Birthdays, Christmas & Toronto

Monday, December 23, 2013
Hi lovelies!!

It has been a whirlwind of a few days, and they were quite amazing. My birthday was last Thursday, and I was hunkered down studying for an exam the whole day. After the exam, I scrambled around my apartment packing, cleaning, and washing my hair. Afterwards, The Boy and I made our way downtown to catch a Second City production, and spent the night cuddling + watching Kitchen Nightmares (we are addicted!). Saturday morning we woke up at 6am, and drove down to the airport for my flight to Toronto. My parents had a cute surprise birthday dinner for me, and all of us got to eat my favourite Italian food and a delicious cake from Dufflet (plus a ton of other great sweets made with love). Sunday was spent in candlelight (because our power went out after the ice storm), whilst eating left overs, playing brain games, talking and laughing ... and drinking. It was such a nice break from technology that I'm wondering why we don't do it more often. At our house we are getting ready for the Christmas festivities, and it smells delicious all through the house!
Merry Christmas! 
Happy Holidays!


Recipes That Worked: Ratatouille Pasta & Chocolate Millionaire Cookies

Saturday, December 07, 2013
Ratatouille Pasta
This was a delicious dish, and I can't wait to make it again. Instead of grilling the veggies, we popped them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Everything else was done according to the recipe posted below. We picked tri-color rotini to add extra color. ----> Made By Girl guest post recipe

I really like crispy edges, so I leave it in the oven for a tad longer. 
While the veggies were cooling and the pasta was cooking, we chatted for a bit at the table. I have this cute mini Christmas tree on top of it, and it is adding quite the festive cheer during the evenings. Once the pasta was al dente, we strained it and threw in the veggies. I also added extra olive oil & garlic salt.
Let the mix sit for a couple minutes for the flavours to infuse the pasta, and serve! 
P.S. If you're a cheese fiend like me, don't forget the parmesan. =)

Chocolate Millionaire Cookies
These babies were done in 15 minutes. Why, you ask? Because it was a 'cookie in a jar' recipe, where all the contents were layered and ready to mix with milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. If you find these jars during your shopping adventures, pick one up for a friend who enjoys baking. The Boy and I had tons of fun eating these over the weekend while watching Home Alone. 

What have you all been eating lately? Any fun recipes I should try?


Gift Guide #2: Home Decor Lovers

Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Here's my second installment of quirky gifts for your friends & family. Below are my picks for the people in your life that take pride in decorating their homes. Enjoy!
1. Jonathan Alder - whale pitcher 
(this would also look great as a vase with fresh bright flowers)
2. Kate Spade New York - dinnerware
(to eat appetizers off of, or to display)
3. Jonathan Adler - salt & pepper shakers
(placed on a couch or at the foot of the bed)
5. West Elm - monogram napkins
6. Cwonder - ikat bowls
(for eating cereal/soup, or to store jewelry baubles)

What else would you add to the list?


Current Favourites

Monday, December 02, 2013
Heya everyone!
I thought I'd share a few things I've been loving lately, including two reviews of products that were sent to me.

First up, I finally tried those EOS lipbalms everyone's been harping about. I have the mint one, and it is a ball of tingly divine loveliness (although not as moisturizing as Carmex, it always takes the cake). It can be a super cute stocking stuffer, or a small self-prezzie to keep in your winter coat pocket.
Secondly, I was sent this Iconemesis iPhone 5 case to check out. I was able to choose any print I wanted, and the selection is quite fantastic. I settled on Fifi Lapin, and it was a big hit during Thanksgiving dinner. My case was a little snug and didn't click in completely, but it was pretty unnoticeable. (I had a few of my friends try to push the phone in, but to no avail. I might have just gotten a wonky case.) Unfortunately, I did end up dropping my iPhone on the concrete two days ago, and it got a little scratch on the edge that didn't get snapped in. C'est la vie! I still use it, because it's so darn cute and I already have a couple scratches from other cases as well. Pobody's Nerfect! Look at this one - droool.

This is the second and final item I was sent to review, Photo Plasma SPF 30. Let me tell you... it does something none of my other creams have done before: No Burning. Several years ago I settled on the fact that my skin is super-sensitive and reacts to everything. I have been using my Cetaphil moisturizer with SPF for years, because it burns less than Aveeno Positively Radiant. But little buggers has NO BURN. AND a higher SPF. AND it looks like pink fluffy mousse. I love it! (The team at Perricone MD also wants me to share another Cold Plasma product they have for spider veins, and their new Astaxanthine supplements to boost your skin/body diet - check here for astaxanthine side effects). Tell me what you all think! Does anyone else get that burning sensation with their skin products? I don't think anything will ever be as bad as my first few months on Epiduo (I wrote about it here), but it's still quite annoying.

I picked this little hat up at Aerie while waiting for a friend. Sparkly gems are the greatest! And I finally have something that matches perfectly with my grey cable knit snood. *happy dance*

This is not a "thing". I took this shot with the VSCO cam, an app my friend S. told me to download for my iPhone. Holy manoley it's amazing, and it's FREE. You should all get it. The control you have over shots is amazing, even their filters are super cool. Check out some of the pictures taken by photographers here.

And finally, a couple products I've had for a while and love. The Brazil Nut body butter is such a great scent for fall and winter; I also enjoy the fact that it has to melt a bit in my hand. I talked about this product before on the blog, but I just need to bring it back on here to show some love.
The Falsies by Maybelline was bought on a whim when I realized I should have thrown out my mascara a couple months ago. (Is anyone else terrible with cosmetic expiry dates?) I was pretty shocked when this hot pink tube gave me super long, thick baby doll lashes. My favourite!

What are products are you loving lately?
Has anyone found the perfect black liquid liner yet? Seriously, tell me!


Holiday Gift Guide #1: For Your Super-Organized Friends

Thursday, November 28, 2013
I figured I would jump on the bandwagon, and put together a few quirky gift guides for Christmas. This one is geared towards your super-organized, stationary obsessed friends. They love the smell of fresh paper, and never met a 0.5mm ball point pen they didn't like. Look at all these bright colors! Oh yeahhh... Let's get crackin'!
1. Kate Spade - Emma Pouch
2. Polka-dot washi tape - Madewell
3. Eraser - Poppin

5. "Trust Your Gut" - Etsy print for your motivational wall
6. Spiral pen - ASOS
7. Erasers - Kate Spade
8. Life Planner- Erin Condren

I've got my eye on the last one to keep me on track for Step 1 studying come January + scheduling 3rd year rotations come July. So pretty! 

What kind of person would you like targeted for my next guide? 
I definitely want something out of the ordinary since there are already tons out there!


10 Links For A Rainy Day

Saturday, November 23, 2013
I've been having a bit of writer's block lately, and after bringing it up with The Boy, he suggested I talk about this on the blog (Oh boy! You can all have a chuckle now!). Haha, needless to say it actually triggered an idea to share a few links I've been collecting. If you'd like some new reads, and pretty things to look at on a rainy/snowy day, just keep on reading!

1. Overnight Beauty Tips by Lauren Conrad & a video by A Model Recommends.
2. The Not-So Secret Path to Greatness - The John Maxwell Company
3. This split pea, bacon & potato soup that changed my life. Also, soup can sit in the fridge for a week without spoiling. That's great if you don't want to eat it all in 2 days. There's also no pasta in it, which I hear makes soup go rancid in less than a week. This soup feels like someones hugging you from the inside. ^.^
4. 25 Days of Christmas Movies
5. Ashton Kutcher vs. Walmart - For those of you interested in wages and poverty.
6. NEMJ Medical Case on Anthrax - just when you think your life is going great, a small particle the size of a microscopic fleck can kill you in a week. What a REALITY CHECK.
7. Science & cooking: an online course by Harvard.
8. Maybe a work-life balance means you should work more - TheBullish
9. 101 Fashion Tips & Tricks - StyleCaster
10. The Everygirl's Ten Favorite IKEA Finds - The Everygirl

What have all of you been up to this weekend?
Any good reads I should check out as well?


image via Riley Briggs

Home Decor Inspiration

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Don't you just love how your home can take on a different atmosphere as the seasons change? At my parents house, the colder weather would bring out more furry blankets, candles, and dark neutral shades. I thought I'd share some beautiful homes I've been loving lately. I think I may start keeping a box of decor for "warm weather" and another for "cold weather". What do you think? Maybe I'm just making excuses to spend my petit study breaks perusing H&M Home and One Kings Lane.
source: 1//2//3+4+5 H&M home//6
How have you brought the holidays into your home this year!?


Guest Post: 5 Tips for Cleaning Your Jewelry at Home

Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting your jewelry cleaned can be expensive. What if you could clean your jewelry at home? This home remedy is not recommended for soft stones such as opals or pearls as it may damage them. It’s better if this treatment is reserved for metals such as gold or silver, and for stones such as diamonds or other gems. So if you have diamond necklaces, this home remedy is perfect for you.

1. Use a Toothbrush

 When you’re cleaning jewelry at home, be sure to use a toothbrush, preferably one with soft bristles. Often, gunk builds up around the settings and you can
’t merely wipe it away. If you use a toothbrush, you’ll be able to have a good handle on the brush and you’ll be able to scrub at the hard-to-reach places.

2. Use a Colander

 If you’re working at your kitchen or bathroom sink, be sure to use a colander. You’ll want to use water to rinse of residue from your jewelry, and you really don’t need your jewelry to accidentally fall down the drain. The colander gives you the freedom and space to work without the worry of dropping it.

3. Use Glass Cleaner

 Just freshening up your jewelry? Unless you need a thorough overhaul, don’t underestimate the value in a quality glass cleaner. Glass cleaner can brighten up your jewelry and remove dust and grime. With only glass cleaner and a good microfiber cloth, your jewelry can look new in minutes.

4. Use Dawn or Lestoil

 Does your jewelry have oil or hard-to-reach gunk? If a little glass cleaner can’t freshen up your gems, you can try using Dawn Dishwashing Liquid or Lestoil with your trusty toothbrush to see how much you can clean away. Be sure to rinse afterward and use a microfiber cloth to dry your gems.

5. Use Ammonia or Alka-Seltzer

 If these options still aren’t tackling the residue, mix together half water and half ammonia and soak your jewelry for no longer than 15 seconds. Another great dunker is Alka-seltzer: pop your jewelry in a glass of water with Alka-seltzer for a few minutes and let the fizzy water dissolve the grime. These short dips should be enough to loosen the build up, and all you need to do thereafter is rinse it off with water and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth.

images: mila kunis for gemfields, anjolee 

Keeping Cozy in November

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Shop the post below

Cutesy things to keep you cozy in November! 
I'm in the midst of my fall break, and I've been reading/studying almost every day. 
"Yay!" (said no one ever). Ahh, c'est la vie.
What are all of you up to this weekend?


Productivity: Sources For Staying On Track

Monday, October 28, 2013

Being laser-focused and completing 5 million tasks a day is hard. I get it, we all get it. It sucks. Sometimes, however, it's only our planning that needs a little tweaking to get us on the road to successful productivity. Here I've compiled a few links to help you on your way, plus a mini-list of what I find works for me. My methods aren't perfect, but I manage to get better and better every year.

Chantelle's List for Productivity
- Calendar
- List of all the tasks I need to complete (academic/personal)
- A smaller daily list tackling the above into a realistic schedule
- Sometimes, a 20-25 minute timer to see how much I can get done in one shot.
- If my brain is working super slow, I get up and eat something. Then I watch a tv show/movie/ youtube for 10-20 minutes. Don't convince yourself that the brain is perpetually in need of a break, that's called procrastination.
- Put a up a picture or an article of someone you admire; look at it whenever you feel like you've hit a wall & need motivation. Admiration works better than envy.

- 5 truths that will make running your business & your life instantly easier
- Secret formula for getting things done and avoiding internet distractions
- Bullish: A Day in the Life (love it!)
- Organization & Time Management by Little bit of Lacquer
- Affects of stress on brains of medical students - DIT (aka stress = less productivity for everyone!)
- Stayfocused app based on Pomodoro Technique
- 3 tricks for staying focused - [p.s. if you're not working, then treat studying like a job]
- 13 ways to beat distraction and stay focused - TIME
- Healthy foods that boost productivity
- Printable lists: daily agenda, my daily six (week version), colorful to-do lists

Good luck!


Images: a & b (tumblr), c (here)

Apple Picking & Corn Maze Exploring

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Here are a few pictures from the prerequisite fall activity: apple-picking. If you recall, last year I also went out to grab me some nature food. This year we hit up All Season Orchard, and I even got some apple cinnamon doughnuts to bring home. On the way to the farm we stopped by the farmer's market in Crystal Lake, and bought some fresh corn + a little pumpkin. I couldn't believe how cheap the prices were; I'm hoping to catch another farmer's market in the near future (and closer to my little abode) in order to stock up on fresh veggies grown locally. Enjoy!

What were you up to this weekend?
Any fun plans for Halloween?


What I'm Loving Lately

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Boy has it been a crazy couple weeks. Tons and tons of studying, more studying to come, and plans for the weekends. Hallelujah for vacations while we're at it! Also, I think it should be illegal to have an exam the day after a long weekend. Way to spoil the fun. -_-

Here are some beautiful things I'm loving lately in life:

Rose candles that fill my entire apartment with scent - the feeling of fall & anticipation for winter festivities - indulging my eyes at mariannan's blog during study breaks (so glad she decided to increase her number of posts per week) - wearing my new zara anorak; I need to snap a pic whilst wearing it - apple picking with The Boy - eating melted goat cheese with honey & fruits while watching scary movies - red nails - witnessing a pipe burst while grocery shopping (scary, but chuckle-worthy when you look back on it) - hot showers - hair that cooperates - ice cream sandwiches - feeling like I have a fresh start every three weeks - my humidifier - a pair of miu miu oxford pumps my mom tried on at Nordstrom - eating grapes

And that has been my life lately!
What's going on on your end? 


Guest Post: Keeping Warm - Fall & Winter Coats

Friday, October 11, 2013
Hey everybody!
 I have a great guest post today talking about my favourite "cold weather" piece = The COAT. I've been living in my Zara anorak since I bought it last month, so I'm totally partial to the parka styles shown below. One can't have too many coats, right? Hehe... 
Anywho, take a peak and tell me which ones are your faves!

As the cold weather slowly dawns upon us we’ve arrived at that time of year when a flimsy cardy just won’t do. Now is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the game and start thinking about that trusty winter coat. Finding a coat which will keep you cosy without sacrificing style can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, so here’s a selection of fabulously fashionable and functional jackets that won’t let you down.

The Military Parade Parka Coat by French Connection fuses army inspired fashion with key features to keep you warm in the winter weather. A classic khaki parka has been teamed with black faux leather sleeves and a faux fur trim on the hood for an ultimately stylish and feminine feel. As well as looking great, the Military Parade Parka includes a removable quilted gilet for extra warmth on chillier days.

In a gorgeous deep plum colour with dark faux leather trims, the Ichi Tatja Parka Jacket boasts one of fashions favourite winter tones. The long length and adjustable hood provide excellent shelter from cold winds whilst the super soft Sherpa lining and quilting keeps you snug in style.

A turn-to for an effortless on-trend look, camo print is perfect for contemporary casual styling throughout the year. The lightly padded Billabong Middelton Jacket is ideal for those milder autumn days and features a fully adjustable hood for even more protection and ample pockets to store all of your essentials.

The Roxy City College Jacket is just right for everyday wear with simplicity and style. The silver/grey cotton fabric will complement pretty much every item in your clothing collection. Wear this jacket alone for lightweight warmth on milder days or together with the removable, quilted lining with jersey hood for additional warmth when needed.

The Minkpink Ambush Coat shows off all of our favourite animal prints in one wildy wonderful creation. With a cosy, shaggy fur lined hood and a soft jersey lining, the Ambush Coat will keep you incredibly comfortable in winter ready safari chic.

With an explosion of Native American style prints this season, the Navajo inspired Element Helena Jacket is worthy of a place in any modern woman’s wardrobe. Aside from its pattern perfect appearance, this jacket features a Sherpa lined hood for cosy comfort and soft shelter.
Now there’s no excuse for choosing substance over style, you can have both with any of the fantastic jackets featured above.

Natalie Gale is an online content writer for Surfdome specialise in the latest fashions and best equipment for extreme sports such as skating, surfing and snowboarding