09 March 2012

Sparkle Sparkle February

I was anxiously awaiting this month's arrivals of Glymm and Luxe Box in the hopes that I could choose one to let go of before the arrivals of my TopBox and GlossyBox. Yes, I am currently subscribed to four monthly beauty boxes, but to be fair I've yet to receive two of them.

Sadly, this month both Glymm and Luxe were fantastic, which didn't help me AT.ALL. in letting one go. 


The packaging this month seemed a little on the sparse side, but the contents more than made up for it!

My February Glymm box contained the following:
  • Sula Creme Eye Shadow in Natural
  • Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Tiger Lilly
  • Sample-sized GlamGlow Tingling & Exfoliating Mask
  • Sample Mai Couture Oil Blotting/Bronzing Paper
The tinted lip balm is absolutely fantastic and I am currently using it daily! The GlamGlow mask is out of this world and one day I may be able to justify its cost ( $78 for 50ml). The eye shadow I found to be very plain and too matte for my liking, but its neutral so I can mix it with other colours. The only item I was not a fan of was the oil and bronzing paper, but only because these things tend to irritate my skin, so I didn't even try it. Overall, it was a great box!

After last month's amazing boxes, I was hoping I wouldn't be disappointed this month and Luxe definitely held their own.

Wow....wait...its a RED box this month! Then I realise its a Limited Edition box. 

Limited Edition Flare Magazine Luxe Box. This should be interesting.

My February Luxe Box contained the following:

  • Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
  • PureDKNY Eau De Parfum 
  • CARGO Lash Activator Mascara
  • Packets of Redken ColourExtend Shampoo and Conditioner
The only item that I wasn't a fan of was the perfume, which was way too floral for my liking. Its packaging was really pretty though. The Microfoliant by Dermalogica makes my skin super soft and leaves it glowing, so this is a product that I will definitely be replenishing. The mascara and shampoo/conditioner are great to have so all in all, it was a good box this month.

I was late in posting this review, so now I realize my March boxes will be on their way soon. GlossyBox will be the newest edition then, so look for that update in the coming weeks!

26 February 2012


Busy, busy, busy. That is my life in a nutshell and I like it that way. It does however get in the way of my baking time, but this weekend I had no choice. The snowy weather dictated my activities and I decided to try and bake one of my absolute favourite breads...Challah!

I wanted a soft, chewy and sweet bread. I have never attempted this kind of bread before but have definitely eaten my fair share. I found many a recipe online but the pictures showed a crumbly texture, which is exactly what I wanted to stay away from. Then I came across the recipe below and decided to go for it.

In my excitement, I learned a VERY important lesson...always read the ingredient list before you begin and double check your supply levels. I barely had the 3 cups of flour to begin with and so supplemented with whole wheat flour while cringing. Then I realised, I still needed 7 more cups! So, as the mixture rose, I had to make an impromptu trip to the grocery store in the messy winter weather! 

Nonetheless.... the loaves turned out pretty spectacular! I coated them in sugar for a sweet crunch.

Sweet Challah Bread
adapted from Divine Baking

10 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup fresh yeast
350g or 1 cup honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 eggs, beaten

1 egg, beaten
sugar for sprinkling
**Makes 2-3 loaves

Combine the yeast and honey in a bowl and slowly add the warm water and 3 cups of flour. Mix until combined and set aside for 30 - 45 minutes. This is where I ran to the grocery store!

Combine sugar, salt and olive oil to your mixture, and mix well. Then add the 3 eggs, the rest of the flour, 1- 2 cups at a time, until your dough is formed. I started this in my kitchen aid mixer, but the dough was just too heavy. I took it out and worked it with my hands instead. Once combined, place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise for at least 2 hours and then punch it down. I repeated this twice.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Grab your dough and break it in half. Separate each half into three pieces and shape into three long rolls which you can braid. I attempted a six-roll braid above, but a three-roll would work just as great. Place braid onto your baking pan, brush it with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 and then for about 20-30 min at 300. Let cool and then ENJOY!

30 January 2012

Sparkle Sparkle January

Its that time again... where I stalk the mailman awaiting my monthly beauty-box arrivals. These companies are getting more and more popular and since my last post, yet another has joined the Canadian circuit - GlossyBox. The dilemma I'm in currently is which subscription to keep and which to let go of. Based on this month's arrivals, Glymm's days are numbered for me. Next month will be my deciding factor for sure.

So without making you wait... here are the goodies for the month of January!

Sadly, the only things go for Glymm this month is that the items arrived super fast and that I can re-use the pink box. Otherwise, it was not a very good month.

Promising..... love the pink!
My January Glymm box contained the following items:
  • Kaia Naturals - Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths - ONE cloth!!
  • Vasanti Cosmetics - BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator - 12g tube
  • Cargo Cosmetics - Eye pencil in Black - Full Size
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills - Clear Brow Gel - 2.5ml
  • Burt's Bees - Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion - 2 mini tubes
The best item in this lot is the eye pencil and not because its full size, but because its useable. The most disappointing for me was the Burt's Bees lotion as I love this lotion and have used it many times, however these samples must have been old because they smelled like they had been sitting in the sun for months. I tossed them immediately. The one cloth and the mini sample of the face rejuvenator are way too small for an accurate representation of their benefits so quite disappointing. The clear brow gel works fine, but nothing I would spend my money on.

All in all, a very weak box this month. I am truly hoping next month brings better things, but I have a feeling that I will be moving on.

Wow is all I can say! Loose Button really made my month worth it with this time around. Imagine my surprise when I open the outer box to find not one but TWO luxe boxes!
Thats right... I was chosen for an additional Limited Edition Bath & Body box this month!
Made just for me! 
Contents of the first box!
Contents of the Bath and Body box!
My January Luxe Box contained the following items:
  • Curly Hair Solutions - Curl Keeper Frizzy Hair Formula 
  • NYX - Round Lipstick in Sash - a light shimmery pink - Full Size
  • Loose Button MyScent - Collection of 6 perfume samples
  • NYX - Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk - Full Size
  • Seattle's Best Coffee - Level 3 
Bath and Body Box:
  • Schick Hydro Silk Razor - Full Size 
  • Fekkai - Advanced Brilliant Glossing Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Coupons for $4.00 off the razor
  • 8000 Shoppers Drugmart Optimum Points with next purchase of any Fekkai hair care product
This girl has crazy hair at times, so I am very excited to try out the Curly Hair solutions formula. The lipstick and eye pencil are awesome and will easily fit into my beauty arsenal. I am also so happy with the selection of mini perfumes and as anyone who knows me can attest, I am a perfume-a-holic. Then comes the surprise coffee, which I'm sure will be quite tasty... I never turn away coffee.

The best surprise though was the Bath and Body box items. The Schick razor is not yet out in North America which just makes this month's surprise box, that much more exciting. The Fekkai products usually do wonders for my locks and while I haven't tried these specific ones yet, I'm hoping I like them so I can take advantage of those optimum points.

There you have it for January! What February will bring, only time will tell!

21 January 2012

Chocolate Cake ... In a CROCK-POT!

I have somehow transitioned into a lazy baker these past few months, however my love of baked goods has not slowed down, just my ability to focus on their creation. 

This is where my Crock-Pot, the epitome of easy and quick, comes in! You can toss in a few ingredients, work your little heart out and then come home to a warm cooked meal. Nothing better than that on those cold wintery days. Today being one of those days and with my tired self not wanting to bake something but still wanting to eat something baked, I decided to introduce my Crock-Pot to cake!

Not just any cake mind you, but a deep, rich and melty chocolate cake... full fat of course! I was beyond skeptical that this would work, but ever hopeful that it would. The end result was out of this world good!

Chocolate Cake ... In a Crock-Pot!

1 package chocolate cake mix (I KNOW... I KNOW... ready-made = LAZY!!)
1 packet (3.9oz) Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
500ml sour cream
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Coat inside of Crock - Pot with a little bit of oil so it helps with cutting of the cake. Place mixture in Crock-Pot and "bake" on low for 3-4 hours or until it looks done. EASY!

Heaven.... I may or may not have had more than 1 slice....

And there you have it... lazy baking at its best! 

03 January 2012


Who doesn't love doughy, gooey, cheesy pizza? Nobody in this house thats for sure and we decided to experiment tonight for dinner.

I was weary about making the dough because I heard how time consuming it would be, but I played around with a basic recipe and created a no-rise dough that literally took maybe 12 mins to make. Once that was perfected, I split it into two equal pieces; one for me and one for my husband. Why you ask? Well... just scroll down to find out....

MY pizza - Sweet Basil, Organic Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella with a sprinkling of Ground Pepper, EVOO and Sea Salt
Straight from the oven... heaven!
The crust was absolutely incredible! Crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. The combination of basil, tomatoes and stretchy mozzarella was perfection. 

Now, the explanation as to why we needed to separate the dough:

Hubby's pizza - Cheese, Pepperoni and oh yeah... more CHEESE!
I would have had a heart attack consuming that, but he throughly enjoyed his creation! 

So, no matter how you enjoy your pizza, if you want a quick and yummy dough, you need to try this:

Basic No-Rise Pizza Dough

                              1 packet of quick rise yeast
1 c warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400. Combine the yeast and warm water in a medium bowl and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Then add the flour, salt, honey and olive oil.  Mix very well and knead as necessary to make sure everything is combined. Let the dough rest for 10 mins or so. During this time, I prepared the pan and my toppings.

When ready, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle some olive oil where you will place your dough. Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly on the oiled paper and spread the dough. I hand tossed the dough and spread it unevenly for a more rustic pizza, my hubby wanted his pizza to be round so he used a rolling pin.

Add your toppings and bake for anywhere from 20-25 mins or until the cheese is melty and the crust is golden brown.
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