How to get the most out of your Matcha

  how to make green tea matcha better for you

I’m sitting here sipping on my new and improved matcha drink and I’m loving it. 
The other day Kiss me Organics very kindly sent me a pack of their organic matcha powder. Now I’m no stranger to matcha, I love it, especially matcha lattes. What I didn’t know was contained in the report that was sent along with my matcha powder…
on average, of all the fantastic antioxidants in green tea under 20% is all that is absorbed by your body. But don’t give up on your green tea health boost just yet, the same study also revealed that what you put with your green tea matters, and can boost your absorption by up to 90%.

how to get more from your matcha

So whats the best thing to add? Citrus… and thats any citrus that you might have around, I personally like to add lemon. Adding milk also helps, soy milk is better and rice milk is the best option for your matcha latte. 

add lemon to your matcha for better health benefits

Now I’m no scientist or nutritionist, so if you want to know more go ahead and google it, there are plenty of great articles around that explain it all in much better detail than I can. What I can tell you is how I like to drink my matcha…

I prepare my matcha drink in a mason jar, not because its “cool” but because it’s convenient, and you will understand exactly what I mean if you make this drink yourself. I add about a teaspoon of matcha powder, the juice from 1/4 of a lemon and a good squeeze of honey, then fill the jar half way with boiling water and top it up with cold water. Pop the lid on and shake, shake, shake. Then I like to keep the lid handy as I drink, because you will notice that you get a “muddy” layer of matcha at the bottom, so all you have to do is give it another shake and then keep drinking. 

I also love adding it to my smoothies, so keep an eye out for my matcha smoothie recipes over the next week. 

If you work out consider drinking your matcha within 1/2 an hour before you start your workout, it can help with muscle tone, energy and shedding fat. 

Do you drink matcha? or add it to anything on a regular basis? I would love to know.

Leaders Insolution Vita Bright Skin Renewal Mask Review

korean sheet facemask review
The Koreans have given us so many beauty trends over the last few years and sheet masks are just another one of their fabulous products.

The Vita Bright mask promises to  brighten dull and dark skin tone caused by stress and exposure to hazardous environments.
Hazardous environments? oh how I love translations. But I am assuming this is referring to sun and wind exposure, which do of course take a toll on your delicate skin.

The Packaging is simple and pretty and even though this is a Korean product I easily worked out what was going on and how to use it without being able to read a word of Korean. Finding out what the ingredients are is a different matter, I really wish there was an english ingredients list, and when a quick google search offered me nothing I gave up.
Leaders Insolution Vita Bright Skin Renewal Mask Review
The Sheet is good quality, it is thin (which means it doesn’t absorb the serum). At first I thought this was going to be too small for my face, turns out it fitted pretty well. The serum has a lovely thickness to it which helps keep the mask on your face. I hate it when I have to play some sort of balancing act to keep a mask on… as if looking like some crazy villain isn’t bad enough. 

The Scent is so soft and delicate, at first I though roses but it is also a little fruity… so maybe more blossom? Its subtle and not at all offensive.

Leaders Insolution Vita Bright Skin Renewal Mask Review

The effects… the moment of truth, after 24 minutes I removed the mask, and following the instructions, attempted to “tap” the remaining serum into my face. Lets be honest here, I am not going to sit there tapping my face till that stuff is all absorbed… I would be there for forever. So I patted it into my skin and smoothed some down my neck and then let the rest sink in on its own. It was a tad sticky for a while but after a while longer my skin has absorbed all the serum. 
Lets be realistic, your skin won’t magically lighten (not that I really want that), brighter is more what I’m after. I did feel like my skin was significantly more hydrated afterwards. It wasn’t until I had a closer look at the before and after  pics that I noticed the big difference between my under eye area. The fine lines had significantly decreased (you can click on the photo for a bigger version). The down side,  my pores looked large and awful immediately after, however they were back to normal by morning. I didn’t add any moisturizer to my face that night and my skin was still dewy when I woke up.

Would I buy this again? Yes, and I would stock up on them if I ever see them on sale again! 

before and after Korean hydrating sheet mask

Marsala – Pantone Colour of the Year 2015

Pantone colour of the year 2015

Pantone have released their 2015 colour of the year and even though it has had mixed responses on social media, I personally adore this years colour, Marsala. A wine red hue with earthy brown tones. 

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.”

This colour truly can be applied to every area of design. I can imagine using this for throw cushions or napkins in the home, wearing it on my lips, using it in graphic design (maybe in place of black) or as I am wearing today, in the form of pants and a matching manicure. 
For me it beats 2014’s bright and girlie Radiant Orchid thats for sure. Radiant Orchid was fine for little accents here and there, but was best suited to the runway and lipgloss departments. I certainly wouldn’t of added anything more than a cushion in the colour to my home.

Marsala does have a down side, if the wrong shade is used or it is paired with the wrong colours it can look dreary and dated. Stick with richer versions of the hue and pair with light or vibrant colours. I love it paired with baby blue, it works so beautifully.

Marsala In Beauty
This colour is flattering on so many skin tones, on the lips, cheeks, eyes or on your nails.
You could sweep this deep hue across your cheeks and keep the rest of your makeup minimal. Wear it on your lips accompanied by a dark brown smokey eye. Or be bold and wear it on your eyes in either shadow or liner. Here are a few Ideas…

pantone Marsala Makeup looks mood board

Marsala in Decor 
Need a new feature wall? Or a simple update of fresh throw pillows. This colour works well to create a luxurious and warm interior. Giant artworks in a neutral tone room add the perfect punch of drama. I’ll be happy with any of the options below…
 
Marsala Decore and interiors mood board
 
Marsala in Fashion
Perhaps the easiest way to incorporate a new colour trend into your life. It can be as simple as adding a new scarf or as decadent as a head to toe Marsala hued outfit. I own a pair of jeans in a deeper version of the colour and they are probably my most worn pair of pants, its amazing how versatile the colour can be.
 
marsala outfit style moodboard
 
So many options and so many variations of the colour, I already love using this colour, what about you? Are you going to incorporate this lovely shade into 2015?

Weekend Walks

Weekend forest walks outfit: riding boots, green vest and fur trim parka
Necklace: J.crew | Top: DKNY | Vest: Banana RepublicParka: ONLY | Pants: Ralph Lauren
Boots: Aldo | Nails: OPI My dogsled is a Hybrid and Funny Bunny

 

There are so many walking trails in Vancouver and the surrounding areas that I don’t think I will even get to explore them all. Maybe one day I’ll get around to doing some of the more strenuous hikes, but for now I’m pretty happy with a leisurely stroll along the winding paths through the trees. 

Vancouver autumn walks and big leaves
Weekend forest walks outfit: riding boots, green vest and fur trim parka
Weekend forest walks outfit: riding boots, green vest and fur trim parka

Christmas

I had a quick dig back through my blogs archives to pull out these Christmassy treats from years gone by.christmas eggnog french toast recipe
French toast, or eggy bread as Simon likes to call it is a favourite of mine, especially when I end up with bread that is a few days old. Give the classic a festive twist and here is your perfect holiday breakfast.

how to make gift boxes from old cards
Making some DIY treats for gifts this year? Well you can use last years cards to make some pretty little boxes to put them in. Check out my easy instructions here.

 

DIY advent calendar
This DIY advent calendar was cheap and easy to make, plus you can hide whatever you want inside. I put  small treats like candy canes and chocolates inside and also notes with activities such as going ice skating or for a visit to the Christmas market. You can see the full instructions here.

Recipe: Cheesy Bread Knots

easy quick cheesy bread roll recipeIt isn’t very often then I bake something over and over again, but these are just so tasty that I have made them 3 times in the last week alone! Eat them on their own straight off the cooling rack, dunk them in soup, or turn them into a sandwich for lunch. If you don’t think you will eat them all in the first day I like to put them in the freezer, it keeps them fresh and all they need is 30 seconds in the microwave to defrost. 
Now here is the recipe, let me know if you bake these I would love to know if you enjoyed them as much as I do. easy cheesy bread roll recipe

bread roll recipe

In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the water and yeast (if you are using dry yeast you will need to let this stand until it becomes bubbly on top).
Add the sugar, salt, melted butter and flour to the bowl.
With a dough hook attached mix the ingredients, starting slowly so you don’t make a mess of the flour. Once the dough has come together kneed on a low medium speed (between 3 and 4 on a kitchenaid) for at least 7 minutes, or until the tough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough may look smooth before this time but it’s important to let it continue for the full time or the final texture and flavour won’t be fully developed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let sit until doubled in size, for me this take about an hour.

the best easy cheesy bread knots

Pre-heat oven to 400°f.
Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water.
When the dough is ready punch down in the centre and then remove from the bowl. Divide into 8 equal balls.
To make the knots flatten out one of the balls into a long rectangle, sprinkle some cheese down the centre, then pinch the dough together to form a tight seam. Roll the cheese filled parcel into a long snake then tie this into a knot. Place on a parchment lined baking tray.
Brush the knots with egg wash and then lightly sprinkle with garlic powder.
Bake for 16 minutes or until golden, then try not to eat them all at once.


the best easy cheesy bread knots

Cheesy Bread Knots
Yields 8
Delicous and easy cheesy bread rolls
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cups warm water
  2. 35g fresh yeast (or 2½ tsp. active dry yeast)
  3. 2 tbsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
  4. 1 tsp. salt
  5. 1 stick unsalted butter, completely melted
  6. 4½ cups bread flour
  7. 1½ cups shredded cheese
  8. 1 egg, beaten
  9. 1½ tsp. water
  10. 1 tsp. garlic salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the water and yeast (if you are using dry yeast you will need to let this stand until it becomes bubbly on top).
  2. Add the sugar, salt, melted butter and flour to the bowl.
  3. With a dough hook attached mix the ingredients, starting slowly so you don't make a mess of the flour. Once the dough has come together kneed on a low medium speed (between 3 and 4 on a kitchenaid) for at least 7 minutes, or until the tough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough may look smooth before this time but it's important to let it continue for the full time or the final texture and flavour won't be fully developed.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let sit until doubled in size, for me this take about an hour.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 425°f.
  6. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water.
  7. When the dough is ready punch down in the centre and then remove from the bowl. Divide into 8 equal balls.
  8. To make the knots flatten out one of the balls into a long rectangle, sprinkle some cheese down the centre, then pinch the dough together to form a tight seam. Roll the cheese filled parcel into a long snake then tie this into a knot. Place on a parchment lined baking tray.
  9. Brush the knots with egg wash and then lightly sprinkle with garlic powder.
  10. Bake for 16 minutes or until golden, then try not to eat them all at once.
Notes
  1. Best eaten within 2 days or freeze for up to 4 weeks
Design Every Day http://www.designeverydayblog.com/

Julep Maven Review

Julep Maven subscription box review

I received my first Juelp Maven box the other day, I was so excited that I changed my polish colour daily until I had tried all the colours. I have worn the polishes for 2 weeks now to see how they wear, both with and without base coats and top coats.

For those of you not familiar with Julep Maven here is what it is:

Julep Maven is a nail polish and beauty product subscription box, you receive 3-4 full sized products each month for $24.99, shipping included in the US and Canada. You start by taking a little survey so they can match colours and products to you, this profile only gives you a suggestion of what box you should have but you can change to whichever box pleases you that month, so no getting surprised with a colour you will never wear. The box always has a value of $40+ and they also include coupons, offers and specially priced add-ons for their subscribers. 

You can sign up here and get your first box free! just use code TREAT (its $58 value)

Julep Maven subscription box review

My polish collection has grown from 2 colours to about 20 colours over the past 2 years but the whole time I have been dedicated to OPI, I love their formula plus I have a thing about having all the same brand products sitting on my shelf (don’t judge!) so I was hesitant about letting another brand sit alongside my beloved polish collection. But who can resist a free present in the mail? not me… so I ordered my julep box. 
A couple of weeks later I found a pretty pink box in my mail. I immediately set to work trying out these little gems with a critical eye. 
First thing I didn’t like was the tall bottle and the square lid, I’m worried I’m going to knock it over but I have already got used to holding onto the bottle as I dip my brush. With the first coat went on and things weren’t looking good (am I really that terrible at applying polish?!), then I applied the second… its like magic! I’m not kidding, what looked like a terrible uneven mess turned into perfect even colour. It dried faster than I expected which always makes me happy. And it wears very well. Of course adding a base coat and a top coat will greatly extend the life of your colour (I usually get 5-6 days with no chipping) but even without any topcoat I got a solid 3 days out of each colour with no chipping.
I’m sold… so in love with these polishes, they deserve a spot on my shelf.
Julep Maven Review, julep colour Ryan

it girl Ryan satin finish $14

Overcast teal is what they describe this colour as, it is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t get enough of the satin finish. I think this is my favourite colour from the box.

         julep ciara review and swatch

it girl Ciara $14 $9.99

Vampy magenta with teal micro glitter. This colour is mesmerizing, you really see the different elements under different lighting. 
Julep Maven Review, julep colour Ryan

it girl Coco $14 

Oxblood Crème. A very deep chocolate maroon/magenta colour. It machos perfectly with one of my favourite fairs of pants. I did find it the trickiest of the 3 to get an even colour with but that might of just been because I was so tired.

Overall I was very happy with my box, I love that there was a variety of finishes and the colours were harmonious. The Ciara glitter is the only one that probably won’t get a lot of wear, the other 2 are perfect fall/winter daily colours.

The total value of my box was $42

November Favourites

November Favourites

I Really don’t know where this month disappeared, but I am so excited for December to arrive in all its glittery festiveness. November was a month of many new discoveries and a few returning favourites.  What have you been loving lately, got any recommendations for me to try. You know I love to hear from you.
Also a special thank you to my mum whole spoilt me with many of the things on this list while she was visiting (thanks mum, love you).

favourite : j.crew, benefit, the body shop, sephora, fresh beauty

VanDusen Botanical Gardens

Rainy Day in Vancouver | Outfit: oxblood banana republic waxed jeans, white blouse, houndstooth club monaco blazer

Even in the rain the VanDusen botanical garden is beautiful, It has a great maze and many paths to get lost along. I’m already excited to visit it again in the spring.

vandusen botanical garden in Vancouver vandusen botanical garden in Vancouver vandusen botanical garden in Vancouver vandusen botanical garden in Vancouver Rainy Day in Vancouver | Outfit: oxblood banana republic waxed jeans, white blouse, houndstooth club monaco blazer vandusen botanical garden in Vancouver Hairstyle, up do, elegant twist vandusen botanical garden in Vancouver vandusen botanical garden in Vancouvervandusen botanical garden in Vancouver

Outfit Details

earrings: Rachel Zoe (similar here) | bag: Kate Spade (similar here)
Blouse: CUE | Blazer: Club Monaco (similar on sale here)
Pants: Banana Republic (similar on sale here) | Shoes: (Similar here)

Ipsy “Girl Meets Glitter” November review

Ipsy "Girl Meets Glam" November review
Each month subscribers receive 4-5 deluxe and full size products, packaged in a beauty bag. After creating a profile, Ipsy stylists will hand-select products to match their beauty interests and deliver straight to their doorstep in US and Canada. You can sign up here.

Cost: $10 + tax + shipping, free for US (so thats CAD $17.36 if you live in Canada)
 
This months total box value: $41.78
 
What I got:
  • Forever 21 sparkly makeup bag
  • TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Pink Pearl (sample 0.1 fl oz)
  • Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Ultra Orchid (full size 0.1oz)
  • Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray (travel size 1.5oz)
  • J. Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion (full size 0.33oz)
  • Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Submissive (full size .09oz)
Coupon Codes you can use:
 
25% off at jcatbeauty.com with code 25JCAT
20% off at star looks.com with code IPSY
25% off at tempt.com with code IPSY
20% off at demeterfragrance.com with code IPSY
50% off at elizabethmott.com with code IPSYFINE
30% off at glamglowmud.com with code IPSY
 

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Ultra Orchid  swatch and review

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Ultra Orchid (full size 0.1oz)
Price: US$17 (use code IPSY for 20% off)
Colour: This is a really deep purple with a shimmery micro glitter. The glitter is subtle enough that you can wear this during the day.
Formula: I was almost startled by how creamy this is the first time I used it. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I wasn’t very excited to try this, but as soon as I actually tried it I loved it, the formula is just perfect. Because I have very hooded eyes almost everything either creases or has some sort of transfer, this, considering the creaminess had only the slightest amount of transfer onto my upper lid throughout the day (I’m talking like a tiny little smudge). Although it does mean you go through a lot of product very quickly.
Would I repurchase? I wouldn’t go out of my way to repurchase but I wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to a friend.

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Pink Pearl

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Pink Pearl (sample 0.1 fl oz)
Price: US$27.50 1.0oz (use code IPSY for 35% off)
Colour: Its a shimmery pearl colour (don’t worry its not very pink) and it goes on sheer. I have fair skin so I feel like it could of been a little more lightening for me, but this colour means its very universal. And the shimmer reflects light to create the highlight effect.
Formula: A liquid that is silky. It dries quickly so you need to work fast. I found it a little tricky to blend the first time. 
Would I repurchase? I’m happy with the highlighters I already use so no I wouldn’t purchase this. Thats not to say its a particularly bad product. Its just I don’t love it.

Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Submissive review

Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Submissive (full size .09oz)
Price: US$14
Colour: The colour looks dark and intense when it is in the pot but it is actually a very sheer bronze. I would of loved for it to be more intense but as a base it blends beautifully with a lot of different colours.
Formula: It glides on silky smooth but unfortunately with my hooded eyes it does crease throughout the day.
Would I repurchase? Probably not, but I will be keeping and using this one.

J. Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion  reviw

J. Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion (full size 0.33oz)
Price: US$4.99 (use code 25JCAT for 25% off)
Colour: Red Potion is more burgundy purple than it is red, perfect for fall and winter. While the colour payoff isn’t as intense as I thought it would be it can be built up to a richer hue. I ended up really enjoying be able to use it as either a light stain or an intense lip colour. The colour is fairly long lasting as long as your not eating and drinking lots.
Formula: There are a few tricks to getting the most out of this product. First, make sure you shake and “massage” the tube before using, otherwise you will end up with some runny product that has hardly any pigment in it. You need a brush. And applying it takes a little bit of practice if your not used to lip paints. 
I have VERY dry and cracked lips, surprisingly I don’t find that this dries them out any further and it doesn’t emphasize the lines in my lips which makes me very happy.
Would I repurchase? For the price I think its good value and I would probably purchase other colours.

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray review

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray (travel size 1.5oz)
Price: US$8.29 9.0 fl oz or $2.99 for travel
What it claims: fast drying formula offers volume and a strong flexible hold for workable styles without stickiness, flaking or residue. Style and restyle with lasting hold, full day humidity resistance and high shine. Infused with Argan Oil and Keratin to promote stron healthy hair. UV Protectors, Sulfate, Paraben and DEA Free.
Does it deliver: I love hairspray and have tried many, this one has made my list for drugstore brand hairspray. Its a flexible hold, so great for keep your curls all day or for taming a few tray hairs. I didn’t notice any increased shine. It isn’t sticky and it smells absolutely fantastic.
Would I repurchase? Yes
ipsy swatches studio session-492