Revlon Wine Not Blush

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This blush deserves a post all by itself. It's a wonderful shade of rosy wine, and I'm sure it would go nicely with any skin tone. I'm extremely fair, and this blush breathes life into my cheeks. It's a drugstore product that could rival any high end blush. blush2 This blush is in the shade Wine Not (very witty). It is a powder blush that just feels creamy on the skin. It doesn't feel heavy or cakey, and goes nicely over even my base of the Clinique CC Cream. See my review on that here. It brightens up your whole face, and pairs well with berry, pink, or even coral toned lips. I think this blush colour can take you through every season. For fall and winter you want more of a berry or deeper shade on your cheeks and it does this. In the Spring, I'm finding that it couples nicely with all of my lighter makeup as well. It's a great piece for a minimal makeup look.

Next time you're looking for a versatile blush, try this one out! I use it with my e.l.f. contour brush, which is another steal at only $1.99. The quality of the brush is great, and since it's a contour brush, its great for blush or bronzer.

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Vegan & Gluten Free Basil Pesto Pasta

Pasta is near and dear to me, but I'm not the biggest fan of tomato sauce, and let's not even mention tomato meat sauce. Pesto, light cream sauces, and even rose sauces are definitely my cup of tea. This recipe calls for a basil pesto that is vegan, gluten free, and supremely easy to make. A pesto for me is basically a leafy herb, oil, a nut, and some seasoning. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. You will need:

Pasta (I'm using a gluten free pasta, but feel free to use anything you have on hand)

A good handful of fresh basil

1/3 cup of pistachios (any nut will do)

Teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of olive oil

Optional: a teaspoon of almond milk (unsweetened)

To start, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta. In the meantime, add all of your ingredients to either a food processor or blender, and mix it up! You don't want the consistency to be too liquidy, you want it to still have a texture. You can store the pesto in a jar in the fridge for up to a month or freeze it for up to three months. Drain your pasta, add in a couple of tablespoons of pesto, and let it simmer together for a couple of minutes. I added in a teaspoon of almond milk to make it a little creamy, but this step is completely optional. Plate your dish, and enjoy!

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Pesto is easy, super affordable, and a great thing to have on hand. Add it to pasta, sandwiches, and pizza. It's so versatile, and just pumps up the volume on any dish.

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Scandinavian Apple Cake

I love Scandinavian food, culture, and design. It's very simplistic, cozy, and provides a great warmth as well. I stumbled upon an apple cake recipe, which is delicious and literally the easiest cake recipe ever. You're going to want to make this all the time. It is that scrumptious! (and gorgeous, if I say so myself) whole apple cake nc1c edit crop

You will need:

3 mugs of the same size.

The cake is equal parts flour, sugar, and eggs. Fill up the first mug with 3 eggs. In the next two mugs fill up the sugar and flour to the same height as the eggs.

1 apple

1 teaspoon of sugar and cinnamon (for the apple)

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix your eggs until they are a creamy colour, and very fluffy. They will become a similar consistency to a meringue. Add in your sugar and flour gently.

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Pour the batter into your pan. Slice your apple into thin pieces, and coat with the sugar and cinnamon. You can make a design with the apple slices on the top of the cake if you'd like. Pop the cake into the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden and the centre is no longer wet.

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Once your cake is cooled, I think it's nice to top it with icing sugar. Icing sugar is just so pretty. Serve with coffee or tea, and enjoy it! It is super easy and dirt cheap to make, and you'll receive so many compliments about it. apple cake sideapple cake slice nc1c edit

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Tis the Season for Decoration!

Happy December everyone! Hopefully you're getting into the spirit of the holidays! I've had my Christmas tree up for a couple of weeks now and it just adds so much warmth to my tiny apartment. I had to buy a new tree as its my first Christmas in a new place. I was scouting for the perfect tree that was small enough for my small condo but also substantial enough to look like a regular tree. I found it and you won't believe the bargain it was!IMG_3742

If you need a tree of my description, go to Target. This tree is six feet tall and forty inches wide. It fits perfectly in the tight space but is really hardy too. It came with 275 lights on it that glow ever so nicely! And it was only $30! That's with tax and everything included. It was $60 originally, then went down to $35 and I had a coupon for 20% off. It's the deal of the year. I'm so happy with it, and to be honest, I don't think it looks like a $30 tree.

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(Don't mind my yucky paper blinds! Since I will be on break very soon, I will finally have time to go pick out my blinds!)IMG_3597IMG_3610IMG_3601

Let me know what you think of my tree! More holiday decor posts to follow!

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University Crunch Time: Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

If you've seen my last post on the energy balls of brain food, you'll know I'm in crunch time. As there's so many exams coming up, I need some substance to keep me through it. And when I say substance, I mean yummy snacks. Popcorn tends to be my go-to since its so low in calories, high in fibre, and its also scientifically proven that popcorn makes you happy! That sounds like the perfect snack to me. For my birthday I received a popper which makes popping popcorn super easy and pretty fun. This cinnamon sugar popcorn recipe is so easy and will also satisfy all your sweet and savoury cravings. Cinnamon is also a great addition to any meal for your health. It is known to help out your heart, carries anti-oxidants, and also help with brain function (among many other benefits), plus it tastes amazing.

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You will need:

Corn kernels (I used 4 tablespoons as that's what my popper requires)

1 teaspoon of Truvia (It's a calorie-less sugar alternative)

1.5 teaspoons of Cinnamon

A pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil (you can use butter, vegan butter, or anything of your preference)

To start, pop your corn kernels! While they're popping mix together the truvia, cinnamon and salt. Melt your butter or coconut oil. Once it's popped coat your popcorn with all of the ingredients. And you're done! IMG_3622IMG_3626IMG_3631

Enjoy this popcorn recipe! It's super easy, gluten free, and vegan. Plus its healthy! The possibilities are endless when it comes to popcorn so have some fun with it!

Happy Sunday!

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Vegan French Toast

Today was a stay-at-home-get-away-from-the-cold-and-work-on-1000000-essays-you-have-to-do kinda day. It's exhausting working on so many papers and trying to keep warm. Today in my humble town above Toronto it feels like -18 degrees. With that said, I wanted something warm at lunch and a little bit different than I usually would have, and something very quick! I went with French Toast, of the vegan kind. IMG_3323

This recipe is super easy, warm, and cozy. Slather it up with some maple syrup, fruit, and some whip cream (I opted for coconut whip cream). It'll take you no time at all, and makes you feel so comforting.

You will need:

Bread. I used a whole grain bread, but anything hearty should be fine.

1 cup of almond milk

1 tablespoon of chia seeds (ground or left whole)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

To start, get your pan heating up, and place all of the ingredients (aside from the bread) into a bowl. Mix until its all combined. Let it sit for a few minutes so the chia seeds can thicken up (and mimic eggs.) Dunk each slice of bread into the milk mixture and let it sit for 20-30 seconds per side. Place it into your pan, and let each side become crispy and golden brown. Top your french toast with whatever you have on hand or would like to indulge with.

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Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana and chocolate chip is one of my favourite flavour combinations when baking. Last week I was craving some yummy and healthy muffins so I decided to make these quick muffins. I also had some bananas going a little mushy so this was the perfect way to use them up! IMG_3155

You will need:

1 3/4 cups of gluten free flour

3/4 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 cup of almond milk

1/2 cup of oil (I used canola)

2-3 ripe bananas

1 cup of vegan chocolate chips

To start, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and get your muffin pan ready with either baking cups or a non-stick spray. Sift the flour with the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt. Mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk and oil together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine. Mash your bananas, and add them with the chocolate chips into the mixture. Fold them in gently to ensure the chocolate chips don't get mashed too! Scoop the batter into the muffin pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes. They should be golden and a toothpick should come out clean if inserted. Let them cool, and enjoy!

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These muffins are so moist, and delicious. Again, everything you should already have on hand which makes them budget conscious. You can easily make this recipe without the vegan or gluten free ingredients; you can sub them out at a 1:1 ratio and they'll turn out just fine. I popped my muffins in the freezer so I can have them on hand anytime. Also so I wouldn't eat them all in one day! To freeze, wrap up each muffin with plastic wrap and pop them into a freezer bag!

Give these muffins a try and they'll definitely be a go to for you!

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Vegan & Gluten Free Falafels

I absolutely love chickpeas. They're high in protein and fibre, and absolutely delicious. I'm always trying to find news way to enjoy them so I thought I'd venture out into the falafel world. I made these falafels for lunch today and they're easy, very quick, and very yummy! You'll also have everything on hand which means less money for you to spend. IMG_3280

You will need:

A can of chickpeas

A pinch or so of salt

Cilantro

Hot peppers

A teaspoon and a half of gluten free flour (If you don't need it to be gluten free, use AP flour!)

A teaspoon of oil (I used vegetable)

A food processor

(I used Gourmet Garden's Cilantro and Chili Pepper paste. I always keep it on hand, and it makes flavouring a lot easier.)

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Put your pan on the heat at medium and add in your oil. Add all of your ingredients into your food processor. Put the lid on and whiz it up! (Its that easy really!) Make your little falafels with about a spoon or so of your mixture. If you wet your hands lightly it makes it the mixture stick less to your hands and easier to work with. Place your falafels into the hot pan, and let each side brown and crisp up. This should take about 1-2 minutes per side.

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Enjoy them with a salad, pitas, tortillas, yogurt, or any other chutney that you like! You could easily put them in the oven to bake as well. Next time I'm going to try adding sweet potato into the mix, and use them as a veggie burger! Bon appetit!

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Flower Beauty

I'm a huge fan of Drew Barrymore. I love her films, how she looks on the red carpet and now I love her new beauty line. Flower Beauty offers high quality cosmetics at ridiculously great prices. It launched at Walmart in mid October. Her line of products includes everything under the sun. Powders, foundations, concealers, lipsticks and glosses, eyeshadows, brushes, you name it! I picked up three of her products, each under $10, and I am now a lover of her line. Last weekend I had a wedding, and last minute realized I didn't have the dark burgundy lipstick I thought I had. So I headed over to my neighbourhood Walmart, and looked all over for a lipstick, but couldn't find one. Then I saw the very pretty and white Flower Beauty section, and found the perfect lipstick. This was the Kiss Stick Velvet Lip Colour in the shade LS21 Desert Flower. This lipstick lasted through an entire wedding of eating, drinking, and dancing and I did not get a ring around my lips at all! It's so smooth and really does make your lips feel like velvet. It is the perfect burgundy lipstick, and honestly, I think it beats out any other lipstick, high or low, out there.

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I also picked up another lipstick in the shade LS3 Tender Tuberose. It's perfect for daytime, and has a mauve undertone to it. Another favourite. I bought the Loose Powder in the shade LO1 Light. I've never used a powder over top of my foundation before, despite probably needing it since I have an oily t-zone. Again, I was not disappointed. Lightweight and did the job perfectly.

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I will be trying out many more products, and definitely some of the brushes from Flower Beauty. Another bonus about the line is that nothing is tested on animals! These cosmetics feel high end but are at a very reasonable drugstore price. I'm a firm believer that one shouldn't be spending an arm and a leg on beauty products, but I still love to try out new things. Give Flower Beauty a go and your wallet will thank you!

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Vegan & Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies

Sometimes you want some cookies, but you want them to be a little lighter. I love bananas, oats, and strawberry jam (I'm a strawberry jam fiend!). These thumbprint cookies are easy and light on the wallet to make, vegan, gluten free, and can be enjoyed at any time of the day! You will need:

2-3 very ripe bananas (mashed)

2 cups of oats

2 tablespoons of flax seeds

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

A pinch of salt

Jam (The jam can be whatever kind of fruit you like! I used strawberry jam)

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then mash the bananas. Add in the oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, and the pinch of salt. Once its thoroughly combined, use an ice cream scooper to make the cookies. The mixture will be heavy and moist. I used a mini ice cream scooper (melon baller) to make the cookies. Lay them out on a baking sheet that's lined with parchment paper. Make a thumbprint in the centre (hence thumbprint cookie!). Scoop about a teaspoon of jam into each cookie. Let them bake for 10-15 minutes. Take them out, let them cool, and enjoy!!!

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I absolutely loved these cookies. Everything I had on hand, plus I got to use my quickly ripening bananas. I got the inspiration for them from Oh She Glows, those cookies looked much prettier than mine! Gluten free and vegan can taste yummy too!

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The Beauty of Sample Products

I don't know about you, but I love beauty products. From a young age, I've been fascinated with doing my hair and makeup (although I don't like wearing too much). The problem with loving beauty products is that my budget can't really afford to keep up with it. But I have a way of trying the products I want, without the huge price tag! The first thing you can do is go into your beauty store of choice (mine is Sephora), and pick up a couple of samples. Samples are a girl's (and guy's) best friend. They're free, give you a chance to try out that lux product, and you don't have to commit to a large price tag.

The second thing you can do, which really you should do before the sampling, is become a member of the store, if given the opportunity. Sephora has the beauty insider program where you gain points, can redeem them for products, and get exclusivity to new and exciting things. Its a win win in all regards. Again, utilize those perks and you'll get products on discount or for free! What could be better.

The last thing you can do, and this involves actually spending money, is buying a value set. Once you've sampled the product, and want to commit, wait for a value set to come out. You can to try new products that are most likely amazing, and you get the product you want for a fraction of the cost! I have an Origins value set coming in the mail, and I can't wait to use everything that comes into it. The whole set, which includes six of their bestselling products, is a fourth of the price! What a great deal. I'll be doing a post afterwards on the set.

Getting beauty products that you want is within your means as long as you're willing to wait for good deals or simply use those samples until you've saved the money.

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Dinner on a Trip Budget

Now when I say vacation food, it might seem to be like a beautiful beach resort tropical yumminess, but this is not that kind. This is food that I had while on a short trip to Niagara Falls. When you go on a trip, you often have a budget. That being said, you don't want to skimp out on yummy food because that's the most important part! (Well at least for me!) Plan out where you're going to go, and enjoy everything you get.  My general rule for dining on trips is not to spend more money on drinks than you do on food (my general rule for life is to eat my calories not drink them! haha). My trip to Niagara Falls consisted of eating at Milestones (my favourite) a couple of times or so. I just couldn't get enough. The first night I had a Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich with fries. It was dressed with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a spicy mayo. Avocado salad on the side also. ($11.99)

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The second night I had a soy based Garden Burger that was topped with tomatoes, avocados, and onions. Oh I also got bacon on it. The irony of it all. It was soooo delicious. And the yumminess of french fries were also on the side. ($11.99)

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These meals were reasonably priced and absolutely delicious! They were also filling. Money well spent for sure.

Here's a cute bike that was parked outside my hotel!

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The many uses for Vaseline

Vaseline is not just sticky petroleum jelly; it is so many things. I swear by it because it really can do everything, and also because it's sooo inexpensive. I use it for five different things: 1. Body moisturizer. Of course it isn't going to perform miracles like a cocoa butter would, but it does heal my super dry skin in the winter. You can use it anywhere from your face (be careful if you have sensitive skin!) to your body, and it soothes and pampers it in such a budget-friendly way.

2. Lip balm. Vaseline just does what other lip balms can't in the winter. It protects and soothes chapped lips, and transforms them into soft, kissable lips. Pair it with a lipstick, and it'll give you a not so done up lip look that really is.

3. Eye makeup remover. Slather it over your eyelids and lashes, and voila! the stubborn makeup will come off! Upscale eye makeup removers can be sold for over $50, so don't fall into their allure and save your money!

4. Eyebrow tamer. Put a little vaseline on your unruly brows, and they'll be taken care of!

5. Nail care. When you're giving yourself a manicure, rub a little bit of vaseline into your cuticles. It really is the perfect way to keep your cuticles well-conditioned and healthy.

Give Vaseline a go and I'm sure you and your wallet will be happy!

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It was a Stew kinda day

So today I decided to make a veggie stew. It had potatoes, carrots, onions, and butternut squash in it. I cooked it in my Hamilton Beach slow cooker (Got it from Sobeys a couple of months ago for only $19, and that came with food too!). Its so simple to make, just chop up the veggies, throw them into the slow cooker with water, salt, and paprika, then about half way through the cooking time, so about 2.5 hours in, make a slurry and stir that in. A slurry is just melted butter mixed in with some flour - its used to thicken the liquid. Its healthy, doesn't cost much at all, and you can keep it for the next day or even freeze it for later use! You can add whatever vegetables you like, or add some brown rice or quinoa afterwards as well.

Eating on a budget doesn't mean that you can't eat yummy or healthy food! So happy eating!

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