Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tea: What I'm eyeing on!

It's slowly becoming an accomplishment! With my (almost) daily tea and the help of my dad's daily tea, my tea stash has drastically decreased. But, this isn't going to last for long! I'm estimating by the end of summer, I'll be able to lift my tea ban and finally re-vamp my tea stash with some new ones! I've been eyeing on some new teas for a while now... so, I just wanted to share with you all what I'll be excited for when summer comes to an end.


From the look of this quick list, seems like I've been having my eyes on Organic teas lately! 

Of course, this is just a quick list of teas to smell when I go to the stores. But, tea is one expensive thing to love. I'll have to control myself and limit myself to only 3 new teas at the end of summer and then slowly build my new tea collection throughout the year. I'll definitely do a tea haul for you all when this day comes.

Until then, I'll still be steeping my tea collection away! 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Food: Crepes filled with Cottage Cheese

Lately, I haven't made anything interesting to feel motivated to have it documented on my blog. When I was making crepes last week, a old memory hit me. Back when I was in high school, my friend brought crepes filled with cottage cheese as a snack and it was delicious. After finding a few recipes for it, I decided to modify it to how I wanted it to be. Thankfully, they turned out good and edible!

I began making the batter for crepes. You will need:
  • 1 3/4 cup of flour (I used a mix of blending flour and all purpose flour since I was short of one of them)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cup of milk

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs till fully blended (yolk + whites). Add a pinch of salt and give it a quick mix. Add the milk and mix till well blended. 

Add the flour into the same bowl. Give it a quick mix.

Add the sugar and mix till you no longer see any of the dry ingredients. Add the melted unsalted butter and give it another quick mix. 

The batter should be a semi-watery consistency. There may be lumps, but that is okay. The batter is now ready! 

I used the measurement of approximately half a cup for each crepe. Do not flip the crepe over until you fully see bubbles all over the top of the crepe. Flip and keep checking to make sure it does not burn. 

As the crepes were in the works, I also alternated to make the filling. I used about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cup of cottage cheese; 1/4 cup of sugar; and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. The end result should look something like the picture below. 

Put some filling onto the crepe and roll it up...And just like that, it's finished! 

This is definitely a sweeter treat - more like a dessert type. I hope you all enjoy this recipe! Let me know in the comments below if you have made this or something similar! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Tea: Chocolate Chili Chai...say what?

Yeah, I know...the name already doesn't give this tea a good start. I came across many teas before that have chocolate thrown into them, which makes great sweeteners for your tea; but, chocolate and chilli peppers?!

David's Tea just simply describes this tea as "HOT, HOT, HOT"

I do agree that when you initially smell this tea, it reminds me of hot chocolate. Even during and after steeping, it has the same smell. What am I saying? This tea has a pretty concentrated smell that the kitchen will smell like hot chocolate once you begin steeping the tea!

Don't get misled by the name. This tea is not a chai tea, it's actually just a black tea. But, after steeping, it does give a chai tea kind of colour to the tea. 

David initially released this tea during the holiday season. I found it in my stash of tea and since I'm slowly trying to finish my stash before I buy any new teas, I'm going to have the winter holiday spirit in the middle of the summer. 

Good thing the weather today has cooled down drastically ending the week long heat wave we had last week.

So, this is my cup of tea today and it is perfect for this "chilly" summer evening. 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Toronto: But...I don't love the heat.

What is up with Toronto's weather? Last week we had that massive storm that made the city unable to function and people are still talking about it. This week, it's a massive heat wave. The temperature is at mid-30's C, but with other factors, such as humidity, involved, everyday has been feeling around mid-40's C.

So, Toronto - you just can't make up your mind with the weather eh?

In all honesty, I've been trying my best to keep shelter, also known as trying my best to not leave my seat in the basement, the last few days. But, here are some activities that I've done this week with some old friends and myself to beat this heat!

1. Air conditioning is such an energy eater. It's kind of tempting to turn it on, but at the same time, is it worth the higher energy bill? Do seek out for cooler places, such as your basement (or a friend's basement) and public spaces. Do some window shopping at the mall; sit in a cafe and browse the internet there or read a book or even catch up with friends over coffee; Go watch a movie at a theatre.

2. Running outside in such humidity SUCKS. Opt out for some introductory prices/memberships at gym, yoga/pilate studio, spin studios, etc. These places tend to be air conditioned and even after you sweat from getting fit, there's usually a shower there to use before heading back home.

3. Definitely stay hydrated. If water isn't your thing, try making iced tea/coffee at home, pop a few drinks in the fridge the night before to have for the next day, or put a slight flavour into your water by adding lemon/lime/cucumbers.

4. Watermelons x infinity. Chilled watermelons is probably the best treat to have on summer days. I'm obsessed and hope to consume as many slices as possible in the coming hot, hot days.

5. Especially with the extreme heat alert, Toronto parks have most likely extended their pool hours. Find your local swimming pool and cool down in the chilled water. If you have a local indoor pool, that is even better.

6. Yes, I know it's unbearably hot to even have the thought of being outside - but some parks have wonderful shades to spend the day under. Bring a picnic of cold treats and enjoy it with some friends! Toronto island is also a nice spot.

Also, with such great weather, use it to your advantage and turn off those clothes dryers! It would take less than a day to dry your clothes outside!

I hope this gives you some ideas. Wherever you are, the summer season is always hot and sweaty. How are you beating the heat? Let me know in the comments below or email me your tactics - I'll love to hear new ones!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beauty: Chinchilly by ESSIE

I had a phase where I brought way too many bottles of nail polish in a short amount of time. I can't even keep track of which colours I have or, just like tea, I made a self-imposed ban for nail polish.

Except for Saturday...

I saw on the flyer for Shoppers Drug Mart that there was a one day sale on Essie nail polish for $7.99. I also got a coupon online for $3 off. So, it as kind of hard to pass off on $4.99 deal. I have no self-control on sales.

After deciding to break my self-imposed ban, the second challenge was to pick a colour. Stood in front of the Essie stand for probably 30 minutes trying to decide which one to get. As always, I'm drawn to blues and greens - but, I knew I had to expand my colour selection and try something new. That's when I settled on Chinchilly.

It's a grey nail polish, but with a mauve undertone. So, it's a nice light looking grey. I'm really happy I settled with this colour - definitely doesn't scream summer along with it. A colour that will be perfect to fit with the fall and winter season. Can't wait for the fall season to come and it'll feel more fitting to wear this colour regularly!

AND hey - look at how clean my fingers look! Essie's brush is thin, which is a hit and miss for different people. Definitely a hit for me since I'm such a messy nail painter with regular brushes!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tea: Rooibos de Provence is as fancy as it sounds!

Rooibos is from an African plant and it is a natural energy-fueled tea that contains no caffeine. When I was first introduced to a rooibos tea (it was way before my tea addiction evolved), I was not much of a fan of the one I sampled, so I pretty much steered away from it for a while. It was not until I was introduced to Rooibos de Provence. It was literally a gift from nature - taste, smell, and colour; it was absolutely amazing. David's Tea does a pretty good job at describing this wonderful mix:

"The scent of lavender never fails to evoke the south of France, with its fabulous mix of tiny villages and celebrity-filled beaches and yachts. So imagine yourself in Aix or St-Tropez, leisurely sipping on this smooth blend of rooibos, rosehip, black currants, rose petals and dried blueberries. It's filled with sophistication"
-David's Tea

David, you sure got it right. It is DEFINITELY filled with sophistication...and I have found a way to make this tea even tastier (and fancier...kind of...)! 

After letting the tea steep for about 5 minutes, mix in a spoonful of honey (I prefer fresh honey) and a splash of milk. The taste just works together so well! 

This is how I always drink my Rooibos de Provence and of course...

This is my jar of tea today. 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beauty: Russian Navy!

I was feeling a navy and I'm very sad to find that my favourite navy shade is MISSING. I've been a huge fan of Yoga-Ta Get This Blue by OPI. It was a beautiful blue that had a nice simmer to it. Looking through my nail colour selection, I settled with something similar.

Russian Navy by OPI is quite darker. It's a very dark navy nail polish that has purple simmer. With the first coat, you can see more of the navy tone. But, as you layer on more polish, you can begin to see the purple simmer. With flash on the photo you see above, you can see it looks more purple than navy. 

I still prefer OPI's Yoga-Ta Get This Blue over Russian Navy. I hope I find it again soon! 

These will be my nails for the week. The messy paint job would look nicer tomorrow when the sides get cleaned up. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tea: Sencha Kiwi Garden

I must be crazy. It's 28 degrees C outside (and feels like 38 degrees C with humidity and all that) and I still thought it was a good idea to brew some tea for myself.

I looked through my stash of tea and felt like it was a green tea kind of day. I've been slowly going through my big ol' tea collection trying to finish some up before I can purchase more. To my surprise, I don't have a selection of green teas anymore. This is one of the only ones left.

Sencha Kiwi Garden by The Tea Emporium was given to me as a gift for my birthday two years ago. It is one of the best blends that I have come across. The company's describes the tea as:

"Delicate Japanese green tea with the exotic flavours of kiwi and added Q10. Q10 promotes cell growth as well as stimulates the immune system."

Pretty happy that my friend have given this to me for my birthday...or else I wouldn't have discovered this wonderful tea.

So, today, this is my cup of tea!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Toronto: Blackouts and Storms

Toronto had a huge storm yesterday that basically left Toronto in a terrible condition. Thunder, lightning, and heavy rain - the worse triple combination. I read from different sources that we received around 123-126mm of rain last night...that's insane. Check out BlogTO for some photos of the storm...pretty crazy eh?

I had a blackout for 2 hours yesterday and another one today for 6 hours. I must say, I learnt a lot about myself (and probably a majority of the Toronto population as well). Without electricity, everyone goes insane. When we were hit with the first blackout, I didn't freak out right away. My first initial thoughts were "Oh well, my laptop was charged earlier today...I still had the internet..." But, having it slip out of my mind, the internet modem and wifi router clearly needs electricity....and that was when I reached my lowest point of the day (of course, there's a little exaggeration there). My brother, especially, has his life relied on the electronics and the beautiful diverse world of the interwebs. So, you can see he literally went insane.

To keep myself occupied, I ate a lot, napped a lot, read a lot, and blasted a ton of music. And now, I have my fingers crossed that the electricity will not fail on us again...anytime soon.

With the blackout, the roads in Toronto/GTA was probably pretty dangerous. Streetlights weren't working, flooded highways, streetcars were all stuck and lined up along the main roads, etc. The city pretty much couldn't run anymore...

Just thought I'll share a little about my life the last 48 hours. It was a really self-reflecting moment for me...literally like a coming of age moment or something.

Does any of you live in the GTA area and was affected by Toronto's storm? E-mail me your stories or leave a comment below! I'll love to read about them


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Music: I'm in love.

This must be the best discovery that I've done all summer. One of my all time favourite songs, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, being covered by Ed Sheeran...with Gary Lightbody.

This is truly amazing. Nothing can compare.

Give it a listen! What do you think? I'll love to hear your thoughts! 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beauty: Nail of the Week

I must admit that I'm a terrible nail painter. But, I even amaze myself, that I still paint them myself on a weekly (or biweekly if I'm extremely lazy) basis. I had an interview this morning and was wearing a navy dress, so I figured why not do a light blue. I ended up choosing to paint my nails "No Room for the Blues" by OPI. 

This is evidence of my terrible nail painting skills! But, the colour is absolutely gorgeous for this summer season.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Music: What I've been listening to lately

I am one of those people who can listen to the same song all day and not get sick of it. My family absolutely hates when I do this, especially when I blast my music for the whole house to enjoy as well. For the past few days, I've been having easy and low key days - just sitting around, cooking, baking, and internet surfing.

I have recently discovered Angus and Julia Stone from the Recommended For You box on Youtube and it was the perfect music to fit my recent days. A few of my favourites from the duo include:

1. Devil's Tears 

2. All of Me 

3. Take you Away

The sibling duo has an absolutely stunning voice. I must say most of their music has a very melancholy feel to them. But, it's helping me get through the slow summer days. 

Another artist that I've found on YouTube the last year is a Bostonian musician, Charlie Puth, and instantly subscribed. I love absolutely love his original music with the random music videos he makes with scenes of Boston (Fun Fact: I absolutely love Boston, it's definitely one of my favourite cities). His covers are well done as well. Here's a recent new original he has released last week: 

Check out Charlie's Twitter! @CharliePuth

What are your current favourite music? Share in the comments below! 


Monday, July 1, 2013

Food: Homemade Strawberry, Mango, & Guava Smoothie

We had so many rainy days the last week that the sunny/hot weather is such a relief.

A while back ago, I went out for brunch with a childhood friend to a small local restaurant and we both ordered a strawberry guava smoothie. You don't even know how happy I am to have ordered this smoothie - it was just a perfect summer smoothie.

For the last few weeks, I've been trying to locate a guava in my grocery store, but no luck. I was walking down the juice aisle and found Ceres guava juice and I figured this would do for now. I also found a mango lying around in my kitchen, so I thought to give it a try to give the smoothie a different twist. Instead of using ice, I decided to just leave my fresh strawberries in the freezer for a few hours. So, it worked out!

I made enough for a single serving. I actually just eye balled all my measurements, but I made some estimate and made a recipe out of this for you guys. 

Simple Strawberry, Mango, and Guava Smoothie
  • 10-13 strawberries diced or 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  • half of a banana
  • 1/3 of a mango 
  • 3/4 cup of guava juice
  • Optional: 3-4 ice cubes

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!