Monday, June 30, 2014

Topbox June 2014 Review! 2 New brands and 2 Fave brands too!

When I received my Topbox in the mail I first was a bit underwhelmed as I had another green polish, but it is actually a shade I do not own and a new to me brand Teez cosmetics.
First not too exited by a lip balm, but then it is not a brand I have used...and it is Canadian.
KMS hair products I do like and had not tried anything new from them in a that is fun.
Derma E did not thrill me at first as I already use at least ten of their products, but then I realized I do not own any of their hand cream!
Now that I've had some time to try these items, here are my thoughts on these products:

June 2014 Topbox contents!

*TEEZ : Chain of Stones Nail Laquer in Jealously Jade. Full size item!  8.5ml bottle, value $15.00
This is a brand I have seen in other boxes, but have never tried. I've always thought their packaging was nice and different from other nail polish, as most are quite plain-looking bottles.
The polish/laquer went on quite easily, but did need 2  coats as it went on fairly sheer and is not a very thick product to apply.
The wear of the laquer was just ok. Without a topcoat the finish looked a bit dull after washing my hands so much in one day. I also had to use some alcohol products to clean my hands and this actually made some of the polish come off on the alcohol wipes.
I do not think I have had this happen before with other brands.
Overall the nail polish is decent, but I think it is better to use a topcoat with it to get any durability.
If I saw this brand I would be interested in trying some of their face cosmetics.

Teez Chain of Stones nail laquer in JEALOUSLY JADE.

*Barefoot Venus: Lip Fable in Knock Out mint. Full size item!! 4g tin, value $7.50.
I had heard of this brand before and was always curious to try their bath and body products.
A little disappointed that I received a lip balm, as I have so many unopened tubes here. Still mint lip products are my favorite and I try to use a lot of natural items, so nice to have more mint balms.
Barefoot Venus is also a Canadian company and that is another plus! Also that the balm is 99.9 natural is good to know.
The balm does moisturize nicely, but I did not find the mint part very strong. Maybe it is wintergreen or another light kind of flavouring. My lips did not feel like they were on fire or anything and that is good.
Some balms I've tried before had too much of certain ingredients that did not agree with me.
Overall pleased with this lip balm. There was also a 20% off coupon stuck to the other side of the lip balm tin, that is a neat way to include a coupon. Might have to place an order soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Topbox May 2014 review!

My May 2014 Topbox came quite a few weeks ago and I was hoping to have used more of the products by now, but can not try out everything as I'm unable to use any eye products for a few more weeks.
(Due to a eyeball injury, also why I cut back on computer use).

The May Topbox I received was more fun this month as there was quite a few colour cosmetics that were sent and a new to me brand of nail polish in a quite unusual shade!

May 2014 Topbox items received!

*Kinetics nail colors: full size 15ml, value $9. (Splatter It! KP264)
This brand of nail color is new to me. It is not really a shade I would have chosen, so it is fun to try new brands and finishes for me.
I thought this would apply like a solid black with white, but this is more a clear topcoat with black and white bits in it. Another plus is the laquer is made in France and that country is known for good cosmetics!

*I tried this topcoat on my bare nails and it did not look good on me that way- it made my nails look like they had dark specks on them. On top of a colored polish it looked really nice!

*Lancome Paris: Hypnose Doll Lashes mascara in 01 So Black: sample size 4ml, value $22    /full size 6.5ml, $31.50.
Did not try this item yet as I can not use any eye products at the moment.
Review coming soon.....

*Elizabeth Arden: Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF 15: sample size 5ml, value $4.80/ full size 50ml, $48.
I have only tried this lotion once so far and found it quite nice and light for my combination skin.
Good for spring time, but for winter this might be a bit too light for me.
Trying this lotion a couple other times, it is very refreshing when it goes on and felt quite light the whole day.
There is also a kind of tropical floral kind of scent that is quite noticeable, so if you like products with no fragrance this is not one of those.
I also like how this came in a cute little pump bottle instead of a tube. Will most likely pick up some of this once I run out.

*Benefit Cosmetics: posiebalm- hydrating tinted lip balm: cute sample size 0.5g, value $3.70/ full size 3g, $22.
This balm goes on very smoothly and has a nice sheer light pink tint!
There is also a quite strong floral scent when you open the balm- I prefer balms with no fragrance usually.
*I asked someone to smell the balm for me and they thought the smell was more of rose. I could not exactly tell myself if it was rose or just other flowers.
You do not really taste anything when applying this, so that is a plus.
There is no sunscreen in this so will most likely use this when it is not super sunny out!

Total Value of my May 2014 Topbox:  $39.20

Overall I am quite pleased with the items I received in my box and plan to use them all.
I do hope I get less mascara, as I seem to get one from Topbox every second month it seems.
One of my favorite products in the box was the sunscreen lotion! I like how it is very light and feels so refreshing- will be buying more of it soon!

Foodiepages Tasting Box May 2014! Local Ottawa food even!

I got my May 2014 Foodiepages Tasting Box quite a while back and did not get around to posting until now.
This time I also managed to send one of the boxes to my mother as a gift, as I was sure she would like the items in this box.
Usually for gifts I like to give specific products, but when I saw this box I knew she would like all the products in it and I was right!

Here is a virtual unboxing of my box:

Opening my box!

Info card about products!

The first product I tried was the Rock Salt CRAVE! Skinny Crackers from enerjive!
This is a company that is based in Ottawa and I see their crackers almost everywhere I shop, yet had never picked them up as I was not too sure how they would taste.

The unopened foods!

Crave Skinny crackers right out the box!
The Crave! Skinny crackers were kind of sweet and also quite salty at the same time as they had a lot of rock salt on them. The crackers were also quite sturdy and crunchy and do not break too easily.
I think they would be good with any kind of item that is sweet or savory.
So far I've had the crackers with a tomato jam I had from a earlier box and with some cheddar cheese and both were delicious!

I really enjoyed the Tomato Jam and think it would be amazing with some cream cheese for some kind of dip or even as a sandwich topping with a grilled cheese.
This will be a product that I will be ordering soon! There are so many things I could think of using this condiment...I wish they sent a bigger jar!

*I also have some pictures of the amazing salad dressing. Just need to recharge my camera and find those images.
I also sent my mother the dressing and she could not stop raving about it and how she had some on a spinach salad with fresh berries too. Her dinner guests also enjoyed the dressing- she plans to purchase more.
The packaging for the dressing is also very unique and reminded me of a wine bottle as there was a cork in the bottle and the top was covered in wax!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Foodiepages April 2014 Tasting Box Review!

 The April tasting box is fairly new to me.
So far I have been lucky to order March and April's box and by "accident" also got the Feb box.
By accident, I mean I placed an order thinking it was for the March box a second time (was going to be a surprise gift...not for myself) and when I opened my box saw it was the Feb 2014 items.
That is not a problem as I had never tried those items!
How the Foodiepages box works is that at the beginning of the month you must be one of the first 50 people to order the box and it is first come first served. It is not a subscription, but a one time purchase. The cost is $14.95 and shipping is around $7 extra.
Previously shipping was included and it seems at the lower price point the boxes were flying out the door and I could never manage to order one.
So far the value of the boxes I've gotten has been around $23 or so which is not a very high value for a subscription kind of box, but I do enjoy trying new handmade foods and find it is still a worthwhile purchase for me.
I am always looking for some new handmade Canadian foods for gifts as most people I know do not want "stuff" from the mall and would rather have some new food item to try!
If you are interested in ordering anything from Foodiepages, I will post my referal link where I can get a credit towards future orders. It would be appreciated if you could click on that :)

I forgot to take a picture of all the April 2014 tasting box items together, but do have some of the pictures of what the actual food items were.
The box comes with a card describing the items and what part of Canada the producer is based in.


Kimberley's Own Nibscotti and Batch Sweet Kitchen Popcorn

Batch Sweet Kitchen Salted Caramel Popcorn: The sample size was around 50 grams if I recall and the value is around $4.00. I ate quite a bit of it before taking the picture, but did weigh it on my electronic scale.
The salted caramel corn has a rich toffee taste and you could also taste the sea salt quite well. There was also some pecans in the mix. I kind of wish I had a bigger bag of this as it was delicious!

kimberley's own Nibscotti: This is a product that is so new, it has not yet been listed for sale on the Kimberley's Own website (when I checked a couple weeks ago). What was sent out was a sampler of the product- I have no idea yet on how many will be in a regular bag or if these will only be mini biscotti bites.
The three Nibscotti were around 3" in height and not too thick.
This is an interesting version of biscotti, as it is made with the Kimberley's Own gluten-free granola and shaped like cute biscotti!
In Italian biscotti means that something is baked twice, so what seems to be done here is the granola was first made, then shaped and baked to retain the biscotti shape.

Now I'm sure you want to know how these Nibscotti tasted?
I was very reminded of granola bars, as these were made with oats, ground almonds, chia, honey. These did not taste gluten-free and I think if you enjoy crunchy snacks this would be a good product to try.
Also before I forget, the nutrition for these is quite good too- with the three Nibscotti coming in at 120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 15 grams carbs and 4 grams for protein!
These would definitely make a good snack for people who are into health and fitness too!

Louise Prete Sugo Pomodoro all'Amatriciana tomato sauce!

Louise Prete Fine Foods Sugo Pomodoro all'Amatriciana pasta sauce: This was a full size jar of the sauce and a 737 gram jar with a value of $9.99.
This is quite a heavy item to ship, so I feel the price of the tasting box is quite fair.
The tomato sauce was delicious and was also a bit spicy. There is also the addition of some bacon that comes from a local farmer and this made the sauce even more "fancy" and tasty- even though I'm sure just the other sauces are great too!
In the picture above I did not add anything to the sauce and I used some vegetable pasta for this trial.
I found you do not need to add anything extra to the sauce, but I did add some fresh parmesan and that was tasty also!

My overall impression of the April 2014 Foodiepages box:

I thought this box had a good mix of sweet and savory items!

It is nice to see a box that focuses on more than just snacks and bars. Everything in the box was very tasty amd it is hard to pick a favorite item when you like them all.
The value of the box was not that high with a total of around $16.oo. This is because I have no idea how to price the Nibscotti and did not add that in my total.
While the value may not have been that great, I know it is expensive to ship a heavy glass jar of pasta sauce, as well as the tomato jam was in a glass jar too.
I still think the box is worth getting as you do save on shipping and get to try items from other parts of Canada that you might not know about.
I'm looking forwards to seeing what new items will be in future boxes!

Have you tried any of these items and what was your favorite one?
What would you try the pasta sauce with? curious to hear some suggestions....

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ten Sushi buffet Bank St.First Impressions and copy of menu.

Ten Sushi is a buffet that just opened  two weeks ago and has a all you can eat concept.
There is also a regular menu and delivery available when you spend $25.00.
My visit was at lunch and the cost for one person then is $13.95 and very reasonable.
The location where the restaurant is situated used to be a Blockbuster video store and recently a furniture outlet.
To see how the space has been renovated into a very spacious restaurant is quite impressive!
One novelty of Ten Sushi is that you order at your table using an iPad tablet.
While that is a neat idea it can be a bit slow and cumbersome to pick your dishes as we were told it was one iPad per table. Once we figured out how to scroll through the many menus out food came extremely quickly.
You do need to remember to press SEND or your order will never get to the right place.

My first impression was that I hoped it was decent, but it is just $13.95 for lunch- so not the end of the world. I was a bit hesitant to go for dinnertime when the cost per person goes up to $23.95 for adults.
When I walked in I noticed the spacious location there was a large touch screen displaying the menu items.
We had asked to be seated at a booth- and when I got to the booth I was not too impressed. There was a long black hair right on one of the dinner plates and the bench had some crumbs on it.
I asked to have the plates changed. If there is one way to reduce someone's appetite this would be it!
Now the iPad is a neat idea, but from what I read on some online reviews, the screens had some food residue on them and people really did not enjoy that.

Now onto the food- the dishes we ordered came five minutes after we ordered them and were very fresh.
I kind of wonder how they can produce dishes so quickly.
My choice of dishes was not very adventurous as I wanted to try some dishes I was already familiar with.

The following are the dishes I tried:

sweet potato avocado hand roll :was good, but had mayo in it). The sweet potato was tempura style and I did not know this when I ordered. I'm not a fan of anything with mayo and the menu has no descriptions. I will know for next time I guess...

tofu pocket: (there are known as Inari at other restaurants)- those were quite small and seems the tofu was cut in half to make the pockets more bite size.

 tempura shrimp rolls were good, but there was no avocado like at other places and no salmon roe either. The tempura shrimp rolls: consisted of the shrimp, seaweed and rice. They were still quite tasty but I could have easily eaten a dozen of those as the pieces were fairly small.

 avocado sushi:  was very fresh too- but just the regular smaller rolls that only had avocado. Kind of hard to mess those up.

sesame balls- they were very fresh and had some bean paste in the middle.

 Deep Fried Milk: One item that really intrigued me was the Deep Fried Milk. I had never heard of this item before and asked the server what it was and was told it is milk that is deep fried and it is good.
(Doesn't really tell me much). My friend thought it would be somewhat like the deep fried ice cream many "mexican" restaurants serve. Turns out the fried milk is a tempura-like batter and inside is a kind of custard or rice pudding . I would get this item again. The order has 2 pieces and those were 1" x2".

fried bananas: were also ordered and they did look quite good- but the issue my guest had was that there was chocolate drizzled on them and she does not like chocolate sauce.
Actually the issue my friend had is the menu makes absolutely no mention that there is chocolate sauce on the bananas and was not too pleased as they never eat those kind of things.

Here is a copy of the all you can eat selections I was given when I dropped by Ten Sushi earlier this week:


My review will be finished later on today....
Ten Sushi is located at: 1490 Bank St., Ottawa, ON, K1H 7Z2

*Overall my visit was decent and I will try eating here again, but am also going to check out what other similar restaurants are out there!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Todric's weekend special dish COQUILLE ST. JAQUES!

TTFinally, I have managed to go to a nice restaurant and remember to bring my camera!
This Saturday I went to Todric's restaurant in Ottawa and one of the special dishes this weekend was Coquille St. Jaques!
I have never eaten this dish in a restaurant before and when I read on Todric's Facebook page this was a special I had to go there right away!

The dish was very large and well presented and the best Coquille I have ever eaten.
Usually I get other seafood dishes at another place and have Bouillabaise (a seafood soup/stew).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Harvey's Funnel Cake "fries" now in Ottawa!

Harvey's now serves funnel cake "fries" in Ottawa.
This is news to me and I saw an ad at the cash in the restaurant, so no idea if you can get this everywhere yet.