Chocolate

February/March 2016 Favourites!

Happy Easter! It’s hard to believe that the end of March is already upon us, and Spring has finally arrived. Here are some of the things I’ve been loving for the past couple of months:

1. Yankee Candle Company Tumbler Candle in “Chocolate Layer Cake”

If you want your house to smell like the most delicious chocolate cake ever baked (who doesn’t?), this is for you.  It’s rich, decadent, and incredibly fragrant (you can smell it without even lighting it!).  I purchased this candle along with an adorable cake-stand holder (that I featured on Instagram here) for Valentine’s Day, but I plan on burning this candle through Easter and beyond.

2.  NYX Micro Brow Pencil in “Ash Brown”

I’ve mentioned my love for the Anastasia Brow Wiz in a previous favourites post, and it’s still one of my favourite brow products to date.  Late last year, I attended the grand opening of the NYX store in Square One Shopping Centre, and decided to try out their Micro Brow Pencil.  It’s very similar to the Brow Wiz in performance and design (one side is a thin retractable pencil, and the other is a spooley), but it’s a fraction of the cost at just $12.00 (Brow Wiz is $27.00)!

3. Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer

I received this product in a gift bag during last year’s Spark Sessions conference and stored it away in my “products to try” drawer.  Recently, the life of my beloved Nars Bronzing Powder in “Laguna” came to an end, and I decided it was time to take this product for a test drive.  Truthfully, I was a little intimidated at first by the layer of gold shimmer on top (I’ve never been one for sparkle in my face makeup).  I simply took a tissue, and was relieved to discover it was simply a light layer on top of the product (for presentation purposes I’m assuming; it’s beautiful!). Once the gold sparkles were removed, the product applied beautifully and evenly, and created a subtle glow on the skin.  As the name suggests, this bronzer is actually infused with 100% Pure Argan Oil, which nourishes, conditions, and brightens skin.  It comes with a mirror and small brush, but I prefer to apply mine with a big, fluffy one.  You can purchase this product right now on Well.ca for just $13.99 (the Nars bronzer is $52.00)!

4. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo

I don’t get to read as often as I’d like to (time: there’s just never enough of it!), but occasionally, I ‘ll find a book that sparks my interest and I’ll slowly make my way through it after work or before bed.  I’d seen this book in stores and on social media, but was curious to read it for myself after checking out an article on a mother who had implemented the practices of this book on her home.  It’s undeniable to me, how many things we (more specifically, I), own that we keep “just because”.  The premise of this book is that you should declutter your life, keeping only things that “spark joy”: that, when you hold them, make you truly happy.  It seems like such a simple, almost obvious, concept when it comes to cleaning, but it’s one that is so easily and commonly overlooked.  This book is a short, easy read that’s definitely worth checking out.

5. Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco 3 Day Smooth Perfect Blow Dry Smoothing Cream

Now, that is a mouthful!  Using the power of Argan Oil, this product promises to hold hair “straight, frizz-free and shiny for up to 3 days”.  I’ve never really been one to use a blow dry cream, but received a sample in my monthly Ipsy Glam Bag, and decided to give it a try.  I really do notice that my blowout lasts significantly longer when I use this product.  My hair stays smoother, has less fly-aways, and is easier to manage.  I simply apply it when my hair is damp, focusing mainly on the ends of my hair.  This product is made for all hair types, and, if your hair tends to be especially frizzy, you can even reapply to to dry hair on days 2 or 3 for touch-ups.

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!    

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Delicious, Simple, and On-a-Dime: Peppermint Bark Brownies

baked

It’s officially the season of holiday parties and potlucks, and with that, comes the decision of what to bring or share. With everything going on this time of year, there’s definitely no shame in bringing premade or not-from-scratch goodies.  These decadent, chewy brownies are sure to please as they combine two of (pretty much) everyone’s favourite holiday treats: chocolate and candy canes! Even better?  You won’t need to slave over the oven baking brownies all night (use boxed mix), and they only cost around $5.00 to make!

1. Prepare and bake brownie mix as per box instructions.

Baking

2. While brownies are still hot and just out of the oven, pour about 1 cup of chocolate or vanilla (or both) wafers and spread as they begin to melt. (Licking the spatula is optional).  Tip: If you don’t use wafers often, buy only the amount you need from a bulk-food store, instead of purchasing a whole package. 

baking 2

3. Sprinkle approximately 1/4 cup (or as much as you like) crushed candy canes overtop of the melted chocolate, while it’s still warm.  The easies way to crush candy canes is to place them in a sandwich bag and go over them with a rolling pin.

baking 3

4. Allow to cool for around 30-40 minutes, then place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to fully harden the chocolate topping.  Tip: Don’t leave these in the refrigerator for much longer than what’s listed above, or your brownies will dry out.

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5. Cut into as many (or as few) pieces as you like, garnish with some extra crushed candy cane or chocolate sauce, and graciously accept all the compliments you receive as guests lay their hands on your delicious, pepperminty masterpiece!

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.