30/08/2013

Beauty | Recent Drugstore Purchases



Over the past month or so I've collected a few little things from the drugstore so I thought I'd show you what I have purchased.  The first product is one of my favourites, it is the Revlon Top Speed Nail Enamel in the shade 010 Sheer Cotton. I really love nude nails, especially during the transition from Summer to Autumn. I have worn this a bunch of times and the lasting power is pretty good - small chips after a few days but nothing too noticeable. I will probably do a Nails of the Day post with this and give you guys a better review and photos! I also bought the Maybelline Volum' Express the Falsies mascara. I have yet to actually try this out but it feels like nearly every beauty guru on Youtube or beauty blogger has raved about this mascara. It was on sale so I picked it up to use after my YSL Babydoll mascara runs dry. Next, I have the CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in the colour Ginger Flame. I've never seen these before, so I *think* they are pretty new. You can use it as an eyeliner or a shadow, which is pretty handy. I love using shadow pencils when I'm in a rush since they're so quick and easy to apply. I have not tried this yet, but once I do I will probably pop a review up here for you guys!

Another favourite amongst the online beauty community is the Bioderma makeup remover. I first used this makeup remover about two years ago and it has become a staple in my skincare routine. It easily removes any eye makeup without having to rub or pull at the skin around your eyes. It is a bit more pricy than other drugstore brand makeup removers (this 250ml bottle was around $21, I got it on sale for $17) but I really think it is worth the money. It lasts for a while as well. The final item I have is the Soap & Glory the Fab Pore Facial Peel. This product is meant to shrink the appearance of your pores and deep clean your skin. I've only used this a few times but from what I have seen my pores (especially on my nose) appear to be a lot smaller and it left my face feeling much more soft and smooth. I have a few Soap & Glory products and they never seem to disappoint!

What beauty items have you purchased recently? I'd love to know!

23/08/2013

Baking | Rosemary + Sea Salt Focaccia w/ Olive Tapenade



Hi everyone! Today I've got a super easy recipe for delicious focaccia bread. In this recipe, I've topped my focaccia with fresh rosemary from my yard and sea salt. You can top yours with sun dried tomatoes, olives, sliced potato, fresh herbs, the options are endless. I used this recipe from a Spicy Perspective and changed it up slightly. The finished product was great, my whole family enjoyed it and we finished it off in a day. The exterior was hard and crusty and the interior was so soft. Perfect. I cursed myself for not making two loaves. 

I used a 10" round springform pan to bake my bread in. You could use something slightly larger and end with a bread that isn't quite as tall or you could just press your dough out on a flat baking tray and have a more rustic looking loaf. Just be sure to watch it in the oven.


Rosemary + Sea Salt Focaccia -

Ingredients:
1/4 Cup Warm Water
2 Tsp Honey
1 Packet of Dry Active Yeast
1 1/2 Cups Cold Water
3 Tbsp Olive Oil + Extra
1 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp Minced Garlic (or more if you prefer)
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
Salt + Pepper
Rosemary

Instructions:
1- In the bowl of your electric mixer, add your hot water and honey. Dissolve the honey by swirling the bowl around until the water is lukewarm. Add in your packet or dry active yeast and swirl around for about ten seconds. Set your bowl down for about ten minutes to allow the yeast to foam. 
2 - Once the yeast has foamed up a bit (after around ten minutes) add in your cold water, olive oil, salt and garlic. Turn your mixer on low, using the bread hook attachment and slowly add in the flour, scraping down the bowl between additions. Once the flour has all been added, continue mixing the bread on low for ten minutes. 
3 - Pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl to allow for some room to oil the bowls interior. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for about two hours. After the dough has risen, turn the mixer back on for about thirty seconds.
4 - Thoroughly oil your baking dish (I used a 10" round springform pan) and press the dough down and spread it out. Once the dough is pressed down, add your toppings (I used rosemary, you could use olives, sun dried tomatoes, etc) and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5 - Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it sit for about one hour to rise again. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes and the top is golden-brown. Let the bread cool before removing it from the baking dish and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from A Spicy Perspective 



To accompany the focaccia I also made a simple olive tapenade to spread. If you don't have a food processor you can just finely mince the ingredients and mix together.

Olive Tapenade -

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Green Olives
1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
Black Pepper

Instructions:
1 - Add all the ingredients into a food processor and turn on for a few seconds. Be careful not to leave it on for too long, the tapenade should not be smooth but rather chunky. Store covered in your refrigerator until ready to use.



Thank you for reading this post! I hope some of you will try this recipe out as it is so tasty and pretty simple!

Also, be sure to follow me on Bloglovin'!


19/08/2013

Weekend Catchup | Cookies







This week in class we made sugar cookies to decorate. I used modelling chocolate and fondant to decorate these guys and silicone moulds to create the flowers. The cuts on the fondant/chocolate aren't the cleanest or neatest, but I think they look pretty cute. The cookies themselves are really tasty with a hint of lemon flavour thanks to some lemon zest. I think it's great to have a go-to simple, fool-proof sugar cookie recipe, so maybe I'll do a blog post one day soon with the recipe!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!




16/08/2013

Skin Care | NARSskin Multi-Action Hydrating Toner




I was first introduced to the NARSskin Multi-Action Hydrating Toner (wow what a mouthful!) just under a year ago by one of the NARS makeup artists at a NARS counter in Holt Renfrew. I was getting my makeup done (just for fun!) and she used this toner on me and I was so impressed with it. Being winter, I had incredibly dry skin especially on my forehead and after a few swipes of this magical stuff my skin was left incredibly soft and smooth and completely rid of all dry patches. My skin was also noticeably brighter and looked so much healthier. This toner is suitable for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin. 

I use this product twice each day - once in the morning after I wash my face and again in the evening before bed. Two pumps onto a cotton pad is enough to cover my entire face. Since using it I have noticed a definite improvement in my skins brightness as well as the over all feel of my skin. I've also noticed that it refines the appearance of my pores and helps my foundation application flawless! The NARS makeup artist also told me it's great to use on your lips as well, to soften and smooth them before applying lipstick.

It is a bit on the pricy side at $38 CDN per 6.7oz bottle, however it does last quite a while as you only need a few pumps each day. The only concern I have about this stuff is the fact that the pump occasionally leaks. It's not too much of a big deal though, as I just wipe off the drips with my cotton pad so it gets used up anyways. Not a deal breaker, just a bit annoying. 

I've purchased this twice already and will definitely continue to repurchase once I run out! I highly recommend that you pick this gem up if it sounds like something that would benefit your skin situation!

Have you tried anything from NARSskin? If so, what have you tried and did you like it? Let me know! xxx

12/08/2013

Weekend Catchup | The St. Lawrence Market


Early Saturday morning I went down to the St. Lawrence Market with my parents to browse the wide selection of produce and grab a few things. I was really happy to see that this week they had some squash for sale! It's made me incredibly excited for Autumn to begin! We picked up some strawberries which I used in making my delicious strawberry loaf (blogged about it here) as well as some purple (!!!) peppers and carrots! So cool!

After having last weekend off due to the long weekend, this Sunday I was back in class. We started our fondant and gum paste unit where we learned how to properly cover a cake with fondant - ahh it's so fun to use! - and how to make gum paste. We were given a styrofoam "cake" to practise decorating with and heres what I did! I used 50/50 (a mixture of fondant and gum paste) to create the flowers and the pearl boarder around the bottom. It's not amazing but I think it's pretty cute and simple!


I hope you all had a great weekend and happy Monday!



10/08/2013

Baking | Strawberry Loaf



Todays incredibly delicious dessert comes from a recipe I found on Pixels + Crumbs and can be found here. I went to the St. Lawrence Market this morning and picked up two baskets of fresh Ontario strawberries to use in this recipe. The recipe was easy to follow and came out with great results. The loaf was very moist and cake-like with great strawberry flavour. It has a very similar texture to the muffins I made and blogged about here.  

My only (minor) issue with this recipe was the cooking time. The recipes asks you to bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. After sixty minutes my loaf was still very wet inside and had to go in for longer, but the strawberries on top were already starting to brown. So after an additional ten minutes in the oven, some berries got slightly burnt!

Other than that, this cake came out really nicely and it tastes great as well! I'd definitely recommend you give it a try!




05/08/2013

Weekend Catchup | The Distillery District


This past Sunday I had the day off from school so I headed down to Toronto's Distillery District with my family. The Distillery District is a cute little area in Toronto filled with small shops, bakeries and cafes, art galleries and artist's studios. The area was once an actual distillery founded back in 1832 and was at one point the largest distillery in the British Empire! It closed in 1990. The Distillery District is the biggest and most well preserved area of Victorian industrial architecture in all of North America! Pretty cool, eh? 

It was a pretty chilly day out, really unusual for August, but it made me so excited for Autumn to come! The sun kept hiding away behind the clouds so forgive me for some of the uneven lighting in the photos! Anyways, I hope you enjoy all the photos I managed to take! It was incredibly busy there, so it was hard to get decent photos.












For lunch we headed over to the Mill Street Brew Pub and sat outside on their really pretty patio. I ordered their Vegetable Burger with a side of sweet potato fries. The burger was incredibly delicious and had a red pepper hummus that added some spice. The sweet potato fries were probably some of the best I've ever had, they were so crispy and came alongside a tangy dip. The pickle that came along with everything was also very tasty!

My dad ordered the fish & chips which looked really great. My mom got a quiche with ricotta cheese and spinach with side of greens with a raspberry vinaigrette. The quiche was so good! I want to buy some small tart pans so I can make little quiches at home. My sister, Laura ordered the Ontario Pulled Pork and she really enjoyed it. It was topped with coleslaw and came with a side of fries.




What did you guys get up to this weekend?