Monday, 27 February 2017

I wanted to share one of my new favourite beauty discoveries! It's the "Le Mini Macaron Gel Manicure Kit".  

Le Mini Macaron (LMM) was created by Christina Kao and her partner, François.  The pair was determined to create an easy, convenient and affordable gel nail kit that resulted in beautiful nails at home. 

If you're anything like me, you love a good gel manicure.  Your standard manicure is nothing like that shiny gel finish and not to mention, it's long lasting wear.  Gel manicures can be quite pricey at salons and spas.  Plus with a busy schedule, not everyone has the time to make the trip to the salon and go through the whole gel removal, manicure and application process.

The LMM Gel Manicure Kit includes:
LED Lamp (shaped like a macaroon...how adorable!)
USB cord and power charger
1 bottle of 3-in-1 gel polish in a matching colour
Cuticle Stick
Mini nail file
10 remover pads
Detailed Instructions

The nail kit is easy and convenient for the busy working girl! In 15 minutes tops, your manicure is complete and your nails are on fleek!  The 3-in-1 gel formula includes a basecoat, colour and topcoat.  I love how you can bring the kit along with you whether you're travelling or having a sleepover at your BFF's.  You can even use the USB cord and plug it into your laptop or a portable charger. Talk about convenient and mobile!

In 6 easy steps, you will achieve a gorgeous at-home gel manicure. 

Step 1: Push back your cuticle skin using the cuticle stick

Step 2: File the edges and surfaces of your nail. Wipe away any dust
(I recommend to wash/rinse your hands).

Step 3: Apply a very thin layer for the first coat!

Step 4: Place your finger in the LED lamp for 30 seconds

Step 5: Apply a second layer and cap the edge of your nail with the gel polish

Step 6: Place your finger back in the LED lamp for 30 more seconds

Voilà, you are done! Easy as that and you have a salon style manicure right from home.  The result: a long lasting, shine-finish perfect gel manicure. 

I had so much fun doing my at-home gel manicure.  Aside from the fun, it was super easy.  I'm really not the best when it comes to painting my nails but LMM was quick and easy.  I am so inlove with this colour called Cassis, it's a sophisticated red and definitely reminds me of a cherry merlot! With over 35 colours available, you have the perfect colour for any style or occasion.

Until March 15th, if you purchase any Le Mini Macaron Gel Manicure Kit from The Bay (online or in store) you get two full size gel polishes FREE!  Get all the details on their Facebook Page!

Make sure to try out LMM before this special offer ends! 

Happy Manicuring ;)

What is your favourite at-home nail kit?


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

As you know from my previous blog post, Matt planned a special birthday weekend for me up in Muskoka.  We dined at Riverwalk Restaurant for a lovely birthday dinner!

Riverwalk is a fresh market cuisine restaurant serving gourmet dishes created by Chef David Friesen and his culinary staff.  The dishes are thoughtfully crafted with locally sourced seasonal ingredients.  As a supporter of "Savour Muskoka", Riverwalk refreshes their menu seasonally to provide you with new and creative dishes with the highest quality ingredients from local farms and farmers in the Muskoka region.

Riverwalk is located next to Bracebridge falls, creating a beautiful view for guests sitting by the three windows overlooking the falls.  During the warmer months, Riverwalk has a beautiful patio to compliment the stunning view.  The restaurant has a rustic Mediterranean style setting, decorated with clean and simple ceiling tapestries when you enter.  As you walk into the dining room, the room is filled with beautiful art and decorative pieces on the wall.  The ceilings are tall with beautiful log-style beams and wood accents.  The tables are dressed with neutral linens and set with rustic utensils, which add the perfect touch.

Riverwalk has a lovely assortment of both red and white wines on their menu, many of which are from Ontario Wineries!  We enjoyed a bottle of 2015 Reif Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (VQA) from the Niagara region.  Medium bodied with mild spice and fruity notes of blackberries, raspberries and cherries made the perfect wine pairing for our entrées!

For dinner, we ordered the duck breast and lamb shank.  The duck breast was served with natural jus, accompanied by sweet potato mash and grilled vegetables.  The duck was cooked perfectly to a medium finish.  Tender and juicy with a flavourful rub on the exterior...it was delicious.  The sweet potato mash was buttery and mixed with fresh herbs, scrumptious!  

The lamb shank came alongside gravy, mashed potatoes and grilled veggies.  The lamb was overcooked but still quite tender and tasty.  The mashed potatoes were classicly done and the gravy made it that much tastier. 

For dessert, we both enjoyed traditional Crème brûlées.  Creamy custard and hard caramel...a perfect way to finish off our meals. 

Overall, we had a fabulous time dining at the Riverwalk Restaurant.  The ambiance was perfect for a birthday dinner, date night or any intimate gathering.  The views of the falls were unique and breathtaking, not something you find at your average restaurant. 

We had a great experience and we hope to visit again in the spring or summer!  We can't wait to see what fresh dishes Riverwalk will have to offer.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Last week was my birthday and my boyfriend planned a special trip up to Muskoka.  As part of my birthday gift, Matt surprised me with a dog sledding trip which has been on my bucket list for a very long time.  I could not wait to finally go dog sledding, plus be surrounded by tons of siberian huskies!

With a Winter storm in effect, we bundled up with tons of layers and hit the road.  We drove up to Haliburton for our two hour experience with Winterdance Dogsled Tours.  It was indeed a beautiful drive from Toronto, with the northern scenery and snow... a true winter wonderland.  Winterdance is located at the end of a private road, on a large 5,000 acre lot close to Algonquin Park.  The trails are privately owned and very peaceful.  You are surrounded by trees, wilderness and lakes...you can't ask for anything more beautiful.

We arrived at the property and were greeted immediately.  The Winterdance team was warm, welcoming and informative.  Before embarking on our tour, we went through the basics of dog sledding with our guide John.  We learned the tips and tricks, as well as how to drive the sled and keep our dogs in good hands.  Then, we were ready to start.  

Winterdance has 150 purebred Siberian Huskies, all super friendly with completely different personalities.  It was really interesting to see how the dogs interacted with each other.  The huskies were true pack animals and working dogs, not anything like domestic pets.

The guides set up our pack leaders first and as we held their harnesses, they set up the rest of our dog team.  The huskies were strategically teamed up, as some worked better with others.  The huskies were energetic and howling, anxious to be on the trail and start running in the snow.  Our dog team consisted of 5 dogs: Ninja, Rebel, Scooby, Tariel and Misty.

Ninja and Rebel (brother and sister) were the leaders of our pack, they were calm and focused.  Scooby was a hyper husky with a wiggly butt, always anxious and howling to get going!  Tariel and Misty were mother and daughter.  Misty was strong and feisty, she was not afraid to put the other dogs in their place but was sweet with us.  Tariel was young, sweet and playful, she loved to jump up at some of the trees and branches as we stopped.  We had a great team!
We were given the time to get acquainted with our husky team, then it was time to start sledding!

(Front: Scooby. Back: Tariel & Misty)
(Matt with Tariel & Misty)
(Ninja and I)
We each had the opportunity to be a passenger and a driver.  We enjoyed the scenic views as the dogs guided us along the trail.  It was amazing to see the dogs so happy and excited to be in their natural element.  The driver is an important part of the team, always keeping an eye on the dogs to ensure they are moving safely not running into any issues.  Additionally, you are responsible for controlling the speed and balance of your sled.  To help the dogs get going, you need to push the sled to get momentum and hop onto the footboards as the dogs picked up speed.  Driving the sled was fun but more challenging on the steeper hills.  

(Tariel & Misty)
As a passenger, you really had the chance to appreciate and embrace the gorgeous scenery and have fun watching the dogs in the snow.  The trail was full of trees, snowy fields, downhills and uphills.  The heavy snowfall made the scenery even more beautiful, creating the perfect Winter experience.  By the end of the trip, we were covered in snow.  We helped hydrate our pack and spent some more time with dogs before we had to be on our way.

(All bundled up but loving this moment!)
What a fabulous experience!  The two hour tour was the perfect introduction to dog sledding and would be a great option for beginners or families.  We had a phenomenal time together with the huskies and the Winterdance staff.  Dog sledding was even more fun than I ever imagined and I can't wait to go again in the future!

A big thank you to Winterdance and our guide, John for a fabulous experience!

What is your favourite Winter sport?


Monday, 6 February 2017

Hi Foodies,

Matt and I recently went into Orangeville for a family event and had the perfect excuse to finally visit The Barley Vine Rail (or BVR for short).  Located downtown on Broadway, BVR occupies Orangeville's historic rail station which was originally built back in the late 1800s.  BVR is a Canadian bistro pub with a variety of mouth-watering starters, classic entrees and craft beer.

BVR has been on our "to eat" list for quite some time now so we couldn't wait to dig in! 

We had our eyes on a couple of the appetizers like the barnyard poutine and chicken & waffles.  In the end, we opted for the crispy pork bombs: pulled pork and cheddar croquettes with pickled jalapeno sour cream on a bed of homemade smoked chipotle BBQ sauce.  Alongside our appetizer, we enjoyed a Maple Whiskey Sour and a flight of 4 beers. 

For mains, I ordered the BVR mac' n cheese with a mixed green salad and Matt had the braised beef short rib. The BVR mac' n cheese is made with a three-cheese sauce, double smoked bacon, buffalo sauce and topped with toasted parmesan bread crumbs.  The mac' n cheese was creamy and of course, cheesy! The double smoked bacon and bread crumbs added great texture and put a twist on your classic mac' n cheese.   The mixed green salad was topped with goat cheese, roasted beets and candied nuts...the perfect compliment.  

The braised beef short rib was juicy and tender...no need for a knife. The butternut squash risotto was a beautiful compliment, adding complexity and unique flavours to the dish. 
Overall, it was rich and flavourful...delicious!

We went all out and got desserts and some French press coffee to finish off our meal.  We indulged with a Vanilla Bean Crème brûlée and a triple chocolate brownie topped with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel drizzled on top.  

We had a great lunch at the BVR and we will definitely head back again on our next trip to Orangeville...and probably indulge in some appies!

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