Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beauty: Nubar Charmeuse

Nubar is one of those brands that feel like I'm using a luxury item, when it's actually really isn't. But, the quality that the polish delivers definitely stands out from all the other brands that I've been using the past few years. 

Nubar isn't really that easy to find in Canada. I usually find it in smaller nail salon/stores and online. It's a tad pricer than other popular high end brands, such as Essie and OPI - but, what really sets Nubar apart is that it has the free three (free from formaldehyde, phthalate, and toluene); along with this, they are a vegan brand. 

The consistency is very rich and thick. The brush is quite dense. And combine the two, you get perfect application. 

Charmeuse is a deep nude pink colour. It's a colour that can probably suit many skin types. I'm so happy that I was given this colour as a gift - otherwise, I wouldn't have pick it up myself (it's a bad habit that blues and greens attract me)and fell in love with the colour, consistency, and the brand.

My nails for this week and I'll definitely paint it this colour again soon (perfect for the fall season!!!)


P.S. As always, I'm just a normal girl who is TERRIBLE at painting her nails. But, they'll be off the sides in 24 hours...I hope...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Food: Honey Fried Bananas and French Vanilla Ice Cream

I love my french vanilla ice cream and to make it even a sweeter treat, finding the recipe for the honey fried banana was perfect.

About a month ago, I went to a local brunch place with an old high school friend. We took a while to decide what we wanted - we each ordered our own main dish and opt to share french toast with caramelized bananas. My friend LOVED caramelized goods, but it was my first time trying it...and it was delicious! 

Of course, I wanted to make it myself at home and I knew who to go to - Google. I searched up fried banana recipe and came across Rachel Schultz's blog on her recipe for Fried Honey Bananas - you should all go check it out, because it was a perfect addition to my ice cream. 

I used 1.5 bananas and I used it as a topping, along with apple-cinnamon granola on my french vanilla ice cream. It was a perfect treat!

Thank you Rachel!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beauty: Matte...changing it up for the first time!

I'm a huge fan of glossy and shiny looking nails...I mean, who isn't a fan of that?

A few years ago, I got the Essie Matte About You Top Coat as a gift for my birthday. In all honesty, I didn't really get into the whole matte phase that happened at that time and never used the top coat myself. 

I painted my nails with SpaRitual Emerald City and it looked so good. It was a bright turquoise colour that was perfect for the summer. 
All that chipping and indents! I'm so disappointed in the matte top coat...

Then, everything just changed...once I decided to use the matte top coat, I was pretty disappointed in my choice. It actually looks fine and my friends really liked the effect - but, it wasn't for me. The matte top coat toned down the colour drastically and it also made it prone to chipping. Already, I feel like I have to re-do my nails...and it has only been 2 days since I did them.

I'll definitely re-paint them again soon with Emerald City for all of you to see the true colour.

Until then...this is what I have for all of you!


Sunday, August 25, 2013


Just a recent self-discovery that I kicked myself for not knowing earlier. It's simple, but simple things are usually the best things.

I'm not a big soda drinker, but my family always buys boxes of ginger ale and occasionally, I'll crack out a can to have. 

After coming home from a yoga class, I wanted something to drink other than water. Sadly, there was nothing in my fridge except for water and ginger ale. I hesitated a little to opt for the can, until I thought to throw some fruits in...and at that moment, I knew I was obsessed.

In the picture above, I just cut some green grapes in half, sliced up half a peach, threw it in a mason jar, and added the can of ginger ale. I let it sit for about 30 minutes for the fruits to be infused a bit and it was perfect to enjoy for a summer day. 

Berries would definitely be another great combination for this.

Just for those who love alcohol, you can make sangria for one! Just mix in white wine in your choice of proportion - I usually like it 75% white wine and 25% ginger ale.

I really hope I don't get addicted to ginger ale, because of this...



Friday, August 23, 2013

Beauty: foundation for a new skincare regime?

Lately, my skin just sucks. 

I still can't put a finger to the reason behind my sudden skin explosion. I rarely had any problems before as small blemishes that surface never really bothered me, since I knew they would come and go as they wished to. Just this summer, my skin became overly congested, especially in the T-Zone area. Along with that, it's very dry with tons of clogged sebum/pores. On top of that, my acne decided to flare out targeting my cheek area, forehead, and nose. 

I do know that my skin is largely depended on my diet and genetics. But, I figured that my non-stable skin care routines probably contributed to this problem as well. I took a lot of time to research and carefully considered forming a new skincare routine for myself. Right at the beginning of my new search, I knew I wanted to settle for a natural skincare line. We tend to forget that our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it gets absorbed into our bodies. After an intense search,I've settled with REN Skincare (along with a one other product).

Healing Immortelle Skin Tonic (Holistic Vanity) 

When I inquired REN Skincare about my skin type to match me with their skin line, the customer relation was friendly enough to send me some small samples. Along with this, I also brought the Six of the Best set. With all these small sample sized products, it is nice to try more of their products out before I fully commit to their full sized products. Below is the list of products that I received or brought that have been incorporated into my new skincare routine:

Omega 3 Overnight Lipid Renewal Serum (REN)
Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream (REN)
Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel (REN)
Micro Polish Scrub (REN)
Jojoba Microbean Purifying Facial Polish (REN)
Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask (REN)

The products are one thing, while the commitment to stick to the routine is another. So far, I've been doing pretty well. 

I'll definitely give you guys an updated post in probably a month's time when my skin fully gets used to the products and to update you whether or not this skincare routine worked, as well as, which of the smaller sized items I actually purchased in full size. 

Until then, I have my fingers crossed for my skin to hopefully regulate itself soon.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food: Matcha Loaf Cake

First attempt at baking with matcha

After picking up the matcha latte mix from Tealish, I just had to bake with it as soon as possible. (Just a side note, you can find matcha (latte) mix in some tea stores as well as Japanese groceries stores.)

Oops, I forgot to take a photo before cutting my knife into this for a piece! 
I thought to start up basic and make a simple loaf cake. The matcha latte mix is definitely sweet and makes the cake sweet enough to eat without any frosting on top. 

This is what you'll need for this recipe:
  • 1 cup of flour ( I used blending flour)
  • 1/2 cup of matcha latte mix
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup of softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla soy milk (you can use regular milk too)
  • Vegetable oil

First, with a small bowl, mix the first four ingredients together. Give it a quick mix and set aside.

Using a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar. Add one egg, mix, add the (soy) milk, mix, add the other egg, and then give it a quick mix. 

Slowly mix the dry ingredients with the wet. Make sure you don't over mix the batter - the consistency won't be thick nor watery. 

Using a little bit of vegetable oil, make sure you moist around the loaf pan before pouring your batter into it. This will prevent your cake from sticking onto your pan - it's the worse cleaning this out.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and pop your pan in for 45-50 minutes. 

And just like that, the sweet matcha loaf cake is ready to enjoy.

A great cake to have along with your tea or just a snack throughout the day. It's not overly sweet, but I can see it as a dessert along with ice cream on the side after dinner. 

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tea: I caved and went to Tealish Teas

I can't remember when, but it was a while back ago...

Tealish Tea took part in offering a voucher sale on WagJag for a coupon to get $20 worth of tea for the price of $10. Without a doubt, I jumped onto that deal A.S.A.P. Since I was on the tea ban, I couldn't go and take advantage of this deal just yet. Days, weeks, and months past - I finally made time to mission out to Tealish Teas on Queen St. W. 

I came across a few baking recipes that call for the classic matcha. This is probably the main reason why I really caved and went tea shopping. 

I was torn between the basic matcha powder or the matcha latte mix ($8.95CDN). The sales associates at Tealish suggested the matcha latte mix for baking since it's already sweetened. She claims that organic matcha powder can be very strong and bitter for baking.

Since i was there, the new tins really caught my eyes. After I sniffed all the testers, I settled with a white tea called "Blueberry Lagoon" ($14.95CDN) - seems to be a good choice to the end of summer, since this blend screams PERFECT for iced tea!

Along with this, Tealish is currently having a sale to get rid of their old tins as they got new ones. For $10, I picked up an old favourite of mine - "Pomegrante Goji". Another great tea to be iced!

A mini tea haul to slowly build up my tea collection again. I'm in love with the tea tins, so I'll definitely be heading back to Tealish Teas in the near future.

Other than that, keep your eyes open for matcha baked goods to show up on this blog!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beauty: the end of Murad Hydrating Toner

Toner was a beauty neglect of mine. I never took the time to understand how toner can be such an important part of your skincare regime. I'm probably the worse at explaining concepts, but in one general statement: toners are in place to help balance your skin after cleansing. 

The first ever toner I used was actually the Clinique one from their 3-Step System - which, left me a bitter thought towards toner as it dried up my skin. And after that experience, I pushed toners aside for the next 4 years. After reading about toners on many blogs, I decided to give it another chance. That's when I found myself standing in the skincare section in Sephora unsure of which one to pick up back in March this year. At the time, the chilly weather really hit my skin and dryness was my main concern. The sephora lady suggested me to try Murad Hydrating Toner ($24 CND).

Before I get into my review of this product, Murad's website makes a few claims for this toner:

"Rehydrates skin and neutralizes surface impurities"
"Restores normal pH balance"
"Softens and soothes skin"
"Witch hazel to tighten pores. Chamomile and Cucumber Extract soothe irritation and soften skin"

This bottle comes in a simple plastic spritzer bottle. Nothing fancy. The toner is a light peachy colour - sorry, I didn't take a photo of the toner itself before I used the whole product up. But, the scent of this toner is probably one of my favourite scents ever in a skincare product. It must be the chamomile and cucumber extract that is bringing the nice smell out when you spray it - but, it also has more of a fruity scent. I really can't put my finger to what it exactly smells like. 

At first, the Sephora lady told me to spray it all over my face and then let it sit for a minute before applying my moisturizer. I was actually not a big fan of this method. Instead, I started pouring the product onto a cotton pad and padding it around my face for a more even application. 

Will I repurchase this product again? I don't think so. I didn't find this product beneficial for my skin. Maybe my skin was too dehydrated for this, but right after I pat the product onto my skin, it quickly absorbed away. Definitely wasn't giving me the hydration that I wished to be getting. 

The scent was nice enough to make me happy that I have at least tried this product. But, Murad products, brand as a whole, doesn't appeal to me and this is probably going to be the only product I try from them. 

Have any of you tried Murad products? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below! 


Sunday, August 18, 2013

What happened to Susan?

It has been over a week since I've written a new blog post. It has finally hit me that summer is coming to an end. With only two weeks left, I'm trying to make the best of it and filling up my days as much as possible. Just looking back at my summer, it's pretty surreal of how fast four months flew by. Finished two courses in summer school, caught up with many of my old friends, and became a regular for pilates/yoga classes. Also, it's a continuing process of slowly moving out to my new place and learning to cook for myself. 

My friend have been working in the area near his family cottage this whole summer. He really needed some company for the last bit of summer, so he invited a group of us to join him for the weekend. A fast and brief trip - it was definitely one of my favourite highlights of Summer '13. A great deck and bay area, it was really relaxing to get out of the city for a bit. 

Of course, nothing is complete without a fire to make s'mores with. A small fire pit that everyone sat around during the chilly night while watching the stars fill the night sky. It was actually my first time ever seeing shooting stars and I saw MANY of them that night. 

I've been back and forth from the city the last 10 days. Spending  most of the time with my boyfriend relaxing and enjoying each other's company. He got me watching Breaking Bad and we're slowing getting me caught up. Also, I've been volunteering for a local organization in my area with my leftover time of summer. That is definitely keeping me occupied! 

With two weeks left, I really hope to get back to reading. My summer reading list definitely got pushed to the side, but my hope is to finish 3 more books before September creeps up. 

Other than that, I'm back to blogging and have a few blog posts in mind for you all! 

Until next time,


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Music: What I've Been Listening To Lately

Replay, replay, replay...

Having easy days have really affected my music choices. Being addicted to pilates and yoga classes the last month, it has introduced me to tunes that really match my days lately. Per usual, once I make a playlist, it will be on repeat...for days, weeks, and probably months. 

As mentioned in my July favourites blogpost, my ears are filled with Bon Iver, especially his self-titled album "Bon Iver". I absolutely love the vagueness in his lyrics that allows his listeners to all interpret his songs in a different way; making it possible for their listeners to relate their own experiences with the lyrics. The whole album is great, but my definite listens will be for Perth, Holocene, Wash., and Calgary. Also, the last song of the album, Beth/Rest, is a twist to the album - a total different tune compared to the other 9 songs. 

During one of my pilates class, the instructor played a song that really caught my attention. Of course, I would do things the harder way around and attempt to find the song myself instead of just asking the instructor about it. Took me a few hours, but it's found! Higher Love by James Vincent McMorrow was a perfect song for the ending of a pilates/yoga class. With just piano as an instrumental to this song, I'm obsessed with the simplicity of it and his voice along with it.

Been preoccupying my days with pilates and volunteer work, missing someone still takes up a big part of my thoughts. The summer separates my boyfriend and I as we grew up in different cities - and that sucks. Long story short, we spent a lot of time together during the school year and hardly seeing each other for the four month long summer does make me sad. Kind of ironic to me when I found another Schuyler Fisk's song in my recommended for you section of Youtube and it perfectly describes how I was feeling the last few weeks. Fall Apart Today is a perfect love song.

Heading back to some oldies - I've been re-loving and re-obsessing over Coldplay once again. Out of the list that I've been playing, Fix You is hands down my favourite the last week. 

I hope y'all are interested in checking these tunes out. I's a pretty slow and mellow list, but it's what I've been feeding my ears lately! 



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Beauty: Pure + Simple visit and skincare change!

Pure + Simple is a spa that was born in Toronto 13 years ago and has expanded since then. Through reading great reviews about the spa, I have been wanting to try this place for some time now. Oddly, my skin never had big concerns for the last few years, except for this summer when it decided to flare out on me. Breakout, breakouts, and more breakouts became very common the last three months. Severely congested and dry skin, with the emphasis in my T-zone area has not been fun. So, I found it was about time to give the place a visit.

Booking myself my first ever facial in my life - I really didn't know what to expect. But, to keep this blog from becoming a huge story about my facial, here is the lowdown of my whole experience (I tried my best to condense it):

  • My aesthetician was very friendly and it made me comfortable right when I met her. Before starting the actual facial, she cleansed my skin and analyzed it. She was extremely knowledgable and explained about my face concerns throughout the whole facial. I learnt a lot about how to care for my skin and why my skin was acting the way it was. And best part, no awkward silences! 
  • When you have your mask on, you get a massage.
  • She explained what products she was using and why.
  • Extractions did not hurt and she explained how the aestheticians at Pure + Simple will never extract something that isn't ready to come out. No purging skin afterwards!
  • Definitely a facial that should be planned for a day or night that you are not planning to do anything afterwards. With the use of natural oils during massage (shoulders, neck, face, and sculpt), you'll definitely want to wash your hair afterwards. 
  • Very nice decor and colour choice in the facial room. Very welcoming. 
  • Never push about their products. Will most likely give you samples instead to try. My aesthetician gave me three samples after my facial. 
Overall, this experience was a pleasant one and will definitely come back to treat myself for more facials in the future!

On another hand, I've been running low on my face products and decided to seek out for a natural skin care regime. I came across REN Skincare and did my research - I finally came to order it on Sephora online. Didn't cross my mind at the time of ordering that it will take a minimum of 2 weeks just to get here...and my toner came to an end this morning (product review in the works!). Didn't know what to do, I've debated with just going to my drugstore and picking up a new skincare regime for a short period of time until I get my order or if I should just go to a Sephora and pick up a trial size skincare set in the meantime. After a whole morning of debating what to do, I remember that I really enjoyed the samples I received after my facial and that I should start my natural skincare regime now!

Made a detour to a pure + simple store today and I picked up two products - the pure + simple sensitive skin face wash and holistic vanity healing immortelle skin tonic. 

Really liked the samples, so hopefully I'll enjoy using these products in the meantime. I do know that the REN skincare line didn't have a toner - just the cleanser and lotion, so hopefully I'll really like the immortelle skin tonic to continue using it along with the REN products that I'll get in the mail soon.

I'll definitely do a skincare routine when I get everything and figure out what's best for my skin. 

If you guys would like a more proper review on the products mentioned above, let me know! 

Until then, my face is excited to be using these new products! 


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tea: Sweetened Tea!?

sugar, honey, agave...the list can go on with what you can sweeten your tea with. But, some teas, is already sweetened for you.

And...this is the case for Creamy Caramel by Tealish Teas. 

This was one of the first teas that begin in my tea collection. It's an oolong tea that smells exactly like the name. It has caramel pieces that are in place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Of course, those with an extreme case of sweet tooth, may need to add additional sweetening to the tea. But, for me, it's just enough.

It's a delightful smell and it is definitely one of those misleading teas. Once you take a sniff of the dry tea leaves, the smell of caramel is pretty distinct...even after you brew it, the smell still lingers. But, of course, the taste is no where near the pure caramel smell. It has a very subtle taste.

This tea is definitely an easy loveable one. But, sadly, this tea just screams the quote about how good things never last. 

One - this is going to be my last brew of this tea...probably ever. I have nothing left except the empty package.
Two - tealish teas have actually discontinued this tea. I just tried to search on their website to link the tea, but I kept getting "No products match your search criteria, please try again". 

Sorry for those who were curious to try this tea. But, to give y'all some hope, tealish has a whole section on their website dedicated to dessert teas. Hopefully, I can find another sweet favourite! 

But, for tonight...

This is my last cup of creamy caramel tea...ever. 



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Favourites: Goodbye July, Hello August

Dark Horse Espresso Bar in Toronto (Queen West location)
I have my arms wide open for August. Having summer school come to an end for me last week was a great relief and I still can't believe that pretty much burned up 3 months out of the 4 of my summer. With today being August 1, I've decided to make it a productive month. But, before I jump onto that, I would love to share what I've found myself loving in the month of JULY. For the 7th month of the year, I have 7 things that I absolutely loved: 

1. Where can I begin with dark chocolate? I always find myself purchasing a new bar of dark chocolate every couple of days. It was not friendly to my wallet, but my tummy (and PMS) was surely a happy one. I always ended up buying the Lindt Excellence brand of dark chocolate since it was the most closely and readily available around me. My most favourite ones must be the Intense Mint (that contains 47% of dark cocoa)and the one that is straight up 90% dark cocoa.

2. Water with lemon, more lemon, and some lime. Just trying to make things a little different for me as I tried to just pass my summer courses, my daily consumption of lemon slices in my water became an addiction. And to make things even fancier, adding a slide of lime made all the difference. In fact, drinking warm lemon water is a great way to kick start for your day!

3.Getting toned with PILATES and YOGA.I really didn't do much in between the days that I didn't have any class. This summer I began running - I haven't done this type of running since high school phys ed. class. I found out my heart was really weak and after running just two blocks, it would be the most uncomfortable pain in my chest. I know, I know - it should get better after a while. But, with so many pilates/yoga studios all around Toronto, I took advantage and did many of the studio's intro. offers. Now, it's a regular practice of mine - probably find me at the mat for at least 4-5 days a week. 

4. The lovely green fruit. Avocados have always been a great favourite of mine and it has re-entered my life again on a consistent basis. I just love eating it with my sandwiches and burgers...mmmm. Fun fact - during the first year of university, how I became great friends with my current boyfriend was through splitting an avocado every night. I know - we're weird. But, it was great to find someone who was willing to eat an avocado straight up with you on a regular (almost daily, but not yet) consistent basis.

5. As much as I am a tea lover, I found myself crawling back for iced coffee for the warm weather. Dark horse espresso has several locations throughout Toronto and I always find myself near one of their locations. They got me HOOKED on their iced mocha with soy! And they recently implemented a point system that you can bank up! That is definitely bringing me back! 

6. Smelling good is always a nice thing to do for yourself and to those hanging around you. Tocca Giulietta was the one scent that I used all month. I actually own the rollerball for it, so it was easy to carry it around with me when I need to quickly re-apply it. It's a very light scent - I promise, it won't be overwhelming. I don't think I'll be changing this scent any time soon either.  

7. Having slow days, the only person to get me through was Bon Iver. An american indie band/singer, his tunes get me through the days. The two albums I been listening to nonstop - For Emma, Forever Ago and Bon Iver (self titled album) - are both around 30 minutes long. Great to listen to when I was taking a study break, getting ready for bed, or just internet surfing. 

Tons of food favourites - kind of expected from me! But, July has been a bumpy ride for me. Can't wait to see what August has for me. 

Talk to y'all soon,