Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Food: New Dip!

I've come to the point where I'm too lazy to go walk over to the grocery store to buy groceries for the next two days that I'm still at university. I have exams for the rest of the month and I don't start till a little later on, so I thought it's probably best to just go home.

I had a whole bag of carrots sitting in my fridge for the last three weeks and it really had to go. So, I made a dip one afternoon last week...and I made it again the next day...and the day after...and today.

I think this dip is very particular and will only appeal to some people. But, I think it's pretty tasty and the fact that it can go with so many different foods, it makes it even better.

This recipe is usually eyeballed, but you'll try to get 1:1 part with the main ingredients and a pinch of any of the spices you desire. But, here's a recipe that will get you started and adjust accordingly to your needs.


Cheesy Carrot Dip

1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1/2 cup of shredded cheese
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 tbsp of olive oil
pinch of ground pepper
pinch of ground cayenne pepper 
pinch of garlic powder

1. Mix the shredded carrots, shredded cheese, and sour cream together. You'll notice it's a little clumpy after this step.
2. Add the olive oil. This is what will smooth the whole mixture together. You'll see the change in consistency right away after you mix it all together.
3. Add your spices. 
4. Give it a good mix and you got yourself a good dip.

I used this as a "sauce" for my chicken finger wrap using lettuce. I used this to dip my chicken fingers. And as the photo below shows, I used it as a topping for my perogies . 


I'm pretty happy with this and it's helping me use up my carrots!

I hope you all enjoy this mini recipe. Let me know in the comments below if you tried this recipe and if you did any variation to change it up to your style!

<3

Susan

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Beauty: OOAK and LOVEFRESH



I have never attended any trade shows before, so when Stacey, the owner of LOVEFRESH, sent me a ticket to the One of a Kind Show in the mail - I was soooooo excited.

I took the train back to Toronto last Friday and coincidently, one of my best friends was also in the city for the day. Got her to come along and now we're both HOOKED to going to these shows.

One of a Kind Show is a show that happens twice a year in downtown Toronto - usually during the spring and before Christmas time. It has all independent, more or less, local businesses. You are truly getting items that you don't see in your everyday mall. This year, they introduced a mini ETSY section in the middle of the whole show.

TONS and tons of food samples around - shortbread cookies, chocolate, olive oil dips, baked goods, nuts, and soups; it's probably worth your ticket value.

I was very excited to see the whole LOVEFRESH line in a booth. I usually get my products from the Ten Spot and they only carry a small number of products. In fact, Stacey actually produces the Ten Spot's own line, GET NAILED, body products as well. Perfect to know that the products are all the same quality.

But, since I was at the show, I had to stock up on more goods. She had a deal of buy 3, get 1 free. So, Shannon and I decided to split it.


I got a new body scent that I never seen in stores - the Pomegranate. The power duo of the sugar body scrub and the body butter.


The sugar scrub is so gentle on your skin that it's perfect for the new changing weather as Spring kicks in. The body butter is extremely rich in good oils. It may feel greasy after applying, so I wouldn't recommend using this cream when you are in a rush to get changed and to run out the door. Perfect cream for night moisturizing and days that you can sit around in shorts and tank top to let it all soak in!


A perfect new duo that I'm so excited to be using in my bathroom soon!

I want to give Stacey and LOVEFRESH another big thank you for the ticket that opened my eyes to more local brands and my new love to go to more shows in the future!

<3

Susan

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tea: Tazo Organic Chai


When I first got into tea, I loved Tazo Tea - I went to Starbucks often, just to get Tazo tea. I used to love buying the huge tin sets from there, because of the huge triangle tea bag packaging. But, once I started really getting into tea, I got drawn into all the other brands around. From those in your supermarket aisle to the independent tea store to even online tea e-commence sites.

Over the past few years, I realized that Tazo started to expand and sell their tea bags in every supermarket. I used to love the Awake tea, but after a few cups this past two years...they changed it, it taste different and not in a good way. I started to step away from Tazo Tea.

I was at my local Shoppers Drug Mart the other day getting milk when the packaging of Tazo caught my eye. They changed it! And of course, that sucked me in reading the ingredients of the Chai Tea. A big KUDOS to Tazo Tea for not adding any artificial flavouring or natural flavouring in their Organic Chai Tea. So...the box ended up in my basket. 

Made myself a cup right when I got home and I must say, it is one of the best chai teas I've had. With a tiny slash of milk and some honey, it's a perfect blend. 

Some chai may be very heavy on spices and makes the tea very distinguishable in that way - which, I'm not a huge fan of. This chai tea has a perfect balance of the spices and tea leaves that makes it a very enjoyable drink.

So, this is my cup of tea today!

<3

Susan

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life: March Favourites

March went by very quickly - I was swamped with papers, presentation, and group projects. Spent most of my days in the library and at my desk, I really don't have too many favourites this month. 

ALSO, I have this very annoying cough for the last week that doesn't seem to be getting better or worse...and the doctor said "you can't do anything about it, just let it be." Cool, I sound like a broken train for however long this cough decides to stay.

Sooo, back to my 3 favourites in March:

1. Consonant Skin Perfecting Body Scrub (Tangerine) - This scrub is probably one of the best body scrubs I have ever used for the cold season. A mix of salt and sugar with rich thick oils, it leaves my skin feeling moisturized after I step out of the shower. I hope they never discontinue this scrub in the future...I mean, what will my skin do when it's feeling like a sahara desert?

2. Avocados - As a broke university student...avocados are pricey. But, they've been on sale for 4 for $5 throughout this month at my grocery store, so I've been having them throughout March. Perfect to mash up to become a dip/spread, great for sandwiches, and great to just eat on its own as a snack. I hope my supermarket never raises the price on avocados - if they don't, my life will be complete.

3. Better Food Choices - Just as I stated on my New Years Resolutions, I've been pretty good at making this slow transition with my eating habits. Joyous Health and Megan Telpner has been a great source to help kick start my change! 



I hope y'all have a great April start - winter is finally winding down and the weather is warming up!

<3

Susan

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beauty: Body Scrubs (TORONTO EDITION!)

With the looooooooonnnnnnnnng and never-ending winter, my skin is constantly dry; even if I bath in lotion for a night, my body will just absorb it all and still be dry. I used to use the bigger brand body scrubs back in the day, LUSH and the Body Shop, but I've recently really been into a more healthier approach for my skin. Been looking for more natural and, if available, organic local skincare. Do remember, your skin is your biggest organ and treating it with love is what will benefit you in the long run! 

As a girl from Toronto, I have tried three different local brands for salt and/or sugar scrubs for my body. So far, I've been enjoyed all three - but, each are very distinctly different that different people will probably prefer certain elements in a body scrub! 


LOVE FRESH Sugar Scrub ($30 CND)

LOVE FRESH was the first sugar scrub that has been hyped and used in many nail spas (e.g., TEN SPOT, Sekai Beauty Bar, etc.). The brand is very well-known and have been expanding quickly over the last few years. I believe you can find LOVE FRESH body products in Toronto Indigo/Chapter stores now! 

This scrub is very delicate for your skin. I really enjoy using this scrub more in the summer, since my skin isn't as dry. AND the scents - they are so summer-like and fruity, it's PERFECT for the warm weather. 

The only downfall that I found with this scrub is that it is not as mositurizing as I hope it would be. I would always have to use copious amount of body butter afterwards to ensure my skin is properly moisturized after scrubbing. 

Definitely recommend this scrub for those who have oily-normal skin type. And it's definitely going to be my summer go-to scrub for now on. 

I have tried a few of their scents so far - Key Lime Coconut Scrub, Pear, and Lemon Verbena. 

Consonant Skincare Skin Perfecting Body Scrub ($30 CND) - photo coming soon!

I recently picked this scrub up when I walked by a FUZZ Wax Bar location and saw a big chalkboard sign promoting soft skin for scrubbing. And I'm so glad I picked this scrub up, because this is what I needed after this long winter. Consonant is another all-natural skincare brand located in Toronto. 

The scrub is a mix of sugar and salt, giving two different dimensions of scrubbing for your skin. Usually salt is more coarse than sugar, giving it a more deeper scrub. What I really like about this scrub is the way my skin feels afterwards. You have to give this scrub a quick stir before you use it in your shower, because the oils separate from the sugar and salt. The main oils in this scrub are coconut oil and olive oil, which explains the separation. But, right when you step out of the shower, it leaves your skin feeling moisturized. I just used a lotion afterwards for extra moisture. 

Be aware that the salt scrub may be too abrasive for those with extremely sensitive skin, even with all the oils mixed along with this product. My skin turns slightly red after using this product that goes away after about 30 minutes. 

Crawford Street Skincare Grapefruit Mint Salt Body Scrub ($10 CND) - photo coming soon!


Crawford Street Skincare can be found in a few local stores across Toronto, as well as their online store. This is just a salt scrub and the scent is very energizing; great for your morning shower to wake you up before the day. A good scrub for the price (you do get a fraction of the other two mentioned above), but I'm debating whether or not to repurchase this item since my skin tends to be more on the sensitive side and this may be too abrasive to my skin in the long run. Along with this, it is very messy; it's literally digging your hands in a pile of salt. I think this scrub will be perfect for dry skin if you mix some oils (e.g., olive oil) to the scrub before you apply it to your skin.

What are you using to scrub off this winter?

<3

Susan

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life: Morning Ritual with Lemons

After my whole face breakout ordeal, I've done tons of research and really got myself into a more healthy approach with my food decision. Let's be honest - I eat a lot for my size and giving up food is not an option. I will and can eat anything and everything my heart desires. But, I've been really looking into a more holistic skincare and health approach; and finding ways to slowly incorporate it into my lifestyle.

I started drinking warm lemon water right after I wake up in the summer, but I was not consistent with it. One week, I'll be drinking it every morning, and then the next, I'll be forgetting. But, since the  New Year, I've been more consistent with this habit. The only times I find myself missing this is when I wake up slightly later and have to run out the house as quickly as possible. 

The reason why I jumped on this bandwagon was when I heard about the list of benefits that this morning drink does:
  • Improves your digestion - I used to have the most sensitive stomach ever; it runs in my family. But, since drinking this in the morning, I've had less stomach upsets and cramps! Definitely helping my food go through my digestive system a lot smoother and quicker.
  • Boosts your colon function and prevents constipation - The one thing I instantly noticed right from the start...I'll be running to the bathroom right after downing the mug of this lemon water. It helps promote your intestines to get things moving and to clear it all out. In the long run, there will be less food build up around your intestines, which results in removing all the nasty toxins and improving better nutrient absorption. 
  • Boosts your mood and energy 
  • Helps clear up your skin - This one was a big one! With all the acne scars on my cheeks, I know I can't completely get rid of it, but I know I can help it fade away.
Of course, there are tons of other reasons for this amazing morning drink; but, this is just a minor list of things I realized and noticed. Now, it's been about 3 months that I've been doing this and I've noticed the small changes it's done to my body. This is not a miracle product or anything, but it's not that hard to do and commit to.

I only recently started adding a little honey to the drink to change it up a bit. The lemon sourness was starting to get to me. Also, make sure the water isn't too hot - this will kill a lot of the good nutrients from the lemon and honey!


Warm Lemon Water with Honey 

A cup/mug of warm water
Half of a lemon
1 teaspoon of organic honey (I tend to eyeball it now)

Squeeze half of your lemon into the mug and add the honey. Give it a quick stir to make sure it is well-incorporated. 

It's really that easy. Give it 30 days and you'll start reflecting on the difference. 

<3

Susan 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Beauty: Sunday Face Masks

I've been getting into face masks the last several months...and I'm addicted. 

My skin is dry, sensitive, and acne-prone. It's like my skin comes as a full package of a little bit of everything. I love layering masks to meet my skin needs.



Before any face masks, I always exfoliate my skin. I've been using REN Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish. This scrub is so gentle for your face that it's perfect to use before layering face masks. Unfortunately, this mask is no longer sold by REN Skincare - I picked up this product over the summer at a local store in Toronto. 

My T-zone is extremely congested ALL THE TIME. I have yet to find a permanent solution to the problem, but I've recently got the REN Invisible Pore Detox Mask to help keep it under control. I haven't used it long enough to take my stand for this product, but REN claims that it's suppose to draw out impurities and reduce the appearance of your pores. Will definitely do an update blogpost for this mask. 

After, the heavy-duty mask, my skin needs to be re-hydrated. The Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask was a love at first sight mask. I got this back in September and it's finally reaching the end. It's been loved and shared with my housemates as well. The manuka honey is very hydrating and provides a great deal of antioxidising effects for those stubborn blemishes. A perfect, relaxing all-around mask to have on. Plus, it smells amazing!

Once I'm done with the masks, I just apply toner, serum, and moisturizer! 

Do any of you have a Sunday Ritual to end your week? 

<3

Susan