Daytime Skincare Products – Review

Hi everyone!

It’s February already, geez where is time going! So, I don’t usually keep up with the weather but I’ve been checking the weekly forecasts lately and its going to snow here tonight – so excited!!! I’m hoping to wake up to a blanket of snow tomorrow morning :).

Today I want to share with you guys my daytime skincare products that I’ve been using for the past few months. I’ve been meaning to share these products for quite sometime now with you guys but I was waiting until I had a routine set and made sure I tried them for atleast a month before reviewing them. I tend to do that with products because using them once or twice you don’t really get a feel for them other than if you know you’re sensitive to them. And of course, if you’re sensitive to any product stop using it asap.

I suggest using products for 3-4 weeks and that’s when you’ll be able to see the results. Don’t rush it –  good products take their time working their magic!

This is the order that I use them in:

Kiehls: Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner 
– I really like this toner and the great thing is that it’s alcohol free! This is good because alcohol in skincare products tend to dry the skin out. I never really used a toner until recently when I discovered this one and Rocky Mountain Soap Co’s (which I’ll be posting about later on the blog) but I can tell you that I’ll never go back! This is an essential step in a skincare routine. This toner is very soothing and calming to the skin and my favourite part is that it leaves the skin looking matte. There is also a mild scent to it which I’m not a fan of, otherwise this is one of my favourite toners!

Body Shop: Drops of Youth Concentrate
– I don’t use this one everyday. This is also a serum so I switch my routine up between this one and the Lanoline one. The smell is a little strong and I didn’t actually notice that it did much for me besides drying out my skin. The one thing that I wasn’t too fond of was that this product contains alcohol. It’s a watery formula and quickly penetrates into the skin. I won’t be purchasing this again.

Body Shop: Oils of Life
– I really like this oil! It leaves the skin feeling sooooo soft and smooth. I was hesitant at first to start using oils since I have oily skin and I always thought that oils are for drier/sensitive skin types but it’s actually helped my skin not feel so clogged and oily! Who would have thought oils work on oily skin! And it has a super nice scent to it. Sometime’s I’ll apply it topically to my face or I’ll add the 1-2 drops in my moisturizer.

Lanoline Manuka Honey: Serum
– I alternate this serum with the Drops of Youth Concentrate. I like this serum as it’s light and visibly tightens the skins. It also isn’t very runny or oily like some serums are – this one has a thick consistency and it has a cooling effect which feels refreshing.

Origins: GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
– The eye area is the most delicate part on the face and I suggest reading ingredients before applying any cream to this area as some products can thin the skin. This cream is a lightweight brightening cream for the eyes. It’s very refreshing in the morning and is a great moisturizer. It leaves the skin under the eye hydrated all day. Honestly, I didn’t notice that it de-puffed my eyes as it claims and was a bit disappointed with that. Other than that, I’m onto my second jar!

Kiehl’s: Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
– This you guys is my ultimate FAVOURITE face cream! It’s so lightweight, hydrating and oil-free leaving the skin feeling so smooth and balanced. It’s also great to wear under makeup and doesn’t leave the skin feeling icky afterwards.

Boscia: No pores No shine T-zone Treatment
– Another one of my favourite products! This is one product I found to stay true to what it claims. It really is a “No pores No shine T-zone” product. I apply it at the very end of my routine everyday just in my T zone so the forehead, nose, chin areas and my skin is shine-free allll day! I love the matte look so after every cream I’ll apply this on top and I’ve found it to work for me so well! The only downside to this is that it contains silicon and parabens 😔 So, I’m on the lookout for a toxin-free no shine treatment!

Have you guys used any of these? What did you think of them? Comment below!

*This post is not sponsored by any brand or company. All opinions are my own.*

DAVIDsTEA Fall Collection Tea Review

Hi everyone!

Over the holidays I purchased quite a few teas from DAVIDsTEA and I finally got around to trying all of them. Some of them were pretty awesome, some of them…not so much…

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I post quite a few coffee/tea pictures from different coffee shops. Why, you might ask? Because this is what I drink most of the time (besides water of course, otherwise I would just be a dehydrated individual, lol!!). I’m not much of a soft drink person – actually come to think of it I can’t even remember when the last time I drank Coke was! And now you’re probably thinking to ask me: Soooo, what do you drink with pizza? And the answer to that would be water. LOL! For some reason I have never liked the taste of fizzy drinks and reading about all those nasty ingredients in soft drinks gave me even more of a reason to not touch them. Speaking of which I was reading an article the other day and found out that Mountain Dew contains flame retardants… yikes, now that doesn’t sound too appetizing…

Anyhow, like with everything you have to read ingredients for teas as well. DAVIDsTEA has done an amazing job branding themselves to make it sound like their teas are the best and are healthy. However, as you quickly skim through their ingredient list you’ll find out that they aren’t as natural as they make it seem.
There are artificial sweeteners, flavours and colours that are not good for you but also like everything else tea in small quantities isn’t too bad for you so you’ll see I drink my tea in a small teacup (also from DAVIDsTea).

So, let’s get to the reviews shall we?!

1. Tea: Pom Cider

Type of Tea: Black

Ingredients: Fennel, hibiscus, black tea, rose hips, apple, orange, pomegranate, stevia extract and natural pomegranate flavouring.

Smells like: Baked Pomegranate and Apple Pie

Review:
I was looking forward to trying this tea and when I read the ingredients I thought a tea with fennel, apple and pomegranate must be the best tea ever! This is the perfect combination but… I was a little disappointed. Although I could taste the pomegranate, the tea itself was super bland. I couldn’t taste much of the apple or the fennel and it wasn’t as flavourful as I was hoping. Literally just tastes like pomegranate juice. Also, I didn’t let this tea steep as much because I don’t like the bitter flavour so I steeped it for about a minute only and the flavour was still pretty strong. I haven’t tried it cold, but I think this tea would taste better as a cold tea with ice.

Tea stars: 3/5

2. Blueberry Muffin

Type of Tea: Fruit

Ingredients: Apple, raisins, carrot, hibiscus blossoms, beetroot, yoghurt bits, blueberries, cornflower blossoms, natural and artificial flavouring.

Smells like: Literally a blueberry muffin

Review: This tea actually tastes like a blueberry muffin! Again, I didn’t steep for as long as the packet says (4-7 minutes) as that would make it really strong and bitter. I also think this tea might taste better cold as opposed to a hot tea.

Tea stars: 3/5

3. Nutty Granola Crunch

Type of Tea: Rooibos

Ingredients: Apple, rooibos, almonds, coconut, brittle (sugar, hazelnuts, inverted sugar), natural and artificial flavouring.

Smells like: A peanut granola bar

Review: This one had quite a unique taste! I’ve never even thought of having a tea that tastes like a granola bar but I was pretty impressed with this one. I had initially opened the bag without reading the ingredients and was so sure that there must be peanuts or peanut butter or something peanut related in this tea but apparently there isn’t! I guess the combination of hazelnuts/almonds/coconuts also taste and smell like peanuts…I steeped this one for 5 minutes and it took some time to get the flavour. I didn’t add 1-2 perfect teaspoons though as that is too much for my small cup, so as with all the other teas I added about 1/2 teaspoon as I don’t like strong tasting tea.

Tea Stars: 4/5

4. Carrot Cupcake

Type of Tea: Rooibos

Ingredients: Apple, carrot, cinnamon, rooibos, cocoa shells, ginger, licorice root, natural whipped cream and apple flavouring.

Smells like: A carrot cupcake

Review: Finally a tea with cinnamon! This is a pretty amazing tasting tea. I liked it a bit better than the blueberry muffin. I steeped it for about 3 minutes and the flavour was already strong. Tastes just like a carrot cupcake but in liquid form – if that’s even possible? I guess that’s what this tea is…liquid carrot cupcake!

Tea Stars: 3.5/5

5. Pumpkin Chai

Type of Tea: Black Tea

Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon, cloves, caramel, carrot, lemon peel, pumpkin candies, pumpkin flakes, natural and artificial pumpkin spice flavouring.

Smells like: A pumpkin muffin

Review: This is my favourite tea out of the collection! I loved the pumpkin and spice mix. Don’t need to steep this tea for long either and the flavour comes out pretty strong.

Tea Stars: 4/5

There you have it! Have you guys tried any of these teas? Which was your favourite? Comment below!!

*This post is not sponsored by any brand or company. All opinions are my own.*

Artisan Bread with Figs + Ricotta + Honey

Hope everyone’s New Year is going well so far! If you’ve made a New Year resolution and have kept it up, I’m proud of you! I didn’t make a resolution but I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier and get in some exercise on a daily basis as my full-time job requires me to sit at a desk 8 hours a day, yikes! Yay for office jobs…

But, since I’m trying to be healthy I opted for this super easy and delicious snack today instead of… Doritos (now I’m not a big junk food eater anyway [except for baked goods – can’t ever stop those] but hey, sometimes I do crave some chips). And even though this required waaaay more work then opening a bag of chips, it was soooooo worth it – you guys HAVE to try this! I promise you’ll be hooked… I ate one too many slices of bread…but no regrets 🙂

If you have fresh figs, I recommend using those. This recipe tastes wayyy better with fresh figs but if you live in a city where that’s not available at this time of the year like I do, then dry figs will do.
Also, I love Artisan baked bread – something about this type of bread that makes food taste just that much better. You can of course substitute any type of Artisan baked bread flavour you please, I recommend trying it with Rye or Flaxseed. But I absolutely love cheese so I opted for Asiago 🙂

Aside from being a great snack, this is also an amazing breakfast item. Feel free to pair it with tea, coffee or simply hot water with lemon to get your day going!

Ingredients:
2-4 slices of Artisan baked Asiago Cheese Bread
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Calimyrna Figs, dried and unsulfured, cut into medium size pieces
1 tablespoon honey
dash of cinnamon

Directions:
1. Toast the bread slightly in a toaster.
2. To assemble toast, spread 1 -1 1/2 tablespoons of Ricotta cheese on each slice, place a few figs on each toast and drizzle with honey.
3. Lightly sprinkle each toast with cinnamon and enjoy!

 

Kale + Banana + Almond Milk Green Smoothie

 

Hi everyone – Happy 2017!

Hope you all had a chance to spend some quality time with family and friends during the holidays. I know I did and it was a great start to the New Year!

New Year is a time when everyone is trying to get back on track from the bad eating habits from the holidays and we’re all trying to set new goals (whether it is personal or professional goals), trying to be healthier and also of course happier.

I’ve started reading this book which I’ve had my eye on for awhile now and finally decided to buy it because what better time to start getting back on track then the New Year, right?!

It’s called “eat better live better feel better” by Julie Cove from Alkalinesister.com and it’s such an amazing book full of inspiration and recipes! She’s put together a wonderful piece of work introducing people to the Alkaline Lifestyle. Now lets get one thing straight, I definitely cannot live on fruits and vegetables only – I don’t know how Fully Raw Vegans do it, but I give you all the credit! I need my coffee, Indian tea and cheese! But this book has got me inspired to try and be more mindful of what I eat. I highly recommend it.

For those that don’t know, I am Vegetarian (I do eat eggs) but that doesn’t mean I’m always healthy. If you follow me on Instagram (@GlitternStripes) you’ll notice I post a lot of baked goods, pastries and coffee. This year my goal is try and eat more whole foods and incorporate fruits and vegetables into my diet so I can still continue to eat dessert and drink caramel macchiato’s, mmmmmmmm.

I figure if I manage to eat at least 2 fully raw meals a day then I can continue to treat myself with cakes and cookies, right!?

So, the first post of the New Year is going to be of a super easy Green Smoothie!


Ingredients:

1 cup Almond Milk (I used So Fresh – Vanilla flavour unsweetened)
1 cup chopped kale
1 medium banana (can use frozen too)
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
a pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Blend Almond Milk and kale until smooth.
  2. Add the banana and flax seeds and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into your favourite glass, top with cinnamon and enjoy!

*This post is not sponsored by any brand or company. All opinions are my own.*

*Header graphic done with Canva.

Eggnog Cheesecake

’Tis the season to be cozy and warm by the fireplace, sip on hot chocolate while watching Christmas movies and let the snow graciously fall on city streets!
Christmas is only a couple weeks away and I still haven’t even started my Christmas shopping, eeeeks! Maybe after this blog post I’ll go shopping since the snow has finally stopped here in Vancouver and now it’s turning into ugly slush…

So, this is the first time I’ve actually tried this cheesecake flavour.
I’ve made cheesecake many, many times but since it’s the season to be festive I thought why not add some eggnog, nutmeg and cinnamon and make an Eggnog Cheesecake! I would suggest making this at least a day in advance especially if you’re going to take it to a Christmas party so the cake can settle in with the flavours.

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar

Cheesecake:

3 packages of cream cheese (250g)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup eggnog
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups sour cream, full fat

Directions:

1. Grease the bottom and the insides of a springform pan (I used a 9-in one). Place the pan on a large square piece of foil and tightly wrap the pan with the foil.
2. For the crust – in a bowl combine all three ingredients and press onto the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust at 325° for 12 minutes.
3. In the meantime, while the crust is baking – In a bowl with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar and beat until both the cream cheese and sugar have mixed in well. Add in eggs one at a time on low speed.
4. Blend in eggnog, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and sour cream.
5. Pour the batter over the crust.
6. Set the springform pan in a larger pan and pour enough hot water to come halfway up to the springform pan. Don’t pour too much otherwise water will seep through the foil into the pan.
7. Bake in the oven for approximately, 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the top becomes a little wiggly and shine free. Let it cool completely and refrigerate for a day. Sprinkle a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon on top and serve.

What festive treats have you baked so far or what will you be baking for Christmas dessert? Comment below, I’d love to know!

Sesame Seed Topping

Sesame Seed Topping 1

If you’ve been keeping up with me, I posted a super delicious Lemon Bundt cake recipe on the blog last week. The last part to this bundt cake (keep in mind both the frosting and this topping can be used on any cake) is the Sesame Seed Topping.

This topping can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container and it will last for about a month or two.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

  1. In a small pot, stir sugar and water on medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and keep stirring constantly.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, pour the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the mixture and let it set.

sesame-seed-topping 2

Mascarpone Frosting

mascarpone-frosting1

Who likes frosting-less cakes…I don’t! Frosting adds texture and another layer of taste to any cake.
I paired this frosting with the Lemon Bundt Cake.

Mascarpone is most often used in Tiramisu, but I thought it would be a delicious addition to Lemon Cake as well.

I used the frosting pretty quickly without letting it stand in the fridge (because I’m impatient like that) hence why it’s a bit runny but if you put it in the fridge for at least an hour it will become thick and you can layer it on the cake.

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream, whipped
8 ounces mascarpone cheese (I used TreStelle but feel free to use any mascarpone cheese you can find at your local grocer).
5 teaspoons icing sugar, sifted

Directions:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream in a bowl until peaks form. Add the mascarpone cheese and icing sugar and stir.

mascarpone-frosting-2

*This post is not sponsored by any brand or company. All opinions are my own.*

Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Bundt Cake

 

And now for the most delicious Lemon Bundt Cake ever! I’m actually eating a slice as I type this post, mmmmmm.
 

If you’ve never tried to make lemon cake before, I assure you this is the easiest and most delicious tasting cake! I’ve tried to create the perfect cake with just the right amount of sugar and still have that strong lemon flavour just like Starbucks – perfect with a cup of coffee!

 

Also, if you don’t have a Bundt pan – don’t worry! You can substitute for a regular round or square cake pan, or a loaf pan or you can even make lemon muffins! Take your pick :).

 

As for frosting (because I can’t eat a plain and simple cake), I made mascarpone frosting and topped it with Sesame Seed Crunch and the recipes for these will be on the blog later this week, make sure to check back!

 

Fresh Lemon Bundt Cake

 

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups cake and pastry flour, sifted
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 small lemons, finely grated zest
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup lemon curd (if you don’t have lemon curd, you can use lemon juice)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or full-fat milk)

 

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350℃. Grease the bundt cake pan generously.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add zest.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add lemon curd and buttermilk and beat until all ingredients are mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt cake pan and bake in the centre rack for 45 minutes.

Lemon Bundt Cake1

 

Lemon Bundt Cake2

 

How did yours turn out? I’d love to hear – comment below!

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd 2

 

This recipe is in anticipation of a truly delicious Lemon Bundt Cake recipe that will be on the blog next week and I assure you it’s the best lemon cake you will have ever tasted!

I had a few lemons in the fridge and I’ve always wanted to try and make the most famous Starbucks lemon loaf but one without all the preservatives in it.
So, the first part of the cake is this lemon curd. You can make this a couple days in advance and let it chill in the fridge or you can make it the day of however, you’ll need to let it cool down for at least an hour before using it in the cake.

PS. This curd is pretty versatile, so you can serve some on the side with the cake or add it onto fresh fruits or better yet, just eat it plain! Yummyyyy!

Lemon Curd 1

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time mixing the bowl occasionally. Add the lemon juice and the lemon zest. The mixture will become curdled, but don’t worry about it because once it is transferred to a pot on the stove, it will melt with the butter under heat.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium pot and cook on medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. The curd is done when the mixture becomes thick and sticky.

How easy was that! Enjoy 😃

 

Skincare reviews: A few of my Fall favourites

 

Fall Favourite Products

Hi friends!
Today, I wanted to share with you all a few of my favourite products I’ve been using recently and absolutely love!

I have oily/combination skin so the products I test/review are mainly for this skin type.

  1. Kiehl’s: Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser – This has got to be by far the best cleanser for oily skin. You only need to use a super duper small amount and it lathers so nicely. I use my Foreo mini to massage my skin for a good minute and then rinse off the cleanser.  If you’ve got oily skin, I highly recommend this cleanser. It leaves the skin feeling so soft and ready for the next step in your skincare routine, i.e. tone. Also, a win-win is that its a great makeup remover :).
  2. Kiehl’s: Cucumber Toner – Alcohol Free: This is a very important step most tend to neglect in their skincare routine. Toners provide hydration and antioxidants. The most important thing you want to avoid is to have an alcohol based toner as these irritate the skin. This is why I chose Kiehl’s Cucumber Toner. Once you get used to adding this to your routine, it’s one that you’ll never forget. Again, only need a small amount on a cotton pad and lightly pat over entire face avoiding the eye area.
  3. Origins: Night-A-Mins: My ultimate favourite night cream that I use all year around. I’ve always been hesitant to try night creams because lets face it, who wants to put some chemicals on their skin right before bedtime…and then you smell that allll night long…However, this cream is amazing. It has a light scent, keeps the face hydrated and refreshed all night long and has a light texture so it doesn’t feel like you’re just putting a blob of lotion on right before bed.

What are some of your favourite skincare products? Comment below!

*This post is not sponsored by any brand or company. All opinions are my own.*