Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday: Things I like this week

1. Babyliss Pro Hair Dryer. A few weeks ago my hair dryer exploded. It made a funny noise and then smoke started coming out. Kinda scary. I decided that it was time to invest in a good hair dryer. I usually buy my hair dryers from Walmart and don't often spend more than $30. This time around I went to Trade Secrets and picked up a Babyliss. I already have a Babyliss hair straightener, which I love, so I figured that the hair dryer would also be great. The sales girl told me that it would cut my drying time in half and that my hair would feel smoother. I didn't really believe her until I tried it out for myself. This is an amazing hair dryer!!

2. Roots Leather kobo Case. I picked this case up when I bought my kobo sat week and am loving it. It's such a stylish little case and it closes up great so my kobo doesn't fall out when I'm carrying it around.

3. Ombrelle Spray. Yesterday I was outside all day (in this crazy heat). I picked up this spray because it is easy to apply and doesn't clog up the pores on my face like other lotions do. It worked really well and I did not burn at all!

4. PC Roasted Vegetable and Cheddar Dip. I picked this up earlier this week when grocery shopping. I'm a sucker for new dips. This one is so tasty. I use it with plain chips as a snack or as a bagel spread. Delicious!

5. Air Conditioning. These past few days have been insanely hot. I don't have air conditioning at the school I work at and it's been long days working there in this heat. So thankful for the air conditioning in my apartment!

Cynthia Rowley Bed Spread in Ibiza Turquoise. I wanted to brighten up my room and to also get a light weight bed cover for the summer. Loving the colours of this bed spread!! And it's very comfy as well.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Reads (Part Two): eReaders vs Books

After posting about my new ereader purchase yesterday, I thought I would write my thoughts about ereaders vs books. I am not new to ereaders. I have had a few ereaders since they came out a few years ago. When they first came out, I promised myself that I would never buy one. I loved my books too much. But then when I actually held one and got to use it, I was intrigued. I eventually caved and bought my first ereader. This did not mean that I stopped buying books. I am, to this day, still buying many hard copies of books and filling up my bookshelves. So why do I have an ereader? And why, if I enjoy reading on an ereader, do I keep buying hard copies of books?

If you were born in the 70s or 80s, you remember cassettes. I remember buying my first music tapes and playing them on the big tape player at home. Now, those tapes are pretty much obsolete. You cannot buy them from a store and playing cassette tapes you already have is difficult if you don't have a working tape player. Technology is advancing at such a quick pace that it's hard to know when one thing will be traded for another. Tapes became CDs and then CDs became mp3 files. This is why I still buy real books. Books that I read and I love and want to read over and over again, I buy hard copies of. I am terrified of where all the ebooks will end up years from now. Maybe they will be lost in cyberspace somewhere. So I make sure to try my best to collect all my favourite books in hard cover so I can take them with me, grow with them and eventually pass them on to my kids.

So then why would I even bother buying an ereader? There are a few advantages. The new ereaders, the ones with wifi, allow you to preview samples of books that you are interested in. I keep a list of books that I am interested in buying. With an ereader, I can download a free sample of the book and read a few chapters before I decide to buy it. Also, ereaders are now allowing you to borrow books from the library. Since I like to read in bed, I don't often like bringing books home from the library, especially when you do not know where they have been. There are thousands and thousands of free books that you can download. And the books that are not free are usually much cheaper than the physical book. I recently read a book on my ereader that was 34.99 in hard copy but only 12.99 as an ebook. Carrying an ereader is a lot easier than carrying a book when you're on the go. And if you're going on vacation, your ereader can hold up to a 1000 books so you don't have to be picky about which books you are going to bring with you.

That being said, I will always love my books. I will always love the smell of them, turning the pages, making my own mark on my books. So I always collect hard copies of books by my favourite authors as well as series I love. My ereader allows me to discover new books, to download books I know I won't read again and the ability to carry around my own personal library.

So if you own an ereader, that does not mean you're giving up on real books. It just means that you are taking reading to a new level.

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Monday Reads: a review, kobo and a new book

11th Hour by James Patterson

Review: This weekend I finished James Patterson's 11th installment in the Women's Murder Club mystery books. I have read each and every one of this series and have been enjoying them. I can't say that after 11 books that they still have that "wow" factor. The formula is getting to be repetitive. I can usually guess within the first half of the book who the bad guy is. With mystery novels I like there to be some kind of twist that I was not expecting. The last few books in the series have been lacking that. Why do I keep reading them? I love the four main characters who make up the Women's Murder Club. I feel like they are close friends of mine and that I have grown with them. I have stopped reading the books for the mystery aspect and I now read them to get to spend more time with some of my favourite characters. If you have been following this series, I would pick this book up. If you have never read any of these books, start with the first and read a few. The first five books in the series were fantastic!

This weekend I also bought a kobo! I have had a Sony ereader for quite a while now but it's been dying on me. After sending it for repair, the battery still drains super fast. I have been searching for a new ereader for a while but wasn't desperate to get one since I often read on my iPad. The kobo was on sale this weekend for $89 so I HAD to pick one up. I read one book and started another on my new ereader and am loving it. A bonus? It has wifi so I can download books on the go. And also, my eyes are not straining after a few hours of reading. Loving it!

The book pictured on my kobo is the one I just started yesterday. So far I am really enjoying it and ended up staying up til 1am reading it. Of course anything set in NYC will attract my attention. The fact that it's short love stories about people who met and fell in love in NYC is what sold me on this book!

Heart of the City by Ariel Sabar

Synopsis: The handsome Texas sailor who offers dinner to a runaway in Central Park. The Midwestern college girl who stops a cop in Times Square for restaurant advice. The Brooklyn man on a midnight subway who helps a weary tourist find her way to Chinatown. The Columbia University graduate student who encounters an unexpected object of beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A public place in the world's greatest city. A chance meeting of strangers. A marriage. Heart of the City tells the remarkable true stories of nine ordinary couples--from the 1940s to the present--whose matchmaker was the City of New York. Intrigued by the romance of his own parents, who met in Washington Square Park, award-winning author Ariel Sabar set off on a far-ranging search for other couples who married after first meeting in one of New York City's iconic public spaces. Sabar conjures their big-city love stories in novel-like detail, drawing us into the hearts of strangers just as their lives are about to change forever. In setting the stage for these surprising, funny and moving tales, Sabar, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, offers a fascinating look at the role of place in how--and whether--people meet and fall in love. Heart of the City is a paean to the physical city as matchmaker, a tribute to the power of chance, and an eloquent reminder of why we must care about the design of urban spaces.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Foods: A Great afternoon snack

Fresh picked strawberries. Yum!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wednesday Health and Beauty: Oily Skin Solution

It's summer. With summer comes hot humid weather, which unfortunately causes oily skin to become more oily. We don't have air conditioning at the school I work at and after a day of running around I could feel my makeup sliding off of my face. I looked in the mirror and it was not a pretty sight. I can often get away with throwing some foundation and bronzer on in the morning. But now that the weather is getting warmer I need to use a setting powder to help keep the oiliness at bay. I wanted to get a translucent powder because putting a coloured powder foundation over liquid foundation is sometimes too heavy and feels cakey. Most translucent powders come as loose powders, which is inconvenient for throwing in your purse for touch ups. I did find a pressed powder version today by Bare Escentuals.

bareMinerals READY SPF 15 Touch Up Veil in translucent.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Reads: Awesome

I tend to read fiction rather than non-fiction. There is just something magical about getting lost in a made up world with made up characters. But once in a while I will pick up a non-fiction book. It may be something funny, a self-help book, or an educational book. Often times I will read this non-fiction book at the same time as I am reading my fiction books. Yesterday I needed a bit of a pick me up so I opened up The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha, which has been sitting on my shelf for months and months and started reading it. I am really enjoying this book and am finding that I am often saying "I love that too" out loud. Thankfully I am reading it alone in my apartment where no one can laugh at the fact that I am talking to myself.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Songs: Jack Johnson

I have been rediscovering my love for Jack Johnson music. I find his voice soothing and his melodies beautiful. Here is a version of my favourite song "Better Together". Enjoy!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Foods: Cupcakes

I was recently in NYC. And like every year, I had to visit my favourite cupcake shop and get the most delicious cupcakes I've ever had. I discovered Magnolia Bakery while on the Sex and the City tour 5 years ago. If you are ever in NYC, you must visit one of their locations and try these cupcakes. My favourite is the vanilla with vanilla frosting. Here are a couple of pics from there.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Health and Beauty: Lush Love

A couple of months ago was the very first time I walked into a Lush store. I know...shocking. I had heard so many great things about their products that I had to go see and try them out for myself. Here are the Lush products I own and what I think of them. There are just a couple of bath products I have not had a chance to try out yet so I will put those at the end of the list.

1. Dream Cream - made with oat milk, lavender and chamomile to care for irritations, reduce redness, and banish blotches as well as olive oil and cocoa butter.

My legs and arms get especially dry all year round. I had tried many different creams and lotions. While many of them worked for a few hours this cream seems to really hydrate and last. Ever since I started using this, I have not had that flaky dryness. It's also great for feet, especially on rough heels.

2. Ultrabland - made with essential oils, honey and beeswax to take off any make up or residue that has built up on your face throughout the day as well as rosewater and iris flower extract.

The lady at the store recommended this product to me because I have a hard time getting my black eyeliner/mascara off at the end of the day. She said that this is their most popular makeup remover. Out of all the Lush products I have tried, this is probably my least favourite. Even though it does remove eye makeup very well, I was left feeling like there was an oily film on my eyes and I couldn't see properly for a couple of hours (I tried to make sure I got none of it in my eyes). This is one I won't be repurchasing.

 3. Fresh Farmacy - made with chamomile extract to calm, rose and lavender to soothe dry patches and tea tree to clear up any blemishes.

I love this cleanser bar! The scent is great and it leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean without that dry feeling. It isn't great at removing makeup but I always use it in the morning before I head out or on days where I am not wearing any makeup.

4. Eau Roma Water - made with rose and lavender.

This toner smells great and is a great base for my moisturizer. The one thing I do not like is the spray bottle. I'd rather put some on a cotton pad and rub it in than spray it on. Great product when paired with a moisturizer.

5. Imperialis - made with lavender infusion to balance the skin's sebum production and orange blossom water to brighten up dull looking areas.

There are so many great moisturizers at Lush. It took me a long time to decide between a few of them. The lady at the store showed me how to spray the toner on so that it absorbs the moisturizer and what a difference it made! Out of all the ones I sampled, I ended up liking Imperialis the best. I use it morning and evening.

6.  Full of Grace - made with tropical butters, chamomile and mushroom extract.

I use this serum when my face feels really dry. After I wash my face at night, I put on the toner and then rub this bar between my hands. It melts into an oil that you rub onto your face. You would think that oils would clog up your pores (I am very blemish prone), but this serum always makes my face look fantastic in the morning.

7. Sweetie Pie - made with seaweed.

This stuff smells AMAZING. It's a cherry coconut smell. And it wiggles like jello! You cut a tiny piece off and mush it into a loofah or bath sponge and you get tons of lather. Don't be fooled by the glitter in this will not end up with any on you. This stuff lasts forever because you only need a pea sized amount each time to use it. Love this stuff!

8. Floating Island - made with vanilla, sandalwood and lemon.

I usually hate taking baths and will not last in there for more than 5 minutes. But with this bath melt, I was in there for almost an hour. Smells for good and it melts into an oil to help moisturize. Will be buying tons more of this stuff!

 9. Amandopondo - made with rose absolute and a citrus twist of lemon and orange oils.

I have yet to try this one out but I loved the scent of it in the store. It's supposed to be a bubble bar and make tons of foamy bubbles in the bath. Excited to try it out.

 10. Blackberry - made with bergamot and frankincense.

This is another product I have not tried out but had to pick it up because it smelled so great. I have never tried a bath bomb and am looking forward to trying it out.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Reads: A girly read

One of my favourite authors is Jill Mansell. Ever since I picked up one of her books a few years ago, I have been collecting all her books. She writes witty and funny girly reads that are never predictable and can always make me smile. She has 23 books in total and I have been trying very hard to not read them all...trying to save them. I know it's kind of silly but they are so great that I want to savour them for as long as possible! This week I am reading one of her earlier books.

Synopsis: Bestselling novelist Orla Hart owes her life to her friend Millie
Brady, whose rotten boyfriend has just left her. So Orla invites Millie
to Cornwall, where Millie looks forward to a summer without any dating
whatsoever. But Orla envisions Millie as the heroine of her next novel
and decides to find Millie the man of her dreams. Except the two women
have drastically different ideas about what kind of guy that should be.

Orla and Millie working at cross-purposes, and a dashing but bewildered
hero stuck in the middle, the summer will turn out to be unforgettable
for all concerned...

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