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Budget friendly Sangria

5 Apr

Whilst back and forth with @DealByDay on Twitter today, he mentioned that I posted a sangria recipe that he’s interested in trying. Searching back, I realized that I forgot the sangria that I make for larger groups (company parties, family BBQs etc.) The sangria recipes that I posted up from Food and Wine I would serve for brunch, dinner parties, or just whenever I have a couple of friends over. They require a bit more prep and labour and the ingredients will cost a bit more.

Here is my tried and true recipe for sangria that’s tasty, easy to make and budget friendly. Sub red for white, measurements are as usual as you will – you can’t really go {terribly} wrong with sangria!

  • 1 bottle of chilled Franciscan California Burgundy/Red ($6.99/750ml, $12.99/1.5L, $33.99/4L), BC Liquor stores. Sweet, fruity & affordable.  Don’t think I’d sip this though
  • Ginger ale (Sprite/7-Up is too sweet) – chilled
  • Orange juice (or any other fruit juice) – chilled
  • Easy way: use canned mixed fruits, peaches, pears, mandarin oranges OR frozen fruit (strawberries, mangoes, peaches, raspberries). If you want to add frozen fruit, make sure defrost and you might want to add some simple syrup for sweetness. If you want to do this the hard way, use fresh fruit including sliced oranges, sliced granny smith, ambrosia, any crispy apple and not Red Delicious.

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Summer Styles: Jelly Shoes

24 May

I’m a child of the 80’s, when Nerds and Pop Rocks were the candy (and currency) of choice, you went on exploration expeditions with the neighbourhood kids and instead of flip flops, you slipped on Jelly shoes in the summer. They were easy to run in, didn’t slip off, kept your feet cool, fashionable and feminine.

Thank goodness Jelly shoes are back with a vengeance after years of domination by the unsightly flip flops, which people think can be worn anywhere and with anything. Joined by the Gladiator (-esque) sandal (which won’t go away for a while now), we now have another fashionable (flat) footwear alternative for summer.

Updated for those born in the 80’s, they have either a more sophisticated weave, sport lace patterns, are work appropriate and now in more ‘grown-up’ colours. Some of my picks below:

The ubiquitous Tory Burch Reva Flat, this time in Jelly. Spotted all over NYC. Great for work, play and comes in an assortment of colours. Either comes in all jelly, or jelly with metal logo. $95-$125 usd. At Tory Burch, Nordstroms, Saks, Neimans, Holts… you name it.

My new love – the Jelly Lace Detail Ballet Flat by Melissa. Saw these at Saks. Regret not buying them. Order whole size up if you’re 1/2. $90usd

Melissa Campana Jelly Ballet Flats. Also comes in gold. $80. At Saks, also black and pink at Nordstrom – on sale 40% off now.

Melissa Coral Peep Toe Ballet Flats – love the intricate coral weave! $80 at Saks, order one half size down as these run large. 40% off at Nordstrom.

Getting Lashed – where to get your lash fix in Vancouver

17 May

THE places for lashes:

  1. Wink Beauty Lounge is the original Vancouver lash lounge. Focuses on lashes but has other services as add ons. Your go-to place if you want to have everything done at the same time for a night out on the town: lashes, facial, wax, spray tan, mani/pedi. I am slightly dismayed by the ‘U.S.-type’ pricing for the lashes, as in ‘per lash’ though. *shudders* Edit: After some thought, they are just being honest and giving you an idea about the number of lashes applied as a half or a full set or more. But it gets us thinking: are you really counting the number of lashes being applied? (Gastown)
  2. Noir Lash Lounge – This is a successful local company that has given new life and new hype to lashes. It’s quite obvious that the proprietor is an addict herself, as her marketing, services and pricing reflect years of experience of being a lash extensions customer. Borrowing the business model and marketing tactic from Blo, Noir offers a menu of lash styles, so it’s a no-brainer.  Pick what you want, and get what you expect. Prices are $35 for a half set, $65 for a variety of full sets. Quality at a reasonable price, but I am somewhat sensitive to the lash glue and the removal solution that they use.  (Yaletown, South Granville)
  3. Tiffany’s Spa – I’m all about the deal, as well as the quick and dirty. This was my go-to place when I had my lash extensions for a year. You might want to communicate to the owner of how you want your lashes (the curl, length, volume, flare) if you’re picky, or just let her go at it for a natural look, but at $35 for a full set, it’s a steal. Like Noir, She to Shic and a couple of other places, a ‘set’ means as many lashes as it takes to get the look. Get a massage and your nails done while you’re at it as well. (Vancouver)

Places to try: (I welcome your reviews!)

  1. She to Shic Beauty Lounge  – Might try this place because it’s a 10 minute walk away and it’s all eco-friendly. Full set synthetic $55. Silk set (ooh!) $70, mink $80. I’ve never seen Mink lashes so affordable before! And get my nails done as well. (Kerrisdale). Sign up for the Kitty Card and you get 50% off your 2nd service.
  2. Elan Beauty is more of an ‘cosmeceutical spa’ offering permanent makeup (aka permanent eyebrow/eyeliner tattooing), laser hair removal, lasers and peels and teeth whitening. Uses US-made NovaLash’s premium products, notably the Platinum Bond Lash Adhesive, the only eyelash extension bond that is U.S. Pharmaceutical Grade tested (U.S.P. Class VI / ISO 10993 Certified), formaldehyde-free, and physician formulated for safety. No more red eye for me! Pretty pricey at $99.95 for a full set (as in doubles your lashes), but offers student discounts.
  3. Sweet Nail Salon Also sorta does the per-lash thing, but also has a menu of lash styles so prices vary. (Richmond)

Notes:

  1. I also highly recommend using some sort of lash conditioner when you have your extensions in. My product of choice is Rapidlash. Though I haven’t noticed a growth spurt of lashes, they look healthier and don’t fall out as much. It’s important to maintain your lashes when they’re under so much stress with the extensions on! Found at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  2. If you want to remove your lashes, first rule of thumb is DO NOT REMOVE THEM YOURSELF. With the obvious said, because different places use different glue, the removal solution is different. So go back to the same place. Most places offer free removal, but call and check. If you get a new set at the same time, full removal should be free. But don’t take my word for it. Hey – I still don’t understand why some places charge for a blowdry when you go in for a colour or cut – so I should walk out with wet hair if I don’t want to pay the extra $30-45? But that’s another rant/entry in the making.

My disclaimer: I’m not here to promote or discredit any institution. I’ve been a patron of all and would like to remain that way. Thanks. =)

Secrets of the City: Blow out edition

10 Apr

Blo is *the* place to get your hair blown out in Vancouver – with multiple locations, the convenience of online booking, opens early (by appointment), closes late (even on Fridays – by appointment), a can’t go wrong menu of hairstyles, $30 for 30 minutes and you’re out the door looking like a superstar.

However, I recently discovered the Happy Hour blow out. Every day of the week (except Saturdays), 1-4pm and it’s only $15. Well, plus $5 for a curling or flat iron. So if you’re ever in the South Granville area, taking a late lunch or a break from work, head to Caramel Salon. Just call ahead to make sure this promo is still on and to make an appointment.

Since I’m only a 5 minute walk away, I’ll be taking “extra long” meetings out of office on Friday afternoons.

Blo
multiple locations
varying hours

Caramel Salon
2342 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC Canada
V6H3G3
Phone: 604.731.5112
Hours: Tuesdays 10am-7pm, Wednesdays to Friday 8am-10pm, Saturdays & Sundays 10am-6pm.

Secrets of the City: Eyebrow threading

8 Apr

I haven’t had a chance to make the trek to Yaletown yet to check out the new Bombay Brow Bar. It’s quite a treat at $23 for the Bombshell Brows that is more than just brow shaping, but also includes: brow gossip, calming forehead and eyebrow indian massage, soothing rosewater eye gel application, brow finishing, a complimentary makeup touch-up upon request and chai to sip on.

For those who just want a quick and dirty threading job, I’d recommend my regular place. All I have to say is:

eyebrow threading
Vancouver Westside
$5 $7
…unheard of
I know!

at:

Dona Lucia Esthetics
2813 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC. (at Macdonald St.)
604-736-5460
Hours: Mon to Fri 9AM – 8PM | Sat 9AM – 6PM | Sun 10AM – 6PM

Bombay Brow Bar
1056 Mainland Street (across from Glowbal Restaurant)
604-683-BROW (2769)
Hours: Mon to Sat 10AM – 7PM | Sun 11AM – 5PM |

UPDATE June 7, 2010: The Style Spy and their readers agree too!!

UPDATE November 14th, 2011: one of Dona Lucia’s best eyebrow threaders started her own salon a few blocks away. Ask for Rani at Deux Chic (3216 West Broadway, 604-569-3502) eyebrows are $7 (Tuesdays are $5), threading combos and daily specials. http://www.deuxchic.ca

Manjeet is still at Dona Lucia, Kitsilano.