Summer Face Ritual

How I've been prepping my face for the hot temperatures that summer has to bring

If you take a look at my Five-Minute Makeup, you’ll notice that my everyday face ritual isn’t all that complicated. I strive to make my best features shine and to hide any blemishes with good-quality products (yes, that includes taking years to find the best cream for my face, which happens to be Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Day Cream Light).

In the summertime, my skin tans really quickly, so I decided to add a bronzer to my makeup regime.

I picked up Too Faced’s Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer for that touch of glimmer on my soon-to-be darker skintone. What I love is that the shine isn’t overwhelming. Instead, you can catch glimpses of shiny specks on my cheekbones. I start applying on my cheeks, making my way up to my temple and then working my way back down to the cheek and then moving up and then down onto my jawline (think of drawing the number “3” on the side of your face).

Other products on my summer face:
Smoky Extravagant mascara by Make Up For Ever / Creamy Concealer by Bobbi Brown / Mac Studio Fix in NC43Lancome’s Color Design Lipcolor in Natural Beauty

How I've been prepping my face for the hot temperatures that summer has to bring How I've been prepping my face for the hot temperatures that summer has to bring How I've been prepping my face for the hot temperatures that summer has to bring

How I've been prepping my face for the hot temperatures that summer has to bring

The Bier Markt Experience

Dining at Bier Markt is an experience all on itself.

I’ve only ever heard good things about Bier Markt, so when I was given the opportunity to try it during my recent stay in Toronto, I was pretty excited. (Okay, maybe more than excited: I might have dreamed about what I’d be eating and grabbing off of their menu).

What had me even more intrigued was that I was invited for a brunch. While Bier Markt holds pride for serving some pretty good quality beers, I was wondering how the brunch menu would turn out. Breakfast is my favorite meal and I’ll find any excuse to have it at any time of the day.

Hefty, full of flavor, and not your typical Sunday brunch: Bier Markt serves generous portions and puts a creative twist on classics like eggs benedict and french toast. I opted for their Bavarian Benedict and the plate’s roasted porchetta melted in my mouth. I want more. Now.

Well, maybe I can’t have it now, but I can have it sooner than I think. Bier Markt recently opened in Montreal, so it’ll definitely become one of my go-to summer restaurants. (P.S. I visited the one in Don Mills, and the service was superb).

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Dining at Bier Markt is an experience all on itself. Dining at Bier Markt is an experience all on itself. Dining at Bier Markt is an experience all on itself.

Expert Q&A: Duc de Lorraine

Expert Q&A: Duc de LorraineI think we may all know by now that I have an extreme sweet-tooth. So, I’d probably be stating the obvious when I say that the cake is one of the wedding elements I’m most excited about. What makes it even more exciting is that it’s going to be custom-made by the geniuses at my favorite French bakery, Duc de Lorraine. We’ve planned for tiers of navy, gold, and white sugar flowers. After browsing the bakery’s extensive wedding portfolio, I just knew that it was going to be in good hands. Also, it helps that everything on their menu is absolutely delicious… I’m already craving for one of their mille-feuilles (I’m a fan, can you tell?)

I’ve compiled a list of questions answered by Duc de Lorraine‘s owner, Victoria Sorensen. Victoria gives bridal couples some of her best advice for their wedding cake endeavors.

If a bridal couple is super last-minute with their wedding arrangements, what’s the shortest time-frame they should give themselves for their wedding cake?
We suggest as soon as the couple has the theme, colors, and venue to book their first consultation with our onsite cake specialist. We are able to create a cake in any time frame since our cakes are made fresh the day of the wedding. We do recommend, however, that the couple find the time to go through the steps to create and taste different options. For their first appointment, we encourage the couple to bring along any photos to keep any color samples and flowers in mind. As well, in our boutique, we have a collection of photos showcasing all of our past wedding creations. Over the years, we have created so many different cakes that we love the challenge to create the perfect wedding cake to match any celebration.

Expert Q&A: Duc de Lorraine

Let’s say the bridal couple is not a fan of fondant: what cake-finish do you suggest they use as an alternative?
Almond paste, buttercream, or chocolate

What are some of your favorite cake-and-icing combinations?
1) Frasier: almond paste on top of strawberries, white cake, and light cream. 2) Almond paste covered with a white sponge cake consisting of coffee syrup and crème mouselline. 3) Croquembouche (or in France, called apièce montée) – prior to moving to Montreal, I had never heard of this dessert. It is a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel. It’s truly beautiful.

Aside from the cake, what other desserts do you suggest to serve on a sweet table?
We can create miniature versions of your favorite pastries (éclairs, millefeuilles, miniature strawberry and lemon tarts), or even an assortment of different specialty cakes like mousse cakes, tarts, and meringues. We also offer macarons in an assortment of flavors and traditional French cookies that can be perfect for takeaway treats for your guests.

Expert Q&A: Duc de Lorraine

How do you suggest the wedding cake be displayed? (ex.: cake stand, mirror, silver platter)
There are so many options. We suggest you place your cake on its own table. Your cake should be placed where your guests may admire it, but also out of harms way (dance floor, incoming traffic). Discuss where you would like to have your cake displayed with your venue – they will be sure to have a slightly heightened smaller table that’s perfect for your masterpiece. While a crisp, white cloth is classic, don’t be afraid to dress the table in different linens, or decorate with a photo, or continuation of your theme. You may ask your venue as well about placing lighting near your table, so your cake can truly stand out. To give your cake height, we offer many options for stands. You may speak to our wedding cake specialist during your appointment about the many options. Be creative, there are many cake stand options to suite any décor from rustic to classic.

Ready for your wedding cake consultation? Contact Duc de Lorraine  and you won’t regret it.


Wedding Words

Wedding Words

With our wedding only 3 months away, everyone has been checking up on me, making sure that I’ve kept my sanity and that the DIY crafts haven’t taken over our entire living space.

Joe always mentions how I’ve probably been dreaming about this day since I was a little girl. He’s totally right but a lot of the attention has been geared towards me: “How’s the prep?” “How are you feeling?” “If you need any help, let me know!” I figured it’s time to give the groom-to-be a bit of the spotlight, so here are his thoughts:

“This year passed by so fast that it’s almost unreal. I feel like it was just seconds ago that I proposed to Lisa and yet, in a few months’ time we will be husband and wife. What?! Am I nervous? Of course – because who doesn’t want to plan the perfect wedding? After all, it’s probably one of the only days in our lives where we’ll be able to reunite both of our entire families and friends. The pressure is definitely on us. Am I happy? Even though it hasn’t happened yet, I know it will be the happiest and best day of my life (except for the day that Lisa and I exchanged our first kiss…) The countdown has begun and I count every minute and every second until I get to say “I do” to the one I will have by my side for the rest of my life.”

Wedding Words

Engagement photo by:

5-Minute Makeup

5-Minute Makeup

When it comes to makeup, I’m all about a natural, glowing look. I love cosmetics as much as the next girly-girl, but just because I have a more minimal approach to my application, doesn’t mean I skip out on shopping frenzies at Sephora.

Time is extremely valuable, and with my job and the errands I constantly have to run, I still want to feel and look my best. Over the years, I’ve perfected a 5-minute makeup routine that keeps me fresh and makes me look as awake and lively as possible.

Here are some tips to perfect your own 5-minute look:
Choose wisely. Ask consultants, watch videos, and don’t be afraid to invest in good products. For instance, I don’t use foundation on a day-to-day basis, but I’ve also researched and invested in really high-quality products to upkeep my skin so that I don’t have to use cover-up all the time.

Make your best feature shine. I love how versatile eye makeup can get and often receive compliments on my eyeshadow application. Mascara is my ultimate go-to (I feel naked without it) so find which feature you want to show off and work it!

Respond to problem areas. Nobody’s perfect. For instance, I hate the dark circles under my eyes, so I researched and tested out products that would be most effective in covering them up.

What products do I use?
Mascara (currently: Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant)
Brown eyeliner (only used on my top eyelid – I often turn to brown instead of black to stick to a more natural look. Sometimes, black can look too harsh.)
Under-eye concealer (Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit works miracles. I refuse to use anything else!)
Blush or bronzer (I start by applying it on the apples of my cheeks and work my way up to my temples.)
Lip balm (Rosebud Lip Balm in Strawberry is tasty, shiny, moisturizing, and adds a hint of color.)

5-Minute Makeup 5-Minute Makeup

On a time crunch? Here are our tips to get ready and fabulous in 5 minutes!

Wedding Words: The Countdown Begins

Wedding Words: The Countdown Begins

The countdown begins: do I hear wedding bells? Yes, yes I do.

When I was a little girl, I always tried to make the summer season last as long as possible. Growing up in Montreal, Canada, all the neighborhood kids knew to never take the warmer days for granted. We’d spend play dates outdoors, basking in the sunshine’s rays from the early morning to swatting mosquitoes late at night.

I’m still the same way. Summer is my favorite season: I love the fashion, I love the weather, and I love the idea that social gatherings involve terraces and pitchers of sangria. I strive to make the most of my days and push for wearing denim shorts even through to early September.

This year’s a little different. With our upcoming autumn nuptials, I couldn’t be more eager for summer to pass just a little bit quicker. From seating arrangements to final dress fittings, we’re definitely down to the final details. When Joe proposed last August, everyone warned us how the year would just fly by (and yes, everybody was right).

One part nervous, one part excited, a dash of extreme emotion, and a cup of calm, cool, and collective-ness… I’m just a bit of everything for this wedding. The most important part is that I’m taking in every moment, and that my wonderful husband-to-be is constantly by my side.

photograph by: Alex C.D. Photography

Bruschetta Bites

Bruschetta Bites

Now that the weather’s warmer, I’ve transitioned to fresh salads and refreshing iced teas as my choice of main meals. While I’ll always be a steak and mashed potato type-of-girl, there’s just something about a colorful plate of leafs, vegetables, and dressing that make me feel like it’s finally summer.

To add a bit of change to my “salad routine,” last week I put together some bruschetta bites to serve as a light lunch. I was incredibly generous with the basil leaves in my recipe, and scooped the finished mixture on top of slices of baked baguette. I munched on them while relaxing on my balcony, taking in all the sun and enjoying this brilliant change in weather.

Bruschetta Bites Bruschetta Bites Bruschetta Bites Bruschetta Bites

Crew-Neck Pullover

Crew-Neck Pullover

I was so excited when I stumbled upon this sweater from Abercrombie & Fitch. There was something about its simple crew-neck and statement logo that brought me back to my childhood.

Back in my “school yard” days, I would have probably sported a similar pullover with the most embarrassing jogging pants to match. However, now, my faux-leather leggings do the trick and I feel comfortably fashionable when I wear them with my black Converse.

Crew-Neck Pullover 04282015-crewneckpullover-d Crew-Neck Pullover Crew-Neck Pullover

Birthday Tiramisu

Birthday Tiramisu

Whenever I make #dessertoftheweek, I always try to take both mine and Joe’s tastes into consideration. I’ve been putting off making tiramisu for awhile simply because Joe isn’t a huge fan. Recently, my mom taught me her recipe and I’ve been craving it ever since.

Birthday Tiramisu

Joe isn’t much of a baker. For my upcoming birthday, he expressed that he was having trouble deciding on what dessert to serve. To save him from his concerns (and to act a little selfish), I quickly volunteered to make tiramisu for my celebratory cake.

Birthday Tiramisu Birthday Tiramisu

There’s just something about the combination of mascarpone cheese, chocolate, and sweet marsala wine that makes me all giddy. Also, I always place an extra wall of lady fingers to add some crunch to the decadent layers of cheese, cream, and coffee-soaked biscuits.

Birthday Tiramisu Birthday Tiramisu

Simple & Sweet: Lace Cookies Recipe

Lace Cookies

Lace cookies that are easy to make and easy to devour.

I often write about my mom being the main inspiration behind my baking endeavours. When we work together in the kitchen, she always has new tips up her sleeve. She often treats me as a novice/sous-chef. With her, every culinary experience is a great opportunity to learn even more.

For this week’s dessert, I actually turned to my older sister’s recipe for lace cookies. I remember how her after-school ritual would include baking half a batch and sharing them with me while we completed our homework.

Lace Cookies Lace Cookies

After sending my sister a text asking for the recipe, it was obvious that she still had it completely memorized. Instantly, I received this reply:

1 cup flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 sticks butter
Grease cookie sheets. Drop 1 tsp of dough loosely. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

Lace Cookies

Have you ever had lace cookies before? What’s your secret to getting them ooey, gooey, and chewy? Let us know in the comments below!

Lace Cookies

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