Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Topbox Feb 2017 review!

I decided to start posting my Topbox reviews again.
Lately I was not as motivated to do so- as I have been a faithful Topbox subscriber since their very first box came out.

These are the items I was sent in my Feb shipment:

Feb 2017 Topbox Contents

Actually, there is one item missing from this photo-there was a Bella Aura repair cream in a 10ml tube and I have no idea where it went.
I was just about to take my photo and turned around for one second and it is like the product flew away?
My review of the Bella Aura products will be somewhat short.
This is the THIRD TIME IN A ROW that I have gotten a Bella Aura product. Earlier I got a cleanser and I thought the size was quite small at 10ml.
For a face cream 10ml is fine, but for a cleanser?? that is too tiny.

*Bella Aura Repair: 10ml tube. Full size product 30ml, cost $90
-sample value $30!
I do like that this company uses many natural ingredients and is also Canadian!

*Mettrum Originals lip balm in watermellon: 5g tube, full size product, value $3.99
I have never heard about this company before. Looking at their website, they are located in Ontario and own several farms that grow and produce hemp products.

I like that the lip balm is all natural and contains hemp oil.
The watermelon scent is not too strong. The lip balm is quite nice and I would get the one with peppermint for sure!
Their other products like salad dressings and baking mixes look really good.
I will try to look for their products locally!

*Caudalie Instant Detox Mask: 15ml tube, full size product 75ml, cost $45
-sample value $10
This mask was nice and dries quite quickly. The mask itself is pink and has a bit of a floral scent.
Overall, it is a good clay mask and easy to rinse off too.
I really like Caudalie products, but this mask is not on my list of must have  items.
The moisture mask is one of my favorites.
Caudalie always has such nice packaging, and the cap on this mask is made of wood and has a neat and different look (the inside of the cap is plastic still).

Caudalie Detox Mask!

*The last product I tried was the St. Tropica hair mask.
The packet is the full size of the product and is 42 grams and cost $5.
This does seem to be the only size this company has and the only product they make at the moment.
Now it is nice to get such a big, generous sample, but for my hair type (fine, dry and curly)- this packet was quite a lot.
I have enough for 3 uses as my ends are very fine.
The instructions state to put the mask in the microwave, but just putting the packet in hot water or else heating with my hands was fine-coconut oil melts at room temp quite quickly.
It is not like a typical hair mask, where you would just rinse this out after washing your hair, this is a product that you use before washing your hair.
St Tropica is made of coconut oil and has a very strong coconut oil scent, almost a bit too much for me. My shirt smelled of coconut until I put it in the laundry.
The ingredients in this mask are very good and all natural.
If you do a lot of swimming, like many people I know- then this mask would be great to help repair all the damage from salt water and chlorine.
The mask would also be really useful to bring on vacation, as being outdoors a lot can dry out your hair.
Overall I think this mask is great, but it would be nice if there was some way to have it smell less of coconut.
I use to buy organic coconut oil and it never had a strong scent to it.

*Guess I forgot to review one last sample....
The Smashbox card with the eye shadows on it.
Kind of annoyed at that sample, as it is not even the whole palette and there are so many other shades in the store for this collection. It would have been nice to receive several other colour samples- esp when this is a free item you can get at the store.

Overall I am pleased with the Feb 2017 Topbox and the value of the samples was $49.

*Before I forget, I just realized that I was double billed for the  Feb Topbox and nothing was done until I contacted the company. So maybe keep a watch on your web accounts just in case...

What was your favorite product this month?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mr. Pretzels very tasty new stand at Billings Bridge mall food court.

Recently, I went to Billings Bridge mall to run some errands.
I do not get to that mall as often during the winter and recently saw there was a new Mr. Pretzels stand in the food court area of the mall.
I have never heard of Mr. Pretzels, but do enjoy fresh baked pretzels and have even made my own before.
So, of course I had to get a pretzel when I saw this stand.

Usually, I always buy those "new york" style pretzels- the kind that have rock salt on the outside.
Some grocery stores in Ottawa sell that kind frozen and Swiss Pastries (RIP) used to carry those one day a week.

Mr. Pretzels!

Below is a better, more up-close view of my pretzel.
This is the Parmesan and herb pretzel. They dip that in butter before dipping the pretzel in the Parmesan powder.
The dough for this pretzel is more doughy like bread and not like those more dark brown pretzels you find at the grocery store and some bakeries.
This pretzel was quite big and was really more filling than I expected.

Mr. Pretzels close-up!
I will definitely be back to try all the other toppings they had at the stand.
I'm not too sure how many other stores they have in Ottawa, as the Mr. Pretzels website is showing mostly Montreal locations.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Foodiepages Feb 2017 box is here!

Hope everyone had a good new year and holidays!
Finally, I am able to get online more easily-I had computer issues, then Internet provider issues.
Bought a new modem from Amazon and managed to figure out the installation!

I ordered the Feb 2017 Foodiepages box as soon as I saw it was for sale, but had no idea at all what would be in the box.....
This was quite fun to open!

Unopened Foodiepages Box!!!

When I opened my box the first thing I saw was:

Product Card and Crinkle Paper. 

Under all the paper shreds were my food products, they were all very well wrapped up.

Every item was wrapped in bubble packaging.

Now, finally I will try some of the foods I received.
It is quite later here, so the seasonings will have to wait until later.

The first item I tried was Nuba Tisane.This is a hibiscus tea and comes in a 355ml glass bottle. The tea I received was a sugar free version.
The tea or herbal tea is very tart and refreshing, very similar to cranberry in tartness.
The hibiscus flowers for this tea are grown in Egypt and the tea is brewed from the whole dried flowers to provide more benefits.
As far as I know there is no caffeine in this drink and it should be ok for most people (check with a doctor or nutritionist if you are not sure).
I also like that this tisane has no calories and it would be nice to use in a drink or mixed with sparkling water.

Nuba Tisane Cold and Refreshing.

Nutrition Info!

The rest of my review is coming soon.

The next item I tried was the Pea Pops made by Three Farmers.
Sample size 28g, value $1.70/ Reg size 90g cost $4.99

The flavour is DILL PICKLE POW and the title does live up to its name. The dill flavour was quite strong and tart- but in a good way.
I did find there was quite a bit of salt for a small portion- 28g has 150mg of salt, 240mg potassium (some people need to watch that, nice to see it listed), 5g protein and 10 of your daily iron.

Overall I would say this is a great snack to bring to school, esp if you are not allowed nuts.
The sample size was good to get a taste of the product and would be good for a lunch on the go if you do not want a large portion.
I do have a small issue with the product- it would have been nice to try one of the other flavors too, especially since the sample bag was just enough for one person or serving.
The only other thing I would like to see, if possible is the same pea snack, but with a more plain seasoning-like just sea salt and pepper or maybe even unsalted.
I do not always want to be hit in the face (or taste buds) with such a strong flavour.

There was quite a few things I did like about the Pea Pops snack- it is roasted instead of fried. The peas were still extremely crunchy due to this.
The pea snack can be traced by the product number on the back of the bag.
This is also a vegan product and made in Canada!

So Much Dill!!

Info from Back of Package.

Cheese Plate served on slate board!

To try out the Spicy Tomato Jam made by Salt Spring Kitchen Co, I put together a cheese plate.
Almost any kind of savory cracker, nuts, vegetables would be great with the tomato jam.
Also, I'm glad the jam was not overly spicy-so for people like me who avoid very spicy food I had no problems eating this jam.
Actually it was hard to put the jar down, it was so good!

Cheese Plate!

I also made a delicious grilled cheese sandwich using fresh grain bread from Whole Foods and some Brie.
Pretty much any type of cheese or even just grilled vegetables in a sandwich with the tomato jam would be great for the non-cheese eaters.

Grilled cheese (Brie and Tomato Jam)

*This is what the inside of the sandwich looked like:
Inside of sandwich!

There was also a Wild Leek Vinegar made by Wild Muskoka Botanicals.
The bottle was a 60ml size and had a value of $4.50.
I used the vinegar on a salad and it added some nice extra flavour, but was not overpowering.
The product card from Foodiepages states the vinegar is made from Ontario organic apple cider vinegar that is infused with wild leek and to use this as a dressing, marinade or finisher on savory dishes.
I thought my mother would like the vinegar and gave her the rest to use in her food, I keep on forgetting to ask her what she used it in.

Salad with Wild Leek Vinegar

Finally got around to trying the Caribbean Jerk Marinade made by Saha Cuisine!
The jar is a 250ml size and cost around $8.
I used the marinade as a sauce to top my veggie burger-the sauce was extremely spicy for me, so I barely needed any.
For me, this marinade is almost too spicy, I am going to have to only use a very tiny bit for a big batch of tofu or chicken.
I think this marinade or sauce would be great in a dish with coconut milk or maybe on some roast potato that I cook in the oven.
The weather here has been quite bad, so for now I have not had a chance to get to the grocery store to pick up items to make any dishes.
(My freezer is mostly frozen fruit, bread and ice cream at the moment).

Jerk Marinade close-up on spoon.

Jerk Marinade on veggie burger!

The picture above is a veggie burger with Caribbean Jerk Marinade by Saha Cuisine as a sauce.
I did not use much of the marinade- just a few small drops, as for me it is very spicy.
Yes, I did try the marinade before putting it on my food and used a very tiny amount. But because the veggie burger is a similar colour, it looks like a lot more.

Overall I enjoyed the Feb 2017 FoodiePages tasting box and am trying to get one every month.
There are only 50 boxes for sale each month, so you need to check their website quite quickly to get a box.
This box was fun to try and I have never heard of any of these items before.
It would have been nice to get more than one bag of the roasted peas, as the portion was very small.
I do plan on getting more from all these companies in the future

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Foodiepages Dec 2016 Tasting Box Review!

Hope that everyone is having a great holiday season!
I just ordered and received the December 2016 Foodiepages tasting box.
The December edition was curated by Toronto Life magazine.
During the summer, there was also another box I had managed to buy that was curated by Toronto Life- it was a BBQ box then.
Now, I do not mind too much that this is a "curated by Toronto Life" box, but it would be nice if there was someone else to curate the box.
I'm not too sure who should be the next person or "thing" to curate a box, but I am sure there are a lot of interesting people who would do it (maybe I could) ,I buy a lot of Canadian foods and local foods from Ottawa.

Now onto my unboxing of the Foodiepages Dec box:

Opening my Dec 2016 Foodiepages Box!

Opening this box, there are always paper shreds that get everywhere!

Now here are the contents of the December box!
There are quite a few full-size items, so this is quite nice!

Dec 2016 Foodiepages Box Contents!

The first item I tried from the box was Neal Brothers' Montreal Steak Spice Kettle Chips.
The bag of chips was 142 grams and you can buy these chips online for $3 and in local Ottawa stores for around $4+.
The chips were very crunchy- as expected from kettle chips. The Montreal steak spice was quite spicy. I found it more like a spicy bbq seasoning, the chips were quite salty compared to what I usually buy.
I was a bit surprised to see Neal Brothers' products in a "Canadian" food box, as I do know the Neal Brothers' were born in Canada- but most of the products I have bought have all been PRODUCTS OF THE UNITED STATES.Now I do buy a lot of the Neal Brothers' pretzels and other flavours of chips all the time and really like their honey mustard pretzels (and those are from the US also).
I do buy food from every country, but do not really think these chips should have been an item in this box. Maybe they should have found a Neal Brothers' item that is made in Canada?
Now, I know they also make some salsa, and I have never tried that.
I am going to Whole Foods this weekend and I will make sure to look at the Neal Brothers' products while there.

*Shoko Chocolates Signature Bar: This was another full size item that is 90 grams and costs $8.50.
The chocolate bar smelled amazing and looking at the bar and trying it without reading the description I would have guessed it was 50-60% cocoa and not quite dark chocolate, but not quite milk chocolate either.
It reminded me of the Dolfin and Valrhona 60% bars I buy quite often (but not in months since no place I go to carries them).
If you know anyone who likes chocolate, this would be a great bar to give to anyone!

*All Mine Caramel Cayenne Caramel Corn: The bag for this was 75 grams and I was afraid that it would be too spicy. But as soon as I opened the bag and tried some I did not find that it was overly spicy. The spice shows up more after you have eaten the caramel corn.
The bag of caramel corn was finished almost as soon as it was opened.

All Mine Caramel Cayenne Caramel Corn!

I will finish the rest of my review later this week, still need to try the rest of the items and am working on that!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fried Ice Cream in Ottawa South! Mexigo Cabana food truck!!

Hope everyone is keeping cool in this weather.
I really wanted to try the deep fried ice cream from Mexigo Cabana on earlier visits, bit was always too stuffed to get a dessert -finally I went there just to get some ice cream and it was quite good!
The portion size for the ice cream was enough for two people or else someone enjoys a lot of ice cream.

Deep Fried Ice Cream from Mexigo Cabana!

The ice cream that is used for this only comes in vanilla, it seems like a classic flavor.
It is just regular vanilla ice cream, nothing too fancy- but still good!

The menu describes this item as "A ball of ice cream smothered with cinnamon sugar deep fried covered with a sweet chocolate sauce whipping cream".
I think that is a pretty accurate description- except the ball of ice cream is also coated in  cereal like corn flakes or something else.
The whipping cream is most likely the canned stuff and quite sweet. The chocolate sauce was good too and is like the sauce you would put on a sundae.
Overall the fried ice cream was quite sweet and not something I want to eat every day, but will surely have more of them this summer.
I was also told there is a caramel sauce that you can ask for now!

The cost for the deep fried ice cream was $6.50 and does seem fair as the portion is quite large and was enough for two people.
*let me know if you do try the deep fried ice cream from Mexigo Cabana!Also where do you get fried ice cream from in Ottawa,I want to check out a few more places to see how they make them.
(I did have the Lone Star one before....)

Mexigo Cabana is located at Walkley and Bank st, in the parking lot of Mr. Lube.
-there are 2 picnic tables and an umbrella to sit under as well!

The hours for Mexigo Cabana are: Mom-Fri 11-7, Sat 11-5 Sunday Closed.


Friday, August 5, 2016


I recently spotted a orange colored food truck in the parking lot of the Mr. Lube that is at Bank and Walkley.
Looking online I did not find any details about this truck or any reviews about it.
Passing by on the bus I did see they were open and the sign said MEXIGO CABANA!

I could not check it out until earlier this week and found out the truck is serving Mexican food, along with fries and burgers.
The owner/cook is a French-Canadian man, and he gave me a copy of his menu with descriptions without my even asking.
That was very helpful and the descriptions are very helpful. The hours they are open are also listed there.
There is also now a picnic table and umbrella, and the truck will be there all season or at least until the fall I would think!

Menu posted on the truck!

Earlier this week I had a poutine and it was really good. The fries were very hot and fresh, my only small complaint is the portion was quite small and I expected more fries.
I was supposed to share the poutine or at least the fries part and it was almost not enough for one person.
The portions for the mexican food are great, that is why I am surprized the fry portion is smaller.
Still, I will order fries here again, they were tasty!

Poutine:earlier this week.
This picture above was taken before I even ate any of my food.
Next time I will order just plain fries-hope there will be more fries.....

Earlier today I went back to try the Mexican food and ordered the Flautas and an order of guacamole.

Tasty Mexican food!

This was the Mexican food I ordered earlier. The Flautas were very tasty and had only white meat in them. The size was very good and filling. I did not realize they came with guacamole and would maybe have liked something else, as I did order a whole separate order of guacamole.
The order of gaucamole was quite big and I would say had at least 3 or 4 avocado in it and would be more than enough for 2 people.
The tortilla chips were also really good and fresh, they had no salt on them- but that is nice as often they are too salty when you get them at the store or other places.
You can add your own salt if you really want,but I do not think they need this at all.

Inside of chicken flauta!

I will definitely be back to try more of the menu. My food was tasty and well priced.
There is even fried ice cream on the menu and I used to always order that when I see it on a menu, but have not eaten at any place that has that in quite a while.

Here is a copy of the menu with descriptions I was given.
Also, the food is made to order, but came quite quickly-which was really nice.


I am curious to know if you try the food here and what dishes you ordered.
There is not really much info I could find about this food truck when I did look online-so hope this does help some people!

The hours for the food truck are: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Saturday 11-5 SUNDAY CLOSED.
**I was also told they will be accepting credit cards soon....

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 2016 Topbox review!

I hope that everyone is enjoying the summer and that it is not too humid in your area!
The weather here (Ottawa,Canada) has been quite hot and sunny-you can get a sunburn very easily.
If you wear sandals, remember to put sunscreen on the top of your feet,as they can burn quite easily too.

By now I have used to products in my June Topbox several times and thought the items sent are a good choice for summer.
One small annoyance is that I did not get a product info card and had to look up all the products-and some of the sites were making it hard to locate the correct product.

This month my Topbox came in a lovely metallic padded envelope.

Chic and festive envelope

Inside the envelope the contents of my bag were presented in a mesh bag.
I find these bags are quite useful- you can use them to wash small items in your clothes washer or just to organize your items.

My samples were packaged like this!

The contents of my June 2016 Topbox:

June 2016 Topbox!

Academie Beaute: moisturizing cream. Sample size 15ml, value $20/full size product 50ml, $60.
The Academie Beaute had a ton of products on their website and it was hard to locate this exact product.
The moisturizer is nice and light-like a gel and I think it would be good for summer as it is not a heavy-feeling product.
There is a light floral, kind of cosmetic scent to this cream. The brand is also made in France and seems to have very good quality skincare.
The only minus is that there is no sunscreen or SPF in this product,so you should use something with sunscreen if you are out during the day.

ORG SKINCARE: Mineral Peel Face: Sample size 5ml, value $5.00/full size 59ml, $44.I have never heard of this brand before and that it is a peel you use before doing your makeup in the morning.
Most other peels I have tried ,I use them at night-so this is quite a unique sounding product.
The instructions tell you to spray this on your face and leave it on for 3 seconds, use your fingertips in a circular motion to exfoliate, rinse with warm water, Repeat if desired.

I tried this and the peel, much to my surprise was not harsh at all.
My skin did feel and look much smoother and that was quite impressive.
What I did not like was that my cheeks felt a bit rough and had some kind of tiny bumps all over.

Each time I used the peel, it was the same thing-you could not really see the texture,but it was very noticeable to me.
Now that I used up the sample and am back to my usual peel (Exuviance 20%),the skin on my cheeks feels "normal" again.
The brand ORG SKINCARE is also based in Korea-the sample did not state this, but looking online.
Overall I did like this product,but undecided if I will purchase it.

Morgan Taylor: Professional Nail Laquer. Full size product 15ml, value $15
The shade I was sent is Postcards From Paris.
The laquer is made in the United States,so that is a plus.
The colour of the polish is a light turquoise with a bit of mint green. I think this would look really nice with a tan.
The bottle also feels expensive and not cheap looking. This would actually make a nice gift if you know someone who uses a lot of nail polish.

*I tried this polish on one finger with no base coat and no top coat and it chipped after one day.
If you use a topcoat,it should be more durable.

Second finger from left is Morgan Taylor lacquer

The second finger from the left is the Morgan Taylor lacquer,I only put on one coat and it chipped a bit the same day.
My other green polish-that is an Asian brand and that was on my nails 5 days with a topcoat.

Amika: Perk Up Dry Shampoo: travel size 21.3g, value $15 aprox.
It was hard to find this size for sale online in Canada.
I was pleased to try more products from this line-I did not know they had so many new products now.
Quite a while ago I tried their hair oil and really liked it.
The dry shampoo was easy to use and did refresh my hair. I would buy this product in the future.
Also the packaging looks very nice and colourful!

Final Thoughts:

The value of this box was quite good and was $60.
I like how there was some products for hair, skin and nails,but it would be nice to see some more face creams with sunscreen considering how sunny it is during the summer.
The only issue I have is that I seem to get quite a few nail polishes in the green family- light green, dark green, bluish green.

If you receive a Topbox, how were your selections this month?