Monday, September 26, 2016

Makeup and Beauty Blog: Monday Poll, Vol. 442

This week's Monday Poll:
  1. List three pieces of makeup you used this morning. 


    • Makeup Geek x Kathleen Lights Highlighter Palette — Sunlight and Starlight mixed is my ultimate highlighter shade. (Review on this palette coming soon!)

    • Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Bronzed — I don't usually use bronzer, but I got tanned from when I went to the cottage so I've been using this one to warm up my face.

    • MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Doe — My favourite nude shade right now. The Liptensity formula is amazing. It's long-wearing, super-comfortable to wear, ultra-pigmented, and doesn't leave that dreaded white ring around the inner lips like other MAC lipsticks can. (You can read my reviews on these lipsticks here, here, and here.)

  2. List three things you’d do if you had three full days to yourself in Paris.


    • Go on a serious pastry tour. Cakes and tarts, croissants, pains aux chocolat, Kouign-amann, éclairs, choux à la crème, madeleines, Paris-Brest, and, of course, macarons. There are just so many patisseries for me to explore and not enough stomach space to eat everything.

    • Explore the city with my camera, stop by all the touristy sights (the Eiffel Tower, the L'Arc du Triomphe, Notre Dame, etc.), and walk down the Champs-Élysées and allow myself to splurge on one small designer item (maybe a YSL flap wallet or a Chanel Boy wallet).

    • Eat like a king at every meal. Galettes and crêpes, Croques Monsieur/Madame, French onion soup, steak frites, moules frites, escargots, steak tartare, duck confit, beef bourguignon, escargots, coq au vin, bouillabaisse...

    • I know this is technically four things, but as I can't be eating at every second of the day (much as I'd like to), I would also like to spend a day at the Louvre.

  3. List three perfumes that you currently wear (or wore at one time). 


    • Fresh Sugar Lychee Eau de Parfum
    • Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne
    • Atelier Cologne Cédrat Enivrant Cologne Absolue

  4. Three things that drive you absolutely nuts. 

    • People who cut in line.

    • Bad drivers (e.g. people who don't look in their blind spot before switching lanes, people who cut you off to go faster only to end up at the same red light as you, people who tail you on the highway even though you're going 140 km/h and there's a totally open lane beside you, people who go slower than the speed limit with no good reason, etc.).

    • People who condescendingly preach their lifestyle choices (e.g. most vegans).

  5. Three small joys for which you're grateful. 

    • Coffee.
    • Apple Music.
    • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Video Love: Spider-Man Theme


I cannot wait to see this girl perform live next month.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday Nine: One Night in Bangkok (1984)

This week's Saturday Nine:


(Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.)


  1. This song is from the play Chess. It's been said that the most successful players are fluid in their thinking. Do you consider yourself flexible or set in your ways? It depends on what the situation is, but I generally consider myself to be pretty flexible. Being flexible allows you to learn more and do things more efficiently.

  2. Nigel Short, a real-life chess grandmaster, used to wear a t-shirt that said, "He who cares, wins." Do you always play to win? Or do you play board/card games or sports for the fun of it? I mean, I don't play to lose, but generally, I play games for the fun of it. Unless there's money involved.

  3. The singer is in Bangkok for an important tournament. He maintains that he doesn't mind missing the sights and dismisses Bangkok is just another "crowded, polluted stinking town." Do you find big cities exciting? Or do you think of them as noisy and dirty? I mean, they are noisy and dirty, but I love big cities. There's more to see and more to do and more different things to eat. Also, I've been to Bangkok, and while it is crowded, polluted, and pretty stinky (there's a lot of durian there), I also found it to be a really interesting city to explore.

  4. Air pollution has reached serious levels Bangkok. Do you suffer from allergies, asthma or another condition that could be aggravated by pollution? I have both allergies and asthma, though I don't think the latter is necessarily caused or aggravated by pollution.

  5. To reduce traffic, commuters travel through Bangkok on ferries that make regularly scheduled trips up and down the Chao Phraya River. When was your last boat ride? Couple of weeks ago. My friend Chelsea and I went paddle-boating. But on an actual ferry? I honestly can't remember.

  6. Round trip airfare between ATL and BKK is $1750. If we gave you a travel voucher for that dollar amount, how would you spend it? I would probably go to London. It's next on my to-go list. It's always been a matter of having both enough money and time simultaneously. I'm really hoping to make a trip next year.

  7. The Holiday Inn Express in Bangkok has a McDonald's onsite. When you go somewhere new, do you find it comforting to be surrounded by what's familiar? Or would you prefer to try new things? Trying new things. It's the best thing about traveling. That having been said, McDonald's has loads of new menu items from country to country, so I can't knock them. (McDonald's in Hong Kong have chicken wings and mango-dipped ice cream cones and macaroni noodle soup for breakfast. McDonald's in Italy have mozzarella sticks, double chicken cheese burgers, deep-fried shrimp cocktail, and ice cream waffle wraps. McDonald's in Japan have teriyaki Mac burgers, deep-fried shrimp burgers, yuzu ice cream floats, and peach cream pie.)

  8. One of Bangkok's most popular restaurants is DID, which stands for Dine in Dark. The dining room at DID is 100% light free — cell phones must be stored in the lobby to avoid distracting from the experience — so customers eat their four course meal without seeing it. This heightens the diner's sense of taste and smell. When you prepare a meal, do you put a great deal of care into its presentation? I always like my food to look appetizing, of course. But if I'm making a meal, I'm going to be the only one eating it, so presentation isn't really a priority.

  9. Random question: Think about your last professionally prepared meal. Did you dine in, carry out, or have it delivered? Dine in. I rarely get take out or delivery.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Five: All Over

This week's Friday Five:
  1. What would you like right now to be coated with? Well, I just took a shower and coated myself with Moonlight Path Ultra Shea Body Cream from Bath & Body Works.

  2. What's something you recently slathered on something else? Extra guacamole on the steak rice bowl from Chipotle that I had for dinner.

  3. What’s something you purchased recently whose purpose is to cover something? A black bomber jacket from Zara, and a watermelon phone case from Sonix.

  4. What do your current bed linens look like? They're a medium grey-teal with a kind of geometric print embossed in them.

  5. Under what circumstances did you last wear some kind of gloves? I wore some cloth work gloves to help my mom move some stuff in the basement a couple days ago.

MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Cordovan, Dionysus, Double Fudge, Burnt Violet, Hellebore, Stallion, Blue Beat, and Galaxy Grey


Yesterday, MAC launched a new product called Liptensity Lipstick, "a brilliant new formula that pushes the boundaries of colour." It was created with the help of a woman named Maureen Seaberg, who is "a true tetrachromat — someone with the genetic ability to see 100 million hues imperceptible to the average naked eye." As a result, "an unprecedented spectrum has now been created with never-before-seen clarity and vibrancy." Using their new groundbreaking High-Frequency Tetrachromatic Pigments technology, "each lipstick holds double the amount of pigment than traditional formulas, resulting in the most intense lipstick ever. This luxurious gelled base melts on contact, providing fully saturated colour with a satin finish in just one stroke." 


There is a total of 24 shades with this launch, of which six are limited edition, and 18 will become permanent. They launched yesterday in North America and will launch internationally in October. Like all MAC lip products, they are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Each Liptensity Lipstick is housed in a metal cylindrical tube with a colour-coded lid, contains a total of 3.6 grams of product, and retails for $25. Due to the higher price point, these will not be redeemable as a free product in the Back to MAC recycling program.

Cordovan, Dionysus, Double Fudge, and Burnt Violet

Cordovan, Dionysus, Double Fudge, and Burnt Violet

Cordovan is a medium-dark cool cranberry red in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker than D for Danger, and brighter than Diva.
Dionysus is a medium-deep cool wine red in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is slightly darker and cooler than Diva, and slightly cooler than Dark Side.
Double Fudge is a dark warm reddened brown in a creamy satin finish. This is a new and limited edition shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is slightly warmer than Antique Velvet, and more brown than Media.
Burnt Violet is a dark cool wine purple in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is more reddened than Smoked Purple, and more purple than Media.

Hellebore, Stallion, Blue Beat, and Galaxy Grey

Hellebore, Stallion, Blue Beat, and Galaxy Grey

Hellebore is a medium-dark cool violet purple in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker and cooler than Heroine, and darker and warmer than Recollection Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour.
Stallion is a deep dark neutral black in a creamy satin finish. This is a new and limited edition shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is warmer than In the Spirit.
Blue Beat is a dark cool navy blue in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker and cooler than Matte Royal.
Galaxy Grey is a medium cool greyed lavender in a creamy satin finish. This is a new and limited edition shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is lighter and more grey than 4Eva, and darker and more grey than Love & Cherished.

While it might be an overstatement, Liptensity is MAC's most impressive — and most technologically advanced — lip formula to date. It has a cushy, creamy, gel-based texture that feels ultra-smooth and comfortable and hydrating, but gives off beautifully rich, saturated colour with a slight sheen that dries down to a satin finish. It's almost as if the Huggable Lipcolours and Pro Longwear Lip Cremes had a baby (which might explain why both of those ranges were discontinued). Like both formulas, the Liptensity lipsticks seem to cling to the lips so that colour doesn't bleed or fade, and wears evenly for at least four hours (up to eight for the brighter and darker shades). They also seem to make the lips appear smoother and more plump, which is a nice bonus.

What sets Liptensity apart, though, is the amount of pigmentation and colour fidelity — meaning, what you see is what you get and what it will stay as during wear time. According to MAC, "Liptensity contains pre-saturated pigment combined with a clear base — unlike most lipstick bases that are more opaque or 'muddier' — to give a 'true' colour. When people say that the 'colour stays true,' it's not always true because it acts with your own chemistry." So MAC worked with Seaberg to adjust the shades and remove any undertones that made colour look muddy. Though the majority of people are not tetrachromats, the result of working on this lipstick range with someone who does have tetrachromacy is truly amazing colour purity and vibrancy. It's a nicely curated range, too, so there is something for everyone, including some funky shades that aren't so dupeable. Overall, Liptensity is a gorgeous new lipstick formula that should appeal to everyone of all ages and all complexions. And the best part is that it will be permanent.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Lobster, Habanero, Fireworks, Life's Blood, Mulling Spices, Claretcast, Ambrosial, and Marsala


Today, MAC is launching a new product called Liptensity Lipstick, "a brilliant new formula that pushes the boundaries of colour." It was created with the help of a woman named Maureen Seaberg, who is "a true tetrachromat — someone with the genetic ability to see 100 million hues imperceptible to the average naked eye." As a result, "an unprecedented spectrum has now been created with never-before-seen clarity and vibrancy." Using their new groundbreaking High-Frequency Tetrachromatic Pigments technology, "each lipstick holds double the amount of pigment than traditional formulas, resulting in the most intense lipstick ever. This luxurious gelled base melts on contact, providing fully saturated colour with a satin finish in just one stroke." 


There is a total of 24 shades with this launch, of which six are limited edition, and 18 will become permanent. They launch today in North America and internationally in October. Like all MAC lip products, they are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Each Liptensity Lipstick is housed in a metal cylindrical tube with a colour-coded lid, contains a total of 3.6 grams of product, and retails for $25. Due to the higher price point, these will not be redeemable as a free product in the Back to MAC recycling program.

Lobster, Habanero, Fireworks, and Life's Blood

Lobster, Habanero, Fireworks, and Life's Blood

Lobster is a medium-dark warm vibrant persimmon orange in a creamy satin finish. This is a new and limited edition shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is slightly more muted and more reddened than Morange, and darker and more vibrant than Vegas Volt.
Habanero is a medium-dark warm vibrant red-orange in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is more orange than Lady Danger, and darker and more red than Neon Orange.
Fireworks is a medium-dark neutral vibrant red in a creamy satin finish. This is a new and limited edition shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is warmer and creamier than Ruby Woo, and slightly darker and slightly warmer than Red Rock.
Life's Blood is a medium-dark cool vibrant cherry red in a creamy satin finish. This is a new and limited edition shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker than MAC Red, and cooler than Russian Red.

Mulling Spices, Claretcast, Ambrosial, and Marsala

Mulling Spices, Claretcast, Ambrosial, and Marsala

Mulling Spices is a medium-dark warm vibrant crimson red in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker than Russian Red, and brighter and less brown than Viva Glam I.
Claretcast is a medium-dark cool vibrant raspberry pink in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is brighter and more pink than D For Danger, and lighter and more red than Rebel.
Ambrosial is a medium cool vibrant magenta-fuchsia in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is more pink than Viva Glam Ariana Grande 2, and lighter and brighter than Flat Out Fabulous.
Marsala is a medium-dark cool reddened plum in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker than D For Danger, and more red than Rebel.

While it might be an overstatement, Liptensity is MAC's most impressive — and most technologically advanced — lip formula to date. It has a cushy, creamy, gel-based texture that feels ultra-smooth and comfortable and hydrating, but gives off beautifully rich, saturated colour with a slight sheen that dries down to a satin finish. It's almost as if the Huggable Lipcolours and Pro Longwear Lip Cremes had a baby (which might explain why both of those ranges were discontinued). Like both formulas, the Liptensity lipsticks seem to cling to the lips so that colour doesn't bleed or fade, and wears evenly for at least four hours (up to eight for the brighter and darker shades). They also seem to make the lips appear smoother and more plump, which is a nice bonus.

What sets Liptensity apart, though, is the amount of pigmentation and colour fidelity — meaning, what you see is what you get and what it will stay as during wear time. According to MAC, "Liptensity contains pre-saturated pigment combined with a clear base — unlike most lipstick bases that are more opaque or 'muddier' — to give a 'true' colour. When people say that the 'colour stays true,' it's not always true because it acts with your own chemistry." So MAC worked with Seaberg to adjust the shades and remove any undertones that made colour look muddy. Though the majority of people are not tetrachromats, the result of working on this lipstick range with someone who does have tetrachromacy is truly amazing colour purity and vibrancy. It's a nicely curated range, too, so there is something for everyone, including some funky shades that aren't so dupeable. Overall, Liptensity is a gorgeous new lipstick formula that should appeal to everyone of all ages and all complexions. And the best part is that it will be permanent.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Driftwood, Doe, Smoked Almond, Toast and Butter, Medium Rare, Gumball, Postmodern, and Eros


Tomorrow, MAC will be launching a new product called Liptensity Lipstick, "a brilliant new formula that pushes the boundaries of colour." It was created with the help of a woman named Maureen Seaberg, who is "a true tetrachromat — someone with the genetic ability to see 100 million hues imperceptible to the average naked eye." As a result, "an unprecedented spectrum has now been created with never-before-seen clarity and vibrancy." Using their new groundbreaking High-Frequency Tetrachromatic Pigments technology, "each lipstick holds double the amount of pigment than traditional formulas, resulting in the most intense lipstick ever. This luxurious gelled base melts on contact, providing fully saturated colour with a satin finish in just one stroke." 


There will be a total of 24 shades with this launch, of which six are limited edition, and 18 will become permanent. They will launch this week in North America and internationally in October. Like all MAC lip products, they are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Each Liptensity Lipstick is housed in a metal cylindrical tube with a colour-coded lid, contains a total of 3.6 grams of product, and retails for $25. Due to the higher price point, these will not be redeemable as a free product in the Back to MAC recycling program.

Driftwood, Doe, Smoked Almond, and Toast and Butter

Driftwood, Doe, Smoked Almond, and Toast and Butter

Driftwood is a light cool mauve-beige in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is slightly darker and cooler than Really Me, and lighter and cooler than Viva Glam II.
Doe is a light-medium warm peachy brown in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is more peach than Cherish, and lighter than Velvet Teddy.
Smoked Almond is a medium warm rosy brown in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is more brown than Twig, and more pink than Persistence.
Toast and Butter is a medium-dark warm peachy cinnamon in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker than Taupe, and lighter and more peach than Photo.

Medium Rare, Gumball, Postmodern, and Eros

Medium Rare, Gumball, Postmodern, and Eros

Medium Rare is a light-medium warm muted pink in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is slightly darker and warmer than Creme Cup, and lighter and more muted than Please Me.
Gumball is a medium slightly cool brightened bubble gum pink in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is darker and warmer than Pink Nouveau, and darker and brighter than Steady Going.
Postmodern is a medium-dark warm vibrant reddened coral-pink in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is similar to Impassioned, and more pink than Relentlessly Red.
Eros is a medium-dark warm vibrant fuchsia pink in a creamy satin finish. This is a permanent shade. It has a soft, creamy texture, and goes on smoothly and evenly. It has high pigmentation and opaque colour pay-off. It is warmer than Girl About Town, and similar to Full Fuchsia.

While it might be an overstatement, Liptensity is MAC's most impressive — and most technologically advanced — lip formula to date. It has a cushy, creamy, gel-based texture that feels ultra-smooth and comfortable and hydrating, but gives off beautifully rich, saturated colour with a slight sheen that dries down to a satin finish. It's almost as if the Huggable Lipcolours and Pro Longwear Lip Cremes had a baby (which might explain why both of those ranges were discontinued). Like both formulas, the Liptensity lipsticks seem to cling to the lips so that colour doesn't bleed or fade, and wears evenly for at least four hours (up to eight for the brighter and darker shades). They also seem to make the lips appear smoother and more plump, which is a nice bonus.

What sets Liptensity apart, though, is the amount of pigmentation and colour fidelity — meaning, what you see is what you get and what it will stay as during wear time. According to MAC, "Liptensity contains pre-saturated pigment combined with a clear base — unlike most lipstick bases that are more opaque or 'muddier' — to give a 'true' colour. When people say that the 'colour stays true,' it's not always true because it acts with your own chemistry." So MAC worked with Seaberg to adjust the shades and remove any undertones that made colour look muddy. Though the majority of people are not tetrachromats, the result of working on this lipstick range with someone who does have tetrachromacy is truly amazing colour purity and vibrancy. It's a nicely curated range, too, so there is something for everyone, including some funky shades that aren't so dupeable. Overall, Liptensity is a gorgeous new lipstick formula that should appeal to everyone of all ages and all complexions. And the best part is that it will be permanent.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Makeup and Beauty Blog: Monday Poll, Vol. 441

This week's Monday Poll:
  1. Recent junk food craving? Fries. Always fries.

  2. How do you think you'd do if you had to have long, pointy nails for a week? Terribly. They'd drive me crazy. My limit before having to cut them is about 3mm. How do people wash their hair or, like, wipe their bums after pooping?

  3. Has anything funny happened to you lately? I was doing a freelance at a hair salon on Saturday morning and somehow my clients and I started sharing some really freaky ghost stories. It wasn't exactly something that happened to me, but it was just such a random thing to be doing at 8:30 in the morning while doing makeup on a bunch of bridesmaids.

  4. How much spice and/or heat do you like in your food? I like enough spice to enhance the flavour of my food, but not so much that I can't taste my food and my tongue feels like its on fire.

  5. What was your last major makeup fail? Gold frosted lipstick on top of taupe lip liner. I was being experimental and ended up looking like the Tin Man. So, yeah, won't be doing that again.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Video Love: Get Right


I cannot wait for Jimmy Eat World's new record to release next month.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Nine: September in the Rain (1956)

This week's Saturday Nine:


(Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.)


  1. This song refers to "leaves of brown." Can you see any leaves outside your window? What colour are they? Mostly green, with hints of gold. Fall's coming!

  2. It also mentions whispered words of love. What did you say last time you lowered your voice? Probably gossip.

  3. Clearly this song is about a treasured romantic memory that took place in autumn. Think about your favourite romantic memory. In what season did it take place? Fall. I think most of my favourite memories take place in the fall.

  4. This week's featured artist, Julie London, was famous as a singer and actress. Less prominent in her bio is her appearance as a "pin up girl" in Esquire magazine when she was just 17. What's in your resume that you'd prefer to de-emphasize or gloss over? Working as a cashier and barista at Richtree. Partially because it was my shortest job (about nine months), but mostly because it has nothing pertaining to the industry I'm in now.

  5. Julie recorded more than 30 albums and was named "most popular female vocalist" by Billboard magazine in 1956. If you could see any entertainer —  male or female — in concert, who would you choose? Currently alive? Adele. It is insanely difficult to get tickets to any of her shows.

  6. She became well-known to another generation when she appeared in the 1970s TV show Emergency!. The younger actors credited her for keeping everything calm on the set. Who has a calming influence on you? My friends Cynthia and Corrado. They're just generally very low-key, passive people, so I always feel calm when I hang out with them.

  7. Her Emergency! co-star was her husband, Bobby Troup, and the show was produced by her ex-husband, Jack Webb. Do you have an ex that you're on very good terms with? Nope. I totally believe in the theory that if you're still friends with an ex, it's either because you were never in love with them to begin with or because you still have feelings for them.

  8. Julie was a chain-smoker since she was a teenager and in the 1950s recorded a jingle for Marlboro cigarettes. Yet in the 1970s, when she saw Bobby Troup's health negatively effected by smoking, she pressed him to quit. Tell us about a time you found yourself in a "do as I say, not as I do" situation. I lecture one of my good friends all the time on paying off her credit cards and getting out of debt instead of spending money on things she doesn't need. And it's because I'm the same way; I spend without thinking. But I learned the hard way and had to consolidate my debt and pay off a huge loan with interest.

  9. Random question: You have won an all-expenses paid trip to an exclusive resort in the Hawaii. When you get there, you discover that the private beach is bathing suit optional. Do you swim nude? Definitely not. I don't even like getting in a bathing suit. I don't even think I'd swim nude in my own private swimming pool.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Summer 2016: Cottaging in Minden Hills

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I went to my friend Chelsea's cottage over the weekend. It was actually my first time at a cottage, ever (does that make me a bad Canadian?), and I had a surprisingly amazing time. I say "surprisingly" because I'm not exactly the type to enjoy the outdoors. But it's like a whole other world up there in cottage country. Time slows down. Air is purer. Nature is brighter. And also, if someone told me that cottaging was just about eating and being lazy, I would've done this a long time ago. So, here is some proof of me doing some naturing. And eating. In chronological order.

A lonely maple leaf floating on the lake

Views from the dock

Davis Lake at dusk

Dinner: Striploin steak, garlic butter shrimp, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and roasted parmesan potatoes

We arrived at Chelsea's cottage in the early afternoon on Thursday. It wasn't a particularly sunny day so no one wanted to go into the water, but it was still warm so we spent the rest of the day hanging out on the dock, feet in the water, listening to music, drinking (orange soda for me, beer for everyone else), snacking, chatting, and smoking. Time is a funny thing when you're at the cottage. It seems like it's slower, but then hours pass and you have no idea where the time went. We had a splendid dinner of steak, shrimp, and potatoes, and then spent the evening hanging out on the deck and playing Cards Against Humanity until midnight.

Tarts from The Little Tart: Blueberry cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, lemon, classic butter, blueberry crumble, salted caramel custard, and pecan

Breakfast: blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, sausages, bacon, and fresh strawberries

We woke up early on Friday morning to drive 30 minutes to to The Little Tart in Haliburton. It's a tiny little shop specializing in old fashioned home baked goods. It's become extremely popular and because everything is made fresh and by hand, there is a limited amount of each item and a lot of their offerings are sold out within the first two hours of opening (in fact, the owner told us that there were already three people waiting on the porch before he even opened the store). But we got there about 15 minutes after they opened and managed to get all the things we wanted. I picked up fourteen tarts (my favourite is the "Booty Call," a salted caramel custard tart with a chocolate base) and two lemon squares so I had enough to bring back home to share. When we got back to Chelsea's cottage, we tucked into breakfast and then set about our day by the water.

Panoramic view of Davis Lake (taken with my iPhone 6!)

Paddle boat views of Davis Lake

Paddle boat views of Davis Lake

Paddle boat views of Davis Lake

Paddle boat views of Davis Lake

Yes, for the first time in nearly two decades, I got into a bathing suit and shorts and went swimming (well, wading, really, because I had my contacts in and didn't want to go underwater for fear of losing one or both). My legs literally hadn't seen the sun in over 15 years. It was a very surreal experience. I didn't think I'd have fun because, again, I don't really do the outdoors, but I had a surprisingly fantastic time helped by the stunningly beautiful weather. It was sunny but not too hot or humid, the sky was the bluest of blues, and the water so clear that you could see to the bottom of the lake. We had a nice lunch spread on the patio consisting of freshly baked cheesy bread (picked up from the local bakery that morning), prosciutto, figs, various crackers and cheeses, pickles, hummus and red pepper jelly, strawberries, grapes, and cucumbers. I didn't take any photos, but trust me when I say we were eating like royalty. Chelsea and I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon paddle-boating around the lake and actually got quite far (I even brought my camera for proof). I haven't gotten this much exercise in years but, you know, we had to burn off all the food somehow. 

Dinner: Grilled prime rib beef burgers with cheddar and hot dogs

After being exhausted from paddle-boating, we lay on the dock for a couple hours (I got quite the savage sandal tan) and then went in to shower. Dinner consisted of prime rib beef burgers and hot dogs from the charcoal barbecue, plus heirloom tomatoes and bocconcini on the side. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out on the deck and playing more Cards Against Humanity (as it turns out, we are terrible, terrible people).

Breakfast: pancakes with butter and homemade strawberry jam, parmesan scrambled eggs, bacon, and strawberries


Panoramic view of Davis Lake (also taken with my iPhone 6)

Views from the dock

It was a cold, gloomy day on Saturday with periods of rain, so we slept in, had a lovely breakfast inside, and then spent the day having a serious Yahtzee! competition. I do remember spending a couple hours on the deck just smoking and drinking and chatting when it wasn't raining, but we spent the majority of the day indoors.

Dinner: Tenderloin steak, grilled shrimp, corn on the cob, roasted garlic potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and tomatoes

The rain didn't deter us from barbecuing, though, and we had an early dinner of grilled steak and shrimp and corn on the cob before heading out to watch War Dogs at Highlands Cinemas, an old independent movie theatre with a movie paraphernalia museum. Highlands is old-school, the way theatres were before multiplexes. They display movie times with retro dimensional letters on an old marquee sign. It has a very kitschy, vintage feel and even smells like an old thrift store, which some will like and some won't, but it is definitely a very cool small-town experience and anyone going up to the Haliburton area needs to check the place out at least once. And as for the movie? I'd give it a solid 8/10 (on its own, War Dogs would probably get maybe a 6 or 6.5, but Jonah Hill is really, truly spectacular in that film — as Wendy Ide of The Guardian says, "Jonah Hill is so repellent — all swagger, sweat and unapologetic sexism — in War Dogs, that for a while, you don't immediately realise what a blitzkrieg of a performance he delivers.").

Morning views of Davis Lake

Morning views from the dock

Yahtzee! and strawberry cheesecake

On our last morning at the cottage, we got up early to pack, had warm apple strudel and bacon scramble on English muffins for breakfast, hung out by the dock for a bit (despite the sun, it was actually pretty cold), and then spent a couple hours eating cheesecake and playing more Yahtzee! (seriously, it got really addictive) on the patio before finally hitting the road in the early afternoon. And just like that, vacation was over. But despite the many mosquito bites and the slight sunburn on my legs, I would do it over again in a heartbeat. Consider my cottage cherry popped.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Canadian National Exhibition: Summer 2016

My friends and I made our annual trip to The Ex a couple weeks ago but I totally forgot to post about our food adventures, so here it is, better late than never (because it is a tradition, damn it). We actually couldn't care less about the midway rides or games there, or even the actual exhibitions themselves. We just care about food. So we went straight to the Food Building and just stayed there until we had satisfied our gluttonous foodie dreams (which, as it turns out, is when they closed).

"Duece Pigalow" from Porkies

This year, we were more focused on procuring truly delicious eats rather than bordering-on-gross food finds (especially since insects were the buzzworthy food at The Ex this year — I'm not paying to eat bugs, thanks). We started at Porkies, who specializes in authentic porchetta sandwiches. We shared a Duece Pigalow sandwich, which features both porchetta and pork belly, topped with crackle, caramelized onions, arugula, salsa verde, and provolone in between a crusty roll. As far as The Ex goes, this was a pretty basic choice, but it actually ended up being one of our favourites.

Canadian Bacon Tacos from Bacon Nation

Next stop was Bacon Nation, which has now become a staple at The Ex. We decided to get the Canadian bacon tacos, which features BBQ pulled pork piled high on two tender pieces of Canadian bacon, topped with mango salsa and burrito sauce. They were actually very tasty and all the flavours worked really well together, but I only wished that they had used tortillas or taco shells to hold all of ingredients together. With Canadian bacon as the "holders," they just seemed too flimsy and messy, making them seem too deconstructed to be called tacos. I'd be more inclined to get the classic Bacon Wrapped Grilled Cheese next year.

Thanksgiving Waffle from Fran's

Orange Creamsicle Float from Fran's

Of course, we had to stop by Fran's. There were a couple new items this year, but we ultimately decided to indulge in the famous Thanksgiving Waffle, which debuted a couple years ago. It was actually our first time trying it because the line-ups were far too long in previous years, but I think it ended up being the unanimous favourite between the three of us. If you've never had it, it's roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and thick housemade gravy stuffed into a savoury, aromatic waffle that is made of classic bread dressing. It's incredibly heavy, so sharing is recommended, but it is epic. I mean, we all know that Thanksgiving foods are great on their own, but if you've ever wondered whether Thanksgiving foods are still tasty when mixed together, the answer is: yes. Yes, they really, really are. And because we're fatties, we washed that calorie-laden waffle down with Creamsicle floats. And it was absolutely glorious.

Churro Cheeseburger from Epic Burgers & Waffles

Deep Fried Mac 'n' Cheese Curds from Mac & Cheesery

A trip to The Ex wouldn't be complete without a stop at Epic Burgers. After their grilled cheese sandwich burger put them on the scene, their doughnut cheeseburger started a craze, and their big cronut food poisoning fiasco last year made them newsworthy, they decided to collaborate with I Love Churros this year to create a Churro Cheeseburger. It's exactly as it sounds: a burger patty topped with cheese in between two churro "buns." It is good in concept, but not so great in execution. The cinnamon sweetness works well with the smoky-salty flavour of the meat and it almost tastes like a McGriddle, but the churros get hardened so fast that your jaw literally starts hurting from the amount of chewing it takes to get through the dough. I've always loved everything I've tried from Epic Burgers, but the Churro Cheeseburger was a flop. We couldn't end the night like that, though, so we got ourselves some deep fried mac 'n' cheese curds from Mac & Cheesery. Balls of mac 'n' cheese rolled in breadcrumbs and then deep fried. You really can't go wrong.

My fellow Torontonians, did you go to The Ex this year? Did you win any prizes or go on any rides? Did you see any of the actual exhibitions? Or did you just go for the eats like us? And if so, what'd you get?


Canadian National Exhibition
200 Princes' Boulevard
Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
(416) 393-6300