Monday, June 29, 2020

Crinkle Mingle By Sharie - Homemade Filipino Desserts

Recently my family and I have been enjoying more quality time together. The pandemic has really put things in perspective and reminded us to appreciate the little things in life.

The best part of every dinner party, barbecue, birthday celebration or special occasion is dessert and if you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, order from Crinkle Mingle by Sharie.

I discovered this wonderful home bakery on Instagram and learned that Sharie is a nurse who recently made the switch to stay at home mom. She specializes in traditional Filipino desserts that will knock your socks off. Her crinkle cookies are the BEST in the city (I can’t stop eating them).


These yummy crinkles are dense, rich, soft and extremely flavorful. The texture is a scrumptious combination of cookie and cake and the colorful boxes make great gifts (buy extra because you won’t want to share).

Flavors and colors:
Pink – strawberry
Brown –mocha
Green – pandan - a tropical leaf used in South Asian cuisine
Purple – ube (purple yam)
Deep brown – chocolate

If you’re wondering what my favorite is, it’s ALL of them. Order the assorted box and thank me later.


Summer is pie season and my family is obsessed with Crinkle Mingle’s Buko Pie made with tons of yummy coconut. We also love the Egg Pie stuffed with creamy custard - the texture is combination of flan and cheesecake.


I like that the fillings are not too sweet and the buttery, flaky crust is baked to perfection!

If you show up to the family function with one of these pies, it will be devoured in the blink of an eye.


For orders and inquiries, contact @crinkleminglebysharie on Instagram or Facebook (curb-side pick-up in Richmond Hill).

Monday, June 22, 2020

Mary Kay Spring 2020 Collection

We’ve all had a pretty unusual summer but as the city begins to recuperate from the pandemic, it is finally time for beauty junkies everywhere to break out their new makeup.

We might not be able to attend parties or go to the theater just yet, but we can enjoy provincial parks and do a little shopping.

Mary Kay’s Spring Collection reminds me of what the season is all about – bright pouty lips, shimmery shadow and deep earthy bronzers that transform us into glowing goddesses.


The Semi-Matte Gel Lipsticks ($21) are available in a variety of gorgeous shades but these four are brand new! The silky, nourishing formula delivers the perfect amount of lightweight, vibrant color in a single swipe and keeps lips hydrated for hours. My favorite is Red Stileto because it looks amazing with gold shadow and dramatic winged liner. I love the intense, full-coverage saturation and creamy, no-fuss application.


The Limited-Edition Unearthed Illuminating Bronzers ($22 ea) have a warm base and glow-inducing highlighter to create a multidimensional finish. For sunkissed radiance, sweep the powder just below the cheekbones or all over the face to accentuate and define.


The bronzers look beautiful in the Limited-Edition Unearthed Magnetic Palette – sold separately for $21.


On hot summer days, liquid eye shadow stays exactly where you put it and Mary Kay’s luminous new shades are packed with pigment. They look fabulous with or without a base but I use the MK waterproof primer ($18.00) to smooth the area and prolong wear.


After blending your crease shades to perfection, use the doe foot applicator to layer the liquid onto your lids and wait for it to dry before finishing your look with eyeliner and mascara.

If you prefer pressed pigment, check out the Chromafusion singles ($9 each) and customize your own refillable palette!


I never leave home without applying sultry black liner. It makes my eyes appear larger and improves the overall look of my eye shadow. Recently I’ve been using Mary Kay’s Waterproof Pen ($20) with intense black pigment. It is perfect for precise, neat lines and the no-drip felt tip is easy to use.


Don’t forget to accentuate your lashes with a few coats of mascara. I like to layer Lash Love Fanorama ($21) with Lash Love Waterproof ($21). Individually they provide a natural effect (not very voluminous or dramatic) but together they elongate and thicken.

I’m somewhat of a lip balm addict (I have tubes stashed everywhere) so it’s no surprise that I love Mary Kay’s Intuitive pH Balm ($21) and part of the proceeds to go charity. When you swipe on the creamy color (berry and translucent), the reactive ingredients adjust to the color of your lips creating a unique hue. On me the clear balm became a natural pink and the berry deepens into a sheer juicy blackberry. The hydrating formula keeps lips soft, smooth and healthy with a pop of plumping radiance.


Don’t forget to pamper your skin after spending time outdoors (your makeup won’t look as good if you don’t). I recommend the Microdermabrasion Plus Set ($60) which comes with an advanced exfoliator to remove dead cells and a Pore Minimizing Serum to smooth skin texture and reduce redness.


For more information visit marykay.ca or contact an independent consultant.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Holy Shakes – The Best Gourmet Milkshakes in Toronto

There is nothing better than a cool, frosty treat on a hot summer day and going out for ice cream or shakes to celebrate special occasions is a family tradition.

For the best gourmet milkshake in the GTA, head to Holy Shakes. This trendy dessert shop offers an impressive selection of decadent drinks in just about any flavor you can imagine – red velvet, PBJ, Cookie Dough, Oreo, Strawberry Cheesecake, Pistachio Crème Brûlée, Birthday Cake, Ferrero Roche, Kit Kat and so much more!


You might want to choose a flavor before heading to the store in Brampton for curb-side pick-up because it is very tempting to order everything on the menu!

The rich creamy shakes are blended to perfection before being topped with candy or cake and served in retro glass bottles. My favorite (so far) is strawberry cheesecake but I can't wait to try Coconut Bounty, Reese's and Always Nutella.

For more info or to place an order visit holyshakes.ca.

Spicy food goes great with sweet, refreshing milkshakes so while you’re at Holy Shakes, grab some lunch at The Kathy Roll Express – Toronto's finest Indian fusion street food.

Choose from a variety of tasty dishes like this creamy butter chicken mac and cheese.


Or try their famous Indian burritos stuffed with biryani style rice, beans, butter chicken and savory homemade sauces. The meat is always juicy and the dishes taste homemade and authentic with the perfect balance of heat.


The menu also includes: peri peri chicken, Punjabi tacos, cheesy tikka nachos and samosa poutine!

Order online at thekathirollexpress.com or visit the Brampton location for curb-side pick-up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Elastine PropoliThera Hair Care by Avon

Basking in the sun or taking a dip in the pool feels fantastic, but don't let UV and chlorine damage your hair this summer. Some of us are still recovering from winter dryness and when you factor in hard water, pollution, sulfates and heat styling, you get a recipe for dryness, split-ends and breakage.

Avon’s new PropoliThera Hair Care is formulated to strengthen and repair weak, brittle strands with natural emollients. The products are infused with propolis - a combination of tree sap and beeswax high in minerals, vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants. They also contain honey to restore moisture and royal jelly to enhance shine.


Any ingredient that comes from bees is healing and nourishing. Don’t believe me? Check out my favorite face moisturizer – Egyptian Magic.

The shampoo and conditioner ($24 each) repair damage, shield against environmental aggressors, cleanse without harsh sulfates, remove build-up, unclog follicles, lather away impurities, smooth, hydrate, replenish and soften.


The shampoo has a shimmery formula for an ultra glossy finish and the rich conditioner is great for detangling. I like the perfumey scent but it might be too strong for some.

The Hair Mask ($24) is enriched with ingredients that deeply moisturize and rejuvenate dry, dull, fragile strands. I use deep conditioner twice a month and it makes a substantial different in the health, resiliency, growth and length of my hair.


To get the most from your mask: Coat your hair generously and comb through to distribute evenly. Clip the ends up, cover with a plastic shower cap and wrap your hair in a microfiber tower to trap in the heat. Leave it on for 1-4 hours depending on your hair type and needs. Rinse with cold water and air dry.

The Propli Thera Hair Oil Serum ($24) is great for most hair types unless your scalp and ends are naturally greasy. For everyone else, apply a small amount on damp hair to seal, mend and prevent split-ends. It also helps maintain moisture and elasticity without residue or build-up.


Pro tip: In-between wash days, finger comb some serum through your lengths to refresh, soften and add a wonderful fragrance.

You can find this fabulous collection online at avon.ca

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Boxed Cookies and Co. – Homemade Cookies for Every Occasion

No one can resist a scrumptious homemade cookie, so why not surprise loved ones with a tasty treat while supporting a small local business?

Cate started Boxed Cookies Co. in her kitchen – whipping up delicious recipes loaded with crunchy candy pieces, rich chocolate and sweet marshmallows. Each box comes with 12 melt in your mouth flavors perfect for every occasion (including Father’s Day which is just around the corner).


I can see myself ordering her cute cookie boxes for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, date night, high tea, dinner parties, bridal showers and in times like these, baked goods make thoughtful care packages. 

The signature menu includes a yummy selection of Marshmallow M&M, Confetti Cake, Classic Chocolate Chip, Double Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Sugar (try not to drool).

Single flavor cake boxes are just $15 and a box of two flavors cost $20. Make sure to order with at least 2 days notice (curb-side pick-up available in St. Catherine’s or Hamilton).

From now until June 30, 2020 take advantage of the grand opening sale! Get a box of Classic Chocolate Chip FREE with your first purchase.


If you live in the GTA and want to grab a sweet treat for your road trip to Niagara Falls, place an order and pick it up on the way.

M&M Marshmallow is my favorite! For movie night we like to warm them in the microwave and scoop a little vanilla ice cream on top (try it and thank me later).


To place an order DM @boxexcookiesandco on Instagram

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Face Shop Rouge Powder Matte Lipstick | Review and Swatches

This summer I’ve been wearing bold lipstick and neutral eye shadow with winged liner – it’s my go-to look when I don’t have the patience for a 90 minute makeup session.

If you’re looking for dramatic, vibrant color, The Face Shop has just released a gorgeous range of Powder Matte Lipsticks ($22 ea) that compliment all skin tones.


I can’t get enough of the sultry berry, deep pink and mauve undertones. There is also a bright red (for when you’re feeling sassy), a beautiful rose tinted nude, classic coral and a dark red that is perfect for a night out.

The creamy, moisturizing formula glides on buttery smooth and delivers bright, buildable color with a sexy blurring effect. The texture is lightweight and comfortable but the coverage is not completely opaque (almost but not quite). Make sure your lips are smooth and exfoliated because any roughness will show through.

The pigment tends to transfer easily so you will need to reapply after eating and drinking. Make sure to wipe off any crumbs so the texture remains consistent.


If you’d like to try these pretty lippies head to avon.ca.

Swatches (left to right): Rose Powder, Plum Powder, Berry Powder, Coral Powder, Red Powder and Beige Powder.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Catrice Cosmetics HD Liquid Coverage Foundation Review

It has been a few months since I reviewed new foundation but drugstore brands are on a roll! My high-end foundations cost upwards of $50 per bottle but lately I’ve discovered many budget-friendly formulas that work just as well.

I love Catrice Cosmetics so it doesn't surprise me that their HD Liquid Coverage Foundation ($13.99 CAD / $10 U.S.) has rave reviews. It has even been compared to the Fenty Beauty foundation.


Choosing a shade online can be difficult but at catricecosmetics.com there are swatches of each shade on three different complexions and when you click on a color, it shows a model wearing the foundation. This gives you an indication of range and undertone but if you need further assistance, the shade finder tool categorizes everything into cool, neutral and warm.

My shade is usually in the middle of the spectrum so I decided to test 060 Latte Macchiato, 065 Bronze Beige, 070 Toffee Beige and 080 Caramel Beige.


My best match is 060 Latte Macchiato Beige. It isn’t perfect, but it works. The color looks quite light through the bottle but the pigment tends to deepen as it dries and when layered. This is not a problem since my setting powder and concealer blends everything together evenly.

I also tested 065 Bronze Beige which is a few shades deeper than my complexion. If I spend more time outdoors (which I plan to do this summer) I might be able to wear it.

The dropper applicator is a good idea (in theory) but it isn’t effective for picking up the creamy liquid. Instead I use it as a scoop to slather the product on - a slight inconvenience for high-definition camera ready skin.


I love the lightweight matte texture and natural effect. The non-greasy, no-shine, 24h formula is great for summer and there is minimal transfer. The coverage is also quite good – medium to full for camouflaging blemishes and discoloration.

This is a foundation you can exercise and cry in since there is minimal creasing and caking. The finish is smooth, streak-free, non-drying and flawless (depending on the condition of your skin of course). I apply it with a Beauty Blender and my face usually looks airbrushed (especially with primer). The consistency is fabulous – liquidy but not too runny, and rich but not too thick. It spreads seamlessly and does not clog pores. For the price and quality, you can’t go wrong!

The Liquid Camouflage High Coverage Concealer ($7.99 CAD / $5.99 U.S.) covers dark circles, redness, hyperpigmentation, blemishes and even tattoos with a highly pigmented, waterproof formula that lasts as long as your day does.

The concealer and foundation are vegan, gluten-free, alcohol-free and oil-free, making them suitable for most skin types.


Like any cream concealer, you should blend well when using it under the eyes and apply setting powder to prevent creasing.

Catrice Cosmetics is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and orders can be placed at beauty.shoppersdrugmart.ca.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Contribute to COVID-19 Relief by Stuffing Your Face with Delicious Courage Cookies

I’ve been quite busy with work, road trips and new projects but I want to take a minute to let you know about a fabulous company that is giving back to the community by donating a portion of their sales to COVID relief.

The pandemic has affected the economy, crippled the health care system and taken a toll on many families. Courage Cookies is a Canadian bakery dedicated to spreading kindness and hope with delicious family recipes.


The cookies are thick, soft, decadent and addictive! Choose from a scrumptious selection of mini egg, choco chunk, New York stuffed red velvet, Reese’s + peanuts, Nutella s’more and brown butter Rice Krispie square (I recommend one of each!).

I took the cookies on a day trip yesterday and they were gone in the blink of an eye (my family can’t get enough).

If you’d like to treat yourself, send a care package or surprise loved ones with a much deserved treat, head to the bakery's Instagram page (link HERE) to place an order for pick-up, delivery (within the GTA) or shipping within Canada.


Prices and info can be found on their website - couragecookies.ca

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Road Trip to Prince Edward County - Ontario Canada

In light of recent global events, we should all remember that it’s okay to unplug from social media and take a break from stressful news. Tuning out negativity and escaping to a peaceful environment can be therapeutic and relaxing.


Since non-essential international travel has been put on hold, my family decided to hit the open road and explore a different part of Ontario. Driving just 2-4 hours outside the city reveals rugged landscape, diverse wildlife and amazing beaches.

Road trips have become a relatively safe alternative to vacationing overseas, as long as we all take precautions and keep our distance.

I’ve already been to several destinations in northern Ontario, cottage country and the Niagara region, so we packed the cooler and headed east to Prince Edward County (PEC).

Hotels may be difficult to find during the pandemic but we managed to book cozy accommodations in the charming town of Picton.

Travel tip: Before making reservations, call the property to confirm availability.


The drive took about 2 hours and there are rest stops along the highway. Our hotel was open for business but due to COVID-19 they’ve had to adapt.

When we arrived there was no check-in desk. All correspondence, bookings and payment was done online and the key was left in a lockbox on the front door. When I called for extra towels, they were put in a bag on the porch and at check-out we simply left the key in the room and locked the door. Each unit has its own entry so there was no physical interaction with staff or guests.

Picton is very small but there are restaurants, breweries, shops and a theater (many of which are closed or restricted to take-out, delivery and curb-side pick-up).



I highly recommend Slickers Ice Cream (we had dessert there every day). The parlor has been making all-natural artisan flavors for over 20 years! My favorite is Jazzberry – a delicious strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry medley. Coconut Bounty is amazing and we also tried chocolate peanut butter and apple pie.

For dinner you can’t go wrong with Pie Guys Pizza but call ahead to avoid a long wait.

When you pick up the pizza, walk a couple streets over and check out The Picton United Church - off the main road.


Most people visit PEC for the incredible wineries, lavender fields, food tours and farmers markets but since many attractions are currently closed (thanks again COVID), we went to Sandbanks Provincial Park – the highlight of most trips to the county.


Travel tip: Park your car in designated lots or you might get a ticket.


Hiking trails and beaches are open but lounging on the sand, setting up beach chairs and swimming is not yet permitted (they want visitors to maintain a safe distance). Rules may change as the season progresses and the state of emergency is lifted.


We went to Dunes Beach (which wasn’t my favorite) and then drove to Wellington Beach which is picturesque despite an abundance of delicate seashells and small rocks.


On clear sunny days the water at Wellington is Caribbean blue!

There are many great places to watch the sunset.

Drive along the scenic coast and enjoy the cool breeze.

Stormy weather can make for some interesting photography.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. I didn't spot any bears or deer but I did see a guinea fowl for the first time and quite a few hawks.


Lake on the Mountain is a unique body of water. It is hard to explain but as the name suggests, the lake is atop a mountain so you can see it above you while driving uphill. Down in the valley across the road, there is another gorgeous lake - it is a phenomenon you have to experience to appreciate.


On your way home stop at Zwick’s Park on Bay of Quinte. It is well maintained and has a great view of the bridge. Watch out for brown snakes hiding along the shore.




I'd love to visit Prince Edward County again when everything reopens but this road trip was fun!

Need help planning your next road trip? Check out my previous article for tips.
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