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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Mascara: A Review

Ever since I realized that mascara was something that can magically transform your face from sleep-deprived-puffy-morning-troll to awake-fresh-and ready-for-a-beautiful-day in a few brushstrokes, I've gone on a wild journey; trying every crazy new gimmick the beauty industry can pump out. So this is my review of all the mascaras I've tried; which were great, and which were just a case of me being fooled by flashy advertising. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my dear Hannah Mei, who inspired me to write a post about this after an impassioned conversation about mascara that we shared over breakfast. In no particular order:
1. Double Extension: Beauty Tubes Technology by L'Oreal Paris
This one is overall quite good; it is a unique mascara. It firstly covers your lashes with these tubes that extend them (that is the function of the white side of the mascara), then the black side just basically serves to give them the appropriate colour. The tubes worked very well to give me extra length, which I need, because my eyelashes are frustratingly short and straight. There is a slight clumping issue, this mascara didn't really separate my lashes very well. The only other issue I had was that once you apply the white side, you must apply the black side extremely promptly, before the white side dries; this is somewhat inconvenient. However, on the whole, it was a positive experience. 

I was overall only moderately satisfied with this mascara, it makes lashes look very dramatic, and I think stiletto is a pretty accurate name for what this mascara does. It really adds length and impact to your eyes, the brush was quite plain and there is not much to report on that front. Although this mascara was really effective in adding length my main complaint about it was that it didn't add volume or "plump" the lashes at all. Instead it gave a more stark, harsh look. This mascara was fine, especially for going out at night, when you want a dramatic look, but I wasn't that impressed on the whole.

After my frustrations with the last mascara not adding enough volume to my lashes, I went for one that claimed to coat and volumize lashes "one by one". It certainly did better than Lash Stiletto at plumping and giving my lashes more volume. Of course, it wasn't really done "one by one", but I must admit that clumping was minimal. However, of course, since the volume aspect was good, the length was lacking. All things considered this mascara was quite plain, it did the job relatively well, but there was nothing really special about it.

I was inspired to get this mascara by my dear friend Esme on my trip to visit her in Manchester. She had it and it looked great on her, so I promptly bought it when I returned to Montreal. The volume actually wasn't that impressive, but the length was pretty great. I was quite satisfied with this mascara. My most noteworthy complaint about this one is that it dried out relatively quickly and would leave little specks of dried up mascara on my face by the end of the day. Which, needless to say, is very undesirable.

This is actually my current mascara. So far the results have been really positive. The length isn't extraordinary, but the volume is good and the shape of the spoon brush makes is very easy to get mascara into the difficult to reach corners. It actually does facilitate the task of getting a "cat eye" look, as the name implies. I think this mascara was much more useful than the "one by one", which is also a member of the Volum' Express family. Also, even though this mascara is new, it was already on sale at the pharmacy, so I would say that I am pleased with the quality I received for the price. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Super Soda Bread

Hello everyone,
I have been on a crazy baking spree lately and my latest coup de coeur is Irish soda bread, which I made today. I first encountered this type of bread on a trip I took to the U.K. last spring when the friend I was visiting baked some in preparation for our hike of Stanage Edge. Irish soda bread is incredibly easy to make and you only need a few ingredients; most of which you probably already have at home.

-3 cups whole-wheat flour (any kind of flour will do, but I use whole-wheat for the health benefit)
-2 tbsp flax seeds (honestly I used way more than 2 tbsp because I really love flax seeds and they're super healthy)
-2 tbsp sugar (I use organic cane sugar cause it makes me feel better about myself)
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
-1/4 cup vegetable oil

~Whisk together in a large bowl the flour, flax seeds, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

~Whisk together the buttermilk and vegetable oil.

~Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients immediately, then stir with a fork until the mixture turns into a soft dough.

~Flour a flat surface and your hands. Now form the dough into a ball and lightly knead it about 10 times.

~Place your dough on a baking sheet and form it into a circle about 6 inches across.

~Score a large X through the top of the dough with a knife.

~Bake in the centre of an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees for 45 minutes (when done the bread should be golden brown and a tester inserted into the centre of the bread should come out clean).

This is a wholesome and delicious bread that you can use for sandwiches, toast in the morning, or just on its own! Enjoy! :)
View from the top of Stanage Edge in the Peak District.

Monday, 28 May 2012


I realize that I am only 20 years old one might not call that a ripe old age at which to be giving people "wise advice", but rest assured, this advice doesn't come from me, but from my grandmother Grace McCarthy, who was just about the smartest woman who ever lived.

1. Never leave the house without your lipstick on: She never did; whether it was to go out for supper, or just run to the grocery store. I've found that since I've started wearing lipstick (I tend to wear slightly bolder shades than she did), I feel so beautiful and any outfit I wear seems magically more put together. It's a confidence booster and if you find the right shade, which is important, you can look really lovely and unique. The picture on the right shows my favorite lipstick, Maybelline New York's super bold shade "Are You Red-dy?" (another plus: lipsticks have cute and cheesy shade names). 

2. If you don't feel like eating your supper, just have another popsicle: Life is short. If you want a popsicle instead of whatever boring meal you're not in the mood to eat, have one. Have a caramel cake too, for god's sakes. 

3. Don't be "Put-on": My grandmother had a strong distaste for people who are too put-on. For those of you are confused as to what "put-on" means, it refers to a person who puts on airs and thinks they're just a bit better than they really are. My grandmother was a proud woman, but she never looked down on anyone, and I think a lot of people could use this advice.

4. Do whatever you want, and don't be afraid to tell the rest to "kiss it": This is truly the best advice in my opinion. She always told me not to pay attention to what anyone else had to say about what I was doing and go for what I really wanted. I also think that there's nothing better than telling someone who really deserves it to just KISS IT. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Hello all the people,
I realize that it has been an absolute AGE since I have published something new on this blog. I will offer up the frail excuse that at one point it was exam period, and I was stressed; I hope that that appeases you.

It was an absolutely beautiful day in Montreal today and I am proud to say that for once I took full advantage of it. Because of this, I was inspired to create a fun blog post about lovely activities that one can look forward to now that spring/summer has finally landed in Montreal. (By "activities that one can look forward to" I mean a few things that I do and will now describe in great detail)

-->BUY LUNCH AND EAT IT IN PARK LAFONTAINE: Not just any lunch. Get yourself to the Fruiterie du plateau, which is corner Roy East and Chateaubriand (Metro Sherbrooke). They sell tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and a variety of ready-made meals of the healthiest variety. This type of food is perfect for a sunny summer afternoon and it is an easy 5-minute walk from Park Lafontaine, which is, in my opinion, one of the loveliest parks in the city. I also recommend sitting on the western side of the lake, which, in my experience, tends to host less drum circles and stoned twenty-somethings. I realize that this entire plan sounds ridiculously hipster, but I assure you, it makes for a lovely afternoon                                                                                  (it's also quite romantic if you share it with someone you love).

-->PLACE DES FESTIVALS: This is an awesome place to go if you want to take advantage of all the festivals that go on in Montreal in the summer months (e.g. Jazzfest, Francofolies, Just for Laughs, etc.) However, even when there isn't a festival going on, Place des Festivals has always been one of my favorite places to hang out in Montreal during the summer. It is perfectly placed at the heart of downtown and right next to Dairy Queen/Dagwoods and the Complexe Desjardins which has a decent food court and public bathrooms. My absolute favorite thing about this place though, is that it features tons of fountains, and anyone who knows me knows I have an unnatural fascination with fountains.

-->GO TO THE BOTANICAL GARDENS FOR GOD'S SAKE: I know this one might seem sort of lame and predictable, but I feel like people only visit the botanical gardens during events like the Chinese lanterns, or the whole "papillons en liberté" thing. I really feel that the gardens on their own are a really amazing place and are definitely worth exploring outside of the biggest attractions. It is very interesting and offers a fun and beautiful natural haven in which to forget that you live in the hot, asphalt covered city of Montreal where the wind never blows in the summer. Also, I realize that this suggestion is "all the way at Olympic park", but give me a break, the métro ride to Viau isn’t that long; read the 24Heures or something.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Montreal Student Protest: A Review PART 2

This is my review of the March 22, 2012 protest in Montreal against the Charest government's tuition hike of 1625$. The protest drew students from across the province who arrived by bus to demonstrate. The McGill contingent, of which I was part, marched from McGill to the general meeting place at Place du Canada. The protest, which at its highest estimate contained about 200 000 students, wound its way through downtown mostly on Sherbrooke street, then turning south on Berri and ending in the Old Port. The protest completely shut down traffic in much of the downtown core, which pleased us very much, but it must be said that when hearing a fire truck, the                     students diligently moved out of the road to let it pass. On a side note, the firefighters waved at us in support. 

Tuition hikes make this student sad
The protest itself was absolutely amazing, it was by far one of the best and most rewarding days of my life so far. There was so much solidarity among the students who all came from different schools in different regions. It was nice to be part of something in Quebec where everyone felt a strong connection to each other and there was no feelings of divisiveness along linguistics lines at all, with some French students chanting in English as well. Such a strong show of force by the students shows that the movement is not over, it is only beginning and with over 300 000 students on strike, it becomes stronger every day. You can't see this in the photo but the student's sign says "Nous ne reculerons pas" (We won't back down). This is the strong message that we are sending to the government and I hope that they will see that it is time to negotiate with us for accessible education for everyone. 

It is also very important to note that this was an entirely PEACEFUL protest! No looting or smashing windows (or police brutality for that matter) was involved, so those who wish to paint students as good-for-nothing street hooligans will have to look elsewhere than the largest student protest of the year. 

In short the March 22, 2012 protest was an overwhelming success in my eyes that demonstrated our determination to support this cause to the end and the fraternity and solidarity that exists within the Quebec student community. I am extremely proud to have been a part of this and I firmly believe that the protests will and should continue until accessible education is guaranteed and tuition is frozen. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

New Easy (Cheating) Soup Recipe!

Hello! This is a sort of soupy concoction that I have been frequently making since I've stopped eating meat. It's extraordinarily filling and I'm quite sure that it's high fiber. Just on a side note, this new vegetarian diet is suiting me relatively well I think, I've been feeling well and sort of well-balanced in my overall nutrition. Also, it discourages me from eating out :)
Oh right...THE SOUP!
Ruby's Super Easy Cheating Soup Recipe:
You will need:
-2 cartons of "Gardennay" potage soups (I like "market vegetable" and broccoli or carrot)
-Macaroni (I like Healthy Harvest whole grain pasta)
-1 can of prepared lentils (any variety will do)
1. Combine the two soups of your choice in a large pot, simmer them but don't let them come to a boil, stirring regularly.
2. Cook pasta while the soups are simmering (make about the amount you would make if you intended to eat one bowl of macaroni)
3. Open the can of lentils and rinse them EXTREMELY thoroughly to make sure all the weird goo they are stored in doesn't end up inside you.
4. Once the pasta is cooked and the lentils are rinsed, strain the pasta and combine everything in the pot with the soup.
5. Enjoy your healthy, vegetarian, high-fiber meal.

**Some additional comments:
-Please give whole wheat pasta a chance, I am sure you'll like it if you open your mind, I'm extremely picky and never thought I would take to it, but I now prefer the flavor.
-If you want to give this soup a little something extra, try chili powder and red pepper flakes.
-I know this recipe sounds a bit bullshit but it is perfect for a student budget and for anyone who wants to feel FULL and still have a healthy meal. Plus it takes only minutes to prepare.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Zu den Sachen Selbst

I realize that I haven't blogged anything in a while and that that just ain't right.
However, I have a wonderful excuse, which is that I had lots of schoolwork to do, including a phenomenology paper which induced the following mood, which, I might add, is still the current mood: