciting. We were handed our cups with the gelato bars already submerged, so by the time I could pick mine up, it had already melted.  Luckily, Erica's came after mine, so I was quickly able to snap a picture. By the time I got to the bottom of my cup, most of the salted caramel was just sitting there, adding a nice hit of that salty-sweet taste I love.