Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I received: Cold Hands, Warm Hearts

When Much Love, Illy and Sandy a la Mode announced that they were organizing Cold Hands, Warm Hearts, I didn't waste any time and signed up right away. This swap has to be my favorite because I always get good stuff. Check out last year when I received a package from Michelle.

This year, I was paired up with the lovely Candice from Tea Thoughts. This girl is a beauty. Ironically, we both mailed out the package before the deadline date and we received it both on the same day. I have to say, Candice spoiled me. She sent me a ton of goodies and I love every single one of them.

yummy chocolates

purple glitter polish and a gorgeous blue polish | cocktail ring and necklace (how cute that it has my initial)

Nine West wristlet and a journal for all my ideas

beige gloves which will work perfect for when I need to use my iPhone

So, am I right? She spoiled me. This is exactly why I like joining swaps - you get cool stuff and get to meet really nice bloggers. Thank you to Candice for the beautiful package and a big thanks to the Cold Hands, Warm Hearts hosts - Ilene and Sandy. You guys are awesome and so organized. I hope you host this swap again next year!

November confessions

I feel awkward getting my photo taken. Mike and I had to do two photo shoots for a magazine and I'm so not a natural. As Mike says jokingly, "Modeling is hard". So what do you think of our "travel insurance" photo shoot. Yes, I know it has nothing to do with travel so we had to do a re-shoot. More awkwardness.

I did take the day off to watch the noon show of Breaking Dawn only to find out the high school kids didn't have classes. I didn't know what to do because I can't deal with teens. Luckily I found a theatre with quiet folks, you know, mothers/daughters, couples and other people watching the movie alone.

One day at home, I went to pee and sat down only to find out the lid was closed. Couldn't stop laughing about this.

I lasted a whole month without coffee. December 1st, Starbucks, here I come!

I was craving meat so bad that I took Mike to The Keg for his birthday and ate a 10oz prime rib. Boy was it good.

I scared the crap out of Mike while he was watching American Horror Story. I got him good.

Even though I shouldn't be spending money, I got those booties and love them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 One of a Kind Christmas Show

Yesterday I went to the One of a Kind Show with my friend, Kat. This is the second time going with her and I have a feeling this might become a tradition. We tend to gravitate to the same booths and we don't spend a lot of time dilly-dallying. We go in, walk the aisle and get out in two hours tops. This show I didn't find many interesting things. I really wanted to see Whipped Cosmetics but they were no where to be found (this made us incredibly sad because we love their soaps). Here are some of my purchases:

Froosh handmade body treats has real creamy body butters and delicious smelling soaps and scrubs but I decided on getting their peppermint foot butter.  This is perfect for the winter season because my feet get so dry.

I have passed by Demo several times while walking around Liberty Village, I go into the store and smell every single soap but I never come out with anything. It took the OOAK show for me to finally buy their gigantic soaps. They were selling the soaps 4 for $20 but I really like how the guy said to just cut them in half, so I feel like I got 8 for $20. I purchased peppermint, lemongrass, almond and cinnaberry (I can't remember the name but it's the one with all those colourful bits in them). I can't wait to test them out.

Kat and I are huge fans of Foxy Originals. We are such huge fans that we thought we should buy matching necklaces. Just kidding. I had no intention of buying anything but after she tried on this necklace in silver, I asked if they had it in gold and next thing you know, I bought the same. It's so dainty and pretty!

I bought some little magnets but I am not going to post a photo of it because I bought it for a blogger and I want it to be a surprise. Overall, it was fun to walk around but I much more enjoyed the company of Kat. I am happy I didn't go overboard and just bought a few things. Until next year...

Monday, November 28, 2011

I spy with my little eye (v2)

Eye candy first. Immortals is a movie that I typical would not want to go and watch. Especially after many people told me how gory it is. But since Mike wanted to watch it, I would never turn down a movie date with my husband. Although there was a lot of blood shed and heads cut off, the shirtless hotties truly made up for it.

Every day earrings. Marc by Marc Jacobs heart brass and crystal stud earrings.

Holiday glitter polish. Deborah Lippmann Get This Party Started limited edition.

Perfect set from Benefit Cosmetics. The Big 10. I would use every single products in this set.

Candy Cane cheesecake, yes please!

If I had an iPad, I would get this case from J. Crew.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Prairie Girl Bakery

I read about Prairie Girl bakery from the Hip and Urban Girl's Guide early this year. I decided to finally make the trek over to their King St. location before my commute because I discovered that their Treat of the Week was Chocolate Toffee - who doesn't love chocolate and skor bits?

They have a half dozen mini cupcakes for $9.95 so I picked up Vanilla Lemon, Vanilla Chocolate, Chocolate Peppermint, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Toffee, and Banana Peanut Butter (clockwise starting from the top left).

Chocolate Peppermint is BY FAR my favorite-see photo below. I've tried lots of cupcakes (c'mon, I even went to CupcakeCampTO) but these cupcakes have the best combination of moist chocolate or vanilla cake and creamy icing. Most buttercream icing is either too buttery or too sweet. Their icing is perfect.

Below is the Chocolate Toffee cupcake. I was quite disappointed with it. I don't really know what I was expecting but when I took the first bite, I knew that this cupcake wasn't for me. I think it was the toffee icing, it was just too sweet for my taste buds.

Prairie Girl bakery has two locations: 18 King St at Victoria St and in the First Canadian Marketplace on the concourse level. You can view their menu here and don't forget to follow them on Twitter @prairiegirlbake to find out what their Treat of the Week is.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Readers: feedback please!

I am several posts away from my 1000th post, to be exact, I am 18 posts away. When I hit 900 posts, I thought to myself, "wow I wrote a lot of posts, do I keep going after 1000?" This is when I thought I should start a new blog. Besides, since I am no longer a sun worshipper when I go on beach vacations, I thought the name "blarkness" was no longer fitting.

I'm not really sure what to do. I'm going to do up a pros and cons list and after you read it, I would love your feedback.

I will be turning 35 in a couple of weeks. I will get a fresh new start with a newly created blog > I have to redesign my blog and create new sidebars, blog header, etc....

I can change my blog address, title and twitter name > I will have to find a name that is not taken, check blogger, twitter and gmail if the name is available

I can keep all my followers > I will lose all my current followers

I can re-direct readers on this blog to check out my new blog > someone readers might not want to follow me anymore

Readers/followers/people in general know me as blarkness > I would have to re-build all my relationships all over again

Less than 1000 posts > 1000+ posts too many?

I'm so torn between starting fresh and working hard at a new blog or just go with the flow and continue to do what I have been doing (even though blog name bothers me slightly). I would love to hear your thoughts and most of all, would you continue to follow me if I created a new blog? Do you think it's worth all the trouble to see if one blog name will work for blogger, twitter and gmail? I know I definitely don't want to keep two blogs going....


Friday, November 18, 2011

Movie thoughts: Breaking Dawn: Part 1

I wrote Movie thoughts as my post title instead of movie review because we all know what it's about. Instead, I will just give my thoughts without giving anything away.

After seeing the trailer and reading the first half of the book (I quickly re-read it this week before watching the movie today), I wasn't quite sure what the movie would entail. But there is so much more scenes than what the trailer was showing. I liked the movie. Breaking Dawn was my favorite book of the saga and it's probably because it's the first one I read (My MIL found the book in a rental car, gave it to me and said, "maybe you should read this. I don't like it, it's about vampires), so the movie might just also be my favorite movie of the saga.

Yes, I did go and watch it by myself, it's tradition for me to watch it on my own on opening day. I opted out of watching the very first show even though I bought a ticket for the 12 pm (it was a PD day, no school for kids) so there was a bunch of teens running and screaming around the building. Instead, I found a theatre for the next showing that was quiet and filled with couple, girlfriends and mothers & daughters. Here are some of the things I liked about the movie, don't worry, I am not giving anything away or spoiling it for you:

  •  OMG, Jacob looks hot now, he's older, still buff. When he comes to Edward and Bella's wedding, I love on him the disheveled look, messy clothes and scruff on his face.
  • The wedding ceremony (location and how it's decorated) is beautiful.
  • I love how they played Flightless Bird, American Mouth and Bella's Lullaby during the wedding scenes.
  •  Honeymoon location, Isle Esme is so picturesque, wherever it may really be.
  •  Bedroom/Honeymoon/sex/breaking the bed scene was cheesy.
  • Cullen's House is gorgeous, I want to live in a house like that.
  • Acting in the movie is way better than all the other movies. Bella isn't annoying and she doesn't do that shuddering thing <--you know what I mean.
  • The pack (in their wolf form) talking to each other was the most cheesiest part of the movie for me.
  • Seth, the youngest member of the pack is adorable. I love this guy, he's sweet caring and funny!
  • I was a little squeamish about the part when Bella gives birth, a little disturbing in my opinion.
And this is my favorite song from the movie:

When you watch the movie, don't forget to stay until after the ending credits, there's a small scene at the end. I was warned about it so I stayed and giggled to myself as most of the people walked out.

Did you watch Breaking Dawn? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Callet

 If you are anything like me, you probably like to carry limited stuff when you are out and about on weekends, or even when you have a Girls Night Out. The Callet would have come in very handy for me when I was in Vegas.

The callet is a case for either a Blackberry or an iPhone. There are slit pockets in the back of the phone for your ID and credit cards. It's great because it's a phone case and wallet all in one. I need to get one STAT!

Doesn't this make for a great Christmas gift for your girlfriends? You can thank me later...

Monday, November 14, 2011

10 Day You Challenge: 1 picture

I almost forgot about this 10 Day Challenge. I started this challenge back in July through Krysten's blog, Why Girls Are Weird. So, finally I will be completing this challenge with one picture of myself. This was taken at Kariya Park near our condo.

Don't you just love my yellow jacket? Mike bought it for me and we have dubbed it my New York jacket - although I have started to wear it already. Maybe Mike bought it so in case I get lost in a crowd in NYC, he will be able to find me.

I've decided to include some other pictures from the park. As I mentioned in another post, we were at the park for a magazine photo shoot. While we were waiting for the photographer, we decided to take a couple of shots. I imagine that the changing of leaves must have been really pretty last month. We will probably come back to the park when the cherry blossoms bloom at the end of April.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sally Hanson Salon Effects: Laced Up

Part of my November goals was to not wear nail polish for two weeks. I was doing so well, only I received a phone call that my hubby and I needed to go to a photo shoot. Our photo will be in a magazine because of our travel blog, Beach Junkies. I will let you know what magazine and issue (and page #) when I receive more info.

Well, if you know me, you know that I hate to be seen without my nails all done up. In keeping with the "no polish for two weeks" goal, I decided to try out Sally Hansen Salon Effect Real Nail Polish strips. I thought I was being smart but it turns out, the strips is made of real polish so I'm cheating. I am technically wearing nail polish, at least it's Day 12.

I totally didn't put on the thumb strip on properly
I picked up Laced Up for $10.99. It looks so easy to apply and it is, except when it came time to apply the strips to my right hand (I'm right handed). After applying to all ten nails, I used the hair dryer to smooth them out and make them adhere more to my nail. I finished it off with a top coat. Now, let's just see how long it lasts. If it all works out, I plan to use Glitz Blitz for my birthday and Frock Star for when I go to NYC.

UPDATE: An hour into putting these strips on, the corners started to peel off and catch on everything. I am getting so annoyed. I either didn't wipe my nail enough with polish remover or the strips just are not adhering to my nail. I much rather have my nails painted with polish and then chip a day or two later. The strips peeling off are worse than chipped nails.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I got a lot of compliments on my nails. Maybe I will try another pattern if I find the strips on sale. I don't think it's worth the $11 I paid. It's more than a bottle of polish. I have had them on for four days and they are really chipped. The bonus is, because there so much of a design with a nude base, it's not that noticeable. I am taking off the polish strips now, and it takes quite a bit of scrubbing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I spy with my little eye (v1)

Yesterday afternoon, my two coworkers and I looked at photos of the world's cutest dog, Boo the dog. I am not a dog person but if I were to get a dog, I would want one just like Boo. And yes, Boo the dog is real. Watch this cute video of him falling asleep.

You all know I am obsessed with The Vampire Diaries, well check out this hot werewolf.

I'm in love with all things sparkly, would sparkly Chuck Taylors be over the top?

A Barbie doll with tattoos, yes please!

There were people out there who shot down The Change Up but these types of movies should be rated or reviewed, it is what it is...a comedy, not an oscar-worthy movie. This movie was much more funnier than The Hangover 2 and Bridemaids. If you need something to watch this weekend, I would recommend this one.

Who knew butter could taste so good? Last month, I was introduced to whey butter from Stirling Creamery. I can't wait for when they start selling their goat cheese butter at Whole Foods Market.

A metal hurricane sleeve from Bath & Body Works would brighten up a room during the holiday season. Some of my favorite candle scents - Gingerbread, Spice, 'Tis the Season and Winter Wonderland.

Six more days until Breaking Dawn...I've got my ticket, do you have yours?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Goals

It seems like there are many bloggers who are writing down their goals for the month (Life's Fascinations and Kaileen Elise, to name a couple). I thought I would join in and maybe it might just give me the motivation to reach my own goals.

  • I want to try not to paint my nails for two weeks. I love nail polish and I feel weird when I don't wear any but because of this, my nails are stained. I need to give them a rest, a little breather. I took off the orange and black nail design I had for Halloween on Monday, it's only been eight days and I am jonzing already to paint them.
  • I would like to at least run on the treadmill and do 40 minutes of Pilates once a week. I was so good a year ago with Pilates almost every day and the treadmill at least three times a week. I am not sure when and why I lost my motivation. I'll start off slowly and hopefully, I will start to feel good again and will want to go more often.
  • I need to try to new recipes, healthy recipes. For the past six months, I have been a lazy cook. I actually hate cooking these days. If I learn how to make something healthy and yummy, hubby and I might just stop eating crap. Do you have any recipe suggestions I should try?
  • I'm going to try to drink more tea than coffee. Suddenly these days, I find that I crave for coffee. Not a good thing in my books.  If I can ween myself off coffee (especially americanos and cappuccinos) and just buy a stack load of teas from David's Tea, I'll be good to go. Just to let you know, I had my last coffee this morning.

Now speaking of goals, after I turned 34, I made a list of some things I wanted to do before I turn 35. Seeing that today is November 8 and we are one month away from my birthday, I wanted to revisit my 34 for 34 list and see where I am at. I am so far behind and I have a feeling I won't be able to complete half of them, especially going back to Jamaica and Miami for my birthday. Sigh...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mattel Game On!

Back in July, Elizabeth contacted me and sent over a Mattel Game On! Kit. The kit included everything I needed to host a company-wide game social - a game board, prizes, Game On! party cups, Game On! party coasters, 1 USB and two Game On! Summer Guides. Now since the people in my company aren't that fun, I thought I should play with friends one time and then another with my crazy in-laws. Well, summer came, and it went but summer fun doesn't have to stop when summer ends. On the Halloween weekend, my husband's friends were getting together and I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to get our "game on".

As we get older, and start to have kids, it's very hard to get a group of friends together, let alone without their kids. And then when we do get together, the chatter ends up being about the kids. Well, on this night (with the exception of one kid, who pre-occupied himself with xbox), we got to be adults and play an adult board game.

Enter Bezzerwizzer...a name of the game that none of us could pronounce (oddly enough, this weekend, one of girls saw a Bezzerwizzer commerical). Since we were all couples, we decided that we would divide the teams as couples (we all secretly hoped for one of the couples to get into a fight, and it happened). After reading the rules, we got our Bezzerwizzer on. I am not sure how you get your "game on" but we like to bend the rules a bit or just make up our own rules. The game begins by each team picking four category tiles and placing them on the game card in order of preference. You will want to put the category you know most about last because you get more points. When you answer a question correctly, you will get to move the number of spaces according to your game card.

This game is like trivial pursuit and can really test your knowledge about every category. What makes the game different from other trivial games is the fact that you can "bezzerwizzer" or "zwap". Bezzerwizzer is a tile that you can play to challenge the team who is answering a question for their category. Basically you want to play this tile if you feel you are more knowledgeable about that particular category. A Zwap tile can be played to swap one of your category tiles for another team's tile. You will want to choose one of their category tiles you know a lot about and give them one your category tiles you know nothing about.

We played one round and my hubby and I won. But since I was hosting this game social, I couldn't win one of the prizes, so we did a sudden death round. First team to answer a correct question wins...and here's the winners with their prize.

Since I have one more prize, I hope to play with my sibling-in-laws and their other half. We always have a good time playing board games.

Thanks to my hubby's friends for playing and allowing me to take pictures of them. A special thanks to Elizabeth for sending over the Game On! kit. I truly apologize that it took so long for me to host a game social. After this one night, we realized that as adults, we should play board games more often because it makes us more interactive and social.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What I received: Warm Hug Scarf Swap

There's no rule against swapping with your co-host when you host a swap right? Well, the lovely Elisse and I decided to be swap partner for our Warm Hug Scarf Swap. I was very hesitant about doing this scarf swap after reading that a fellow blogger was hosting one too. Looking back, I am glad Elisse and I went through with it. We had 28 people sign up and boy, was that more than we expected. Thank you to everyone who signed up. I hope you receive a scarf as pretty as the ones I received. I was lucky that Elisse sent me two (secretly, I sent her two too!).

two scarves - one purple & gold and the other a cobalt blue infinity scarf,
Starbucks gift card and cobalt blue teardrop earrings

I hate asking my hubby to take a photo of me so I will admit that I am one of those ghetto people who take a photo of themselves with their phone in front of a mirror (hey, at least I don't use it as a profile pic).

I love this infinity scarf

I am going to use this one to try out the 25 ways to wear a scarf

Thank you Elisse for agreeing to co-host this scarf swap with me and also to being my swap partner. It was fun and I can't wait to see what everyone else gets. If you have participated in Warm Hug Scarf Swap and received your package, please leave a link to your blog post or tweet in the comment section. I want to see what you got!!!!

What I received: 3rd annual tea trade

On Monday, I received my package from Janet P. This is the second time I joined the Gussying up the Tuttle's tea trade. Thank you Janet for sending me some interesting teas and jewelry, and to Melitta for organzing her 3rd annual tea trade.