Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Product Empties - Face and Body Moisturizers, Shampoos and more

I have amassed quite the collection of empties under my bathroom vanity, so it was about time that I got around to doing an empties review. I will be talking about my Lush empties in a completely different post because if I included them, this post would be far too long. Hopefully I get around to doing that review soon as I want to trade in my black pots for free fresh face masks as they are my all time favourite face masks! 

A couple months back Farmacy Beauty had sent me a package and within the package was this face moisturizer. Like most of their products, it contains their own special antioxidant, GreenEnvy, that is found in the honey that Farmacy's own bees make. I talk about Farmacy in detail in that POST or check out their Website

I really loved this moisturizer as it was lightweight, but still very hydrating. It was fairly unscented and the cupuaƧu butter beads would blend in instantly. I am quite particular about my skincare routine; however, my mum is even harder to please and she loved this moisturizer. In fact she would often steal it from my bathroom, so if it can impress my mum, the Honey Drop is definitely worth checking out. Not to mention the packaging is gorgeous and I really loved the metal spatula that magnetically attached to the lid. 


This is my second Camellia Nut moisturizer from Aesop and I still love it. The consistency is thick, yet still you only need a small amount and it absorbs instantly into your skin. I love the pale yellow colour and my skin always feels nourished and hydrated. Since I have gone through two pots of the Camellia Nut, I want to try a different formula from Aesop, specifically the Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream because I am all about oranges. 

BODY BUTTER | Brazilian BumBum Cream

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this was an impulse purchase from Sephora. Honestly, whoever designed Sephora's cash register lineup area deserves a raise because it is genius. The sole fact that it contained "BumBum" in the name was why I bought it. It is a very thick consistency that took some time to work into your skin. There is a strong tropical scent that I personally found overwhelming. Though the notion that the caffeine in the cream helps make your skin firmer aka give you a perky butt, I just could not get past the artificial tropical scent, so I will not be repurchasing the cream. 

SHAMPOO | DryBar Sake Bomb & the Happy Hour

I should really start doing empties reviews sooner because I do not have one, but two DryBar shampoo bottle empties. The Sake Bomb is formulated to nourish your locks while the Happy Hour preps your hair for the perfect blowout. Of the two, I prefer the Sake Bomb as it left my hair hydrated, shiny and smooth. The Happy Hour is formulated to remove any product buildup and get your hair super clean which is essential for a good Blow Out. I just would not use it as a regular use shampoo as it really does strip your of all the oils; therefore, leaving it dry and frizzy. This was my 3rd bottle of Sake Bomb and yes, I will most likely be repurchasing it in the future. The Happy Hour, not so likely as it is a bit too intense for regular use. 

CONDITIONER | DryBar Sake Bomb

When I had purchased my beloved Buttercup hairdryer from DryBar, it came with a few sample size products, one of which was this adorable Sake Bomb Conditioner. As I never really used conditioner when my hair was short, it just sat in bathroom vanity cupboard, but now that my hair is long, I find my hair needs extra hydration, so I finally got around to using this small bottle. I liked the conditioner and only ever needed to use a small amount for my ends. If I was leaving my hair long, I would repurchase it, but since I will be chopping off my locks in a months time, I might just opt for a much cheaper drugstore brand for my remaining long-haired weeks! 

SHAMPOO | Fekkai Full Blown Volume & the Reparative 

I was introduced to Fekkai via the beauty subscription box, Luxe Box. Its often found in drugstores, but a step up from the stereotypical drugstore brand. I mostly just get it when I need to save a little money aka not purchasing a shampoo 3x the price. The Reparative was far too stripping for my hair, but the Full Blown Volume is decent. Fekkai Shampoos do contain sulphates and parabens. 

BODY BUTTER | Egg Mellow

Korea is renowned for its skincare products, so much so, that women stock up on K-Beauty products when they are in Korea. About a year ago, Nordstrom had a K-Beauty Pop-in where I picked up this and many other products - I think I spent $250 that day! Egg Mellow Body Butter by Too Cool for School is a formulated with both egg yolk and egg white extracts, shea butter and 7 different oils. It is a thick fluffy body butter that is pale yellow with not much of a scent. Even after taking the time to work it into my skin, I could feel a layer still on top and in fact when I would shower the next day, I could feel the body butter still on my legs and arms. The description on Sephora states that it "forms a protective barrier on skin for lasting moisture retention," so it may just have been designed to do this. I just prefer a body moisturizer that soaks into my skin and not just sit on the surface and then wash off in the shower. I will not be repurchasing the Egg Mellow. 

BODY WASH | Whipping by A'pieu

I had picked up the Whipping Body Wash as part of my crazy splurge at the K-Beauty Pop-In. I really love cows and find them adorable hence why this ended up in my basket. Body wash is basically suppose to just get your skin clean, so it should be pretty hard to mess up. This Whipping one was more like a cheap hand soap, just too harsh and drying. It is no longer available at Nordstrom, but more weirdly it does not show on A'pieu's webpage. Perhaps a sign of a failed product. 

Let me know in the comments below if you have tried any of these and what your thoughts are.


Sunday, 4 March 2018

Best Birthday Cakes in Vancouver

Butter Baked Goods Funfetti Cake
I love cake and the best type of cake is celebratory birthday cake! I consider myself a bit of a sweets connoisseur and have probably eaten my way through 80% of the bakeries across Metro Vancouver. 

My editor at Dished Vancouver aka The Daily Hive Vancouver recognized my infatuation with sweets and gave me the task of compiling a list of the best birthday cakes in the Lower Mainland! Now I take my title of cake aficionado quite seriously; therefore, I only included bakeries that bake the most scrumptious cakes. How do I know this? I sampled treats at each and everyone of the locations. From many of the bakeries listed I have had my own past birthday cakes made from. 

In the last few years alone I have ordered birthday cakes from Cadeaux, Thierry, Trafiq, Small Victory and  Purebread most of which you can find on my Instagram plus all my other dessert indulgences. These are not the only places that I get my cakes from. If you follow me on Instagram (@PinkTeaLatte) or have read my past posts, you will know I also get a lot of my cakes custom made from a stellar private baker, @MonLovesToBake . I did not forget her! In fact, I actually called her up and asked if I could include her, but she wanted to wait until she had a storefront before she got such large-scale exposure. 

Some of my favourite birthday cakes is the London Fog from Cadeaux. The whipped vanilla-bean chantilly is airy and light thus allowing the more delicate london fog tea flavour to shine. I also often find myself going to Thierry because their cakes are not the traditional layered sponge cake with buttercream. They do more intricate dessert cakes. I often go there in the in the Spring and Summer aka berry season for their Red-Berry Tart. A lovely tart shell is filled with vanilla bean custard then covered with local raspberries and strawberries. Thierry only wants to use the best ingredients, so restricts it to when fresh local berries are being harvested. 

I want to know in the comments below what your favourite birthday cake is? Where do you go in Vancouver? And go read my article!! 


Raspberry Chiffon Cake by @MonLovesToBake on Instagram
True Confections Devils Food Cake Slice a top of a hot chocolate (past post)
Matcha Crepe Cake and Fresh Mango Crepe Cake from L'Otus Cake Boutique
Individual Size of Passionfruit Mousse Cake at Thierry

Friday, 2 March 2018

My First Ever Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks

I never thought the day would come that I would fall in love with lipstick. I own several tubes from Mac Cosmetics and between me and Mum, we have 3/4 of the Nars' Lipstick Pencils. However, only on rare occasions, you will catch me with painted lips because I cannot stand the feeling of lipstick on my mouth. Not to mention, it always makes my lips extremely chapped and my lips rarely get chapped. None the less, Charlotte Tilbury has completely changed my opinion on wearing lipstick, so much so that I have been wearing the colours regularly. 

The two colours are Penelope Pink and Secret Salma. These are my first ever Charlotte Tilbury products and I am very impressed by the quality. I have wanted to try Charlotte Tilbury since the day I walked past the massive makeup counter in Nordstrom. The mahogany red display accented with rose gold never fails to draw me in, but I could never bring myself to get a lipstick because I barely wear the ones I already own. My makeup knowledge is not the best and basically consists of Mac and Sephora, but after trying the luxury makeup line, I have been spoiled and can no longer go back to Mac! 

Penelope Pink is a nude pink that has a nourishing velvety formula. It goes on smooth with a bit of shine and the creaminess makes it comfortable to wear. I would say if you have Penelope Pink, you do not need any other nude lipsticks because it is a signature nude that you will find yourself reaching for. All the shades in the K.I.S.S.I.N.G range supposedly work with any skin tone. I actually did not pick out Penelope Pink because it and the other shade were both sent to me to try. Frankly, I thought the media team just spent a lot of time going through pictures of me to figure out what colours would be flattering. So I genuinely think Penelope Pink and Secret Salma would work for just about anyone and both are amazing basics to have in your collection! 

Of the two, Secret Salma is my favourite as it gives you a little bit of colour; yet it still works well as an everyday look. I can definitely see myself wearing it to work, but also out with my friends to dinner. It is part of the Hot Lips collection in which all of the shades are inspired by an iconic female and yes, ms Kim Kardashian West made the cut and it goes without saying the KimKW is her signature pale nude lip. Secret Salma took inspiration from Salma Hayek. 

Secret Salma is a deep-rose plum colour that apparently is ideal for bringing out brown eyes. I have big dark brown eyes and it really does make my eyes stand out. The lipstick finish is slightly matte and goes on a bit more pink than what it looks in the tube. 

I am a huge packaging fanatic and definitely have been suckered into buying items for the looks. Needless to say, I am living for Charlotte Tilbury's rose gold packaging! The grooves going up the length of the bullet makes it look like something you would find in an old Hollywood movie. Not to mention when the light hits the tube, it reflects it into a halo of rays. All my other lipsticks cannot compare because they are just plain black bullets that blend in with the sea of other black makeup packaging. 

It is definitely worth going down to your local Charlotte Tilbury counter and trying out their lipsticks. After a day of wear, your lips will still be soft and smooth. As I mentioned earlier, from the two, I would pick Secret Salma because I like a bit of colour. Recently I have been wanting to try something more dramatic like a deep plum colour, so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below!


PR samples for review consideration; all opinions are my own. Affiliate links used.

Penelope Pink (L); Secret Salma (R)
Secret Salma

Monday, 26 February 2018

FreshPrep Pasta Dinner

My two favourite cuisines are Italian and Mexican, pasta and tacos being my favourite dishes respectively. So how is it that I have yet to make a pasta sauce from scratch at home? In fact, I am ashamed to admit that the extent of my pasta making skills begin and end with a jar of pre-made tomato sauce. At this point, FreshPrep has become my own personal culinary institution and every dish teaches me how to cook from scratch. 

The Tomato and Italian Sausage Penne with Fresh Basil and Lemon Green Beans does not use the iconic red tomato marinara sauce which I desperately want to learn as it is my favourite. Nonetheless, it is always good to step outside your comfort zone and give something new a try. 

The sauce's robust flavour comes from the sausage which had various seasonings like thyme, garlic, pepper etc. Now what really made this sauce stand apart in my mind is the use of fresh Roma tomatoes that I coarsely chopped and then cooked down in the sausage juices. The coolest part - I got to DEGLAZE the pan with white wine! I honestly have only heard of deglazing with wine on the Food Network haha. So I felt pretty fancy doing that! 

I will never understand why pasta comes in so many shapes and sizes, all of which have their own unique name. Unfortunately, I really do not enjoy penne as it gives me a mild case of trypophobia. Even the thought of penne noodles makes me cringe. But for the sake of staying true to the recipe and the fact that I did not have whole wheat pasta at home, I used the provided penne. 

Green beans are one of my favourite sides, so I was happy to see them in this dish. I am always trying to add more green vegetables into my diet. Also in the pasta sauce was fresh spinach that was wilted and cooked down. The vegetables plus using whole wheat pasta makes this a really great meal and if you want to make it even better, use turkey sausage which is a much leaner option when compared to pork. 

In a few days I will post the vegetarian Vietnamese bowl, so keep an eye out for that. 

Use PTLFRESH18 to get your first order for $11! I highly suggest trying it! 


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Exploring Crystal Magic

It seems like my generation continues to live up to their "hipster" label and amidst the avocado toasts, thick framed glasses and polaroid cameras is our newest obsession, Crystals. I have been noticing more and more of these dazzling glittering minerals at my favourite stores. In fact, I even found a book dedicated to crystal healing at Urban Outfitters. Shortly thereafter I got my first little crystal, a Clear Quartz. Did I mention I found it at Harlow Atelier, a storefront for Harlow Skin Co, so you can basically find crystals at just about any hipster shop right now. 

My knowledge on crystals prior to reading the book was quite limited. I knew crystals have an energy and if you get a new crystal, you generally want go through a process of cleansing it. Aside from that,  I just find them to be pretty pieces of natural art to display at home and use in my photos. 

I personally do believe in energies and despite my friends making fun of me for it, I swear I can sense negative and positive energies. I once fled, yes FLED a job interview because I sensed this evil darkness there. Now my perceived energy readings is similar to crystal culture, it is what you make of it and not something scientifically proven. That being said, I sincerely believe there is a bit of joojoo in our world and sure Hogwarts failed to send me my letter, but deep down I know I was meant to be a great wizard. 

Since I am a dork, I read Crystals: The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing by Yulia Van Doren from cover to cover. It has a massive detailed index on 50 of the more well known varieties from the 5,000+ found worldwide. But my favourite part about the book was the first half where the author outlined the basics. I learned the several ways to cleanse and re-energize a crystal's energy and why you would choose one method over the others depending on the type of crystal. The section on Chakras was probably the most confusing and something I personally do not resonate with. 

My favourite section was crystals and everyday life. Since each crystal has its own metaphysical (branch of philosophy that describes the beliefs that are not grounded by scientific evidence) characteristics, you would want to use them in various aspects of your life or spaces in your house. I am particularly interested in crystals that help promote focus and concentration, so those I want to keep in my workspaces, but those that help you have a calmer sleep I would keep near my bed. So the magical portion is definitely what has brought on the recent surge in crystal curiosity, but crystals are essentially a type of mineral that has defined visible crystallized form aka facets that are integral to modern technology.  

According to the book, my little Clear Quartz is known for its transformative, clarity and healing powers. Clear Quartz has phenomenal electrical-conductivity; therefore, quartz are quite essential in technology, in fact a small piece can be found in all watches. It also transforms a beam of light into a brilliant rainbow. It also helps you achieve high consciousness and amplifies the effects of other crystals. 

At the Harlow Atelier I also found myself gravitating towards the Citrine. The beautiful amber golden orange crystal is about energy, goal-setting, abundance, luck and creativity. Hmmm seems like there was a reason why I the citrine lured me towards it because it sounds like a crystal I need in my life. I will definitely be going back and getting it very soon!

So whether you are new to the crystal world like me or already a crystal-obsessed, it ultimately is what you choose to believe. Follow your intuition and let the crystals guide you. In Layman's Terms, crystals are about listening to your gut (mine is forever filled with cakes, desserts, waffles and pastries!). 

I will keep you updated on my future crystal additions. Are you into crystals? You obviously know wizards are real right? Let me know in the comments below!


Monday, 12 February 2018

#Beta5Love Collection for Valentine's

#Beta5Love truffle collection exclusive for Valentine's 2018
My infatuation with Beta 5 Chocolates extends beyond their Summer Ice Cream Socials - let it be sundae season already - I indulge in their decadent cream puffs and chocolates year round. Chocolates are synonymous with Valentine's Day, so naturally, the Beta 5 team created a limited edition box of truffles and polygon bar. If you are not familiar with Beta 5, polygon bars is their name for a chocolate bar, but made using an ornate mould. They have also released a "bouquet" of their cream puffs including a special one for Valentine's day. 

All of their chocolate creations are made by hand at their storefront near Science World and you can watch the chocolatiers hard at work through the large window behind the cash. From their entire Valentine's day collection, I am most excited for their #Beta5Love box of chocolate truffles. There are 6 different truffles and each of them represent a different moment of love. It is a box of 12 truffles so two of each flavour that is meant to be enjoyed with your love to revisit those precious moments. The box also comes with an insert that describes what each flavour represents and a question to help invoke the memory. And as always, the Beta5 has done an exceptional job at capturing the flavours. The two standout flavours for me was the Butterfly and Enduring. The Butterfly is made with the premium Valrhona chocolate, specifically the new double fermented chocolate. By going through a second fermentation, the chocolate gets an additional layer of flavour. In the Enduring is a unique bespoke chocolate aged in a Bourbon Barrel which gives the dark chocolate this smokiness.  

Here is a quick rundown of the 6 chocolate flavours in the #Beta5Love

Spark | first moment of intense attraction (strawberry jelly, strawberry ganache, pistachio pop rock praline) 

Blush | sudden rush of possibility (lychee jelly, rose + black tea milk chocolate ganache)

Butterflies | first date jitters & nervous anticipation (passionfruit white chocolate ganache, Itakuja dark chocolate ganache)

Lust | burning desire the kind that lingers (blood orange caramel infused with mezcal, chipotle milk chocolate ganache)

Transformative | challenges overcome together & fosters deep respect (black garlic dark chocolate ganache, Bows + Arrows Ethiopian coffee infused dark chocolate ganache)

Enduring | complex layers of intimacy that comes with mutual trust (bourbon barrel aged 72% dark chocolate crafted for Beta5 by Fruition Chocolates in New York)

I am a huge fresh flower lover; however, not everyone can enjoy them due to allergies. Beta5 has decided to play homage to the most popular Valentine's gift by creating a cream puff bouquet. Their three most popular flavours plus a new one are getting a little makeover with flower image garnishes. Vanilla Bean is pussy willow, Vietnamese Coffee is daisy, Lychee Rose is obviously rose and the exclusive Valentine's flavour, Chocolate Passionfruit, is going to be hydrangeas. The Chocolate Passionfruit cream puff is a silky milk chocolate chantilly cream with a fresh passionfruit curd. This flavour is also in their #Beta5Love box and passionfruit also makes an appearance in the caramels. 

The last item from their collection is a new polygon bar named the King of Spades and meant to be the partner to the Queen of Hearts polygon bar. The Queen of Hearts is made with freeze dried raspberries and candied earl grey giving it a sweet tart flavour. The King of Spades on the other hand is a much deeper richer chocolate bar and is striped with two flavours. There is dark chocolate Oreo crumb (YUMM) and an espresso infused white chocolate. It kind of looks like a tuxedo to me as the sides are black and the middle is white - hahaha. 

I also cannot get enough of the packaging for the Valentine's collection. I am living for the metallic copper embossed lettering on the light lavender grey. It is refreshing and stunning and really stands out amongst the stereotypical reds and pinks. 

The collection is available now till Valentine's, so head over to their storefront ASAP! And while you are at it, go next door and say hello to my florist Garden Party Flowers and it goes without saying that the beautiful purple blooms are from them. 

If you want to see more pictures of Beta5's collection, head over to their Instagram @Beta5Chocolates and you can check out mine @PinkTeaLatte


Media preview for review consideration; all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Macaron & Fried Chicken Valentine's Bouquets Exclusively VIA Foodora

This year, Valentine's day happens to fall mid week on a Wednesday which means a large majority of us are either working or at school. It really makes things a little tricky to surprise your love with something sweet when you are both stuck at the office and also have work the following day. To make things easier, my favourite food delivery company, Foodora, has partnered with two local restaurants and created edible bouquets. Oh and it is not just a sweet one, but a savoury bouquet too!!

Bon Macarons specialize in the delicate almond cookie. For Valentine's day, you can order an adorable bouquet of 12 heart-shaped macarons. You get three different flavours: Dark Chocolate Raspberry, Milk Chocolate Pomegranate and White Chocolate Vanilla Bean. I ate them a bit too fast and do not remember which colour is which flavour, but there is a red, dark pink and light pink macarons, so I am assuming the colours correlate to the flavours. The bouquet has a few fresh leaves and little wax flowers which I thought was a nice touch. The wrapped bouquet comes in a really nice white box and a fun card. I think 12 macarons for $25 is a really amazing price considering how ridiculously expensive macarons can be. Since 12 macarons are quite a few for one person to eat in one day, they recommend putting them in the refrigerator in which they will be good for another 2 to 3 days. The macarons had a good texture, crisp on the exterior, chewy in the middle and they did a good job with all of the flavours. 

I think it is really cool that Juke Fried Chicken is doing a bouquet of their signature perfectly crispy fried chicken. For those who do not know, I generally am not a big fried chicken eater, but if you take me to Juke, I will devour a few pieces. You get 8 pieces (mix of thighs and legs) is $29 and comes in a giant paper cone that is then placed in a box with another cute Valentine's day card. I love eating at Juke because of their two house made sauces: Hot Sauce and Beer Spiced Honey. The latter is my favourite, so if you are like me and need to drench your chicken in sauce, put a note down when ordering on Foodora and Juke Fried Chicken will throw some in for free. It is a fun cheeky Valentine's day bouquet and it makes a great meal for two! There is no better way to say I Love You then with free range fried chicken. Also, Juke's fried chicken is gluten free! If you are unable to eat it immediately or it gets cold, re-heat it for 10 mins at 400 to 450 degrees celsius and your chicken will be nice and crispy again. 

Both the macaron and fried chicken bouquets are going to be available for pre-orders starting tomorrow, Monday February 12th exclusively through Foodora. If you really want to get your Bae one, I suggest doing it soon because there are limited quantities, 40 Fried Chicken Bouquets and 20 Macaron Bouquets. 

If you end up getting one, let me know in the comments below! I would love to see a picture! I also always post first on Instagram so follow me @PinkTeaLatte


Media preview for review consideration; all opinions are my own. Affiliate links used.