Sunday, November 24, 2013

October 2013 Foodie Pages Tasting Box

I didn't get a chance to filming an unboxing of the October Tasting Box because Hubs and I gobbled up a bunch of the goodies too quickly! I was somehow disciplined enough to take photos first, so here is a quick review. The October box was a chocolate themed box and it was less impressive than the other boxes when I opened it up because everything inside was so tiny. The goodies were very decadent though, so that made up for the small sizes this month.

1. oneTwentytwo Coffee Bombs in Original Milk Chocolate // Windsor, ON
This was the first item we gobbled up! Both Hubs and I really liked these. They are like the Lindt chocolate truffles in texture, but with a sugary coating. Apparently, they are intended to be thrown into your coffee (to turn it into a delicious mocha), but we just ate these like regular chocolate truffles. Mmmmm!!!

2. Carolina's Box of Goodness Artisan Brownies // Ottawa, ON
We received 2 different flavours - I think they were Chocolate Fudge and Dulce de Leche but I'm not 100% sure. Regardless, they were both delicious!

3. JACEK Chocolate Couture in The Jackie // Sherwood Park, AB
This chocolate was incredibly decadent and delicious! There are little flecks of sea salt suspended in the milk chocolate - the flavour was amazing. Hubs even commented on how much he liked this chocolate. This product was the most generous sized item in the Tasting Box this month.

4. This is Chocolate Cocoa Nib/Coffee Bark // Astorville, ON
I haven't tried this yet as I'm not a huge fan of bark, but since we haven't been buying much by way of sweets lately, I have a feeling I may need to gobble this up soon. It looks like this company has recently ceased operations.

5. Ultimately Chocolate Chocolate Toffle // Gore Bay, ON
We've been saving this and I can't wait to try it! This is described on the Ultimately Chocolate website as "a delectably smooth milk chocolate truffle surrounded by a rich, dark chocolate toffee" - sounds amazing, doesn't it? Sorry about the glare in the below photo.

Overall, I enjoyed the October Tasting Box, but it wasn't my favourite. I think I prefer when the Tasting Box includes a variety of products.

Foodie Pages offers a monthly box, called the Tasting Box, which is filled with Canadian Artisan Food Goodies. There are 50 boxes available each month and they go on sale on or around the 1st of every month for $14.95 including shipping. I have purchased the box every month since August and each one has been lovely!

Note: I purchased the October box and there are no referral links in this blog post.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rose Secret Box - Korean Beauty Products

A little while ago, I saw on Beauty Box Spoilers that a limited number of Rose Secret Boxes were available on the Rose Rose Shop website. There were a few price points available, ranging from $25 to $100 USD (if I remember correctly), which included free shipping. Since my experience with Korean beauty products was pretty much zilch, I decided to go ahead and jump on the bandwagon. I picked up a $25 box with 2 full size products, 1 pair of earrings, and a bunch of samples. The box arrived relatively quickly, considering it was shipped from Korea, and I was really impressed with the number of different items included in the box. I've only tried a couple of products so far as it took me a while to photograph everything. Plus I needed to do some research as I didn't know how to use a number of the products. Here are all the goodies that came in the secret box!

One of the products I've tried is the Cedia BB Cream - this was one of the full size products included in the box. It's supposed to be an "intense whitening" product, which is not something I really want for my skin. I received a universal shade, which is too light for my skin tone and I feel it does not blend well when worn on its own. It's also a drier formulation and I feel it looks a little cakey and unnatural. I've been mixing it with my darker Marcelle BB Cream and I've been enjoying wearing it that way, but it's not something I would purchase. I like that it comes in a pump tube and there's no discernible scent.

I'm not 100% sure what the other full size product is... perhaps it is the Tony Moly Goddess Style BerryBerry Lovely Stick. I received the shade PKLS05 - Blossom Pink. In the tube, the lipstick looks very bright, but it is quite a soft pink on the lips. It contains a tremendous amount of shimmer in it and, as a result, it feels gritty on the lips. The lipstick has a nice scent and no flavour. I don't see myself wearing it a whole lot though due to the grittiness.

This Cedia Mineral Powder could also be considered a full size product. Either that or it is a very very generous sample size. This is in the shade Skin Beige and comes with a small foam powder puff. I haven't tried this product yet as I'm using a whole bunch of different powders right now.

I received 2 of these 13 ml La'dor Eco Professional Perfect Filler Special Hair Clinic tubes. Oddly enough, I received 2 of the exact same tubes, but one came packaged in a box and the other one did not. This is one of the products I had no idea how to use. It says you are supposed to mix it in a 1:1 ratio with the perfect filler and water. It smells perfume-y and the texture is similar to water. The Rose Rose Shop website includes the following description about this product: "powerful solution to repair damaged hair for perfect nutrition and multifaceted!" The main ingredients are micro ceramide, keratin LPP, collagen PPT, and silk amino acids.

Here is how you use it:

(Source: Rose Rose Shop website)

A bunch of products from Etude House! I've heard a lot about this brand/store, but I've never tried any of the products. I received the following (left to right): Connect & Care CC Cream foil packet, Collagen Moistfull First Essence, Wonder Pore Special Trial Kit (White Clay Clear, Freshner, Corrector), Mag Play Nails Magnetic Nail Polish in #1 Red N (I don't think this includes a magnet), and Precious Mineral BB Cream foil packet.

I also received a couple of sheet masks! One is the Etude House Pearl Extract Natural Mask and the other is the Bio Remedies Therapeutic Cosmetics (BRTC) Green Tea Stem Cell Mask. I love sheet masks so I can't wait to try these!!

Here are the foil packets I received... lots of samples to add to my stockpile! I've listed the samples in a snail shell shape, starting from the top left corner: Skin79 BB Cleanser, Too Cool For School Pink Girl Jelly Base (this can be used as a makeup base or mixed with a BB cream or foundation - so intrigued by this!), Missha Time Revolution Aqua Youth Cream, Missha Signature Complexion Coordinating BB Cream, Tony Moly Intense Care Syn-Ake Wrinkle Filler Serum, Ja Saeng Essence, Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Pearl Bay Invasion in #1 Mother of Pearl (this is a makeup base... I love the packaging!), and Missha Super Aqua Marine Stem Cell Intensive Serum.

Finally, here are the earrings I received. I haven't worn these yet, but they are essentially oversized studs so I really like them!

I was so impressed by the service and shipping of Rose Rose Shop that I have since placed another order (not a secret box though... I picked out a bunch of products). Look for a haul post coming soon! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Travel Tuesday // Rodin Museum // June 2012

Museums aren't really my thing. I'm definitely game for a visit if there's a special exhibit or if I'm on vacation or if someone I know really wants to go, but they just don't excite me. That being said, there is one exception.

I go absolutely batty over open air museums! I haven't been to many, because I don't seek them out, but when I first visited Musée Rodin with my friend in 2004, it was love at first sight. Eight years later, I found myself back at the same museum with my hubby. It looked very different from what I remembered (not as covered in rainbows and unicorns... memories are funny that way), but I still had an amazing time. We purchased tickets only for the open air portion of the museum (the garden) - I don't remember that being possible, but there were some renovations when we were there so admission to the gardens only cost 2 euros. Rodin's bronze sculptures are displayed in various spaces in the garden. They are really quite incredible.

Detail of The Gates of Hell.

Among the arts, my passion is definitely photography. Perhaps that's the reason for my affinity towards open air museums. Photography and open air museums are a perfect pairing.

Plus I like to take lots of breaks to eat snackies. We purchased a couple giant Madeleines from Au Bon Marche, and we gobbled them up in the gardens.

The Thinker.

Hubs posing as The Thinker... hmmm... close, but no cigar! :)

I challenged Hubs to sketch The Thinker, after he scoffed at how there were so many people gathered around the sculpture, concentrating on carefully replicating its likeness in 2D. I pulled out my Moleskine and pen, and dangled them in front of him... and he accepted the challenge! I think he did a pretty good job. Certainly better than what I could have drawn in the same amount of time.

Our visit to a sculpture garden would not have been complete without a few requisite copycat photos.

And that was our incredibly fun trip to the Rodin Museum! :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

September and October 2013 Starlooks Starbox

September 2013 Starlooks Starbox

The September Starbox was not too exciting. I liked the products, but everything was very colourless. The theme was "Behind the Scenes" and I guess the idea behind these products is to achieve a dramatic and glowy look? The bonus this month was a coupon code for OOBERLUXE, which is basically an online concierge service. I wasn't too interested, but I was going to give it a try... until I saw that you have to provide your credit card information to sign up for the trial account. I decided to pass because I didn't want to go through the hassle of cancelling the service. As always, we received a quartz crysal in this box (not pictured).

1. Fashion Lashes in FL13 // 1 pair // $13

I don't wear false lashes often at all, maybe once a year? Perhaps I'll give these a try on New Year's Eve.

2. Infinity Eyeliner Pot in Milky Way // 3.8 g // $13

I really like the Starlooks Infinity liners, but wish we received a dark shade so I could use it to line my eyes for a dramatic smokey eye look. Instead, I'll probably just use this as an eyeshadow base or cream eyeshadow. This has a shimmery satin finish - it's a milky metallic.

3. Lip Gloss in Pearl Necklace // 4 ml // $12

I love the Starlooks lip glosses, but again I wish we received one with more pigmentation. This one is basically a colourless gloss with shimmer.

Overall, I thought the September box was fine, but it just didn't wow me.

// Approximate value of the products in the September 2013 Starbox: $38 //

October 2013 Starlooks Starbox

The October box was my very last Starbox. I decided not to renew my 6 month subscription because I have way too much makeup and I need to try to stop adding to my collection. My subscription ended on a high note - I thought the October Starbox was amazing! I got a decent size crystal and I don't recall there being a bonus (unless it was the discount code for Rivet & Sway).

1. Gem Eye Pencil in Mirage // 2.4 g // $14

This is a very metallic and light reflecting silver eye pencil! I think it would be stunning on the lower lash line and in the inner corner. Starlooks eye pencils are not the creamiest, but the gem eye pencil formulation is better than the regular line of eye pencils if you prefer creamy liners.

2. Tendergloss Lipstick in Puzzi // 3.8 g // $13

The Tendergloss is my favourite lipstick formulation from Starlooks... very comfortable on the lips and quite moisturizing. I'm always happy to see one included in the Starbox! This one is in a nearly colourless shade - it's a baby baby pink with lots of iridescent shimmer. It's pretty, but I wish we received a non-shimmery and more pigmented shade.

3. 3 Shade Blush Compact // 18 g (estimated) // $46

This blush palette is amazing!! There are 3 beautiful shades included: a dusty rose, a light peachy pink, and a cool toned pink. All shades are nicely pigmented. They are a little powdery but they still apply really well and show up on my skin. This was the highlight of the October Starbox for me.

Overall, I thought the October Starbox was fantastic. :)

// Approximate value of the products in the October 2013 Starbox: $73 //

I can't believe I have been subscribed to the Starbox since August 2012. In that time, I've added a lot of nice Starlooks products to my collection and I very much enjoyed this subscription service.

Note: I paid for the September and October Starboxes with my own money.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bar Isabel

My friend and I get together every month to try a new restaurant. No matter how much we love a place, the next time we meet, we always choose a restaurant that neither of us has tried before. It's easy to get in a rut, so we love our monthly ritual as we both like to venture out and try new places. This month, we had our monthly dinner at Bar Isabel, a well reviewed Spanish tapas restaurant in Little Italy. The food was really good and so was the ambiance. It has a relaxed and friendly vibe with an old school charm... a really energetic and happy atmosphere, with the right amount of trendiness thrown in for good measure. It's hard to imagine a place like this so you should go check it out for yourself! P.S. it doesn't hurt that the cocktails are fantastic. We both had the Older Flame (dried apricot, pineapple, mango and fresh lemongrass infused gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, chartreuse flame) and it was lip smacking. It was the perfect drink to break my mild cleanse.

Anyway, here are some photos of what we ate. Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos... I will bring a better camera next time!

Salumi Plate
I can't remember which meats are on this plate - everything was delicious!!

Cheese Plate
Riopelle, Manchego, and one other cheese I can't remember - again, everything was mmm-mmm-good! We ate the salumi and cheese plates with some hearty bread.

Chorizo Verde & Octopus Skewers
This was the only miss for me - I didn't realize it was chorizo verde when we ordered it... there was an herb in it that just didn't do it for me in terms of flavour.

Fried Chicken w/ Buttermilk Sauce
Let me preface this by saying I am not a fan of fried chicken or dark meat... but this was the freaking best chicken I have ever had! It was juicy and moist, with a light, crispy batter. It was so easy to eat and I gobbled up the entire piece even though I was already full. I would go back just for the fried chicken.

Arbol Chili Chickpeas & Snow Pea Leaves
This dish was yummy but I could only have a few bites because I was bursting at the seams.

Here we are after our meal... happy and full... full and happy. :)

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