Wednesday 27 September 2017

Edible Obsessions | Innocent Ice Cream Loves Cookies

Summer 2017 is all about creamy frozen treats as numerous new ice cream parlours have opened across the lower mainland. The newest addition to Riley Park is Innocent Ice Cream, a parlour along Main street that specializes in gluten-free ice cream sandwiches. I had the chance to meetup with the lovely owner, Asacia, and chat about her new brick and mortar parlour.

If you were at English Bay last summer, you probably saw Asacia serving her delicious ice cream sandwiches out of her silver food truck. But, there was an adorable pink tricycle cart that preceded the food truck. From three wheels, to four wheels, she has progressed to a complete storefront in under three years! Asacia's love for ice cream sandwiches began when she was a little girl and her love for Oreo ice cream sandwiches.

Innocent Ice Cream is the first of its kind in Western Canada and focuses on simple classic flavours. There are 12 different sandwich options, but you are welcome to create your own flavour combination. Choose from 5 different gluten-free cookies (chocolate chip, white chocolate chip, double chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal) and 16 ice creams and sorbets. My favourite part, there is no food colouring used in any of their products!

Our first hurdle was to develop a gluten-free cookie that didn’t taste gluten-free. A cookie that everyone would love and no one would feel like they were sacrificing flavour or texture in any way. We also wanted the cookies and ice cream to act as a whole not two components… ice cream sandwiches that literally melted in your mouth. This meant over a year of testing and more than 500 batches to develop just the right recipes that created cookies that were tender, chewy and moist and ice cream that was rich and silky with a texture you could bite.

I love how the gluten-free cookies are thin, giving the ice cream sandwich a great crispy texture. Also, the cookies are buttery and full of flavour and honestly, really hard to believe they could ever be gluten-free, but I promise you that they are! My favourite cookies were the double chocolate and the peanut butter.

It can be tough deciding what cookie to pair with what ice cream or sorbet, so Asacia has taken the time to test out various flavour combinations to find the most delicious ones. The top three most popular ice cream sandwiches are the Fairy Tale, Shortcake and Salty Cookie. But my favourite had to be the Cherry Bomb which also happens to be Asacia's favourite too. I guess great minds do think alike!

The Cherry Bomb is a scoop of their cherry ice cream paired with the double chocolate cookie. I loved the tang and tartness of the cherries and surprisingly the bright purple pink colour is completely natural from the cherrie's themselves. I find chocolate always pairs well with tart flavours, so the Cherry Bomb is a must try.

Since I love peanut butter cookies, I decided to give their top seller the Salty Cookie a try. Between two buttery peanut butter cookies is a generous scoop of creamy salted caramel ice cream. The salted caramel was rich and silky and melted in my mouth. Since I love raspberries, the last sandwich I tried was the Fairy Tale - white chocolate cookie with raspberry white chocolate ice cream. The ice cream was more sweet compared to the others as it was a white chocolate base, so I appreciated the tartness from the raspberry. Also, the name is just adorable!

The best part about Innocent Ice Cream has to be the option to order a flight of three mini ice cream sandwiches! It really does help those who struggle at making a decision because like me, sometimes we want to try all of the flavours. I think dessert flights need to become the norm for all dessert establishments as it is plain rude that they force us to pick one. So thank you Asacia for understanding and letting us have three different flavours.

I am really excited for the launch of their packaged ice cream sandwiches so I can stock pile them at home for when I have a mad late night craving and do not want to leave the comfort of my couch. Really loving the ice cream sandwiches that I have already taken my mum to try them!


Thursday 21 September 2017

Latte Moment | Planning 3-Day Trip to Seattle

I have been wanting to go on a trip on my own for quite some time. Perhaps it is me internally yearning to gain some autonomy from my parents or me needing to break out of my comfort of always traveling with either my parents or school (varsity team). Regardless, I am finally doing said trip to SEATTLE for three days!

I originally wanted to do Portland since the food looks amazing and the shops are adorable and I frankly love the "hipster" look of things. I am not saying that I am a hipster and do not think I dress like a hipster either, but I love the overall vibe that hipster shops exude and often sell brands that make products I like. Unfortunately for me, Portland is quite the drive, 6.5 hours to be exact. I really still want to just drive right past Seattle and all the way to Portland, but my body would not be able to handle it. The main hinderance is the chronic neck and shoulder pain I get from sitting for long periods really aggravates it further.

My three day trip to Seattle begins tomorrow and I feel massively underprepared. I know I planned it very last minute, but I think it is more not knowing how big the city is and what kind of distance is between the major attractions. I have this little notebook in which I have written down all of the shops, restaurants, cafes and landmarks I want to visit, but I cannot tell where everything is in relation to one another. I tried drawing out a map and marking roughly where everything was, but that quickly got very messy and confusing. However, a quick google search and I discovered a very helpful function that Google Maps has. 

Google Maps allows you to pin multiple locations onto one map. Not only can you save this map, you can organize your pins by category and even put little descriptions for all of the pins. Plus all of the pins can also be brought up in list view with your descriptors. It literally is perfect in every way possible and I continue to find more customizations for my map. 

I have a very ambitious list of places I want to visit during my three days in Seattle and I do not expect to make it to every single place. The outliers will unfortunately not be a part of this trip, but I am going to keep them on  my map for potential future visits. I will share my Google Maps, but after my trip for safety reasons since it does include details like where I am staying, what times my reservations are etc. 

To help me get a little more organized and really optimize my time, I have already chosen and made reservations at two restaurants for dinner. I have also decided the two main attractions I want to visit and purchased the tickets. So I am aiming to be at Pike’s Place Market at 9 AM on Saturday and Chihuly Glass Garden at 9 AM on Sunday AKA the opening times for both. Fingers crossed that since I will be going right at opening for the two, there will not be as many people making for better pictures and less waiting behind slow groups of people. 

I am not planning on shopping in the states since the dollar is still not that great, but also because I want to just splurge on food and drinks. I plan on eating A LOT! There are so many cafes, restaurants, markets and bakeries I want to visit and I want to try something at each of them. My gameplay is to only have full meals at the two restaurants I am gong for dinner and the rest of the places, kind of just get one item. So sort of snack through the entire day. I also expect a lot of left overs, so I am probably going to just bring those back for my friends and family. 

The Cafes I am for sure going to visit are London Plane, Preserve and Gather and Oddfellows. There are two “urban jungle” like stores I am just dying to see in person which are Glass Swing and Homestead Seattle Plant Shop. Other more lifestyle like boutiques I want to go to are Prism, Flora + Henri, and Drizzle and Shine. My timing could not be any better because this is Moorea Seal is having their final weekend of sales before the shop closes. Their new bigger boutique will be opening near the end of October. 

Foods that I cannot wait to try are Beecher’s Mac n Cheese, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, the lemon curd doughnut at General Porpoise Doughnuts and of course, the molten chocolate cake at Hot Cakes. To be completely honest, I want to go to Hot Cakes on all three days because their dessert looks unreal and I am all about a good chocolate cake that is still warm that it melts the ice cream. Thankfully Hot Cakes has more than one location so hopefully there will always be one close to me. 

I feel like this post  is a bit of an incoherent ramble jumping from thought to thought, but I cannot help it! I am just too darn excited! My plan is to do a re-cap of every single night of the places I visited and what I ate and drank. I will be taking pictures everywhere I go and will do photo stories. I am hoping that I can connect with some business owners, but I have not reached out to anyone yet so that is one me. 

If you have any last minute recommendations, do let me know in the comments below. I really would love to know if there are some hidden local gems that only Seattle locals know of. 


Wednesday 13 September 2017

I Tried It | K-Beauty Foot Peel

I picked up this foot peel a few months back during Nordstrom Vancouver's K-Beauty Pop-In. I never got around to using it until recently because it seemed like way too much effort to sit in one spot with plastic pouches on my feet. 

The foot peel solution comes in these two oversized sock shaped plastic pouches. You use the sticker tabs to secure them around your ankles. Unfortunately with the liquid inside these plastic sacs, it is impossible to walk around in them without slipping, so I had to stay put for 30 minutes while the peel did its magic on my feet. As it is a chemical based foot peel, it made my feet really tingly. I could feel the dead skin on my feet being eaten away at. 

I could not tolerate the sensation and ended up removing the sexy plastic socks about 15 minutes in and vigorously washed the stuff off of my feet. Over the next few days, the skin on my feet was extremely sensitive and continued to peel off. Really gross and not at all like getting a pedicure. As I am a active person who is always on her feet, my feet have calluses, but the peel softened the calluses. So I ended up getting sore blistered feet. 

Would I use a chemical foot peel ever again? NOPE! 

I like my feet the way they are. I generally always wear closed toe shoes like sneakers with socks, so I do not have cracked heels or really dry tough skin on my feet. I do have callused skin, but it is from sports and calluses are good because it prevents me from getting painful blisters. 

I would recommend getting a pedicure from a certified salon because they use hot water and creams to soften your skin and not aggressive skin eating chemicals. Also a good pedicurist will not completely remove all of the calluses from your feet. Instead they will exfoliate to get off the top layer of dead skin off and just polish the non-callused areas. And the experience of having your feet soak in hot water as you relax in a comfy chair is partially the reason why I like getting pedicures. 

Let me know in the comments below if you have used chemical foot peels and if you liked them?


Sunday 10 September 2017

Gurly's Life | Allergic Reaction gave me Kylie Jenner Lips

Saturday September 9, 2017 morning at the emergency room
I have never really had known allergies before. The time that I had my wisdom teeth removed, I was given pain killers from the Penicillin family which resulted in me getting red marks all over my back. The doctors just assumed I was allergic to Penicillin since my dad is allergic to it and it also happens to be a common allergy. I have noticed that cantaloupe makes me quite nauseous and has induced vomiting in me in the past, so I kind of just self diagnosed myself as allergic to cantaloupes and have since avoided the fruit. Not a big deal considering watermelon is far superior. 

Aside from those two minor instances, I have not really experienced a serious allergic reaction that sent both me and my family into a panic. On Saturday morning I woke up with a severely swollen upper lip and philtrum (skin between upper lip and nose - yay for four years of physiology!). My lip was literally three times its normal size and even impaired my ability to properly speak. I just started yelling for my parents from the bathroom because I was frightened. I think my mum freaked me out even more as she just could not stop staring at me wide-eyed. 

Thankfully my throat was not constricted and nor was my tongue swollen, so my breathing was not impaired. This could have been very serious if my airway had been blocked since we do not have an epi-pen at home. After much poking and prodding of my lips by the doctor at the ER, I was given anti-histamines and steroids to reverse the swelling. 

This morning the swelling had gone down by half. I was able to talk much more normally and was able to eat without drooling over myself. I am blogging this Sunday night and the swelling has mostly subsided now and I expect my lips to be completely normal tomorrow morning. My lips are really chapped which I did not expect, but I guess the skin had been really stretched and exposed more to the air. 

In the coming weeks I will be seeing my family doctor in regards to getting allergy testing done. I am very curious to find out what I have an allergy to to elicit such a big reaction. The only thing that I ate out of the ordinary on Friday was a zucchini banana bread from the new paleo restaurant in Vancouver called Feast. The texture of the bread was very chalky and crumbly and definitely contains some weird ingredients as substitute for grains and sugar. So I am curious and have a feeling it most likely was a random ingredient in that paleo zucchini bread. I will probably find out in a few weeks and will keep you posted. 

After the doctors had discharged me from the hospital, my friends finally got the opportunity to make a million Kylie Jenner jokes about my lips. The best one was probably "lay off the lip fillers" bahaha gosh and from the profile I was literally duck lipped. It was pretty comical. I think one thing I have come away from this experience is that I will probably never get lip fillers because I did not find large lips to be appealing on me. Gosh they just looked scary and painful! Plus I felt like everyone kept ogling at me because they were so big and did look like I had some lip injections. I love my little cupids bow and look forward to having it back. I would have been devastated if my lips remained permanently ballooned. 

If you ever wake up and notice something completely off with your body, please immediately go to the hospital. It is better to be safe and not risk worsening your symptoms. 

Thank you to everyone being so loving to me this weekend. I really appreciate it and am truly grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family. 


Wednesday 6 September 2017

Gurly's Life | 2017 SeaWheeze Recap

I am so proud of myself for finishing and earning this stunning medal. 
I am still in disbelief that I actually managed to finish the 21.1 km course of the Lululemon 2017 SeaWheeze as it was my first ever half marathon. I am not a long distance runner, in fact, far from it. I have always been a quick sprinter, bursts of short distances, so often playing center mid field in soccer or field hockey. I thought it would be fun to do a short recap of my SeaWheeze experience and what I would do differently if I were to do another half marathon.

I was certain that I had completed the distance in just under 3 hours, but after checking the official times, my real time is 3:03:57... SO CLOSE to doing sub 3! If I do a better job at training for future half marathons, I am pretty confident that I will be able to complete it in under 3 hours. I am so happy that I chose the Lululemon SeaWheeze to be my first half marathon experience as the event is organized well and everyone is very encouraging. Everyone kept telling me how I am going to be spoiled at the SeaWheeze and my expectations will be too high for future marathons. Though I have not attended another marathon since, I can definitely say the SeaWheeze is an experience on its own with its several events over the week.

The longest distance that I had ran/walked was 16 KMs - I lacked discipline when it came to training. My training consisted mainly of walk/runs on the treadmill and a few body weight sessions. So the last 5kms of the half-marathon was tough for me and I really did struggle. My right ankle and leg was on fire, but I knew if I even stopped to stretch, my legs would go to jelly and I would not be able to continue. I sort of just mashed my teeth together and kept moving through the pain. In hindsight, it was probably a very bad idea as I could have given myself a really bad injury.

Race Package Pick-Up the day before the big race!
I really appreciated the pace setters that were cutely named "pace beavers" as they really kept me going. I also commend the pace beavers being able to run the entire half marathon holding a flag with their finish time. I could barely stay upright by the end of the race let alone holding up this long stick with a sign stuck on the end. I stuck along the 2:30 pace beavers for the first half of the race, but by the 13 KM mark, I was starting to slow down. The last 5 KM was where I really struggled and essentially speed walked most of it.

As I already am a slow runner, I did not want to waste time by waiting in line for the portables if I did not need to go. There were volunteers handing us water, electrolyte drinks, bananas and gels. I think there were 5 to 6 hydration/fuel stations scattered throughout the course. Around the 15 KM distance, I noticed my fingers were swollen, almost doubling in size! I had a mini freak out, but a runner near me assured me that it was okay and it was just our body trying to absorb moisture from the air. It was also around the time that I really had to pee and I was so happy that the portables did not have a line. Unfortunately my skin was sticky from the sweat that my shorts were stuck to my thighs and my swollen fingers only made it more difficult to pull my shorts back up. I nearly asked a volunteer for help because I was exhausted and could not get my running shorts back up. It did not come to that as I did eventually manage to wiggle my shorts back up.

After three intense hours, the finish line was in sight! Everyone was cheering and I managed to do this waddle jog across the finish line. I am so happy that the haze had cleared up and we finished with bright blue sunny skies. I was promptly handed a wet towel which was the best thing ever! It felt so nice to wipe the sweat and grime off of my face, arms and neck. I did not stick around for brunch since the line was quite long. I did not end up attending the sunset festival which I am a bit bummed about; however, my right ankle was swollen and the pain prevented me from putting weight on it. I had to head home and just ice - super lame, but very important to do so!

SeaWheeze 2017 was amazing and i will always cherish the memories from it. It was a challenge, but a welcomed challenge. I hope to continue running, but maybe more alone 10 KM distances and an annual big half marathon with Lululemon. Let me know in the comments below if you attended the SeaWheeze or what your first half-marathon was like!