Monday, December 6, 2010

Test Tube New Beauty October 2010 loot!

I have been a member of New Beauty magazine's Test Tube beauty program for 3 shipments so far. My experience has been quite good and I always look forwards to trying the new products that arrive every three months.
For the month of October 2010 the following items were received:

*Clean antibacterial hand cream 15ml tube
*Slice of Live vitamin gummies for adults 28 count bottle
*Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating mask 75ml tube
*Moroccan Oil treatment 10ml bottle
*Elnett Satin Hairspray 11oz bottle
*Colgate Total toothpaste .75oz
*Kate Somerville Cytocell 5ml tube
*Sothys Pore Refiner System 10ml tube (full size is 15ml and sells for over $50! this is a face primer).
*Talika Lipocils Expert 2ml
*Beauty Society Success perfume 5ml rollerball
*Bioelements Sleepwear cream 7.5ml jar
*Pevonia C Evolutive eye gel 15ml (full size product sells for $60+)

**There was also a Spalook "gift card" that is good for $20 off a $100 purchase.

Overall I'm quite pleased with the variety of items. The only small disappointment is that I did not receive the last two issues of New Beauty magazine with the Test Tubes. The magazine is always interesting to read and hard to find where I live.
I will try and post some reviews of the items I have tried from this list. So far I think this test tube is fun to try and would surely make a good surprise gift for a friend or yourself!

Urban Pear! Great meal and creative desserts.

Recently I took the time to eat a meal at Urban Pear.
I've been there several times before and the creativity behind the food is quite amazing.
You never know what will be on the menu that day-except that it is mostly local ingredients and house cured meats.
To start with I had the antipasto platter-that usually has some pickled vegetables,roasted garlic,Canadian cheese,olives and a type of meat. The only small issue I had with this platter was the meat was pretty much invisible- the sausage piece was around the size of a dime and there was two small slivers.
Not a huge issue,but just a bit odd.
I also consumed a very tasty soup that was quite rich with cream and had some nice smoky bacon- unfortunately I forgot to write down the name of that soup. The soups do change daily and all of them are quite creative and good. Nice sized portion too!
To end my meal I had a very unique, creative and tasty dessert. A butternut squash and apple cake, topped with a apple compote, homemade cheddar ice cream and a caramel whiskey sauce.
Just writing that description is quite  lengthy
The flavors of the dessert blended quite well and it seems like it must be a lot of work just to think of putting these items together.
The portion of cake was just the right size and enough for one person. The cake part was very moist and flavorful. The apple compote was good and there was a lot of apple and a good seasoning with that too. The cheddar ice cream was quite rich and a small portion the size of a small melon ball. That is a good thing as the combination of all these ingredients along with the caramel sauce was quite filling.
The restaurant was not very busy when I arrived to eat, it was a Sunday night and the restaurant had just opened for business. The waiter that served my meal was also very friendly and very knowledgeable about every item on the menu.
My meal at the Urban Pear was great and I look forwards to dining there more often.
Butternut squash apple cake,apple compote, cheddar ice cream, whiskey caramel sauce!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Awesome Mini Kiwi from Lansdowne Farmer's Market!

These are not grapes- but mini kiwi from the Lansdowne farmer's market.
They were from one of the farmers that comes only on Sundays from quite far away!

My Pretty Pink Box September 2010 received! Test Tube New Beauty!

I received the September 2010 My Pretty Pink Box!
And am quite thrilled with the contents.
-except for one sample (Cosminology) the box is great and contains many brands I wanted to try.
There was that Mistura sample set!
A full listing of what was received will follow shortly.

Also the October Test Tube from New Beauty magazine is supposed to be arriving shortly.
It has the be brought back to my house in Canada and hopefully that package will arrive soon!

Abbey St. Clare- The Bleue Creme review!

I got this as one of the samples with my last Abbey St. Clare order a few weeks ago. Being quite busy I did not get around to trying this sample until today.
Now I kind of wish I had tried this creme sooner as it is great for normal or dry skin and even oilier skin I think.
My skin type is sensitive and sometimes oilier and sometimes normal-usually it is hard to find a face cream that does not bother my skin. Many items are either too light or too greassy feeling.
With this Bleue Creme I had absolutely no issues and there is not much scent to the product.
Many creams I find are too overly scented and bother me after a while or even when applying them.
With it being fall my skin did not feel parched using this product and the cream absorbed very well too!
This would be good for a year round face product too-it does not have any sunscreen though.
There were two other samples with my order and those were the Vitamin C Complex Serum and Coffee and Cloves shampoo. Those will be reviewed fairly soon.
To order or read more about The Bleue Creme go to:
The Bleue Creme comes in a 60ml jar and costs $34.00
-just wanted to add the creame is a light blue shade and not a very bright tint. I'd say it is almost as light as the label of the product.

Cosminology Beam Me Off! Acne Buster review of sample.

I just received a sample of this Cosminology Beam Me Off! Acne Buster and was exited to try a new blemish busting product.
My skin behaves most of the time,but it is always useful to have something handy just in case...
The sample I received was part of the September 2010 My Pretty Pink Box.
The sample was nicely packaged in a neat looking black zip top pouch. This is a single use sample and the label states this. Unfortunately I did not get to try to use this sample as the cotton pad inside was dried up.
(The cotton pad is around 2x2" in size and the black packaging in 2x 3.5" )
This is the second time I have gotten this sample...and the second time that the sample has been unuseable.
Now, I even remembered to snap a picture so you can see exactly what I am writing about.
Maybe this is a good product or maybe not-with a dried out sample it is really hard to tell.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Todric's Catering very tasty local food!

I had the chance to eat at Todrics this weekend!
This small local restaurant uses a lot of local ingredients in their dishes. The menu seems quite modern and traditional at the same time.
Everything I ate there was very fresh and reasonable priced for the style of cooking.
Presentation for every dish was very well done too and the nice dishes added more style to the food as well.
Here is what was eaten tonight:

Potato-crusted goat cheese and tapenade served with mesclun ($9).
This dish was more of a salad type item. The goat cheese was a very good and generous size and was sandwiched between two slices of grilled potato. Tapenade was also sandwiched in between the goat cheese.
The mesclun greens were very fresh and were dressed with what seemed like a balsamic dressing.
The only thing that would have made this dish a bit better would have been some bread to go with the cheese. There was a lot of cheese and it might have gone nicely with bread or some crisps.
Still, I would get this dish again!
*Half the goat cheese was eaten before taking this pic. There was a lot more on the plate...

Potato-crusted goat cheese and tapenade served with mesclun

My guest had the Autumn vegetable soup.
I tried a small spoonful of it and it was very tasty and nicely seasoned. There was also a spoonful of sour cream topping the soup. This was served with a toasted bun.
Autumn Vegetable Soup

Next I tried the Atlantic sea scallops, served on a carrot and late-harvest-vidal reduction, topped with curried parsnip and served with vegetable tempura.
The presentaton for this dish was very nice and the scallops were a nice size and very fresh. Tempura was made up of five pieces and was mushroom, carrot and zuchinni.
The carrot reduction was very tasty and the parsnip was also nicely seasoned. The tempura was nice and crisp and the pieces were a nice size.
This dish was very enjoyable!

Atlantic sea scallops, served on a carrot and late-harvest-vidal reduction, topped with curried parsnip and served with vegetable tempura.

 Guest had the: Vegetable hot pot with cheddar cheese triangle.
I thought this would be like the Asian hot pot where you dip your items in some broth,but this was based on the British hot pot which is more of a casserole and served in a baked dish.
This dish seemed very hearty and a good dish to have for the fall on a cold day! The vegetables were very fresh and the cheese triangles topped the hot pot and added a lot of extra taste.
Serving size for this dish was quite good and generous.
This was the only vegetarian option for the main courses at the moment.
*A part of the hot pot-it is much bigger than this picture.
Vegetable hot pot with cheddar cheese triangle

Overall my meal at Todrics was very enjoyable.
The decor was very nice and modern. Very clean restaurant too.
It was rather quiet as this is a holiday weekend.
I do plan on going back to try the lunch and weekend brunch options.
The restaurant also had some frozen dishes you can take home and some jams for sale.
There were also some cookies and biscotti for sale and the chocolate biscotti was quite good.
The website for Todrics can be found at:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Should You Sell Uncovered veggies at the grocery store? In Water?

I have passed by this grocery store in Ottawa many times and there is always these containers of cut up vegetables in water and there is no cover on the vegetable containers.
Would not be surprized if people put their hands in them!
There is a "sneeze guard" part but it is not enough when the products are displayed at such a low level.
Everything else that is sold in this case is in closed containers, wrapped up half melons,cut up pineapple.
What are your thought on this.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Groupon Ottawa $79 of organic produce delivered for $30

This seems like a pretty hot deal!
$79 worth of organic produce delivered in the Ottawa area...for the cost of $30.
Groupon is a website that offers a new deal in most cities every day.
Here is the link to get this great deal!

The deal is only one per household,but you can buy some as gifts!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Pretty Pink Box August 2010 loot!

I received this box at the beginning of September and am overall pleased with the contents..exept for one sample that is (but more on that soon).
This was not my favorite box so far, the contents were allright and one sample I was hoping to try was unuseable.
Here is a list of what was received in the August 2010 MPBB:

*Cherry City Bath and Body perfume oil in Wattermellon (sample seems small,but the perfume oils are very concentrated and you need a very tiny amount).
*Mark Lipclick samples x3 single use cards
*Jesse's Girl Tatoo pen in Black (a liquid eye liner with a felt tip,nice quality. Pen is made in Belgium)
*Jesse's Girl Design Time eye shadow in Rip Tide (have not used yet, looks neat)
*The Body Needs: full size eye shadow in Belladonna, 6 sample baggies of mineral eye makeup,transparent finishing powder.

And now finally the sample that was unuseable for me was Cosminology Beam Me Off Acne Buster.
The sample packaging looked nice (it was a black zip top baggie, with a nice label stuck on).
Unfortunately there was a staple through part of the baggie and that might have let some air in and dried the single use pad.
The pad that was inside the sample baggie was quite dry and I was really unable to tell if the product would work for me. Hopefully Cosminology will improve this sample as the line looks like it is a good quality product.

Overall, I have to say I did like the samples in this month's box and did order the September version.
You can still order the September 2010 box at:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Pretty Pink Box July 2010 loot!

I've been pretty behind in reviewing the MPPB shipments and will make sure to change that in the future.
The MPPB is a cute mystery box of full size and sample products from new and established brands that shows up monthly in a cute pink (and now blue) box!

Here is what was received in the July 2010 edition of the box:

*Sweet Libertine mineral makeup samples
*Moi Minerals blush sample
*Wonder Curl hair gel 2oz jar
*NYX eye shaddow in Cherry
*Derma Pro skin care sample packets x5 (2 cleanser, 1 scrub, 2 Gel Tox)
*Jesse's Girl Liquid Glass lipgloss in Coy
*Mark Samples

Overall pleased with the assortment I received. So far I have tried the Wonder Curl hair jel and found that nice,no strong scent and a light hold for my curly hair.
The Derma Pro products I really do like..and my beef is that it has been the same samples I have gotten the last 4 times. (I do like the Derma Pro line..but would like to see some variety in the samples offered).
Nyx eye shaddow is a bit of a bright shade and I'm not too sure how I will use that yet-for eye liner maybe?
Not too sure how to really use red eye makeup yet....
The MPPB sells for around $10 and shipping is around $5 extra to Canada.
Shipping to Canada seems to take 3-5 weeks thesedays (kind of wish it was a bit faster).

For this month's box I think the value is fair and I get to try quite a few items that are new to me!
I have the August box here that I bought and will be reviewing that soon!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ombrella Pizzacones A New Way To Eat Pizza in Ottawa!

I've seen this small pizza shop many times when passing by Bronson Avenue,but never got around to passing by when I was hungry for pizza.
Today Finally I made a trip to try the famous Pizza Ombrella!
What is a Pizza Ombrella?
It is a type of portable pizza that originated in Italy and has the shape of an "ombrella".
This makes the pizza more portable and an interesting new way to enjoy your meal.
I had a Ombrella with the topping of pepperoni.
A basic Ombrella is made with cheese and tomato sauce and costs $6.50. Additonal toppings are .50 for a first topping and $1.00 for 2 or more toppings and there are over 20 savory options. You can also get a breakfast pizza made with scrambled eggs or a dessert pizza with hot apple filling and ice cream.
The pizza Ombrella was around 7" in diameter and the "handle" of the ombrella was around 3" in height and served as the base you hold to eat this portable meal.
The base is also filled with cheese and tomato sauce.
The top part that is flat had a lot of topping-I chose pepperoni and there was a lot of it,as well as quite a lot of cheese. The only option for cheese was mozzarella and there was a lot of it-I actually asked for less cheese as it was a lot for me.
The pizza Ombrella is baked in a special oven that takes around five minutes to make your portable snack.
The dough part of the Ombrella were already baked so these just need to be assembled.
There was also the choice of a Pizzacone, and I did not try that this time.
The Pizzacone looked a bit like an ice cream cone shape and was made of pizza dough.
I did not try the dessert option,but will go back to do that pretty soon as it does sound interesting.
Overall this was an interesting and different was to eat a pizza.
Surprisingly the pizza Ombrella was not as filling as I expected and I was still a bit hungry after eating this.
So, this might be better as a snack..unless you get a ton of toppings.
One thing that is nice is that for the extra dollar you can get as many toppings as you like which could make this a more filling item.
I took a flyer before leaving and there is a special on Tuesdays where for a Toonie you can get a mini Pizza Ombrella made with cheese and tomato sauce.
If you are looking for something different to try,this is a fun quick meal idea!

Ombrella Pizzacones is located at 527 Bronson Avenue and open from 8am-11pm 7 days a week.
If you are in that area there is also the very tasty and vegan bakery Aunty Loo's Treats at 507 Bronson.
I will post about my visit there pretty soon.

Top photo: Pizzacone being prepared.
 Photo #2 : Baked Pizzacone ready to eat!
 Photo #3: The oven with Ombrella and Pizzacones baking.
 Photo #4: My Ombrella pizza, ready to eat!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baby zuchinni with crab stuffed flowers! I made this!!

Went to the Lansdowne Farmers Market a few weeks ago and one booth had some baby zuchinni with the flowers attached.
These are hard to find as most farmers grow the zuchinni to full size and the flowers eventually fall off.
The zuchinni were anywhere in size from 1" to 3" at most and very dainty looking.
I was not too sure what I wanted to do with them and only had a day at most to keep these before they start to go bad.
As soon as I got home I looked through my fridge and pantry and decided to make PANKO AND PARMESAN BREDED BABY ZUCHINNI WITH CRAB STUFFED BLOSSOMS.
It turned out very tasty and if you can find these are nice for a dinner party or a fancy meal.
Here are some pics of the zuchinni before and after:

Dermapro Ion Mask review!

I recently received some samples of the Dermapro Ion Mask.
The Ion Mask is supposed to detoxify your skin and clean your pores. There is also some seaweed and natural green clay and this made the mask a very green shade. The mask also had a bit of the smell of seaweed and reminded me of the ocean.
The mask was a fairly this consistency and was easy to apply. There was a bit of a warming sensation which can most likely be attributed to the ginger extract in the mask. This was quite pleasant and was just a very mild warm feeling. My skin is quite sensitive and usually masks that contain many ingredients do not always agree with my skin.
I have used this mask twice so far with no issues. My skin was left looking much cleaner and pores looked smaller too. Overall this mask was nice to use and could benefit every skin type.
The Dermapro website is:
The mask on my hand (it is very green,like an army green shade)

Dermapro Pineapple Cleansing Scrub review!

I recently received a few samples of Dermapro products in one of the My Pretty Pink Box samplers.
The pineapple cleansing scrub was one of them. The first thing I noticed was that the scrub had a very lovely scent-just like fresh pineapples! It really has a nice fruity and tropical smell that is very pleasant.
The scrub itself was more like a gel and the scrub was very fine, it did not bother my sensitive skin.
The scrub also foams a bit when you add water and rinses away very easily.
My skin was not left feeling dry with this scrub and this product could easily be used every day.
This scrub was very enjoyable to use and would be a great addition for any skin type.
The 6oz size of this scrub costs $26.20 and the 16oz size is $52.60
You do not need to use much of the scrub and even the smaller size should last quite a while.
Dermapro skincare's website is

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Indian Poutine and Soda at Basmati restaurant!

I have been frequenting Basmati restaurant for a few years now and only recently got around to trying their Desi Poutine!
Basmati is an Indian restaurant located at the intersection of Somerset and Bank st, near the Independent grocery store. Usually I get the Naan wrap sandwiches that have a vegetarian or chicken option and the pizza here is worth getting too-but that is another post.
The poutine here was good and quite different. The fries were quite crisp (and may have been frozen fries as they were quite crisp and uniform in size),the gravy was what made this dish very different. There were a lot of herbs and spices and the gravy was quite spicy with just enough heat.
The cheese was mozzarella and there was supposed to be some paneer as well,but seems like none was added to my dish. Not too sure why that would be, maybe they ran out?
The portion was not very big and would be good as a light snack or else with some samosas on the side.
I'll have to say the poutine was different from what the other restaurants serve in the area.
I would get this dish again,but I do not think it would be as good for a take out item.
There are also some interesting imported sodas available in glass bottles that come from India.
Thumbs Up was the one I tried and it is like Coca Cola but seemed a bit less sweet than what we get in North America. An orange flavored soda was also for sale,but I did not get a photo of that.
Desi Poutine is $5.50 and the soda was around $2.
The website for the restaurant with their menu is located at:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Giant Portabella Mushrooms Invade Ottawa!

Giant Portabella mushrooms have been spotted and are invading the grocery store shelves!
Ok, maybe not invading-but these have to be the biggest mushrooms I have ever seen.
The one I bought, which was one of the smaller ones was 71/4" across and 1" height.
The size of a small dinner plate-my dinner plate was 7 1/2" and the mushroom fit exactly.
I saw another Portabella mushroom there that was over 12" in diameter and bigger than a typical dinner plate.
My sis took a pic and I am awaiting that.

The mushrooms were found at Cedars and Co grocery store on Bank St. and the price was also very good.
I paid $5.19 a lb and my mushroom was .57lb (costing $2.96).
I'm going to grill that with some hazelnut oil and stuff with goat and Parmesan cheese!
These would be great on the BBQ also.
I will surely be getting more of the Portabella mushrooms from here as they seem quite fresh too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Pretty Pink Box July 2010 Beauty Loot!

I have enjoyed receiving the My Pretty Pink Box cosmetics samplers for the past few months and find they always have some interesting brands I have never heard of before.
The July 2010 box seemed to travel through the postal system much faster than the last boxes I have ordered.
Here is what was received in the July box:

*Sweet Libertine mineral makeup eye samples (2small plastic bagged samples, shades Filigree and Neptune).
*Moi Minerals blush sample (shade Berry)
*Wonder Curl Hair Jel (2oz size)
*NYX eye shadow (Cherry)
*Derma Pro skincare packets (2x cleanser,1x scrub,2x Gel Tox).
*Jesse's Girl Liquid Glass lip gloss (Coy, a nice shimmery shade).

I hope to have some reviews of these products up soon.
But one can only sample so many items in a day.....

The August box is out now,can't wait to see what will be in it!

Be fine Peel Off Mask: refreshing and fun to use!

This mask was in one of the Test Tubes I received a while back from their sampling program.
I thought today would be a good time to review this as I have not used any masks for the past week.
The mask is one you apply to clean skin and let dry before peeling off to reveal clearer skin.
The texture of the mask was kind of thick and sticky as expected and there was no noticeable scent.
On the back of the tube there was a warning not to use this near open flames or while smoking.
Guessing this contains alcohol or another flamable ingredient.
The tube I have here does not have the ingredients on it,as those are found on the actual packaging of the full retail product.

While applying the mask,it does feel cool and refreshing on your face. It takes at least 5 to 10 minutes to dry and then you are able to peel this off quite easily.
My pores looked much smaller and cleaner after using this and I think this would be great to use before going out as your skin looks clean and refreshed!
I usually have sensitive skin and using some masks sometimes leaves my skin a bit irritated and displeased.
There were no issues with my using this product and it is recommended for all skin types.
You can purchase this mask at many online sources and Ulta carries some of the line as well.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cedar and Company Grocery Store Food Counter Meal Review!

Tonight I did not feel like cooking and really wanted something that was tasty and grilled for my dinner.
I had been the the new Cedar and Company grocery store earlier this week and noticed they have a prepared foods counter where you can get a meal and sit at some tables to enjoy your food.
It is not too obvious from the outside of the grocery store what foods the counter serves except Shawarma.
At the food counter there is a hand written board with the foods that you can order and that seems to change often.
A few days ago the special of the day was some Tilapia in a sauce (did not try it,but it looked good).
You can also order chicken or beef shawarma,falafel and a tasty poutine.
I tried the poutine earlier this week and the fries are fresh and made in store, cooked while I was waiting.
The french fries also came unsalted,which is nice for a change as you can always add your own salt if you wish.

One thing you should know (and that I was told a few days ago before ordering is to call ahead if you are getting a brochette-they take up to twenty minutes to cook).
I did not call ahead today,so did have to wait around twenty minutes for my brochettes to be cooked on the grill. It was not a huge problem to wait as I saw my food being cooked on the grill and I know it was very fresh.
You get 2 fairly large brochettes with your platter and that also comes with humus,eggplant dip,roasted potatoes,rice,salad and a piece of pita bread.
It was quite surprising the amount of food that there was in my container. I'd say there was enough food for two people or else one very hungry person.
The brochettes when they are stored in the fridge and being cooked they are on some metal skewers that look very similar to small swords.
On my brochette there was around 5 decent sized pieces of chicken and some red and yellow peppers.
The chicken was nicely seasoned and very well grilled. The peppers had a bit of charring that added to the taste.
The quality of the chicken was very good and was made up of chicken breast that was tender and not tough,the meat was also not greasy like in some other places I've eaten at.
One thing I really dislike in eating out is when certain places use chicken that is just too fatty.
I found the chicken here was great,very fresh and tender.
The roasted potatoes were good and had some garlic flavor to them. The rice was a bit seasoned and good.
My salad had some lettuce,tomato,green pepper,red onion and a homemade dressing-the vegetables were very fresh. There was also some garlic sauce included in my platter.
I took my brochette platter to go as I did not think I would be able to finish it all and that was a good idea for me as I only managed to eat half the platter.

You can also eat in the grocery store and there is a very nice seating area with tables and chairs and the store actually has some real plates and cutlery if you do happen to be eating in.
That is actually a nice touch as most places who have shawarma usually just have take out cartons and not real plates.
There is also baklava and pastries for sale at the food counter and in the Cedars and Co grocery store.
If after stuffing yourself with brochette or shawarma you want a healthier dessert,there are also fruit cups topped with Ashta-a type of custard that can be bought.
The fruit cups are $4 and are filled with many kinds of tropical fruits like strawberry,pineapple,mango,banana,blueberry and I'm sure I am forgetting some of the other tropical fruits.
The fruit cups are also quite large and the size on the bottom of my cup said 24oz, so it seems to be a good value.
I would definitely recommend this new grocery store and food counter for a fresh meal.
I'm sure I will be going there quite often as the food is fresh and tasty.
My brochette platter was $14.63 including tax.

Cedar and Company grocery store and food counter is open until 10pm every day and located at:
1255 Bank Street.
There is also a free parking lot beside the grocery store.
If anyone remembers the area,this is where the old Fresh Fruit Company store used to be.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted Bar! Easter is Early?

I was walking through my local drugstore and happen to see a display near the cash registers!
It was a large display bin with a poster advertising  Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted bar.
What is this?

Of course,I had to buy two as creme eggs are enjoyable once in a while and usually only around at springtime.
The Twisted bar is a different format of the familiar Cadbury Creme Egg.
Instead of being the egg shape, it is the similar chocolate in a filled bar form.
The cream inside the bar is still the same sugary stuff that is remembered by everyone.
Price for this bar was around $1. I have also seen these bars at a few smaller stores and am thinking they will be widely available for a limited time.

If you wait until spring every year just to get the Cadbury Creme Eggs, you will be happy to know you can get this new version right now.
Let me know if you happen to find these in your area,this bar was bought at a Pharmaplus in Ottawa.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Beauty Test Tube July 2010 A Jackpot of Beauty!

I just got my hands on the latest shipment of New Beauty magazine's Test Tube beauty program.
For those not familiar it is a cosmetics sampling program where you pay $29.95 US per month (plus $8.95 shipping) and you receive a "test tube" full of luxury cosmetics and samples-some full size and many deluxe goodies,as well as the latest issue of New Beauty magazine.

Here is what I received in the July 2010 shipment:

*Colgate Pro Clinical Toothpaste (full size 113 g)
*Brow Doctor Eyebrow Enhancing Gel (3.5ml)
*Dr Brandt Pores No More Anti-Aging Mattifying lotion (11g)
*Phyto hair balm (15ml)
*Jane Iredale lip gloss (5ml,full size, Rum Raisin shade)
*Murad Active Radiance Serum (5ml)
*Sensiclear Cleanser (60ml)
*Avene Eau Thermale Spray (50ml)
*Babor HSR Lifting Cream (deluxe sample 3ml? tube)
*Sothys First Wrinkles Revitalizing Serum, Grade 1 (10ml)
*Marc Jacobs perfume (4ml mini)
*Dr Brandt microdermabrasion body (15ml)
*John Frieda Root Awakening Smoothing lotion (21ml tube)
*Lumene firming daycream (15ml jar)
-New Beauty magazine.

That just about sums up everything that was in the latest tube. If you are not in the US (like me),but happen to have family there-it is worth it to have them send this to you or for you to pick this up when you happen to visit them.
New Beauty magazine is also packed full of great information on the latest products and is super informative to read. I'm going to try and post reviews of each item in the Test Tube as soon as I get around to trying these goodies.
If you've tried any of these products,let me know what you thought!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cote D'or Experience vs. Sensation bar!

I have been trying to located one of the mysterious Cote D'or Experiences chocolate bars for the longest time.
They are very tricky to find as they look exactly like the regular Cote D'or orange bar-same size and thickness too.
Now, you are probably wondering what is the big difference with this bar?
Even the images on the label are the same.
The big difference is the Experiences bar has an orange truffle center, while the Sensations bar is just dark chocolate with bits of candied orange.
Both bars are good, and I made the mistake recently of buying the Sensations bar at the drugstore thinking it was the truffle centre bar.

I have only been able to find this tasty bar at European deli type stores lately.
The Experiences bar is very delicate and tasty because the truffle part is very thin in between what is crunchy dark chocolate with 70% cocoa.

Another way to identify this elusive bar is by the writing at the bottom of the label.
"Orange flavored dark chocolate with a rich orange centre", "Chocolate noir aromatise a l'orange fourre d'une truffe riche a l'orange".

If you get a chance to try this bar, it is amazing.
Also pairs well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
A nice dessert presentation would be a scoop of ice cream and one square of this bar as a decoration in the same dish!

Free Milano pizza every Tuesday in Ottawa!

I read about this generous offer in the local paper.
There was an article that stated that Milano pizza would be giving away free pizza in Ottawa when you ordered through the website:

Better hurry as there is a limit of 200 pizzas per Tuesday!
If this offer seems too good to be true, Milano Pizza is also donating $1 for each free pizza ordered to the Ottawa food bank through this promotion.

So looks like you better order quite quickly to take advantage of this.

M2 Body Refinish 15% like a pedicure for my feet!

I got this body treatment lotion in my last order from
Not too familar with the M2 brand yet, so went online to read up on some reviews and almost all of them were overwhelmingly positive.
My thoughts were that either this is an overhyped product or it is really great.
After trying the M2 Body Refinish on my feet I was amazed at how well the light cream actually worked.
My feet were no longer rough and my heels were as smooth as if I had just had a pedicure.
Trying the cream on my very dry elbows also had the same result-my elbows were velvty soft!
So, if you have an issues with dry feet,elbows or marks on the skin you want to improve this cream is sure to help.
And if you do not have the funds for pedicures or do not enjoy them- just use the M2 Body Refinish and look just like you had a pedicure!
The M2 brand creams might seem expensive,but considering you only need to use a very small amount every week it is very resonable in price for the results!
All I can say is run out and buy this, it will solve your rough and dry skin issues!

Free Shipping at

Haitai Almond Cracker....from Korea!

These crackers were found when I was randomly wandering through the Independent (Loblaws company) grocery store.
The crackers were in a bin near the cracker section and there was a sale price on the bin.
As I had never seen these crackers before and that there was Korean writing on the box, they had to go into my grocery cart.
The crackers I am talking about are called Haitai Almond Cracker.
The box shows that there are 6 individually wrapped packages inside and that there is "almond slice added".
Each package has 6 crackers inside that are the size of the typical soda-type cracker.
Another nice to know fact is that each package has only 103 calories, so these can be eaten almost every day if you like!
Now on to the actual tasting of the Haitai almond crackers...
The crackers are very light just like a soda cracker and the top has some thinly sliced almonds and some sugar on top, along with a tiny bit of salt.
I just had the crackers plain and they were tasty.
The side of the box suggests that these are nice to have with cheese and a glass of wine or for a brunch whith some jam and fruit.
These crackers would be very good to have topped with a cheese like mozzarella and a mild cheddar, a brie could also be very tasty.
I will be getting these crackers again as they are different from what is usually available at the grocery store.
If you've tried any of the Haitai brand crackers, I'd be curious to know your thoughts!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rainbow carrots at the Ottawa Farmer's Market!

On Sunday I had the chance to go to the Ottawa Farmers Market.
There are always some different and interesting vegetables to buy there.
This weekend I happen to luck out on getting some very colourful carrots.
As you can see from the picture there are some yellow carrots, as well as beige, purple and the regular orange ones too!
What was quite surprising was that that these tasted just like the usual carrots you find at the grocery store.
These do add a lot more color to a salad or your dinner plate.
I'm not too sure what vendor I got these from, but several people were selling carrots like these.
The cost for the rainbow carrots was $5.
That might sound like it is expensive, but I did get at least 2 pounds of carrots and these were very sweet and did not need to be peeled to enjoy them.

The Ottawa Farmers Market is located at Lansdowne Park and is open Sundays from 8-3pm and Thursdays 12-7pm.
I have only gone there on Sundays and was told there are more vendors during the weekend.
On Sunday there was also a lot of baked goods and some local restaurants that had dishes available to eat at home.
The website for the Farmer's Market is at:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Malak Pastry Gelato and Ashta ice creams review! Yum!

I've been passing by this small pastry shop on Bank street for quite some time and finally found the time to stop and try the gelato and baklava that is freshly made in store.
I've sampled and bought at least a dozen kinds of gelato and sorbet and will write about that for this post.
For people who do not like dairy products there is usually a large selection of different sorbet made daily.
There is a pineapple sorbet that is very refreshing and has small bits of pineapple in it. I really noticed that this sorbet is different from what you find at the grocery store as there was real bits of fruit and no artificial colors in this sorbet was a white shade.
Mixed berry sorbet- that one was a dark purple shade and I'm guessing there was raspberry,blueberry and blackberry in it. It was quite sweet,but also nice with all the fruits in it.

The gelato I tried on my last visit was Banana gelato!
I did not buy this as I already had 2 small containers of gelato to bring home,but sampling this in the store the banana taste was very light and refreshing almost.
The banana gelato was a light beige shade and it seems there was a lot of real fruit in that too.

Now onto my gelato purchases!
Ashta "gelato" this is a type of Arabic custard like cream that is seasoned with rosewater and has either pistachios or roasted almonds in the mixture.
As well Ashta ice cream is thickened with a kind of tree gum that comes from Balsam (found this out speaking to the older man that works there).
This ice cream is very different from what the other places in Ottawa are making and I really recommend that people in that area of Bank st make a trip just to try this treat!
The Ashta ice cream was also nice after a dinner that was very spicy and really cools off your mouth too.
If you are having a dinner party, some of the ice creams from here would surely be a hit.
You can get a small cup for around $3 and other than that the ice creams are sold by the weight and I'd say a 250ml container is around $6
(The picture above,the one with the white ice cream, that one is the Ashta "gelato")..

The next two flavors I bought were Dark Chocolate and the lighter one in this container is Cappucino.
The Cappuccino gelato was quite light in texture and had a rich coffee flavor.
Usually at the grocery store the coffee ice creams there are always quite weak in flavor.
I did not always see this flavor there, so I guess the flavors change weekly.
The darker ice cream in this container was Dark Chocolate gelato.
The ice cream has a much thicker texture similar to the Ashta ice cream. It was also sort of "chewy" for an ice cream,and that made it very different to eat.
Now onto the taste...I found this ice cream to be extremely rich and full of dark chocolate flavor.
Almost like a frozen dark chocolate.
I had a few "chocolate experts" sample the Dark Chocolate ice cream (someone called "Monsieur Chocolat" from out of town) and this chocolate expert thought the ice cream was as rich as a 70% cocoa chocolate bar.
I'd have to say that this would have to be one of the richest chocolate ice creams I have eaten.
For people who do not like such rich chocolate ice creams, there is also a Milk Chocolate version (that I have not tried yet).
I've also been to their Carling Ave store and they did not seem to have any ice cream a few months ago-not sure if that has changed or not as I do not frequent that area often.
The website for Malak Pastry can be found at:

Malak Pastry is located at:
1216 Bank St, Ottawa (in the Sunnyside area near Riverdale ave and across from the Subway restaurant).
tel: (613)526-2002

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Colorescience Genie Colore review In My Pink Cadilac!

I just bought the Colorescience Genie Colore eye color a few weeks ago and have been using this a few times a week and liking the results so far.
Genie Colore is a mineral eye makeup and you can make it as dramatic or subtle as you wish.
The bottle is really cute, and what is great is that the applicator is like the liquid eye liners and has a tip to help you apply this without any extra brushes.
The colore In My Pink Cadilac is actually a much lighter pink that in the pictures and it makes a great tool to "wake up your eyes" if you had a long day.
The staying power of this eye powder is good do and it did not fade all day.
Another good thing is that the amount you get is 4x more than Bare Minerals brand.
BM brand you usually get .5 of a gram, while Genie Colore you get a whole 2 grams.
Genie Colore also has a lot of fun shades,while BM has a more "natural" look.

If you get this from SkincareRx they often have sales on this line as well!
I'm going to try more of this line in the future and also find the sunscreen powders by Colorescience are great!

Colorescience Genie Sparkle Colore - In My Pink Cadillac

Nisim F.A.S.T. Shampoo and Conditioner review.

I recently was able to try 2 samples of this shampoo and have liked them enough to write up a review on the F.A.S.T. line of products.
The shampoo and conditioner contain amino acids and vitamins that strengthen your hair and are supposed to help your hair grow longer.
I found the shampoo foamed up well and left my hair feeling very clean and refreshed.
The conditioner left my hair very soft and in good condition. It was nice that the conditioner did not weigh down my curly hair.
Overall I liked the F.A.S.T. shampoo and conditioner (and have not tried any of their other items yet).
I only had enough of the product to use for 2 days, so did not see a big difference in my hair. If it helps Nisim has a money back guarantee on everything they sell!

Click here to grow hair 45% faster!

Derma Pro Gel Tox like it so far!

I recently received a few sample of Derma Pro Gel Tox.
The Derma Pro packet claims it is a muscle relaxer and wrinkle reducer, safe for all skin types.
It is a gel based formula and I found it absorbed well into the skin and made my skin look plumper.
There is also no smell to this gel and I was able to use this in the eye area too.
Another good thing is that there is no fragrance, it is not likely to bother people (like me) who have very sensitive skin types.
Gel Tox also contains Sodium Hyalronate (hyalronic acid) that helps keep moisture in the skin and makes lines appear to be diminished.
So far I've liked using this product and think it would be good for all skin types.
The price for Derma Pro Gel Tox is $62.80 for a 30ml bottle. That sounds ok for the type of product that it is and not too excessive of a price.
You can find Derma Pro products for sale at:

I also have sample of the Derma Pro Pineapple scrub and Ion mask and will be reviewing those later this week!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Green bean bun from Golden Baguette on Bank st!

You'll have to excuse the formatting of this post but I have been having browser issues all day and can not get anything to load properly. Hopefully this will somehow improve with future posts!
Now on to my review of the green bean bun. This is usually an Asian pastry or sweet dish and is eaten as a snack or dessert. The filling is made of green bean puree and something to sweeten the bun. The bottom part of the bun was a bit sticky I'm assuming from the sugar used?
The bread part was very fresh and good as all bakery fresh bread usually is. The sesame seeds and lone pecan added some extra taste and interest to this snack.
I would eat this again and am planning on trying a similar type of bun if I can find them in other places, just to compare the difference.
One thing I do like about Golden Baguette is that their business cards state that everything is made from scratch on site and that they do not use any preservatives in anything they make. The cost for this green bean bun was around $2 but it was quite a big size and much bigger than most Asian pastries   I've seen before.
You could easily have this for lunch with a soup or maybe a salad and be quite full.
I'd say this was a different and tasty snack from what I usually eat during the week.
Hopefully you can get your hands on one of these filled buns- they are a pretty small store and do not make very many every day!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Body by Brigitte! RAVE is not enough... easy to use! Run and buy it!

I received a sample of this in one of the My Pretty Pink Boxes a few months ago and did not think to try this product- sort of thought it would be like all those other wax strip products that do not work that well.
The similar products I tried from the drugstore worked ok,were too much hassle and always left my skin sticky (and needing cleanup with oils).
It was just too much work for too little result (if any).
Pretty much was resigned on depending on the local salons (which are expensive).

But after trying the Body by Brigitte wax strips,I was amazed at how easy they were to use. And that they actually worked!
I tried them to clean up my eyebrows and in one pass the hairs were pulled out.
My skin was not left sticky and was not red at all (and it usually is after such things).
I also had no skin issues after using these wax strips.
One thing is I found it a bit easier to cut the sample strip in half as I was only doing a very small area. That could also have to do with my technique though.

Luckily I also received a sample of these wax strips in a magazine I subscribed too-so now I can continue to use these until I remember to pick them up at the store!

I saw that these are now available in Canada at all Shoppers Drug Mart locations (also called Pharmaprix in Quebec).
A rave is not enough for this product. You can actually get a "professional" result with these strips at home!

The sample packet I have here says the strips are manufactured in AUSTRALIA and assembled in USA.

The website for Body by Brigitte is:

Nucelle 10% works on blemishes gentle on skin!

I just got a 15ml bottle of this in the last Beauty Cache from
I was not too sure what to expect with this line as I'd never heard of it.
But I looked it up on their site and it sounded quite good.
Mandelic products are supposed to help smooth the skin, while getting rid of bacteria.
But even better they've added seaweed to this so that there is no irritation.
The product itself is like gel and has no scent, also absorbs quite quickly.
The full size is 120ml and should last quite a while.
I know it seems expensive, but when you think of how small other products are this is really a good buy!
And if you happen not to like it there is a good return policy as well!

I usually use this in the morning under my other face cream and sometimes at night (but not often).
This is definitely going on my list of must haves!

NuCelle Mandelic Serum 10%

NuCelle Mandelic Serum 10%

Are you tired of wishing you had clearer skin? Start experiencing it with NuCelle Mandelic Serum 10%. Fortified with the toning and skin-clearing properties of Mandelic Acid, your skin will appear brighter, smoother, clearer, and more even each time you use this product. Powerful on blemishes and unwanted pigmentation, but gentle on skin, this product is safe enough for use before and after skin resurfacing procedures.

Deep Steep @ Skinbotanica! lovely soaps and all natural!

I recently saw this brand online and since I like natural products was hoping this would be nice!
Well, Ihave to say the products I tried were very gentle and extremely nice smelling!
The scent is very light and goes away after 30 second so it is not an "in your face" kind of artificial scent.

But I really like that. I bought the sampler set and the shower gel is very gentle too. The body lotion is quite thin and pretty light, but nice for summer and does not leave hands greassy.
The body butter stick is kind of like a giant lip balm and good for any dry spots.
I am definitely getting more of this line and have ordered the other scents to see if they are just as nice.

I have not seen this line in Canada yet, but even with shipping the price is very resonable.
There is also a special right now where if you spend $100 you get the free BEAUTY CACHE when you enter that code and add the cache to your shopping cart!
That is a $30 value!

Skinbotanica and Skincarerx use the same shopping cart,so the special offers will work when buying items on both sites.
I really like how this company they actually ship bonus items to Canadians and others when many companies do not do this!

Beauty Cache! get it, also ships to Canada!

I've been telling everyone I know about this Beauty Cache.
Thrilled that they actually ship the bonus items to Canada (unlike that other American beauty store).
Service at Skincarerx has been great too!
Customer service is always so friendly and helpful.
I especially like their return garantee and that all the ingredients for everything is listed online.
They are also very generous with adding extra samples to every order.

Spend $100 at SkinCareRx and add a Beauty Cache For Free. use Code BEAUTYCACHE at checkout.

I'm going to eventually review all the items I like from this store.
But will start by saying the Deep Steep body care line in Honeydew Spearmint smells sooo nice and is all natural.