Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday deals and steals

Happy Easter friends! I hope you're having a great weekend. Mine has been filled with family, food and so much fun. Watching the kiddies collecting their eggs this morning really warmed my heart. Marshall is really into it this year and the excitement of the two of them hunting together is one of those memories that will be filed away in my mind forever, I'm so blessed.

Now to the deals!

First is this dress I came across on Pinterest. The link was broken and all it said under the picture was Max Mara so if anyone can help me find where to buy this dress I would really appreciate it.

Rebecca Minkoff bags tend to be pretty pricy, but I almost always love them and this orange clutch (has a detachable shoulder strap) is no different. Orange clutches are popping up all over the place, and it's easy to see why, what a great way to add a pop of colour. I found this one for a pretty good deal.

These sandals from Modcloth are so cute and fun for spring. Best of all? Only $24.99

Everlane is now shipping to Canada and I just love this striped tote. I think it would be a great summer/beach bag, and it's only $35. 

The Gap has 30% off online shopping today if you use the code GAPCEGG at checkout.
J Crew has 25% off online shopping if you use the code LOVEJCREW at checkout.

Enjoy your family and feasts today, Easter love to you all. :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Get in my belly!

Chris and I had the chance to do some foodie exploring while the kiddies were away with Grandma and Grandpa and one of the places we stopped in to see was Bon Macaron Patisserie in Victoria and I ever glad we did. This was my first experience having a macaron and 100% I will be repeating it.

The owner was very friendly and informative, telling us all about macarons and how they are made. A macaron consists of two almond meringues with a filling in between, and the filling possibilities are endless. He did mention the possibility of coming to our area one day and I will be hanging on to that hope.

Before I got a chance to snap this picture two were already gone, we definitely should have gotten 12 instead of 6. My personal favourite was the vanilla cheese cake, but only by a slim margin, the tiramisu followed closely at it heels.

Located at 1012 Broad St in Victoria I encourage you to stop by, you will not be disappointed. 

Another place we went to was Little Thai Place in Langford.

We kept it fairly simple and ordered Pad Thai. The meal came with Thai iced tea which is tea brewed in a pot, sweetened with brown sugar, cooled and served with a lot of cream.

I wasn't a fan of this drink. It was very sweet and I don't like really creamy drinks so only had a couple of sips.

The spring roll was excellent, great flavour, perfect crunch, tasty ingredients and most importantly was cooked in clean oil. Nothing ruins a deep fried product like cooking it in old or dirty oil.

 Next was Tom Ka Gai soup which was a coconut milk spicy/sour soup. I didn't find it particularly spicy but it was strong flavoured and quite tasty.

Next was the Pad Thai (we both chose prawn) and again, very tasty. My only complaint was that they left the tails on the prawns, I would prefer they had removed them.

Overall I would say the food was quite good. The restaurant itself was a bit awkward, our server seemed very unsure of herself (perhaps she was new?) and I had to squeeze myself around a stack of boxes and highchairs to get into the ladies washroom. I think I would probably try it again on another day to see if it was better as the food was worth another go.

And finally Chris and I did a little salt taste test at home. We already had the table and sea salt at home but picked up kosher salt on our last shopping trip, so we had three different kinds to test. My favourite was the sea salt, followed closely by the kosher and the table salt actually fell a bit short, Chris's observation was that it was almost bitter in comparison. 

What kind of salt do you use in your house? What kinds of salt have you tried? I would love to hear your observations.

Glamglow review

It's Glamglow time!

If you have been following along with this blog you know that I have little presents lined up for myself with every 10lb weight loss. I hit my first 10lbs and that means that present number one, Glamglow was ordered. I was so excited to see this baby in the mail yesterday...

So of course I had to try it out immediately. As soon as I put the kiddies to bed I put the mask on my face...

The smell is very nice, a bit like tea (there is green tea in the product itself) and it spreads out nicely on the skin. It starts to dry on your skin immediately, you can see the little dry bits on the edges of the mask...

This is about halfway through the 10 minutes I left it on to dry. The "tingling" sensation is pretty intense, borderline stinging.

10 minutes later the mask was dry and ready to remove.

Wet a cloth with lukewarm water and begin to remove the mask using gentle circular movements. This provides a great exfoliation of the skin.

It did leave my skin a little red afterwards as you can from this picture, but my skin was unbelievably soft and smooth, and still is the next morning.

In order to calm my skin I applied another new product that I am trying out (and loving) from Josie Maran, her Argan Infinity Cream.

My overall review of Glamglow? It does what it says, gives smooth, soft and tight skin, but it is not for super sensitive skin so be careful. I will be using it once a week for a great exfoliation.

Have you tried Glamglow? What did you think?

Pinspiration Friday

Today's Pinspiration post came courtesy of my yellow stained nails...I know..ick. :S Thanks to my fun St Paddy's Day nails where I used no base coat underneath the polish (bad an esthetician I should know better!) I have been left with these delights....

I searched around on Pinterest looking for away to get rid of the stains and came up with two different suggestions. I tried both.

The first was to combine 4Tbsps of baking soda, with 2Tbsps of 3% hydrogen peroxide and a half a cup of hot water.

Soak nails for one minute and rinse for beautiful stain free nails.

 I did two rounds of this and soaked for three minutes each time and this is what my nails looked like after. change.

The next suggestion from Pinterest was to soak your nails in lemon juice, which is of course what I did...yellow nails need to go!

There were a few different time differences for soaking, some posts said one minute, a couple said several, I soaked for five.

 This is what they looked like after, again no difference. Both pinspirations were a bust and I still have yellow nails... :S

So what am I going to do? You probably guessed it...I'm repolishing them to cover up the yellow, and I'll be doing it tonight before all our Easter guests arrive tomorrow (so excited!).

Have you tried anything from Pinterest lately? What were the results?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wardrobe Wednesday

This Wednesday it's all about neutrals, and almost anyone can pull them off. I think this look is very cute and casual but still pulled together which is my aim for most of my day to day outfits since I don't work outside the home in an office environment which would require a more professional look.

Cardigan: Women's Boyfriend Cardi from Old Navy
Shirt: Women's Eyelet-Trim Top from Old Navy
Jeans: old from Warehouse One
Flats: Shoe Warehouse
Bag: Winners
Necklace: G21 (Wal Mart)

(you can click on any picture above for a larger/close up view)

Here's my link up with The Pleated Poppy for what I wore Wednesday.

I thought I would also include some tunes that are rockin' my world right now. Here they are in no particular order:

Absolutely Me by Caro Emerald

Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke feat Pharrell and TI

Right Woman by Dragonette (I could only find it live but it doesn't sound too bad)

Mirrors by Justin Timberlake

Tornado by Little Big Town

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Doing the "zoo" and good eats

The kiddies have gone off to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days so Chris and I have had the chance to do things we wouldn't normally be able to...namely...go out. While I miss them terribly and feel a little sad every time I come across a sweet little picture with their big smiles I will admit it's been really fun being a bit footloose and fancy free for the last two days.

Chris and I headed into Victoria last night to try out a pub I had been wanting to go to for awhile now (and when I say awhile I pretty much mean since Ella was know I'm exaggerating since Ella was born two years before this pub even opened, but we just don't get a chance to go to pub's anymore), called Bard & Banker Scottish Pub.

The decor and general ambiance...awesome. I loved it. The place was huge but still cozy somehow with very rich furnishings.

Loved the chandeliers which were huge.

The menu is strapped onto a board for easy reading and changing out.

The drink menu was board covered and quite broad with lots of different ales and beers.

I'm not a beer drinker so opted for The Natural Blonde, a deliciously refreshing cocktail that wasn't too sweet, just how I like it. This was a combination of gin, pineapple juice, lime, soda and mint, perfect!

Chris went with a pint of his trusty Sleeman's honey brown lager.

We started out with an appy of Curried Crab Cakes. These were excellent! The apple sunchoke puree and the apple cider reduction went beautifully with the curry flavour in the crab cakes. I highly recommend this one.

 For our main Chris had Lamb and Rosemary Bangers and Mash. Butter fried cabbage on top of cheddar mashed potatoes were then topped with sausage from the Cowichan Valley (thank you very much), and all surrounded by a grainy mustard sauce...very tasty. Another recommend.

I decided to have the special since from the moment I walked in the door all I could smell was fish and chips and my mouth was watering for it.
They have a different spin on traditional fish and chips (although you can order it too) in the form of Potato Chip Crusted Fish and Chips. The fish was perfectly cooked and delicious and I loved the crunchiness of the chips but I did find it a little bland. The house made tarter sauce however was excellent and when the fish was throughly dunked in it I then had all the flavour I needed. I couldn't quite put my finger on what the special ingredient in the tartar sauce was...I think it was horseradish, Chris thought capers, and although we did ask our server she never did get back to us.

Because my dinner was on special that of course left room for another cocktail (right?) and I had a Dapper Apple martini, a little sweet but tasty.

The Bard and Banker was a lot of fun and the food was tasty with a price point in the medium/high range. It's worth going for the decor alone I think. Check it out the next time you're in Victoria if you haven't already.

This morning I met up with my friend Kathleen to hike up Mt Tzouhalem (zoo-hay-lum) or the "zoo" as it's called. Although I've lived in the area for about seven years now I have never hiked this trail before, I'm not sure why because it's something I've wanted to do but for whatever reason just never got there. I loved it. I intend to make it a regular part of my routine now. It's a great workout and the forest is lovely, but what really takes the cake are the views when you get to the top...breathtaking!
A little history about the mountain I found online here

"It's named after a fierce aboriginal chief who lived in the caves here, and who died in 1854. Before he moved to the mountain with his followers, he was a leader amongst the Cowichan people. It's documented that when a large party of northern tribes arrived in Cowichan Bay to raid for slaves, Tzouhalem helped to lead an unprecedented alliance of southern communities in response. They baited the attackers with canoes filled with warriors dressed as women, who led the raiding canoes to a bloody ambush on the shores, which no northerner escaped."

A rather bloody past indeed.

 These pictures do not do any justice to how steep this part of the climb is.

The next three pictures are from the first lookout point. I tried taking a panorama pic with my phone from here but it just didn't look right.

 And we reached the top! We made pretty good took us about 45min to reach it.

A little more history about the mountain as well as the background on the cross. I found it here
"This info was kindly provided by Maria at Providence Farm, her father welded the cross…
Originally, a wooden cross was put up on Tzouhalem in 1976 by St. Ann’s Catholic Church (Able Joe) and St. Edward’s Catholic Church (Cliff Pascoe). The cross was put up as part of “ecumenical” celebrations – part of Easter/Good Friday. Each year many people hike to the cross stopping to do the “stations of the cross” on the way up as part of the Catholic Easter celebration.
The wooden cross was repeatedly vandalized (burned/cut down), so it was replaced with the metal cross in 1988 (approx date). Maurice Dupont, a welder, made the cross in Crofton, and 3 members of Knights of Columbus, as a group, got it up there. The group included Jack Pearce, Peter Cain and Oly Bar. They drove up the mountain as far as possible then carried the steel and cement in the rest of the way. The picture above was taken after the final cementing was completed
There is also an old legend:
Chief Tzouhalem, a vicious, warring and grossly disfigured Chief, would hide out in the caves that are in Mt. Tzouhalem before and after a raid. Legend says that when he tired of his “wife” he would take her up to the point where the cross is, and throw her off – then he would go and “take” another wife. It is rumoured that he had up to 40 wives though when he was killed in 1859 he had only 14.
One story suggests he was exiled from his tribe for killing his fellow tribesmen so he moved to a cave on the mountain which now bears his name.
Another is little grimmer. He and his tribe had planned to take his next wife from a nearby tribe, planned the attack and went to carry it out. Story goes that the tribe they went to attack got word of the plan, and planned their own ambush. During the ambush Chief Tzouhalem’s head was severed. They buried his body somewhere, but kept the head to guard it for some spiritual reasons (to keep his spirit from returning?). Apparently his head is still being guarded somewhere…"

 I did find several sites that said people believe the mountain is haunted. Interesting....

A couple more pictures from the top, amazing views of the Cowichan Valley.

 Taking a load off and catching up on texts. ;)

After we came back down the mountain it was time for lunch so we headed over to Hilary's cheese in Cowichan Bay for soups and sandwiches.
 The entry is stocked with all kinds of fun crackers, preserves and of course cheeses. Hilary and Patty Abbott make their own cheese as well as import from all over the world. They have lots of fun varieties you wouldn't normally find at your average grocery store. You can "like" their page on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and specials: Hilary's Cheese & Deli Cowichan Bay.

I had a delicious (seems I've used that word a lot in this post) bowl of potato and leek soup and a salami and provolone sandwich on baguette bread. Really really good and hit the spot perfectly after the morning's exertions. 

And yes we had a glass of wine too (how european).

This was the view from our table...a gorgeous day in Cowichan Bay.

Now I'm home and getting ready for another meal out on the town. This staycation is turning into a very fun and memorable one....will have to do it more often. ;)