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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Candles by Victoria - Top 5 Bakery Scents

Hey all! I thought I'd start doing some CBV posts where I share with you my top 5 scents from each scent category, along with a little review of each scent. I thought this would be helpful so that you can see which 5 scents I'd most recommend from each category, since there are over 700 scents! Today I thought I'd start out with bakery scents, since bakery scents are my favourite type. These aren't in any particular order, it was hard enough to pick 5 favourites let alone rank them! So here are my top 5 bakery scents! :) 

#1 - Cinnamon Donuts 

Ok, I know I said I wasn't ranking them, but this one might actually be my favourite. I've decided that I can never ever be without this scent in my life. I want to swim in a giant pool of wax scented in Victoria's Cinnamon Donuts. It is that good. For those of you who aren't a huge fan of cinnamon, fear not. This is a very sweet cinnamon, not a red-hot spicy cinnamon. So although you can smell the cinnamon, its very mellow. You also get a mouthwatering doughy scent. You know when you go to a fair or amusement park, and you can buy those fresh little donuts that are hot and have been rolled in cinnamon sugar? That's exactly what this smells like. Seriously amazing.

# 2 - Baked Apple Strudel 

This is an amazing scent. It has quickly made its way into my top favourite bakery scents, as well as my top scents overall. The first thing I smell is the apple. It kind of reminds me of Victoria's Macintosh Apple scent, except instead of a fresh apple, it smells like an apple that's been cooked down, but still has some of its tartness. I then get a sweet doughy note. Not a cobbler or a crisp or anything, but a soft dough scent. All of that delicious goodness is rounded out by a hint of sweet spice. Again, not a red-hot spice, but a sweet mellow spice that somehow balances the whole thing out. I highly highly recommend this scent. 

# 3 - Lemon Pound Cake

Ahhhh this one is SO good. It has been one of my favourites for a long time now, as I received it in my second ever order from Victoria and haven't been without it since then. This is my second mustard jar of this scent. I also have an 8oz that is almost halfway done, and I've burned through a 4oz too. That should give you a little idea of how much I love this scent. If you like lemon and you like bakery, give this one a try. Its a sweet, sugared lemon scent, but there is also a little hint of sourness to it as well (at least to me, I can smell a bit of a "tang"). I get a cakey note to it also, and it smells like the whole thing has been dipped in a sweet milky lemon glaze. To die for! 

# 4 - Peanut Butter Cookies 

Yum yum yum! This is one of those scents that smells great on cold throw, but on hot throw it smells divine. It smells exactly like hot, fresh, soft, doughy peanut butter cookies that have just come out of the oven. Not much else I can say about this! Its fabulous. 

# 5 - Pink Cupcake 

This one is great! It smells like a sweet vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. I love this one in scent shot form. I have a mustard jar of the scent as well, but to my nose the fragrance is a little different when it is being burned in candle form as opposed to when its being melted on the tart warmer. So what I like to do is scoop out the wax from my mustard jar and use it in the warmer like a scent shot. The scent is just amazing, and a very strong thrower. I love it so much! 

And... because I obviously couldn't pick just five, I have two honourable mentions! 

Honourable Mentions - Coconut Cream Pie & Sugared Corn Pudding

These two are both great scents, and definitely deserved a mention in this post although they didn't make it to my top 5. Coconut Cream Pie is one that I recently discovered and loved. It smells like a sweet, creamy, coconut custard. I get a hint of toasted coconut scent to this one too. SO good. Sugared Corn Pudding is such a unique scent. Its so sweet and good, and on cold throw almost reminds me of a sweet popcorn scent. On hot throw however, it smells a lot like fresh sugar cookies. It is so amazing, I just want to eat it out of the jar. 

So there you go guys! Hope that was helpful! What are your top 5 CBV bakery scents?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

French Onion Soup

One of my favourite soups is french onion, and today I had the biggest craving for a nice big bowl of it. So, I decided to make a pot! Despite how fancy it looks (and tastes), its actually surprisingly easy. I'll share with you all how I make it! 

2 tbsp butter
3lbs sweet onions (about 3-4 medium sized onions; I used vidalia onions)
1 tbsp flour (optional)
1 box beef broth (about 900mL)
1 cup dry white wine 
a few sprigs of fresh thyme (you can use dried too if that's what you have)
salt & pepper
slices of baguette
swiss cheese 

First, you'll want to start by slicing up all your onions. While you do that, start melting the butter in a big soup pot over medium heat. Put all the sliced onions into the pot, and fry the onions until they become brown and sweet. 

Caramelizing the onions will take some time. Its meant to be a bit of a slow process, so just be patient and I promise the results will be worth it! It took me about half an hour. Eventually, your onions will look something like this:

Now this part is optional, but if you want a little bit of a thicker broth you can add a tbsp of flour at this point. 

If you do add flour, make sure to stir it in well and then let it cook for about a minute or so to cook out that raw flour taste. 
Now you're ready to add the broth and white wine.

Once you add the liquids, make sure to take the spoon and de-glaze the bottom of the pot. Basically, de-glazing is just scraping the spoon along the bottom of the pot to pick up all the brown bits left over from whatever you've just browned (onions, in our case). Now you can go ahead and add the fresh thyme. Add plenty of salt and pepper too to suit your tastes. At this point, put on the lid and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes. You want to cook out the alcohol taste of the wine and let all the flavours meld together. 

While the soup is simmering, slice up your baguette. I like to slice mine on a bias so that there's more surface area to the bread. After you have your slices cut, toast them up. 

After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, ladle it into individual oven-safe bowls. Arrange the bowls on a baking tray just in case anything spills over in the oven. Top each bowl with a slice of your toasted baguette, then top each with a slice of swiss cheese. 

Set your oven to broil and put the soups in. Make sure you keep an eye on them, as the broiler really likes to burn things! It will only take a few minutes, and then you'll end up with delicious french onion soup like this:


Monday, February 20, 2012

Candles by Victoria - An Introduction

So since this blog is about my favourite things, it only seems natural to include Candles by Victoria in a post. For anybody who likes their home to smell divine, this company is for you!  

Candles by Victoria is a family-run business started up by the lovely Victoria Elliott. There are so many things that I love about this company. First of all, the quality of the product is absolutely incredible. Victoria's candles are clean-burning and extremely highly scented. And best of all, they are so reasonably priced. I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed with a really expensive candle because I couldn't smell it at all once it was lit! Not with these candles! Because they're so clean burning, I like to save the jars and recycle them for other purposes around the house (another post on that later). And with 700+ scents, you really can't go wrong. There's something for everyone! Now 700+ scents can be a little overwhelming... luckily the company has its own message board called The Pouring Pot, where you can create and account and talk to all the other CBV-lovers out there to get input on Victoria's scents. Not only is the message board helpful with plotting your orders, but you also make some great friends - the people on that board are so genuine and kind-hearted. 

The website has 20 pages of candle products you can browse through, ranging from 5oz mini jelly jar candles to 24oz mustard jar candles, and anything and everything in between! At some point, I'll do a post on my stash so you can see how addicted I really am! Just to give you a sneak peek, here is a glimpse into my CBV-heaven... 

That drawer is full of 8oz and 9oz jelly jars. Whew, I really am addicted aren't I? Well... that's not even the whole stash. In addition to wicked candles, Victoria also sells 2oz chunks of scented wax, which she calls "Scent Shots". They are pieces of scented wax that you can put into a tart melter. The wax melts, and as it does, it releases the scent into your home. What's great about the scent shots is that there's no flame, so if you have young children or pets, it's a great alternative to burning candles. Here's my box of scent shots, plus the tart melter I use to melt them (which Victoria also sells on her website, mine is in "Jet Black"):

This is a really great way to sample out scents that you aren't sure you will love enough to purchase a larger candle of. I can't get enough of them! 

I really hope you all will go check out the website! Trust me, if you like candles, you won't be disappointed. I have recommended this company to so many people, and everyone without fail has loved the product. Look forward to lots more CBV posts from me!

My Top 10 Favourite Lipsticks!

I've seen a bunch of top ten lipstick videos on youtube lately, so I thought I'd do a post on it to show you all my favourite lipsticks. I love lipstick, especially bright colours. I feel so confident when I'm rocking a bright red or coral, and I own a really bright fuchsia pink which I love too. But, I do like to wear neutrals on a daily basis in places where I can't really wear a bright lip, like work for instance. So, here are my top ten colours! The picture shows the lipstick tubes in the order that I swatched them.

 From left to right:

1. Korres mango butter lipstick in #45 "Coral"
2. MAC matte lipstick in "So Chaud"
3. MAC amplified lipstick in "Vegas Volt"
4. YSL rouge volumpté lipstick in #27 "Rose Paris"
5. MUFE lipstick in #203 "Lacquered"
6. YSL rouge volumpté lipstick in #30 "Faubourg Peach"
7. Dior high shine lipstick in #222 "Causal Beige"
8. MAC amplified lipstick in "Blankety"
9. MAC glaze lipstick in "Hue"
10. MAC frost liptsick in "Angel"

With Flash

Without Flash

The colours show a bit more accurately in the picture without flash. As you can see, I love my brights! I didn't rank the colours in any particular order, it was hard enough to pick 10 favourites, let alone rank them! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Project 10 Pan

So lately I've become very aware that my makeup collection is huge! I really need to start downsizing, and to start using up some of the products I've been hoarding or have just been sitting at the back of my drawers. So - I've decided to take on the challenge of Project 10 Pan. For those of you who are new to the challenge, it is meant to help downsize your collection. You put yourself on a strict no-buy rule, and you cannot buy any new makeup products until you've used up 10 items from your collection. For my own sake, I'm including perfume and lotion in the challenge, as I have waaaay too much stuff in those departments also. Here is what I'm looking at using up:

Nivea chapstick, Juicy Couture "Viva La Juicy" perfume, MAC pro longwear concealer in NW20, NARS duo in "Orgasm/Laguna" (I've already used up Laguna, now I just have to finish off Orgasm!), Cake body lotion in "Desserted Island", Stila "Forever your Curl" mascara, Maybelline clear mascara, CO Bigelow lipgloss in "Pink Mint",  MAC eyeshadow in "Jest", Make Up For Ever HD primer & Laura Geller primer. I've counted the last two primers as one item, since they're both sample sizes.

Lets see how long I can actually last before I cave... I am determined to finish this challenge with no cheating! Anybody else thinking of doing project 10 pan?

I Love Tea!

Ever since I discovered David's Tea, I have been obsessed. I have always loved tea, but now my tea experience has been taken to a whole new level! I've only tried a few teas, but my favourite (thus far) is the Kenyan Tinderet. This is what the tea looks like when you purchase it:

Its a loose-leaf black tea, and it is delicious! It has such a deep tea flavour. I have gone through this stuff by the gallon! Its a bit expensive, $14 Canadian for 100grams of tea. But that 100grams should last you quite a while (unless you're like me and you go through that in about a week!). I like to drink mine with milk and sugar. Can't wait to try more teas! 

Yum yum!