Friday, 27 December 2013

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Searching for a Terry Robe

Dear Readers,

Where can I find a cheap Terry bath robe for use after stepping out of the shower? I don't want one of those sleeveless 'dress' looking robes - I want a short one with sleeves!

For some reason they seem to be extremely expensive, but with sales at "$60" it is hardly a sale. I've tried searching every where and can't seem to find one. There must be another way besides raising the amount that I am willing to spend ($30-35).

#OnASearch

Friday, 13 December 2013

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Aritzia, no one likes being deceived.

Alright so I'm a pretty big fan of Aritzia. I've been shopping for the last few years, from the time that TNA was the brand to have to realizing that its just a logo that gets plastered around, I've learned to appreciate some of their nicer lines like Wilfred.

When they first expanded onto their online ecommerce platform I was excited. I mean who doesn't like being able to shop online on their own time from the comfort of their own home or even mid lecture (oops).

Now, every so often I get emails from Aritzia, which is great - I mean I get noticed when there are sales and events! However what makes me angry everyone is when I read their misleading emails, they always like to plaster "Free Shipping" everyone from the email title to throughout emails. The problem is that it isn't! And you only realize this if you scroll all the way to the bottom where they say in their misleading fine print "Over $150". I can at least respect the stores who advertise it complete on their website "Free Shipping over $150!!". However the first reaction when you see the first two words (alone) is to think that there are no strings attached. That's why I'm always so frustrated when Aritzia sends out its emails - where's the honesty and transparency?

Furthermore their sale policy is not very customer friendly to say the least. The stores I choose to frequently shop online are those which offer returns, and the icing on top is when they offer in store returns! It allows me to make purchases with much higher confidence, or at least hit the check out button more freely. Aritzia offers neither, their sale items are final sale. Meaning that if you do not know which size you are and haven't tried it on specifically in store then you are in frog or (everything fits differently). So even when I see the best sales on their website, I realize it is only a waste to browse through it as I know that paying that money for something that may not fit or I might not like.

Update : I just realized today (June 17th so about 6 months later from the original post) that their return policy has changed, yay! Now sale items can be brought back to the store within 14 days for store credit. It's not as great as a refund, but I shop there enough that it's not too much of an inconvenience. Hurray Aritzia for looking after their customers and providing great service!

Anyways that's just my thoughts on their online ecommerce.

Does anyone agree?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

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Hiatus due to University

It's only been two months, yet it feels like so much time has passed already. Currently I am a second year student at UWO (University of Western Ontario) and honestly it's been a struggle.

It started out great with some time-intensive dedication to the first week - O- Week (orientation). Where student leaders known as Sophs dedicate their attention and energy towards creating the best first year orientation/ student experience in the country. The USC worked to make lives easier and improving the experience from previous years, and this was evident - even to me, as a first time soph. Previously volunteers complained about long hours and lack of accomodations. This year, meetings (for my team at least) were no longer held during the early hours of the morning; nevertheless, days spanned from 7am-2am. Furthermore a Soph rest station was created so that down times could be met with naps and snacks. For the first few days, sophs were met with boxes and boxes of Mr. Big bars. It seemed never-ending, until it was gone within a few days. I could have sworn I saw people eat several throughout the day - hopefully this wasn't a meal replacement!

Anyways despite the long post - it turned out a lot differently than what I had initially intended. When I have more time I will definitely go back and update this 'Oweek post'

Anyways as one of the many students with "AEO - Advanced Entry Opportunity" status for the Ivey Business School, I am required to take one business course known to most simply by the course code as '2257'. This along with my science course load has definitely been gruelling.

SO: here are my Second Year tips for Biomed 2257 Kids!

  • Don't put your 2257 and Lab Course (2290) together on the same day! Unlike first year these two courses both require regular work and attention - there are quizzes, cases, assignments and readings due for every single class. With the classes being scheduled two days a week you will either be in for a long day of classes, or doing a lot of work in preparation for that work! 
    • At this point I wish that I had them separated as (MW) and (TTh).
And then to be 100% honest; I decided to write this rough draft of some future entry as a short break from the panic which arises as I realize that I will be getting maybe 4 hours of sleep tonight...

TO BE UPDATED 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

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The Tides - Newbrunswick Hotel Restaurant

A
Our second official day here of seafood goodness, and we found a restaurant that had some delicious food!

Located in Alma, NB off the Fundy bay this restaurant is small and quaint. 

The decor is really nice and simple, but yet just enough for it to be really enjoyable. There's a view of the shore where you can watch the tide begin to shrink away pretty rapidly. 
 We ordered quite a few dishes that arrived very nicely presented which reflected a lot of care and attention that was given by the chef. 

The service was great too, we were met by a very friendly waitress who had a great personality. She was helpful, and gave some great tips on how to year apart the 1lb lobster that was ordered. 

Two crab cakes. 

Calamari, it was a little bland but tasted great with the dipping sauce which had just a little bit of 'hot'. 


Two versions of the same seafood linguine. One had a creamy Cajun sauce whereas another was cooked simply with garlic/oil. Both were very colourful and not only looked but tasted delicious. 

Their fresh lobster at market price was ~27. 


Lobster dip- also delicious! The tortilla/nacho chips were definitely deep fried and although delicious, it is definitely not nutritious ( :(  ). 

Deep fried clams, a menu item we had seen a few times since arriving in the maritimes. It was really good! Similar to calamari but with clams. 

A lobster club house, essentially a BLT with an additional layer of lobster. Around $17, pretty good. 

As you can see a lot of food was ordered! It was a great experience and I would highly recommend it. 

Have you been to Alma? 
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New Brunswick Restaurant : Grannan Review

Unfortunately my phone died by the time dinner arrived so I wasn't able to take photos! Any how I felt that it really wasn't up to par.

Lets start with the decor, it was definitely nicely decorated. There's a wooden interior, and a lot of memorabilia with steering wheels and a dated diving suit. However I went in the evening and with the sun out of sight it left the sky dark with only the city lights. There's very little lighting inside , as such it was extremely dim inside. My family friend was actually using a phone as a flash light to read an email. At or table (of seven) we had only one light and an unlit candle that remained unlit until the dinner was nearly over. 

So what my problem was with the restaurant was that I felt that few of us got our money's worth. The menus descriptions created expectations that were not met. 

The price range of this money is slightly on the expensive side, as meals ranged from $15-30. You would think that, as a regular North American restaurant (not fine dining), meals would be slightly on the larger size or have portions that reflected its price tag. What I noticed for a few of these meals (there were seven of us) was that dishes would be served in fairly small dishes , but were simply placed on top of a larger dish that was either empty or served with a few vegetables. 

For a ~23 pasta, there was very little vermicelli in the clam dish! For another elaborate menu item priced at $31, it too was met with disappointment as this seafood dish was served in a plate no larger than a cantaloupe! The menu had given it a mouth watering description with a lot of seafood, instead it was more of a dish that was mainly mashed potato. 

Two orders were placed for the lobster linguine, with one special request - a change of sauce. They simply asked for the Alfredo sauce to be replaced with an oil/garlic which is normally something that can be easily done by chefs. Instead the dish was very bland, with a very mediocre sauce. If at all it felt like they hadn't replaced it with anything! The waiter  actually brought it out describing it as 'no sauce'. 

Furthermore, I know that the service of a waitress should not reflect completely on the restaurant, but the employee is still the only contact that customers have with the company. We found the waitress to be not very courteous, we had merely asked for the one candle at our table to be lit (we could not see very well) but we were told "...I'll just add that to my list of other things I have to do.." as if to imply that she was too busy to meet our needs. 

Lastly I ordered the "Seafood Crepe" which was supposed to be savoury filled with lobster white fish and shrimp (I think).  Needless to day it wasn't really what I had expected. The crepe was completely covered in melted cheese, and inside it was filled with a creamy mixture. The mixture was so creamy that I didn't really know what I was eating , all in all I would say that it was just 'okay'. The seafood that was supposed to be inside really could not be distinguished. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

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My attempt at Granola

So yesterday I tried to make my own granola for the first time. I didn't really follow a recipe , instead I looked at a bunch to see what ingredients people commonly use and went from there. I basically just used what I already had at home, unfortunately I didn't really have any chopped nuts or anything. It was a spontaneous decision so I didn't really have time to go out to buy anything. 

If was pretty fun, it reminded me of the experience that you get when you're going to one of those places with self serve frozen yogurt. I pretty much added a little bit of everything that I like!

In the very end the granola bars were a little bit of a fail, I guess I didn't use quite enough liquid ingredients or not enough of the ones used to hold it together. Either way I still tried to partition them into sections (so that I wouldn't eat it all at once ) but they ended up falling apart on me! Instead of making granola bars I really just made really tasty granola ( that would typically be added to yogurt or something). 

Ingredients used : rolled oats, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, shredded coconjt, margarine, almond extract, flax seed, one date + water, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sesame seeds. 
Excluding the oats, most ingredients were around .5 tbsp- 1 tbsp. 

I love granola bars but eat them fully aware that I'm eating it for the taste just like a chocolate bar and that many are actually not but much healthier nutritionally. As well a lot of them end up having quite a lot of calories!

Do you have any favourite granola recipes that are still fairly healthy? Leave a comment if you too or just any experience making them!
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Bite Bar Review

I'm the type of person who likes to try a little bit of everything - little being the key word. Newly opened at Bay and Elm is a little cupcake store, BiteBar, the only thing is that it's not your typical cupcakes that are sold.

These cupcakes are literally bite sized! They come in over a dozen flavours which means you can pick more than one! The only issue is that because they're so tiny, the size to price ratio seems slightly too imbalanced. In this case it doesn't really seem like you're getting your money's worth. But hey, that's not everyone's first priority especially when it comes to eating desserts am I right? 

Bite Bar Cupcakes Store

Bite Bar Cupcakes Store

Bite Bar Cupcakes Store
They're packaging is actually quite cool and elaborate. It's pretty funny how big the box is for such tiny cupcakes. 

Bite Bar Cupcakes Store

Bite Bar Cupcakes Store

You can use the business card as a reference for how tiny these cupcakes are! The flavours that I chose were PB&J (I might have an addiction here), red velvet, and Oreo cookie ( I think)! They were all pretty delicious and am glad that I could sample a few.
Bite Bar Cupcakes Store

Here is a terrible picture taken by me (terribly distracting background and nails that were heavily chipped- I apologize ), I decided last minute before eating it that I wanted to show exactly how small these cupcakes really were. In the words of my friend " the icing is practically bigger than the cupcake"! 

I feel like this will be more of a one time purchase do me. I just wanted to try it once but it's not really worth it to be a repeat customer. I forget all of the pricing but it starts at $1 each or $5 for 6. 

Have you tried Bite Bar? What do you think? 
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Brief Yoga Experience

Personally I learned a lot about yoga and the classes themselves throughout this summer after attending several times a week for approximately three months. I noticed how different power flow classes were to moksha classes.  I feel that the PF ones are a much harder workout since there are so many flows involved! My chateranga is definitely much more stronger now than it was before, and I can flow from one position to another with much more ease. Moksha classes seem to include the balance poses a lot more and are seen as the "intro" class for beginners. Nevertheless I enjoy going to both, it's important to mix it up! I usually just attended the same time slot throughout the week only to find out midway what type of class it was. It was also really great taking classes from so many instructors. Although it might be the same type of class the instructors are what make all the difference and can make the classes completely different and unlike one another. 

Yoga definitely is a great workout for strength (holding those poses will definitely help to tone your muscles) and improving ones flexibility. 

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Moksha Yoga Energy Exchange Program

Lets face it, yoga classes can be quite expensive. Although I somehow I came to the conclusion that a gym membership or $50-70 was expensive and unreasonable whereas a monthly /ten class pass of $120 seemed plausible. 

Any how the yoga studio I go to is known for its Hot Yoga, it's a chain (maybe franchise) known as Moksha Yoga. 

There are student discounts which bring the cost of the each class to be approximately $15. I don't know about you, but $15 a class is still pretty expensive and can add up pretty quickly if you plan on going several times a week. One option that is available is their Karma classes, proceeds from these classes go to a charity (I believe) and are donation based with a minimum of $7. They also have community classes which are  classes that are discounted since they are taught by novice instructors. 

Regardless, I had four months of summer and wanted to get into a regular routine if practicing yoga. That's when I heard about their Energy Exchange program. In exchange for your time and effort, they provide free unlimited yoga. No, it's not 'too good to be true'. 

I applied online through their website and shortly got a follow up email from their studio manager.

What you're doing is helping to clean the studio for 3 hours a week. So if you think about it with minimum wage being approximately $10/hour in ontario- you need to be practicing 2-3 times a week in order to get the value and worth out of your labour. 

So, what you're doing is cleaning the studio. This ranges from doing laundry, mopping and vacuuming floors of the studio and change room, washing the showers, refilling cleaning solutions and etc (these tasks being the extent of the duties). 

The three hours can feel somewhat lengthy, so choose a timeslot that fits our schedule. There are many 4-7, and 7-10pm shifts however I don't know much about the day shifts. 

Anyways being a part of this program did indeed have its perks with few 'cons':

•For those germaphobes out there it can help put your mind at ease, as you become part of the cleaning process. You know exactly how frequently the studio is cleaned and exactly what is being done! It's un likely you'll want to slack off seeing as it affects you directly if you're practicing there. 

•No one wants to do free work, as such you want to get your "work's worth (as opposed to money's worth)"! It literally forces you to enforce your practice, and to train and get stronger ("work out" as I would say). There were so many times where I didn't feel like going, but I literally hauled my butt over to the studio because I felt that I had an obligation to myself. Why else had I cleaned for 3 hours? Personally I did end up going between 2-4 times every week this summer and I am soo glad that I did!

•Lastly, it's free unlimited yoga!! The best reason of all!

Side notes: It's pretty interesting, cause its not exactly a volunteer position , people who participate in this program are referred to as "trades" and each shift as "trading". 

I was also super fortunate to live just under 5 minutes away from the studio and thus it was extremely convenient to go so frequently. 

This type of arrangement is definitely an interesting model for the company itself. 
They are able to maintain a clean tidy environment with nearly no additional labour costs. I'd be interested to see now much they were 'losing out on' by providing these classes. What percentage of people attending those classes on a weekly basis are actually traders who aren't contributing to the revenue generated by each class? This program really does motivate individuals to grow as they become more dedicated to the practice, I actually talked to one yogi who went on to become a yoga teacher after having spent months as a dedicated trade. 

All in all, this arrangement was really only just for the summer; with summer vacation coming to an end I am really dreading not being able to go as regular as I was. Not only will it be expensive but as a university student I also have much less time to spare. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

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3 Reasons Why I Love Kijiji/ Craigslist

This summer I had to get quite a few items off of these classified ads; of course the availability is much more limited than that of a store catalogue but it's was still a really great experience

Reasons Why It's Great

  • Many of these items that are being listed are in great condition, its near 10/10 mint condition; yet soo much cheaper! 
  • You get to meet such interesting people - just the experience of trading with this stranger is pretty cool. I met up with one girl to buy her bed frame and it turns out she graduated from the same University as me, it was a quick/sweet bond and I learned some interesting stuff. There are some interesting stories as to why it is they are putting it up for sale, moving, unused gift, etc.
  • It's eco friendly- you're basically recycling! With everything being bought brand new, there is definitely a surplus of used furniture and just 'stuff' that is being thrown out and wasted when it could be perfect for someone else. Assuming it looks brand new, and it's cheaper, do you really need to go and buy a brand new one yourself? Why not take one off of someone else's hands? You could probably put it to more use than it is sitting in the back of a closet or basement.
As much as you really want to buy whatever it is that you want to buy (there is high demand from yourself), there are people on the other side who really want to get rid of their stuff and have no use for it.

What do you typically buy off of Kijiji or Craigslist? Have you had good/bad experiences?

Monday, 1 July 2013

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Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Review

I just came back from my first trip to Cuba. The environment, and culture is completely different than that of North America. I've had plenty of friends who have told me about how great their vacations were but going myself was the real deal. I went with my family to a resort called Melias Las Americas, and for just over $1000 it included a round trip ticket there, shuttle service to the resort, food and drinks.

Places like Cuba, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica heavily depend on tourism, and as such there are a plethora of these resorts. What's different between them is truly the price and the quality. Staying at this resort, we were blessed with a postmark view. Since it's in Veradaro and on a peninsula, it actually works out in such a way that both sides of the hotel has an ocean view. One side; however, is much nicer to look at since it's shallow with the breathtaking blue water, whereas the other is more for fishing and is a lot less glamourous (but a view's a view).

Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Beach View
I kid you not, this is the view when you step through the lobby of the hotel. 

Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Beach View
Unreal.

Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Interior
We walked around and saw a few other Hotels while we were in Cuba, but none could really compare to the level of detail seen in this lobby. 
Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Havana Club
Each room is given a complimentary '26' of Rum. 

Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Room View
We were actually upgraded to this ocean view. 
Food: I've heard some interesting stories regarding the quality of food at these vacation places, but it was actually pretty decent/good. You pretty much receive all your food from their Buffet restaurant which consists of 4 areas.

  • 'Salad'/deli typed food with different cold cuts and cheeses.
  • Already Cooked meat/veggies and Interactive Cooking Station of Fish/Chicken/Beef (Pork?)
  • Already Cooked pasta/pizza and Interactive Cooking Station where you can customize the type of pasta and sauce
  • Dessert and Fruit Bar
Fair warning however, they keep their windows open almost all of the time which is really nice except for the fact that there are always flies around. It's not uncommon to see these flies sitting on some of the food that's already laid out (as such I would suggest eating whenever the buffet opens). 

To be very honest, the level of customer care and service that I received throughout my stay was the best at this buffet. They are extremely polite, and are always around to see to it that you have a beverage and that dirty dishes are taken away promptly. I don't think that there was a single instance where I felt that someone was being rude. One server actually recognized us the next day, and told us that he thought that my mother may have left her cardigan!

However; in addition to this buffet there is a '24 Hour Restaurant (Bar)' and a few stand alone restaurants. Room service is also available around the clock at no charge. Don't expect a large menu for the 24h Restaurant, they sell simple items such as cheese burgers sandwiches and fries. I wouldn't say that it was great, but if you are stuck between meal hours or it is simply the middle of the night it's still great to have the option to eat. 

We were there for 7 nights, and for 3 nights you make reservations for these individual restaurants (I believe you make them at the front desk but apparently ours had already been booked). We ate at the International Restaurant, Il Limoncello and Sakura.

Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort The International Restaurant
The International
 The International actually had a really great atmosphere, it gave off an upscale vibe with the decor and the music that was played by a quartet. The menu was interesting too, composed of an appetizer a main dish and a dessert. I had an appetizer with hummus, shrimp and 'crispy spaghetti', it was interesting and not bad in my opinion. However, we made the mistake of all ordering Lobster. What we found was 3/4 of the lobsters were not of good quality (you could tell by the texture) and  only 1 of our orders was tasty. Ordering something more safe such a pasta may have lead to a higher level of satisfaction at this restaurant. Finally for dessert, I took the waiter's recommendation of their creme caramel - although it was good, I was slightly upset I hadn't ordered the crepe that my mother had ordered. It was cooked in a sweet syrup with a hint of orange liquor - now that I would recommend ordering.

Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Pool
Il Limoncello was an interesting restaurant to say the least. It's quite hidden, and we honestly had no idea where it was until the night that we went. It's right next to the restaurant that's next to the further (shallower) pool behind a hidden door. Walking through it I was pleasantly surprised as the restaurant sits with a wonderful view of the beach (our reservation was around the time that the sun was setting), unfortunately that's about as good as the restaurant gets. We had a waiter who seemed as if he had little patience; he was not friendly, brisk and also quite inefficient. To our dismay, we spent nearly 1 hour waiting for our main course. At this point the restaurant was hardly close to being full, if the staff had made a mistake with our meal (which we were certain they had) they never came to give an apology or any explanation. This followed suit with our dessert, in addition to a mix up of desserts. What's interesting is that they have two types of menus, one is the stardard a la carte while the other one is a 'taste tester'. The latter menu provided smaller sized portions of what seemed like everything on the standard menu. It was also supposed to provide a "Symphony of Desserts", however this was never delivered. Furthermore, as we waited impatiently for our desserts (we had been at the restaurant for a very long time now) we noticed that there was a swarm of tiny ants walking around the table. It definitely freaked out some of us, but instead of moving us to one of the surrounding empty tables or even an apology, the waiter simply took a napkin and swiped them away to the side of the table.

Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort BeachSakura is a Japanese restaurant as one can infer from its name. They serve everyone the same meals, and also have a "Teppanyaki" chef. The meal consisted with three pieces of sushi, miso soup, fried rice, cooked vegetables, beef/pork, tempura shrimp and chicken. Of course we were in Cuba, and it would be unreasonable to expect the same quality of Japanese food one would get in Toronto (which is extremely multiculturally diverse with some wonderful cuisine), but I would only give it a 'satisfactory'. Watching the chef cook the rice seemed to be worse since it was happening right in front of us, an unusual reaction. We watched as he poured extremely generous amounts of soy sauce and sesame oil. He actually would pour the stuff for what seemed like over ten seconds, flooding our meal. Of course the cuisines is quite forgiving and it tasted kind of 'okay' but regardless it is something to keep in mind. The rest of the meat was cooked alright with the seasoning, but I was ready to see what was in store for dessert. Japanese dessert usually consists of just ice cream, but we actually had what seemed to be a Tempura/Deep fried ball of Icecream. I was actually pleasantly surprised, the combination was pretty good and I ended up finishing all of it despite my initial thoughts of leaving half behind.


What my family and I concluded together was that the buffet is actually the safest bet. The food is pretty good, the service and care receive is excellent and the food is readily available.


Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Beach


Melias Las Americas : All Inclusive Cuban Resort Wind Surfing
That's me windsurfing for the first time!

Leave a comment if this has helped you in your decision or just leave a comment with your own personal experience there! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!


Sunday, 30 June 2013

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Aritzia : Mail!

This year I was lucky enough to receive an email from Aritzia saying that I was on their private sale list!

Aritzia
Once a year Aritzia invites their 'favourite customers' to shop a private sale where every item in store is on sale for 20% off (or more depending on the brand). People don't know what exactly it is that qualifies them, but it's a pretty good hypothesis that these people are frequent shoppers who spend a certain amount each year.

It kind of confused me because I feel like this year I spent very little in comparison to previous years, in fact I seem to spend less every year. Nevertheless I love this sale because for some items the 20% off is still more than some of their typical discounts of $5-10! Maybe it's during these sales that I actually spend enough to qualify for their sale? That would be pretty ironic. I actually usually share an account with my mother who will shop there every once in a whole so it might be for that reason that our total piles up a little more.

What usually happens is you go in store and show a sales associate your email, after this they hand you a printed card listing all the discounts next to the brands that they sell. What I noticed was slightly different was that this year they seemed to look at the email more thoroughly to see if it was legitimate. I'm guessing that some people forward the email to another or perhaps screenshot it on their mobile devices if they weren't able to get one of these 'Invites'.

Anyways what's new is that this year Aritzia finally joined the packs of its fellow retailers and finally began the ecommerce component of its company. What's even nicer is that they allowed customers to access this private sale online and provided the same discounts.

It's pretty funny because I spent a few days trying to decide whether I should buy their Wilfred Diderot cardigan. Well technically I think I've been thinking it over for years (ever since it first came out) but even more so since it would now be $76 instead of $96. I had finally decided to get it but had procrastinated! What happened was that I was about to go to Cuba the next day, and I made a mistake thinking that the mall would be open late on a Saturday - turns out it closes at 6! I realized I could order it online, but between packing and other tasks it slipped my mind again. The sale ended while I was away on vacation, and only remembered this mistake at the gates of the air port! Thank goodness for mobile technology! I didn't bring my own phone since I wouldn't be needing it during my trip but thankful my parents did. So what did I do during the half hour of extra time waiting to board the plane? I ordered my cardigan last minute online on a phone!

It's great because the parcel was waiting for me when I got home, and the packaging actually seems a lot nicer than what I would have walked out with from the store! So no regrets here. I also don't know if it had to do with the 'private status' but my order didn't reach the $100 minimum for free shipping but the $8 shipping free was still waived when I was checking out.

Aritzia candle
I even got a 'second' candle! The first one I bought was Fig while this second one I bought is Rose. Supposedly you can get multiple candles if you buy from Aritzia, TNA and Wilfred but I guess online gets you another one! I forgot to mention that these candles are their gifts to you (along with a purchase) and occur every year for their 'First Tier'. Usually it's a beach towel and up until this year I never qualified for a gift.














Wilfred diderot cardigan

Aritzia candle



Aritzia candle


Friday, 21 June 2013

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Got my G!

Here in Ontario we have a "Graduated Licensing  Program" or something along those linse. Unlike many states or places which normally have two statuses, here there are three.

There's G1, G2, and G.

G1 is the typical learners permit that most people have to obtain, here the minimum age is 16. With this you can drive on the road as long as there is an experienced driver at your side (4 years experience or more I believe). It's pretty crazy that all you have to do for this is write a written test. It's simply a theory test, and with that there are 16 year old teens driving these huge metal vehicles.

After that you actually have to do a road test, this means you're driving a specific route with an examiner at your side. It's pretty standard after you pass, you can drive pretty much everywhere on your own. This is when you have your G2, what's different is that here this is still not a full license. There are a few limitations, and when I say that I mean very few. It can be a misconception that G2 drivers are not to drive on the expressway/highway, but in order to pass the  next driving test it is required that one has experience driving on one!

Some things they test you on: parallel or reverse parking, three point turns, hill side parking, changing lanes, complete stops, constant eye movement (mirrors and blind spot). The G2 test is much shorter than the G test. 

The difference is that you cannot have any alcohol in your system when driving, absolutely nothing, nada, zero %. This is regardless of one's license to be fair, anyone under the age of 21 (even with a G) is prohibited to drink and drive. After that the only other difference is that between 12am-5am, G2 drivers with 0-6 months experience can only have one other rider in the car; and between 6 months experience to either G/19 years old one (whichever comes first) one can only have 3 riders in the car.

Any how, today I went to Aurora and was ecstatic to receive a 'pass' from my examiner. I thought that I had done pretty poorly, don't get me wrong I can drive and have a lot of experience now but I also picked up a lot of bad habits - who doesn't! I guess I was lucky since the mistakes didn't accumulate to too much and I didn't make any disqualifying actions!

This is actually my second attempt, the first attempt landed me with a fail since I didn't see the street that the examiner wanted me to turn at until the last minute - I supposedly braked too quickly forcing the car behind me to come to a 'dangerous stop'. It's actually the road "Berzy" right behind the Go Station that caused me to fail but I think it's pretty unfair because it's at the top of the hill. I went back to the area before my test to scout it and remembered this exact spot, the left turn lane is faded too making it really unclear! It also sucks because if you fail halfway they don't even tell you this as they continue to test you on other things such as parking.

This second time also seemed to go by much quicker, we just went down a few rodes, switch lanes, went on the highway 404, did an emergency stop and a parallel park. I was actually super lucky with the parallel since I was asked to park at a spot that had no curb!

Some common mistakes:

  • Not switching into the right lane after a left turn ( you should be driving in the right lane the majority of the time)
  • Forgetting to look down streets as you pass by (through intersections)
  • Not using the parking hand brake (I never use that since I drive an automatic)
  • Not releasing the brake
  • Turning off 4-way signals
  • Not looking around enough/ more eye and head movement


Monday, 17 June 2013

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Visa - misc

You know what's strange? For most people they find that they're able to budget and keep track of their money easier when they pay with cash. I find, in contrast, that charging things on my visa helps me know what I'm spending. Besides having to think about every swipe (which is what most people don't do) I love the fact that it creates a transaction record.

I'm actually really bad at keeping track of receipts and so I find that it can be hard to know how much I'm really spending. For example, when I pay for food with cash I find that it's really hard to account for that money. Most people don't really keep those receipts from Tim Hortons or Jack Astors, but I think it's important to know where the money is flowing! For that reason I actually try to charge everything on credit.

I also don't know how to properly store my receipts, right now they're getting thrown into an old Converse shoe box but it's not exactly the right size so I just end up with a pile of disorganized chaos! Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to properly manage them? I've read that some people use letter envelopes and I think that's pretty interesting and might just start to do that.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

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Topbox June 2013

Around the mid beginning of every month, I come home super excited in anticipation for my Topbox (a subscription service). It's great since they send you an email once it has been delivered, so you know from work or school or wherever you are that you have a parcel at home anticipating your return.

As I may have mentioned already, I used to subscribe to Loose Button's Luxe Box, but it was only after a short while that I realized that the products weren't suiting my needs and it was becoming a waste of my money - which is why I ended up with TopBox.

It's approximately $13 and I really like the products (the majority of the time). They'll usually give you a mix of products that are by an established brand, and some that are up and coming (Eyeko for example -yes I had it before it hit Sephora).

This month I got four items: a Belvada mini eyelash curler, Benefit's Sugarbomb lip gloss, Jelly Pong Pong's Fairy Lashes Mascara and Paris's Colour Cubes Loose Pigment.

I was surprisingly impressed with the eyelash curler! I normally used the popular/favourite amongst Asians curler by Shiseido. Most curlers don't curve around my eyes properly since they're physiologically different than Caucasian eyes! Usually they don't reach for enough without accidentally clipping my eyelids, but to my surprise they curled them extremely easily. However as a disclaimer, I did use it after having already applied mascara earlier on in the day. Regardless it was easy to use and reached the base of my lashes with ease.

The Sugarbomb lipgloss comes in a shade that I love. It's not too bright but has the right amount of shimmer and color. You can see depending on how much you apply it can come out as a nice rosy pink or nice and sheer. I put it on briefly and found that it had a nice subtle scent, it was also nice and not sticky (a problem that many lip glosses seem to face).

I haven't tried the mascara yet but I love the outer tube that it comes in. Might post a short review or update to this later.

And finally, I got some loose pigment in shades I really liked. The only thing worse than getting a bad product is getting something that's good but in a colour that you don't like or won't ever use, so thank goodness for that! It's actually pretty funny because when I first opened the package I saw that the eye shadow was all broken and powdery. I was instantly upset that the shadow had broken apart on its delivery (the packaging skip forgot to mention that it was loose powder). Thankfully after opening it (and before sending a complaint to topbox) I realized that it was supposed to be like this and my happiness was renewed.







Thursday, 3 January 2013

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Sephora Birthday Gift 2013


One of the many perks of signing up with Sephora as a Beauty Insider is the Birthday Gift that is given out every year. I only started getting them a few years ago; previously they have included a Sephora Mascara Eyeliner and Eyeshadow Set (2010), Vanilla Birthday Cake Body Wash (2011), and Sugar Lip Balm and Lip Tint (2012).

My birthday is actually on New Years, and one of the perks is that I just picked up the Sephora Birthday Gift for 2013! It's funny because I was actually in store on New Years Eve where they were giving out the Sugar Lip Set and going back only one business day later resulted in me getting a completely new product (I'm so glad I waited for the new gifts to arrive before claiming it)!

Anyways here are some pictures of Benefit "Real Birthday Turn-Ons!" - this year's Birthday Set:

I sincerely apologize for the lighting/ any discolouration.


For some reason the box shows up orange in these photos, but in reality it's actually pink!


       

       

       
Included is Watt's Up a "champagne sheer highlighter" and They're Real! Mascara.



It's different than the miniature travel size that Benefit usually sells in store.



 I tried to include a bobby pin just for some size reference, the highlighter is actually quite small.

Again, I know the coloration is really strange (it makes my skin look like a completely different shade) but I just wanted to show how the highlighter looked. The shimmer is really nice, and I'm excited to use it!