Real Girl Review- Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Hey guys!

I’m back with another real girl review today! Recently I’ve been trying out some nail polish options for longer wearing and “gel-like” formulas. In an ideal world, I’d be getting a gel manicure every month or so, but this is not an ideal world and girlfriend cannot afford that. I wish, though!

Wanting a similar quality manicure with regards to durability and extended wear time, I have been trying some drug store options that promise lasting shine and long-lasting color. This first post is about the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel line.

First of all, this polish is $9.97 for the base color and $9.97 for the gel topcoat. You don’t need a UV light for this product to work. A once-monthly salon gel manicure would cost you around $420/yr, whereas a monthly new shade of this product that promises to last 14 days would cost you around $140 (including 2 bottles of the topcoat). Definite potential savings, but does it hold up to its promises?

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Long story short… no. This polish lasted 5 days, and on the fifth day it was significantly chipped. The first couple of days I was hopeful- other than some light bubbling, and one tiny chip the shine was great, the application was easy and the color was gorgeous.

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As you can see here, three days in there was already considerable chipping.

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These pictures are on day five, and the chipping had spread to both hands. When I went to take it off, the remaining polish would not budge- for something that was chipping so much, it was seriously difficult to remove. I sat for thirty minutes and used a buffing file and a lot of nail polish remover to get my nails clean.

This polish honestly lasted less time than my usual routine of Sally Hansen Triple Strong, color and Sally Hansen Diamond Flash top coat (on short nails, that lasts me 7-10 days). As you can see, I’m a major fan of Sally Hansen but this product just did not work out for me. I will be trying it out with the shortest of short nails to see if that has any bearing on how the product performs but for now… It’s not something I’d recommend.

I’m going to be trying out another major brand’s 2 step gel line soon, but please let me know if you have a favorite that I should try! Or any tips for how to get this polish to work for the full 14 days…

About my Dad

Hey guys! And Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads and extra dads out there. Often unsung, overshadowed at times by the amazing contributions of our mums, I know my dad has always been there for me to ask for help with a challenge or advice. He’s taught me a lot about life and just like I shared a bit about my mum, I wanted to share a bit about my dad this Father’s Day. He’ll read this in six months and probably make fun of me!

It’s not very often that people have the opportunity to share something that they’re immensely proud of about one of their loved ones on a larger scale. When I was completing my degree, a friend of mine that I worked with as an editor for the Canadian University press asked if I’d be willing to work on a project with him. The project was profiling local volunteers, and one of them ended up being my dad.

My dad has been volunteering since his late teens. He’s always been pretty generous with his time, even now that he’s an incredibly busy business owner, husband, dad of two and dog-dad… he’s still volunteering. It’s often easiest to see those good parts of people, they’re public, often visual. The number of t-shirts he has from volunteering events is ridiculous.

What isn’t so easy to see at first glance is someone’s character. You often learn of it through watching their actions, and how they respond to challenges. How they treat others when life is tough and at times, overwhelming. When I struggle with motivation in life or feel like I can’t do something, I think of two things:

  1. My mother did not raise me to quit
  2. I am not following my father’s example

Simple. Where my mom instilled a steely nerve, my dad showed me what that looked like in practice in the workplace. Having owned their business since I can remember, my dad always had a regimented schedule when he was home (in the office by seven, thirty minute lunch, off at five- and always on call, day, night or weekend). He was away a lot when we were kids, and I remember him working at 8pm and later at night when he’d call to say goodnight. As I got older, I realized the longer he worked, the sooner he came home to us. As an adult, I now understand how little he enjoys being away. As a professional, that example taught me what it means to get the job done even when it’s not easy or comfortable.

My dad is one of very few people I know who loves his work and makes a good living doing it. It’s not his side job, it’s his livelihood and he (and my mum) built that from the ground up. When I need an example of what it really means to work hard and be successful, I look to him. And while he’s successful and a leader in his field, the worst thing I’ve ever heard him say about someone is that they were a buffoon. Yep. A buffoon.

Don’t worry, he said it with a lot of feeling. And they definitely deserved the title.

So when I think about what I wish people knew about my dad, it’s not the surface stuff that you could see from his volunteering t-shirts even though that’s great. It’s the guts of him I wish more people know- the persistence no matter what, the great example he sets in business, his love of our family, his soft heart and how he taught me what hard work really means through example.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you.

 

Ps. These photos are of one of my dad’s other talents… landscaping!

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos!

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Hey Guys!

I was strolling through Sobeys the other day with my mom when she called me over to tell me about how good of a price the pork shoulders were. She was right, and the butcher assisted us with picking one out for me, which cost a whopping seven dollars. It was supposed to be super hot the next few days so I knew I needed to figure out some way to cook it in the slow cooker that was still fun but didn’t require an oven for side dishes (because I loooove oldschool hashbrown casserole!).

So, I took inspiration from the awesome roasted meat dishes in Pati Jinich’s Mexican Today cookbook (you guys should check it out!) and decided that this pork shoulder should be slow cooked with a chipotle adobo sauce.

This was 100% an experiment. It could have been a 10$ total fail. But, I lucked out and it was delicious and I have a bunch of meat hanging out in my freezer for later! I am going to try to make a “Burrito Bowl” with the leftovers and I will update you if it works out well.

This isn’t one of my “ultra cheap” meals but you could definitely pare back areas to make it more affordable! You could marinate/slow cook just in the chipotle, and skip the pico to save about $2.75 total (bringing your per serving down to $3.41). But for me, this is an awesome “fun” meal and totally something I’d make for a celebratory taco night because it’s enough to feed a crowd and keep the food budget around $25. Life is short, eat the tacos… and if you can’t afford the tacos right now, try one of these ultra affordable recipes I’ve shared.

Pork “Carnitas” Tacos

$ 3.87 per serving (2 tacos) or $23.22 for 12 servings

Cost of Meat: $7.24 ($0.66 per taco)

Marinade/Sauce(per serving=$0.67):

1 can of chipotle chiles in adobo- $2.48

1 yellow onion- $0.35

2 jalapenos- $1.20

Total: $4.03

Taco Fixings (per serving= $1.88):

1 Radish per 2 tacos- $0.14 (0.84 for 12)

Guacamole (I used store bought, just a small smear to cut the heat and hold your fixings in)- ~$0.83 (~$5 for 12)

Pico De Gallo (check out how I make mine here)- ~$0.20 (~$1.20 for 12)

Tortillas- $0.52 ($3.09 for 12)

Optional: Torn parsley or cilantro and lime wedges

Total: $11.33

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Your first step is to cut the fat cap off of your pork shoulder and put it in the bottom of your marinating bag. Our butcher at Sobeys shared with us that it’s actually easier to pull the pork apart if you do this step, but so long as you lay it across the top of the shoulder while cooking, it will still keep the meat nice and juicy! Next, in a blender throw in your jalapenos (I did mine with seeds, just removed the stem) and onion as well as your can of chipotle chiles in adobo. I use the adobo can to add 2 can-fuls of water to the blender as well and blend until smooth. I added the pork shoulder to a zipper bag, poured the sauce over and marinated it overnight. You could totally just pour this into the slow cooker at this point, though.

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The next morning I put my pork shoulder in the slow cooker for 6 hours on high by accident. I meant to put it on for 8 hours on low but I failed. Even though I obviously overcooked my meat, it was so delicious and juicy (not at all dry, seriously) and easy to pull apart. I put the meat in a lasagna pan and pulled it all apart, pulling out the hock and excess fat as I went, and then let it cool for about 40 minutes before I put it in the fridge to fully cool. You could serve it once it’s pulled though! I just timed my day poorly and needed to put it in the fridge until dinner.

To make your tacos, I smeared guacamole on my tortilla, then laid down the meat, pico de gallo, and radish slices. I topped mine with parsley for the pictures but totally not necessary. A squeeze of fresh lemon was nice, though!

For a listing of what you would want or need to make this delicious meal happen:

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IMUSA Salsa Bowls – 2 piece • Imusa •
Scalloped Porcelain White Serving Bowl • Pier 1 Imports •
Avocado Bowl •
Marble Dip Bowl • Pier 1 Imports •
Cuisinart Velocity Ultra Trio 1-HP Blender/Food Processor with Travel Cups • Cuisinart •
Cuisinart Velocity Ultra 1-HP Blender • Cuisinart •
Oster Versa Blender • Oster •
Taco Rack • Crate & Barrel •
Charcoal Companion Sur La Table Taco Rack • Charcoal Companion •
Mexicali Taco Rack • Pier 1 Imports •
Hamilton Beach 6-qt. Programmable Stovetop Slow Cooker • Hamilton Beach •
Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6-qt. Programmable Slow Cooker • Hamilton Beach •

For my own tacoloving self, here are some funny taco themed t-shirts etc…

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Express Ann Page Drink And Eat Tacos Can Cover • Express •
Express Ann Page Drink And Eat Tacos Napkins • Express •
You Better Have Tacos Doormat • Lulu & Georgia •
Fashion Pickle Taco Tequila Tank •
Tailgate Women’s Taco ‘Bout T-Shirt • Tailgate •
Buffalo David Bitton Lets Taco Bout It Tee • Buffalo David Bitton •
Chaser Tequila Tacos and Naps Graphic Tee, White • Chaser •
Chaser Tacos Y Cerveza Tee, White • Chaser •
Chaser Tacos Y Tequila Knit Top, Avalon • Chaser •

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Do you have a favorite taco recipe, or maybe a favorite slow cooker one? I’d love to hear about it. I’ve been loving anything that is easily cooked and/or does not require cutting to eat since hurting my hand so I would love to hear from you!

Vegetarian Tomato-Fennel Penne

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Hey Guys!

I’m back with a fun and easy meal idea! This was a total salvage use-up, with wrinkly tomatoes I stole from my mum  that were headed to the garbage and some fennel she had laying around! With some other bits and bobs it became a perfect bit of sauce for penne.

I love fennel, it has this flavor profile that reminds me of the spice blend in mild Italian sausage, just without the meat! The natural sweetness comes out as you cook it down. This dish is naturally vegetarian, and vegan if you omit or swap out the parmesan cheese, so this is a perfect dish for when you don’t know all of the food preferences of a guest.

Tomato- Fennel Penne

$5.32 for 4 or $1.33 per serving (but really… 59 cents a serving if those tomatoes were going in the trash)

~15 wrinkled tomatoes (salvaged from going to the garbage)- $0 ($2.97 for a pint if you have to buy)

1/4 of a fennel bulb- $0.82

1 shallot- 0.88

Penne- 0.65

Pantry essentials- garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

Optional: grated parmesan to finish

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This pasta is seriously so easy to make that your first step is to get your pasta water on to boil! Next, mince your garlic (1-2 cloves) and finely dice your shallot and put them in a hot electric skillet (med-high heat) to start working.

Next, add in slices of your fennel, and start halving your tomatoes. I toss mine in as they’re sliced to save cutting board space. Once the tomatoes are starting to soften, flip them cut edge down and squash them lightly with your wooden spoon. The seeds and pulp will come out and start to create the liquid of your sauce.

Continue cooking and squashing your tomatoes until your pasta is done, drain your pasta (reserve some pasta water in case your sauce won’t stick) and put it straight into your skillet to coat the noodles! When dishing it up, add a bit of grated parmesan!

Shop the Post:

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Michael Symon by Ergo Chef 6″ Chef’s Knife •

Michael Symon by Ergo Chef 9″ Chef’s Knife •

J A Henckels J.A. Henckels Chefs Knife • Zwilling J.A. Henckels •

Lenox Butterfly Meadow Carved Collection Individual Pasta Bowl • Lenox •

The Cellar Whiteware Square Coupe Individual Pasta Bowl • The Cellar •

Mikasa Swirl Square White Pasta Bowl • Mikasa •

Portmeirion Sophie Conran Celadon 4-pc. Pasta Bowl Set • Portmeirion •

Tabletops Gallery 2-pc. Pasta Bowl Set •

Glazed Pasta Bowls (Set of 4) • Sophie Conran •

Mikasa Swirl White Pasta Serving Bowl • Mikasa •

Bialetti Copper 5.5-qt. Titanium Ceramic Nonstick Electric Skillet • Bialetti •

National Presto Presto 16 Electric Skillet with Glass Cover •

DASH Dash 12 Rapid Skillet Electric Skillet •

Cuisinart CSK-150 Electric Skillet • Cuisinart •

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How do you like to use up tomatoes that are just on the edge of going off? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Real Girl Review: Becca x Chrissy Teigen Pallette

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Hey guys! And welcome to my newest post series here on the blog- Real Girl Reviews. I’m going to be trying out products that any woman (or dude!) could be interested in and giving my opinion on if it is worth your money!

The “real girl” part of it comes from being in my late 20s and on a small budget.  You had better believe that a product has to look good on skin that isn’t 18 anymore and be good value to get the nod of approval from me.  Sometimes I feel opinions unconstrained by budget just aren’t as exacting as those that are.

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The first product up is from one  of my favorite humans ever- Chrissy Teigen’s Becca collaboration. While I am totally biased because I love all things Chrissy Teigen, I feel this particular pallette is worth the buy on two fronts:

  1. This pallette offers pretty much everything you need for eyes and cheeks for the summer. It’s perfect for travelling, weekending, or being the “one” product you keep out for day-to-day use. While Rose Gold is too dark for a highlight on me since I’m so pale, it looks gorgeous applied to your eyes, as does Beach Nectar if you have a more dark skintone. The bronzer is perfect for a variety of skin tones and gorgeous as a crease color. Hibiscus Bloom is a universally flattering shade, looking just a pretty on my sister’s yellow-based skintone as it does on my alabaster skin. It’s a great “all-rounder” pallette that will appeal to many users.
  2. The “math” works on this pallette if you’ve been hoping to try out some Becca products. Essentially, by volume the product amounts offered in this pallette are at a 38% discount to their regular costing as individual items. The costing is below but the main point is that the pallette is more than “reasonably” priced, the products themselves are actually offered at a discount.

I’m in love with this pallette. I think it’s a great buy and beautiful products, and I love Chrissy Teigen so it’s like a win-win-win!

Regular Becca Products Costing:

46$ for a shimmering skin perfector, 8.5ml or $5.41 per ml

46$ for a bronzer, 7.1gr or $6.48 per ml

$41 for a luminous blush, 6.21ml ounces or $6.61 per ml

Becca x Chrissy Pallette:

Total Cost: $54 Canadian

Total Value (by comparative amounts): $86.59

5.1 g of Shimmering Skin Perfector in Rose Gold ($27.59 Value)

5.1 g of Shimmering Skin Perfector in Beach Nectar ($27.59 Value)

2.4 g of Luminous Blush in Hibiscus Bloom ($15.86 Value)

2.4 g of Sunlit Bronzer in Malibu Soleil ($15.55 Value)

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Do you have a favorite luxury item you’ve purchased recently that is an awesome product and good value? I’d love to hear about it! Also, please let me know if you like this series by liking it or sharing it with your friends, it helps me know what type of content you guys want to see the most.

Spring Favorites!

Hey guys! I hope the couple of weeks of May have been treating you well, it finally decided to become spring here in Edmonton, with a dash of summer, so I’m enjoying the change in temperatures and the sunshine.

This post should really be called “March and April plus Half of May Favorites” since I didn’t do a favorites video in the last few months! I didn’t feel like I had much to say, but in the past few weeks I’ve been realizing… oh I have been loving things! They’re just completely integrated into my life so I don’t realize as much.

Beauty:

Exfoliating face wash

Gel moisturizer – Under $10!

Nars Laguna bronzer

Josie Maran Coconut Water Eyeshadow

Clothes:

Lavender long sleeve no longer available, similar here, here, here and here

Joe Fresh short sleeve on sale!

Blue jacket- similar here, here and here

Payless sneakers- no longer available, similar here, here and here

Lifestyle:

Perrier Lime Water

Blogger: Maries Bazaar

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Youtube: Stephanie Ledda

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What have you been loving recently? I’d love to hear in the comments ❤

Life Update: Burns, Breaks and First Aid

Hey Guys!

If you follow me on social media (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook), you may have noticed that I have been rocking a new accessory:

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I mean… you may not have noticed my break from TBGB at all… but if you did, and you don’t follow me on social media… that is why. On May 9th I did a number on myself and grabbed a 345 degree Celcius skillet handle, straight out of the oven. If you’re wondering where my pot mitten was… it was on my left hand. Who knows why. Fast forward about an hour later, after I determined that my bubbling skin would in fact NOT go back to normal if I “just kept it under the cool water a bit longer”, a ridiculously attractive urgent care doctor informed me that I had sustained second degree burns.

There’s a reason why my personal directive (yes, I have one… you should, too) states that if I have sustained serious burns over a certain percentage of my body that I just want to be kept comfortable until I pass. Burns are no joke. I knew this from volunteering at the hospital, at times meeting patients who were being treated in burn units. Skin grafts, tissue debridement, the chance of infection, compression garments… it’s all been explained to me. I don’t even like lighting a barbecue.

But accidents happen especially when you’re hungry and just want your damn chicken. I’m embarrassed to say that when this accident happened, I didn’t have a fully stocked first aid kit. I had about ten bandaids, hydrogen peroxide and expired Motrin and Polysporin. Not exactly batting 1000, and I know way better from the multiple advanced first aid courses I’ve taken. Accidents happen in life, yes, and the last thing you want to be is ill prepared to treat an injury that occurs in your home. So, here’s what you should have in your home first aid kit:

  • Bandaids of varying sizes
  • Butterfly style small wound closure strips (often called Steri-Strips)
  • Non-stick gauze pads in small, medium and large sizes
  • Standard gauze pads and rolled gauze (small and medium)
  • Iodine or Hydrogen Peroxide to sterilize
  • Sterile gloves
  • Instant cold compresses
  • Medical tape
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tweezers
  • A bottle of sterile saline (contact lens solution, for flushing/cleaning wounds)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Anti-Inflammatory and/or pain relieving medication

As you can see… I didn’t have ANY of this stuff that I needed! Thankfully… my much more responsible parents did, and given that I still need help cutting my food and doing things, I basically have lived with them the past couple of weeks. I know not everyone has family nearby that they can turn to so easily, so if you want a quick takeaway from this, go purchase a premade first aid kit (it’ll cost you 17-50$, depending on how fancy you get) at Walmart or Superstore or stock up on the supplies you don’t have.

My hand is getting better, and I’m getting better at doing things with my left hand and changing my bandages myself. I’m now firmly entrenched in the part of the process where things aren’t fully healed but I have to start re-acclimatizing all of this new skin to air and water while simultaneously trying to not break the skin. It’s great. For the forseeable future, if you see me out and about, it’ll probably be with my hand wrapped to protect it. Try not to make fun of me.

 

Have you ever had a crazy mishap that landed you in the urgent care, or with an injury you’d rather not explain to everyone? Let me know in the comments!