TRUE Organic Juices – Bunched Greens

I usually don’t buy smoothies or pressed juices in general, but I saw this at a Shoppers Drug Mart the other day and I decided to give it a try!

TRUE Organic Juices - Bunched Greens

What is it?

TRUE Organic Juices uses only the most natural, authentic ingredients in all of their juices. Based in California, TRUE works directly with farmers to get as much organic fruits as they can in each of their 6 flavours.

I picked Bunched Greens since I prefer veggies and savoury foods over sweet. It was kind of expensive at around $4 for 355mL.

It’s really green, but it tastes mostly of apples. The mouthfeel is really thick for what I consider a juice but it’s a bit thin for a smoothie, and it seems to sit pretty heavily in my stomach. The thickness probably comes from the high concentration of banana puree in the formula.

I actually don’t really like it! It’s too sickly sweet, even for an organic veggie/fruit juice. I suspect that this is from the mango puree that they use…

Even though it’s the same size as a can of soda (355mL), it’s a lot harder to drink. I wanted more vegetables from a flavour that highlights the greens! Come on, now!

Verdict: 2.5/5 – The health benefits are obviously there, but the combination of the overly-sweet profile and high price tag is going to keep me from reaching for it on the shelves.

ADDENDUM: I know it’s supposedly super healthy for me to get all my fruits and vegetables in me, but… I like to eat my meals, not drink them.

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox Benefit Box Delayed!

I got my Topbox yesterday and it’s GLORIOUS. It’s the Benefit Prive box with a sample of the new Roller Lash mascara that looks super interesting to try out!

But, I can’t do a review until Tuesday at the earliest because I forgot my Topbox at home and I’m leaving the city for the long weekend!

Biggest apologies and I hope all you lovelies have a great weekend too! :)

xoxo,

B.elle

How Customer Service Affects Purchasing

I finally managed to fully use up some of my makeup!

Empties

I bought that Eyeko eye liner back in late July 2014 and I’ve been using it almost every day! It’s taken about 5 months for me to use it all up, which isn’t a bad rate of consumption at all.

Whether or not that was good in terms of personal hygiene is a different story!

I can’t really remember when I bought that Maybelline Lash Stiletto waterproof mascara, but I’ll have to say that it’s a really good mascara for short eyelashes like mine. The formula’s nothing special, but the tapered brush wand really made a difference catching each of my tiny lashes.

So, I went out to get some new replacements. After learning that Sephora was sold out of the Eyeko eyeliner across the whole store, I wanted to see if I could find a suitable replacement at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Once I was there, I decided against a couple of the low-tier brands since the price differences for the Maybelline and Revlon cosmetics compared to the higher tier cosmetics wasn’t too terrible in my opinion. So, I picked up a Stila Liquid Eyeliner and got into the line at the Beauty Boutique section.

Both cashiers were busy with their respective clients and they kept talking… and talking… and talking. I’m usually a patient person, but each of them had glanced at me and another guy waiting to check out at least twice and neither of them said anything! Not even the standard, “I’m so sorry, we’ll be right with you in a moment!”

So I kept waiting and, when the first customer was finally finished, the cashier waved down a different customer who wasn’t even waiting in line and said to her, “Oh, I’ll take you first since you have cosmetics.”

EXCUSE ME?! I know I often look like I’m still in school, especially in the winter with my poofy coat, laptop backpack and salt-crusted snow boots, but seriously? You should never assume a person by their looks. I was in line to buy a $26 eyeliner, but I guess that cashier thought I wasn’t a priority!

Chris said, loudly enough for the cashiers to hear, “You’re better off supporting Sephora at this point.”

I agreed, put the eyeliner down back in shelves and walked out to stunned silence.

Chris and I went back to Sephora, where I asked for help from Natalie about the waterproof mascaras offered by Sephora. Even though she’s a part-time employee, she was extremely helpful in pointing me towards the best starting places to check out mascaras and she paged for a consultant to help me out.

All the consultants were busy, so Chris helped me pick out these!

Tarte Mascara and Eyeliner

Apologies for the really bad picture taking…

Natalie even helped me check out and apologized so nicely for the consultants being tied up with other customers. I would definitely come back just for her!

These would be Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Eyeliner and Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara!

Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Eyeliner – $24 for 1mL

The liquid eyeliner tip is thinner than Eyeko’s, but it’s still stiffer than Maybelline’s liquid eyeliner that I keep at the Monsieur’s. The best thing is that the formula lasts throughout the entire day and stays super dark!

Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara – $24 for 7mL

I’m still getting used to the mascara brush since the Stiletto bristles were stiffer and had a different shape. The waterproof mascara itself works fine, but I find it a little too watery right now even though it tends to clump slightly when I put it on.

(I still have no idea how people can get such luscious lashes without falsies…)

I doubt I’ll ever buy cosmetics from the Shoppers Drug Mart at the Toronto Eaton Centre ever again, but the one near my house is always friendly!

xoxo,

B.elle

Panty Party!

I got some new panties from Victoria’s Secret today!

Victoria's Secret Panties

The new Itsy cotton panties apparently just came out very recently, although they’ve had the Itsy bikini bottoms for about a year now. When I saw the email ad and how the panties were shaped, I knew I had to go and check them out, especially if they’re 5 for $29.50! (I needed some new undies anyway…)

Victoria's Secret Itsy

I didn’t want to try on a pair (ew, public panties!), so I bought 3 of the Itsy cheektinis, 1 string bikini and 1 low-rise cheektini.

Victoria's Secret Bikini

I thought they were bigger than the Smalls I usually get, but apparently, it’s just how it’s cut that makes it look bigger.

Victoria's Secret Comparison

Once they’ve gone through the wash, I’m gonna be rocking these panties so much!

xoxo,

B.elle

Running Progress!

image

I’m getting there! I actually ran over 6km last night!

I’m finding it really useful to use my Nike+ watch and the shoe pod during my indoor runs to track my progress. There’s also a ton of great fitness and track apps out there that don’t cost anything, either!

But, this is by far the longest I’ve EVER run before and it it feels GREAT.

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox – January 2015

First Topbox of 2015!!!

I was pretty excited to know that it was coming in the mail, but I was already halfway to Montreal for a snowshoeing outing with the Monsieur and his friends by the time the Topbox got to the house. It’s taken a little while for me to actually get myself to post about it, but here it is!

Topbox January 2015

I know, I actually used the terrible flash, but it’s still too dark when I get home to get nice pictures using natural light and I’m far too lazy and strapped for cash to invest in a proper lighting setup.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy overall with the first Topbox of 2015!

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!

So Susan’s Dual Brow Powder – $18 for 4g

I already use the Brow Zings in Dark by Benefit to shape up my brows and it’s not even halfway done yet, so I was intrigued by the So Susan version but also kind of sad because I don’t feel like I want to try a new brow product!

The powder colour itself should match most brow colours, except for very light hair tones like blonde and ginger.

Topbox January 2015

See? It’s quite nice and the powder itself feels pretty smooth. My mom’s almost finished her own brow pencil so she’s stolen this from me.

Matrix’s Oil Wonders  – 10mL sachets each

I couldn’t find a reliable price on the Matrix Oil Wonder line since it’s only sold in salons.

When I got my hair cut a couple months ago, my hair stylist used a Moroccan oil-based shampoo and conditioner and my hair came out so silky and soft, even before she hit it with the hair dryer! I’m definitely going to be trying these out tonight!

Elizabeth Arden’s Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Moisture Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($5.83 for 7mL) – $60 for 50mL

Elizabeth Arden doesn’t say that it’s an anti-aging cream. But, the description on the website says that it’s supposed to help “intercept the first signs of aging.” Um. Okay. Sure.

Anyway, I do like that it’s absorbed really quickly and how smooth and light it feels. Am I going to be using this? Probably not, but I do appreciate the SPF protection.

(It seems that my mom’s also stolen this for her own stash…)

Eyeko’s Mascara Off Makeup Remover Wipes – $12 for 10 sheets

I was so excited to see Eyeko again in my box! This brand makes some truly amazing cosmetics!

I’m going away again this weekend with the Monsieur, so I’m definitely going to be taking this pack with me. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ve heard really great things about it and I’m really curious to see how they compare to Benefit’s They’re Real Remover!

Verdict: 4.5/5 – Nothing truly jumped out at me, but January’s Topbox was really well balanced and I can confidently say that all of the samples are going to be used!

What was in your Topbox?

xoxo,

B.elle

Prociutto and Pea Risotto

Apparently, risotto is a romantic dish.

I totally didn’t know that it was until I was talking to a coworker about making a classic, Italian risotto: arborio rice, white wine, and a bunch of parmesan cheese. He said, “That sounds awesome! What’s the occasion?”

There’s no occasion. I don’t need an occasion to make and eat a damn good risotto and it was actually a lot cheaper than you might think. Of course, I sort of made it a fancier occasion by picking out a nice local Chardonnay by Vintage Ink and plated the risotto pretty nicely.

Prosciutto and Pea Risotto

It’s nice to be classy sometimes, yaknow?

In a restaurant, this dinner for two would easily come up to $90 after tax and tips. (Or more, depending on the restaurant!)

I paid about $35, but I had to buy more of some ingredients full sized because of packaging and I included the whole bottle of wine. Here’s my cost break down, including the store:

  • Arborio rice – $3.40 for 450g (Bulk Barn)
  • Chicken broth – $2.00 for 1L (on sale, diluted slightly, Loblaws)
  • Frozen peas – $2.49 for 750g (only need 1 cup, Loblaws)
  • Green onion – $1.29 for about 5 stalks (only need 2, Loblaws)
  • Cooking onion – $0.57 for 1 medium onion (only need half, Loblaws)
  • Parmigiano reggiano – $4.75 for 88g (pre-shaved in house, Loblaws)
  • Prosciutto, shaved – $3.17 for 74g (PC brand, Loblaws)
  • Chardonnay – $16.95 for 750mL (Vintage Ink, LCBO)

Since I only needed fractions of some ingredients, the actual cost is probably closer to $30 with the wine included.

You could easily get an $11 bottle of wine and it would work just the same, but I like to drink and cook at the same time, so there you go.

The end result? Lots of cuddles and relaxation with the Monsieur. I guess risotto really can be quite romantic… (Or it’s the wine!)

Prociutto and Pea Risotto

Makes: 4 portions
Takes: About 1hr, including prep

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup arborio rice (approx. 400g)
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay, but feel free to use something else)
1 1/2 L chicken broth, low sodium or less
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
75g parmigiano reggiano, sliced or fresh grated
70g prosciutto, finely sliced, cut into smaller pieces
2 tbsp green onions, finely sliced on a slant
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt
Pepper

0. Warm chicken stock until almost boiling. Add vegetable scraps from prep into broth for extra flavour.

1. Heat olive oil in a large pan (at least 12″ wide and 2″ deep) on MED-HIGH heat. Fry prosciutto until crispy and set aside.

2. Saute onion until fragrant and barely translucent. Reduce heat to MEDIUM-LOW.

3. Stir in arborio rice and saute until the grains are shiny and somewhat clear. (This can take more than 5 minutes!)

4. Slowly add in white wine and stir rice until the wine has been fully absorbed. It may still smell a bit sharp due to the alcohol.

5. When there’s almost no liquid left, ladle in 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir rice while the stock is absorbed by the rice.

6. Repeat, stirring occasionally until the rice is al dente, about 25 minutes. It’s easiest to stir the rice and let it sit for a moment to gauge how fast the liquid is absorbed. As the rice gets cooked, it absorbs the broth more slowly.

7. Once it barely gets absorbed after stirring in a bit of broth, taste the rice to check its doneness. If it’s still a little stiff or starchy for your liking, add in another ladle of stock and stir until you’re satisfied.

8. Stir in 60g of parmigiano reggiano until fully melted. Stir in thawed peas, prosciutto and green onions and turn off the heat. Season to taste.

9. Serve garnished with freshly cracked black pepper and sliced green onions.

I didn’t know that the Monsieur wanted to watch and learn how to make risotto, so I had already started by the time he got back! Oops!

I guess that means I’ll have to make this delicious, creamy risotto again. What horrors.

xoxo,

B.elle