Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick – Wolvesmouth

Have you ever suddenly get an image in your mind of something that makes you go, “Oh, my god… That would look SO awesome!”?

Maybe it’s a specific type of shoe or a really cute top that sort of maybe exists but you’re not overly sure but that’s okay because you really shouldn’t be spending more money than you should, but I’m sure you know that craving urge of “I HAVE to have it.”

That’s what happened to me earlier this week. Somehow, I imagined deep, plum-berry lips with a tiny bit of metallic shimmer that I knew would be absolutely perfect for my complexion for Fall and I needed to find out if it existed.

Luckily, I found this gem at Sephora!

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick Wolvesmouth

This is Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick in Wolvesmouth! It’s a gorgeous metallic berry shade with a slight shimmer and tiny flecks of iridescent blue glitter.

I had NO idea that I would actually be able to find the exact lipstick I had imagined! It’s actually better than I imagined because the iridescent blue gives it another level of depth that’s really beautiful.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick Wolvesmouth

It’s definitely a luxury lipstick at $26 at Sephora, but I’ve heard really good things about how Kat Von D’s lasting power and, after it stayed on my hand after testing and trying to remove it with makeup remover, I have to confirm that it’s definitely got the value!

The only issue I have is that there’s only a few different colours available at the physical store. I know that shelf space is extremely valuable real estate in retail shelves and Kat Von D only has one section, but there’s so many shades offered online that aren’t on the shelf that I want to test first before deciding to buy it or not.

Verdict: 4.75/5 – If you’re looking for a really pigmented, slick and great lasting lipstick, it’s hard to beat Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick line. Just be prepared to take a risk ordering online if you can’t find the shade you’re looking for in the store!

Have you tried Kat Von D’s lipstick or one of her other cosmetics? What do you think about it?

xoxo,

B.elle

Bar Hop on King West

The first time I went to Bar Hop was earlier this year when I called out a bunch of friends to get introduced to the Monsieur. A parkour/lawyer friend of mine had suggested it and I’ve fallen in love with the place ever since!

Courtesy of Bar Hop

Located at 391 King Street West, right between Spadina Ave. and Peter St. in downtown Toronto, Bar Hop attracts young, casual but trendy professionals of all industries in for some good food and drink.

Bar Hop has 36 offerings of craft beer with rotating casks, so it’s entirely possible that you’ll see a completely different menu every time you go.

They don’t take reservations, so if you bring a whole group of friends (4 is usually the best) it might be a while before you’re able to be seated if you want to sit together. But, it’s definitely worth the wait.

I went with Chris on a random Wednesday night for some dinner and drinks. Even though I had went with the monsieur on Saturday, they already had a different beer list! I was a little disappointed because I had this fantastic beer on Saturday and I couldn’t remember the name of it to get another recommendation.

Bar Hop Toronto

Ah, well. I ended up going with Left Field’s Prospect, which is a single hop American IPA that was seriously light and refreshing but it had plenty of personality to keep me interested.

Chris got Beau’s LugTread, which is a kolsch style beer that reminded us both of Rickard’s but much less hoppy, way crispier and very fresh tasting. The only problem for her was that it made her fall asleep really quickly! (She’s a lightweight for beer. Wine, not so much.)

Bar Hop Toronto

For food, I was instantly won over by their Meat Pie of the night: smoked chicken, chunks of merguez sausage, roasted corn in a hot creamy pot pie. They had a pretty fun sounding vegetarian pot pie with celery root and red quinoa, but I have a soft spot for sausages and smoked chicken.

As you can tell, the dish was really generously portioned! They actually bake it in a small cast iron skillet and it gives a whole new dimension of flavour to the pot pie, which was already really delicious in the first place.

The chicken chunks were so succulent and the merguez sausage was balanced out really nicely with the roasted corn, and when eaten with a good beer… HEAVEN!

Chris got their Fish and Chips and Stuff, which I had on Saturday. Served with tempura battered green beans, apple fennel slaw and a pile of fries and house made tartar sauce, the haddock filet was delicate moist and wrapped in a crispy, airy batter.

After tax and tip, I paid about $30 for my meal and that’s a great deal for a fantastic venue like Bar Hop.

Verdict: 5/5! There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back again very, very soon! If you’re in the area, you should definitely stick your head in and see if you can grab a seat. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

xoxo,

B.elle

Oasis Zoo Run 2014

I took part in the Oasis Zoo Run’s 5K Walk this year and it took place on September 20 within the Toronto Zoo!

Oasis Zoo Run 2014

And yes, that meant that Chris and I did the Walk through the Zoo! How awesome is that?!

We got there pretty early at around 8:50am to pick up our race package and get to the starting point, which actually went over pretty smoothly. There weren’t any major hold ups and the directions were fairly clear although everything seemed to have been delayed by about 15 minutes from the 10K race starting later than anticipated.

Watching the 10K runners pass by in the morning.

Watching the 10K runners pass by in the morning.

The last time I went to the Toronto Zoo was during a field trip for an Ecology course in university, and we were mostly focused on getting enough data for an assignment for me to remember much. Also, the Zoo was under some renovation in some areas during that time and I hadn’t been back since!

The planned route was carefully laid out and barricaded from public visitors so the participants would be able to go through the course with minimal disturbances.

We all started in corrals separated by colours. When I signed up with Chris, I wasn’t sure how long I would take so I put in the maximum amount of time at 1h30m and got placed in the Purple Corral with Chris. We were in the last group to start!

Running Shoes

I used these shoes for the run – New Balance Minimus WT1010v2. Love them!

Well… The last group in the 5K section, at least. The run also has a separate run for kids called the Cub Run, which started right after ours and had a much shorter distance for the kiddies to go.

Although, I was extremely impressed that there were a lot of young kids doing the 5K with their parents and I even saw a few who did the 10K run when they passed us on the routes!

For some reason, I expected the route to be a bit more… flat. It turned out to have a bunch hills, including one that felt like it had a 30 degree incline that we had to go up and down on the 3rd kilometer!

Courtesy of Canada Running Series

Chris and I walked the whole course together and I finished it in 49:34.4! Considering that we only jogged the first maybe 100m to get a good spot on the track, that’s a pretty good walking speed of 6km/h.

That’s faster than the Gardiner Expressway during rush hour! (Ba-dum-tsh)

After the run and some lunch, we went exploring the zoo and visited the giant pandas, polar bears, and the wolves before absolutely calling it a day.

Toronto Zoo Panda Toronto Zoo Panda Toronto Zoo Tiger Toronto Zoo Giraffe

Even though we didn’t do any actual running, finishing a 5K event has really inspired me to at least try to increase my fitness endurance over the next year so I can actually run for the majority of the route!

Right now, I’m not sure what sort of fitness plan I’ll try to follow, but it’s definitely something I’ll be looking into this season.

How do you train for marathons? Have you ever tried? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

xoxo,

B.elle

Bacon Potato Quiche

It’s quickly turning into Fall in Toronto and it’s making me want more and more hearty foods. Luckily, I’ve been trying new recipes by cooking lunch for the bi-weekly team meetings!

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but I’m cooking for a team of 5 (including me) and I’m the only woman here. How is that bad? It means that I’m cooking for 4 adult men under the age of 35! It’s so much food and 3 of them are French!

I cooked this last week, so you might’ve been able to see this if you’re following me on Instagram!

Bacon Potato Quiche

It went over super well! Each bite is a little different with little chunks of havarti cheese scattered around with the crunchy bacon and a fragrant hint of rosemary in the mix.

The best thing aside from the bacon is that it’s easy to get it done in about an hour with a little bit of good time management!

In fact, it’s even easier to make TWO quiches at the same time if you use the shallow 9″ pie crusts! (Remember, I had to feed 4 adult men during lunch time without much time for sides…)

Bacon Potato Quiche

Makes: 2 shallow 9″ quiches OR 1 deep 9″ quiche
6 generous servings

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, small cubes
1/2 medium onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 slices of bacon, cut into small chunks
50g of havarti cheese (or similar semi-soft cheese of your liking), cut into small cubes
6 eggs
1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp dried rosemary or 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Sea salt
Black pepper

Steps

0. If using frozen, take the pie crusts out of the freezer now to defrost and puncture when instructed. Otherwise, keep your prepared pie crust aside.

1. Cut potatoes into small cubes, about 1/2 cm wide. Set to boil in salted water for 15-20 minutes, or until tender, then drain when ready.

2. Meanwhile, cut bacon and gently fry on MEDIUM heat in shallow pan until crispy. Set aside the bacon on a shallow dish lined with paper towels to drain. Retain about 1 tbsp fat in pan and discard the remaining fat.

3. Chop garlic and onion and fry in bacon fat on MEDIUM-LOW heat. Add rosemary when the onions become translucent and continue to cook for about a minute until rosemary is fragrant.

4. Arrange layers of potato, bacon, onions and havarti cubes in even layers in your pie crusts.

5. Whisk eggs and milk together. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully pour over the layered quiche filling until just covering the top.

6. Bake in preheated oven at 375F for 40 minutes. (Note: Best to check the quiche after 30 minutes to better gauge its readiness! If the middle jiggles a bit, leave it in for another 5 minutes or so.)

7. Serve!

While the quiche is baking in the oven, it’s pretty easy to get a quick green salad tossed up with some sliced cucumbers, grated carrots and raisins or a devilishly easy hot side like blanched and pan fried green beans or broccoli.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox – September 2014

Wow, it’s halfway through September already! Jeez, where does the time go?

Anyway, it’s already the mail time of the month and I’ve decided to review Topbox first because it’s got the least amount of things for me to write about and I’m lazy tonight.

I get points for honesty, right?

What is it?

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty box subscription that features 4 deluxe samples for $12 per month, shipped right to your door via Canada Post. Some months even include full sized products! Keep in mind that they do have a waitlist of about 2-3 months from initial sign-up before you start your subscription!

Here’s what I got in the September Topbox!

Topbox September 2014

I actually really like this box even though it’s got another nail polish in it. I’m starting to get back into nail polish and I definitely don’t have a forest green, so I’m pretty happy with it!

Topbox September 2014

Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Multi-Correcting Cream (15mL sample = $27.60) – $92 for 50mL

Does this even count as a sample?! This thing’s gigantic! Not to mention, the retail value of this is more expensive than most other full sized items I’ve BOUGHT.

It’s really smooth, light and silky, too! I’ll definitely be trying this for a week to see how it does.

(PS – Molecules are usually referred to by their unique IUPAC name or by their chemical structure, not an acronym. Funnily enough, the term Lancome uses looks more like a code used in astronomy when naming new discoveries in space.)

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo – 156mL for $29, 30mL for $11, only at select professional salons

Oooh, dry shampoo! I’ve always wanted to try it out since my bangs tend to get oily much faster than the rest of my head.

It smells really lovely and definitely carries a faint sea buckthorn berry scent that I actually quite like! It’s also really light and soaks up the oils, so it looks like a pretty good investment if I ever see it in a salon.

Topbox September 2014

Bioderma Sebium Purifying Foaming Gel for Combination/Oily Skin (15mL = $1.50 sample) – 200mL for $19.95

It might not be a very high value or large sized sample, but I can definitely get some good use out of 15mL for a face cleanser!

It definitely has a distinctive “soapy” scent in it from that type of fragrance that they tend to use in gel face and body cleansers, but it’s not slimy or goopy at all and my face feels reasonably clean afterwards.

Teeez Scandalous Nail Lacquer in Spa Retreat – 8.5mL for $15, Full Sized!

Even though it’s another nail polish, it’s from Teeez and I really like this brand! The colour’s a deep forest green that I didn’t have in my collection before and it’s perfect for the chilly months ahead.

The formula’s really nice and pigmented, not like some cheaper nail polishes that you can get for like $4. I’m looking forward to wearing it for a while after my demo on Thursday!

Topbox September 2014

Verdict: 4.5/5 – Even though there’s not a lot of colour cosmetics in this box and there’s yet another nail polish, there’s something about it that I really like about September’s offerings! The dry shampoo smells great, I know I’ll get a good use out of the Bioderma and the Teeez, and I’m actually pretty curious to try the Lancome. All in all, a good box at the perfect time for me!

Did you get the September Topbox? What did you think of it?

xoxo,

B.elle

Christmas Planning (Already?!)

I’m usually the first to complain that holiday advertising and marketing are starting earlier and earlier every year. In fact, I actually saw some Christmas cards at Costco just last week and it wasn’t even September yet!

Usually, I cringe at the thought of Christmas when it’s like 30 degrees outside, but this year I have to think about what to get the monsieur… I only met him at the end of February, so I’m not as familiar with him as I am with Chris or my other friends!

So, I figured I’d go for a pretty reliable stand-by: Knitting!

I picked out a pretty basic pattern that I found online at Purl Avenue called the Ridge Rib Men’s Scarf.

Ridge Rib Men Scarf

Ridge Rib Men’s Scarf from Purl Avenue

It’s a pretty simple pattern, but the end result looks really elegant and classy! Plus, since I tend to zone out while I’m doing my crafts, so easy, simple patterns are perfect for me.

I went to Romni Wools over on Queen St. W after work and I picked up this yarn!

image

It’s hand dyed by a company out in Mineville, Nova Scotia called Fleece Artist and it’s 100% wool.

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As you might be able to tell, they do amazing colours and I had such a hard time picking one out! I ended up choosing the blue one and hoping he doesn’t mind the purple in it.

I also decided to start a new scarf for myself because a girl’s gotta have more than one alpaca scarf.

image

Isn’t that a gorgeous yarn?! I’ll do a separate post about it and that project when I start it.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish them both by December… Wish me luck!

xoxo,

B.elle