Sunday, December 1, 2013

Food: Quick Hot Chocolate!

As the cold season is slowly kicking in, I constantly find myself in the kitchen making hot chocolate. I've never been a big fan of the hot chocolate made from the pre-made powders, so I found another easy way in making creamy hot chocolate. 



I take a bar of chocolate (I prefer Hershey's since it always makes creamy hot chocolate) and just melt it in hot milk. It's really that easy!

For the cup I pictured above, I actually didn't have a bar of chocolate left, so I just used milk chocolate chips that have been lying around my house. 2 full handfuls is more than enough for a cup. 

I top it off with either marshmallows or whipped cream, along with a dash of cinnamon.

And just like that, you have a perfect chilly weather treat!

<3

Susan

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tea: Irish Breakfast Tea by Twinings


A classic cup of black tea with milk and sugar is probably my favourite part of my mornings. Having such early classes in the chilly winter is not fun. What's better than coming home and making yourself a hot cup of tea that sits in between your hands? 

Today, my cup of tea is Irish Breakfast from Twinings. It's one of the heavier blends of black tea and it has the perfect bold taste, even after you add the milk and sugar! 

Susan 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tea: Lady Grey Tea

I was strolling down the aisles of my local grocery store back home when the tea section literally got my head turning. I just couldn't stop myself from having my eyes glued to the boxes and boxes of tea.  



Oh, lucky me. Twining's Classic Variety Pack was on SALE and it found it's place in my shopping cart. 

Already, I own Twining's massive 100 bag of their Earl Grey Tea - which is awesome for baking! But, trying the other classic black teas is making me fall in love with Twining's even more.

This variety pack is probably one of the best variety packs I've come across with bagged teas. Definitely a great buy to give you options for your daily tea time.

So, today, my cup of tea is the Lady Grey! Just a tiny little twist to my usual Earl Grey.

-Susan

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Beauty: Fall Skincare Routine

I FINALLY have the lowdown of my skincare regime. Bumpy, literally, months for my face and tons of problems, but it's slowly calming down. I am still breaking out due to other factors, but my skin is DRY-SKIN no more...I hope. 

Costed me an arm and a leg, plus tons of research, time, help, and trials - I am finally happy with what I am doing now. 

A majority of the help goes to the awesome aestheticians at Pure + Simple Spa - who are loaded with information and guidance! I have completely hopped on the boat for natural skincare...and it feels AMAZING to know that I'm doing some good to myself daily. 

So, sit down and read on...this will be a long one!


I absolutely LOVED the cleansing gel, but they stopped selling it at Sephora. So, pretty much, when I ran out...I got desperate and settled with the Foaming Cleanser. But, lucky me, I went into a boutique and they were selling REN products - I was able to be reunited with the cleansing gel! Since I got both, I'm using both - they are made with more or less the same ingredients, so it won't make my skin react to it dramatically as I hop around the two. I leave the foaming cleanser at my boyfriend's house, so I don't have to carry around my huge face ritual every time I spend the weekend there.

I tend to apply the face wash around my dry face first and then slowly incorporate a little water before I wash it completely off. 


You may have read an old post from me about toners. I only incorporated a toner into my skincare routine less than a year ago and now, I love it! This toner is great, because it's all natural (of course!) and it does not contain any alcohol which would dry out my skin. The smell will be a hit and miss for everyone, but I love the smell of this...I must say, it's a really relaxing type of smell or something. I use 2-3 pumps each time, rub it all over my hand, and then I press it in around my face. 


This have recently been incorporated into my skincare routine the last month. But, I really see a difference in hydration with my skin from using this. One pump is more than enough for my skin and it helps reduce the tightness feel that I used to have with my dry skin.  

Martina Gebhardt Black Mud Facial Lotion ($54.95 CDN) + Jojoba Oil 

My skin is dehydrated with few breakouts happening here and there - but, when I breakout, they are huge ones. This lotion is perfect in balancing you out - it gives you an adequate amount of hydration, while helping to clear out the acne. This was the perfect moisturizer that I needed over the summer, but when fall started to settle in, I needed more hydration. Adding a drop of jojoba oil and one pump of this lotion together is a miracle worker on my skin. It makes my skin super soft and I couldn't ask for anything better than this. 


I'm still on the hunt for a new eye cream. Lately, from PMS-ing and stress, my under eye area have been extremely puffy and dark. This eye cream doesn't take it away, but it does help in brightening up the area just a tad bit. Since you don't need a lot, I can see this tiny tub lasting me quite sometime. I only use this in the morning. 

So, with tons of research for a hydrating eye cream for the night - I have my eyes on the Origins EyeDoctor, Just Pure Hydrating Eye Cream, or Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

So, this is it! I really have a love for skincare and believe makeup won't do anything if you don't have a proper base for it. Absolutely believe it is worth investing in a good and natural skincare routine - people do tend to forget that your skin is the largest organ and what you put on it gets absorbed into your body. 

Very happy with this routine and as much as I hope I don't have to change routines again, new products have come in and out as I have a serious addiction of trying new things.

I hope y'all all enjoy this lengthy post!

-Susan

P.S. Tell me what your skincare routine is! Share in the comments below or e-mail them to me!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Food: Easy Chocolate Chip (+Mint!) Cookies

As midterm season has come to hit us, all I can think of is baking lately.

A housemate was studying all day and at one point, he just says "I want chocolate chip cookies."

So, a quick online search - we found a really simple recipe and we vamped it up to what we had around our house...and it was delicious!



Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup of margarine (I usually use unsalted butter, but we didn't have that around at the time!)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup of flour (we used all-purpose)
1 bar of Lindt Excellence Intense Mint
1 Bar of Hershey Milk Chocolate


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
 Chop up the two chocolate bars in tiny pieces.
Mix the margarine and sugar together.
Add the egg and mix until it is well incorporated.
Mix in the flour.
Add in the chocolate bits. Give it a quick stir.
Roll the cookie dough in balls and place onto your prepared cookie sheet.
Pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

And here is another easy batch of cookies to enjoy!

<3 

Susan

P.S. Sorry I've been horrible at taking photos of the process - I promise to get back to doing those soon! :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Life: Something new - 5 things that made me happy this week.

I don't usually share a lot about my personal life on this blog with y'all. But, a little something has inspired me to make a new category of posts...including a more regular consistent basis for me to update this blog! 

As I started on some new meds, it completely turned me 180 degrees. I was literally depressed the last 5-6 weeks and I didn't realize till I finally hit rock bottom. At that point, I quickly stop taking the meds and went back to the doctor clinic for new ones. And now, the tears have dried up and I'm (almost!) back to the happy Susan that I've always been. 

The power of drugs really act fast and I'm so relieved that I'm no longer on those stupid ones! 

BUT...

To keep my progress of finding myself again, I am for sure updating weekly on the things that made me smile for that week. It really helps me remind myself of the person I was before that whole phase - the person who used to love to appreciate the small things and always find the bright side to situations.

So, back to the purpose of this blog post:




1. Old photos - I went home for a day and I came across old family photo albums. It's crazy to see baby/childhood photos and realize where you are now. My parents are not photographers and probably had a lot of difficulty taking good photos...but, that's the beauty of this - it was hilarious to find what they did actually catch as a memory forever.

2. Baking - I'm back! I'm back! I'm back at baking. I made two batches of cookies this weekend and the feeling of mixing, rolling, and watching the cookies turn golden have never felt this good before. I blogged about the super easy peanut butter cookies yesterday and the super easy chocolate chip cookies post are coming soon! 

3.  Tea...green tea to be specific! After moving back to university, I found myself not drinking tea as daily as I used to. But, this past week, I've been hooked onto green tea. It's really nice to find myself loving the things I used to love so much! There are three green teas that I've been steeping this week: Stash Organic Green Tea, David's Tea Silk Dragon Jasmine, and David's Tea Japanese Sencha. Mmmm.

4. Friends, friends, and more friends - For Canadian Thanksgiving, I was able to go home for the weekend and see all my friends back at home. It really made me feel better that these friends are always going to be by my side and we all enjoy each other's company over food, tea, and alcohol. I don't know how much I really came to appreciate all the friends that are still in my life - even after moving away from home. And of course, those who I met during residence - those who actually kept in touch and made an effort to do so. You gals and guys all warm my heart...really. I can't ever forgive myself for taking them all for granted the last month - and I promised myself to never let that happen again. The amount of smiles I got from all these individuals in my life this week have been one of the best feelings ever. (Thank you for those friends that are reading this blog!)

And last but not least,

5. My boyfriend - seriously the one guy who stuck by side even when I became a monster with my emotions and lost myself completely. Even after all that, he still makes me smile each and every day knowing that everything will go back to the way it was before...eventually.

Time will heal everything, but it's the wait that gets me impatient. Until then, I'm just grateful for all the amazing things and people that are in my life. 

<3

Susan

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Food: Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Tonight was a baking night.

I haven't baked in a while and I felt the urge to make something the last few days...it's literally a natural high for me to put on oven mitts or something. But, putting my student laziness into the equation, I wasn't motivated to make something fancy.

That's when I came across a recipe from Kraft Foods for Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies. No...it literally is the easiest recipe for cookies...ever!



Adapted from Kraft:

1 cup of peanut butter (I used Extra Smooth)
1/2 cup of Granulated Sugar
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the ingredients together. 
Form balls and place on the baking sheet. 
Bake for 20 minutes. 
Let them cool.
Enjoy.

Optional: For an extra touch, sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the cookies right when you take them out of the oven. It gives it a unique touch to them.

As simple as that, you get a fresh batch of cookies.

<3

Susan

P.S. I know you are suppose to use parchment paper to bake, but I didn't have any with me - so aluminum foil will have to do the job!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Beauty: What I use Jojoba Oil for

A few years ago, I went to visit my cousin down in the sunny California. Been over 10 years since we seen each other and it was crazy to find out how similar we were. It must be in the family genes! 

She was a huge fan of jojoba oil and I was pretty confused with why someone would ever rub any type of oil all over their face. But, after her explanation and my own research, I picked up a bottle myself last winter and I'm happy I did. 

A little bottle can last a very long time. Completely multipurpose - it's definitely worth giving it a try.

I wanted to share with y'all what I usually use jojoba oil for!

1. Eyelashes - I probably cry every time an eyelash falls off my eye lids. Already, I have short, stubby, and sparse eyelashes. The jojoba is great at moisturizing them and help reduce the number of fallouts. 

2. Face - As a dry skin girl, sometimes your lotion and cream is just not enough. Adding a drop or two of jojoba oil with a pump of my lotion daily/nightly has given me the perfect balance for my skin. 

3. Lips - When I make a DIY lip scrub (let me know if any of you are interested in a post about this), I always have the need to add jojoba oil for extra moisture. Again, a drop or two is more than enough for your lips! 

4. Hair - This is something new that I've recently heard of. Putting jojoba oil on the ends of my hair will help tame the split ends. My hair is one of the most messiest and untameable hair possible - and these little things will help in the long run!

As of right now, I'm using 100% Pure Jojoba Oil by Desert Essence. It was easily found in my local organic store. I have my eyes on two other brands to try in the future - Aura Cacia Certified Organic Jojoba Skin Care Oil and Pure+Simple Jojoba Oil.

Jojoba oil has been a life saver in my life. 

-Susan

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Food: Lunchtime!

School year always goes by fast...

My schedule is pretty packed with studying for my midterms, tons of eating, and being lazy. 

Just wanted to share a quick post with you all!

My lunch has been more or less the same the last two weeks, so it hit me one day when I took my first bite (photo evidence below of my bite!) and thought WHY DON'T I BLOG MY SANDWICH. So, here I am, sitting in front of my computer...blogging about my lunch! 



Susan's Daily Sandwich
-two slices of bread 
-meat (I like turkey slices)
-marble cheese
-lettuce
-slice of tomato
-cucumber (I usually do 4 slices)
-ground pepper
-olive oil mayo
-mustard (very little)

Assemble like how you would with any sandwich.

It's tasty and filling! Lasts me through my afternoon classes. And you can't go wrong with green tea (Stash Organic Green Tea) as a mid-day pick me up drink!

I hope you all enjoy a little peak into my daily life. 

-Susan

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Food: S'more Rice Krispie Square

Rice Krispies are probably one of my most favourite snacks ever...especially when it's homemade, it's never overly sweet compared to the store brought ones. 

When I came across s'more rice krispie squares a few weeks ago, I  told myself IT WILL BE MADE...soon.

That soon came around sometime last week when I had my baking night.But, after I made them, I noticed the recipe needed to be modified. It ended up being way too dense with the additional added ingredients to the original recipe. A minor change and you'll get the chewy rice krispie snack that everyone loves. 


S'More Rice Krispie Squares

1/3 cup of unsalted butter
1 1/2 bags of mini marshmallows 
5 cups of rice krispie cereal
1 and 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs
1 cup of milk chocolate chips

Line a 11x9 or 11x7 pan with parchment paper. 

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, add the marshmallows. Let it completely melt, but keep stirring and remove from heat right away once it's completely melted (you don't want the marshmallows to burn).

Add 3 cups of rice krispie cereal and 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs. Stir and mix well. Then, add the rest of the cereal, graham cracker crumbs, and 3/4 cup of the milk chocolate chips. Give it a good stir and then pour everything into the pan evenly. Before you start pressing it to shape it, sprinkle the rest of the milk chocolate chips on top.

Using parchment paper, press it to shape the top of the rice krispie snacks. Leave it out for an hour to cool down before cutting it to serve.

I'm obsessing over this treat and will probably be making this quite often.

I hope y'all enjoy. 

-Susan

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Food: Skor Cookies

I finally took a night off last week and just baked. I haven't touched oven mitts in weeks and it was probably one of the most relaxing thing to do.

I baked three different goods and I completely forgot to take photos of the process - Sorry!

But, I must still share the recipe! 

I've been stuck with what to get for my boyfriend's birthday...for weeks. Then, I decided to bake him something again. What is better than a batch of cookies made with love? Nothing.

Looking through the internet for recipes for days, until I remembered how much he loves SKOR - his mom buys cupcakes for family events and he'll be jumping out of his chair to grab the SKOR one before anyone does.

I found a few different recipes for the SKOR cookies; all different variations - triple chocolate chip, chewy, soft, etc. So, I tried to modify the recipe on my own. 



SKOR Cookies (Makes approximately 3 dozen)

3/4 cup of unsalted butter (room-temperature)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup + a dash of light brown sugar 
2 large eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup of all purpose flour (I really like using blending flour)
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
a dash of salt
1 1/3 cup (1 bag) of CHIPITS SKOR Toffee Bits

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together - I slowly added the sugar in by adding 1/4 cup of both sugars at once, blending it, and then adding another 1/4 cup, repeat until a total of 3/4 cup of both sugar has been added.
Add the eggs one at a time and blending it in. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Set the bowl aside. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the wet. After well incorporated, add the skor bits to the batter. Give it a quick mix with a wooden spoon and it's now ready to be baked!

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and take roll the batter into balls - I did 12 cookies per baking sheet. This is optional: taking a little bit of light brown sugar, sprinkle a little on top the balls of cookies for an extra sweet touch to them. 

Once the oven is ready, pop the cookies in and set the timer for 11 minutes and take them out immediately after the timer. From doing 3 different batches, I found exactly 11 minutes will make the desired cookies. Any more than 11 minutes will lead to hard and burnt bottoms of your cookies; any less than 11 minutes, will be too doughy. 

I hope y'all all enjoy this recipe!

<3

Susan

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Music: Mumford and Sons

I didn't forget about my blog...I promise! Having classes start up again for another 8 months have really put me in a sad mood - I wasn't ready for summer to end. 

I have decided to share what I've been listening to lately...and it's definitely been full of Mumford and Sons (well, the blog title pretty much gave it away). In a nut shell, they are another folk band that I've listened to a few years back; but some reason, I've been hooked to them the last couple of weeks. 

One of their latest songs, Hopeless Wanderer, have been on replay non-stop. A song I definitely can relate to and it's catchy!

Give it a listen! 


I'll be back into the whole blogging routine once I get a routine out of my new schedule - may it be tomorrow, next week, or even 2 weeks from now, but I'll be back.

Hope y'all enjoy this song and video,

-Susan

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Favourites: Blog Roll!

I've been LOVING bloglovin'. It's just so easy to scroll through the website and find blogs about anything and everything. I was able to discover some awesome blogs the past month and of course, I had to follow them.

Here are few of my favourite blogs that I've found the last few weeks:


Tons of food blogs this month - very good recipes had popped up on the bloglovin' popular posts section and it became my addiction to go on daily! 

I hope y'all check these blogs out! They are definitely worth the read.

<3

Susan 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beauty: Nubar Charmeuse

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

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

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


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

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

-Susan

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Food: Honey Fried Bananas and French Vanilla Ice Cream



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

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

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

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

Thank you Rachel!

-Susan

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Susan

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Food: FRUITS in my GINGER ALE


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

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

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

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

Berries would definitely be another great combination for this.

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

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

Enjoy!

-Susan

Friday, August 23, 2013

Beauty: foundation for a new skincare regime?

Lately, my skin just sucks. 

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

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


Healing Immortelle Skin Tonic (Holistic Vanity) 

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

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

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

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

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

-Susan

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food: Matcha Loaf Cake

First attempt at baking with matcha

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

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

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

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

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



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



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



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

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

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

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!

-Susan

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tea: I caved and went to Tealish Teas

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

-Susan

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beauty: the end of Murad Hydrating Toner

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Susan

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What happened to Susan?

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



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



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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Susan

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Music: What I've Been Listening To Lately

Replay, replay, replay...

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

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

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

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

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

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

<3

Susan

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Beauty: Pure + Simple visit and skincare change!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

-Susan