Nick is Going to be a Great Bachelor

A new year is here, and that means a new season of The Bachelor is just around the corner. This season is sure to be an interesting season, thanks almost exclusively to the choice of the lead, Nick Viall.

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TWO! MORE! WEEKS! #thebachelor

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This was surely not a popular pick. Nick was not beloved on his two stints on The Bachelorette and the producers had a slam-dunk-middle-America-will-love-him pick in Luke Pell, the fourth-place contestant on Jojo’s season. Luke even had the plane ticket to go to LA for his leading role. But here’s the thing, Luke would have been terrible and Nick is going to be amazing. Here’s why.

While on Bachelor in Paradise, he proved he could be a likeable character, contrary to popular belief. We enjoyed watching him fall for Jenn, become friends with the twins, and attempt to fill Amanda in on what a douche canoe Josh is (RIP Amandosh 2016-2016). He changed the opinion of himself in the eyes of a lot of the audience. He turned us all into believiallers.

Nick has been here before, and he’ll act like it. Two season of The Bachelorette and a stint in Paradise means that Nick understands that this is a television show. This may be a detractor for many people, but because of his experience (in more ways than one,) it means he knows how to make compelling television. Which is truly what we are here for.  Nick is a smart cookie, he’ll do what it takes to make this entertaining.

But the best thing about Nick is that we’ve never had a Bachelor quite like him before. That’s a good thing. You may love your Ben Higgins, Chris Soules, and Sean Lowe, but you can not tell me they are great television characters. But Nick is, and has been since his first run at this whole ‘finding love on TV’ thing. He’s a bolder, brighter star than we’ve seen before, and I personally cannot wait to watch him.

For my opinions on the ladies vying for Viall’s love, check out the season preview podcast where we’re joined once again by Big Brother Canada’s Jordan Parhar. As always, you can tweet along with me every Monday night – @hstrong_

Sephora Gimme Some Bold Lip Set

I keep telling myself I have too much lipstick and that I need to stop. Or at least get a nude lip product every once in a while. Luckily, I have a best friend who throws my cautions to the wind and got me this set from Sephora. I’ve seen these sets in the past, but never with the bold colours which are much more up my alley.

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The set is a great mix of liquid lipsticks and regular ones, super out there colours and everyday bolds.

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Ciate London’s Liquid Velvet in Head Over Heels

This was my surprise favourite of the set. When I first saw there was a Ciate product in the bunch I was a little apprehensive, I mean, this is a brand known for nail polish after all. My concerns were futile as this lippy was creamy, pigmented, and GORGEOUS beyond belief.

Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Colour in An Affair

Laura Mercier’s offering to the set is a pretty deep plum classic satin lipstick. It’s the perfect colour to wear to work that mixes a bold, beautiful lip without scaring any of your coworkers. It’s hydrating and lovely.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Damned 

This is probably the lippy that I was most looking forward to in the set. I have the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in L.U.V and it’s probably one of my favourites that I own. As to be expected with a liquid lipstick, this bad boy isn’t going to be an oasis of moisture and hydration for your lips. It is long-lasting, but I find since the colour is so dark, touch ups are necessary throughout the day.

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Sephora Rouge Cream in Belly-Dancing

Belly-Dancing is a cranberry red. It’s a pretty, flattering colour with a formula that I dig. I wish that they would have included an orangey colour in the set like We Have to Talk or Stolen Kiss just to have a little more variation in the set. This is the most affordable lipstick if you’re looking for the full size.

Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Yaassss

Me when I saw this one was in the set.

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I love this colour, and I’ve been dying to try the Creamy Lip Paint for eons. It didn’t disappoint. The colour is gorgey porgey and not quite as electric on the face, making it fairly wearable for every day. The formula is not overly drying, which is not always the case for a liquid lipstick that promises a matte finish.

Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Aubergine

I juuuust wrote about the Creme Lip Crayons in my last post! I like the formula on these a lot, although they aren’t as long-lasting as I want (approx. 5 years). I wish the colour leaned more purple, but regardless, I’m happy to have this one in my arsenal.

Influenster BITE Box – Matte Lip Crayon

Hi guys! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Sorry, things have gotten in the way the last few months but I’m going to try to do a better job at posting in the new year (is what I tell myself.)

Anyway, Influenster was kind enough to include me in their BITE Beauty Matte Lip Crayon campaign. If there are 3 things you should know about me – I love makeup, I love mail, and I love getting stuff for free. This was the perfect compilation of all of the above.

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BITE is a Canadian company that focuses on lip products. You can find their stuff at your local Sephora, and like, other places I’m sure. I had never tried any of their stuff except for a swipe of a friend’s lipstick a couple of months ago.

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They sent three of their Matte Lip Crayons in the colours Glacé, Red Velvet and Cava. Glacé is the perfect ‘your lips but better’ dusty rose nude colour. Red Velvet is a classic flattering red. Cava is an icy pink, but not the kind you and your friends wore at dances in middle school, like a COOL icy pink, you know?

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These glide on like Nutella on a crumpet – smooth as hell. It doesn’t take much to build up the colour to the perfect opacity. I tend to use a lot of liquid lipsticks because I am lazy and don’t have to reapply them, and these don’t last as long as those, but they still have a pretty great wear time. My personal fav is Red Velvet.

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I would definitely recommend these, I LOVE them. They are so wonderful. Try them, and then tell me how much you love them.

Montreal

The weather was nice, the sun was shining and I thought it was time for a vacation. My friend Emily and I decided to take a trip to Montreal. As she lives on the east coast, and I in Ontario, Montreal seemed like a good meet-in-the-middle point, and I had never been!

It wasn’t hard to fall head-over-heels for Montreal. The old stunning old buildings, an abundance of shops, and so many food items that you just HAVE to try.
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On the first day, we did a lot of walking around. Like, I crushed my previous best on my FitBit by 10,000 steps a lot. We couldn’t get enough of exploring the old town.

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We also paid a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts because it was free for people under 30. That’s where I found a piece of art I really connected with.

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The next day we did a hike to the viewing point at Mont Royal. Here’s a tip, don’t wait until noon on the hottest possible day to do it.

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We stumbled across the Alouettes season opener, so we thought we had to go. We didn’t stay for the whole game because holy hell was it ever long. I don’t know if I’ve even been to a baseball game that was that long.

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Our last day was spent wandering around, appreciating the amazing street art on Blvd St Laurent.

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I had high expectations for Montreal, but they were still blown away. I loved this city, and can’t wait to go back!

 

 

The Blue Jays Run Down – Happy Opening Day

josh donaldsonThe birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and even though there is still snow on the ground here in Southern Ontario, I know it’s finally spring because the Blue Jays are back in business.

After a fairytale 2015 season, the 2016 Blue Jays sure have a lot to live up to. There were some interesting storylines going into spring training: the nixed trade for Jay Bruce, the contract struggles with Jose and Edwin, who was going to make up the starting rotation, and of course, Josh Donaldson the MVP and his hairdos.

With all of this hanging over the Blue Jays, the team put together a pretty solid spring training campaign. Yes, I know that spring training means nothing, yadda yadda yadda. But dissipates a little bit of that pre-season anxiety the collective Blue Jays fans have been holding onto.

The Blue Jays played another pair of sold-out exhibition games in Montreal, making the case once again that it might be the time again for a baseball team à Montréal. The Jays lost two to the Red Sox in the series, but the energy at the O was electric regardless.

The Jays started the season in Tampa Bay, a place they’ve always had trouble. The took the first two games from the Rays. Both Marcus Stroman and RA Dickey ran into a little trouble in their first outings of the season, but both were able to come away with a W in hand with help from the bat coming alive with Tulo, Thole, Saunders, and the reigning MVP going yard in the first two games, and Kevin Pillar more or less sacrificing his neck for a catch. Don’t worry, he’s okay!

The outlook is sunny for the Jays right now, let’s keep it going!

A Taste of Ottawa

My favourite part about any trip is eating at new restaurants. We stayed in the Byward Market area, so there were hundreds of fantastic restaurants just steps from our hotel. With our limited time in the city, we didn’t get as many chances to explore the food scene of Ottawa as we would have liked, but this is where we hit up.

On our first night, we visited Ahora for dinner, a restaurant we had found online before our trip. With both my boyfriend and I loving Mexican food, we knew this restaurant was a must-visit.

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I had a steak quesadilla and Ethan had an enchilada trio. Both meals were great and reasonably priced. The staff was very nice and helpful to two Ahora newbies.

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The next day for lunch, we landed on a spot we had seen earlier in the day, El Furniture Warehouse.

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What caught our eye was a sign outside saying that everything on the menu was $4.95. We figured that everything was pretty basic and that everything was an extra cost. We were astounded to find out, for the most part, it wasn’t too good to be true. Meals came with a choice of fries or a salad.

We started with an order of potato skins, and we each had a pulled chicken sandwich. Ethan upgraded his salad to a Caesar. Our meal came to under $20. If you’re looking for a decent cheap meal, this is the place to get it.

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The Candian Tire Centre has a lot of different food options. But the way the stadium is set up, the 2nd level and 3rd level share food outlets, which causes for a pretty hectic concourse. We both went for a Smoke’s Poutine, because how could we leave Canada’s capital without having Canada’s national dish? I went for a pulled pork poutine, my usual order when I visit Smoke’s.

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To pick up some treats before leaving, we visited Moulin de Provence, Ottawa’s best-known bakery. Even Obama has stopped in for a visit. I got an almond and chocolate croissant, as well as a Justin Trudeau Canada cookie.

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I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more attractive baked good.

I wish we could have gone to a few more restaurants during our trip, but the timing just wasn’t in our favour. I’m sure we will be back, so give me a few recommendations for when we are!

Ottawa Adventures/Capital Gains

The cold, dark winter was getting to me. I needed a vacation. The beaches of the Caribbean were not an option for me, so my boyfriend and I decided to go somewhere even colder – Canada’s Capital, Ottawa. I hadn’t been since I was young, and Ethan had never been so it seemed like the perfect place to getaway for a few days.

We got to the hotel in the Byward Market area and settled in before going for dinner. After dinner, we made our way to  SkyZone Ottawa. If you haven’t heard of SkyZone, they are a chain of indoor trampoline parks. You basically have to sign your life away once you step in the door, but it is a ton of fun.
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The next day, we headed straight for the Canadian Parliament for a tour. These tours are free and great. The best part is getting to go up to the top of the Peace Tower, which I didn’t even know was an option.
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We then headed to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, which Ethan really wanted to check out. My favourite part was the space area, where a few things from Chris Hadfield‘s latest expedition were displayed.

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Afterwards, we went for lunch and walked around for a while.

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That night, we headed out to Kanata to catch an Ottawa Senators game. They played, and lost to, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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On our last morning, we walked to the Byward Marketplace and got a few treats before checking out of the hotel.

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On our last Ottawa stop, we went to the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum. I thought what our trip was really lacking was me petting animals, so this was the place to rectify this.

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This little trip was exactly what I needed. I honestly feel like I could move to Ottawa if it didn’t get so damn cold in the winter. I wish we had a little more time there, as there are just so many things to do. It was great to explore Canada’s capital city!

 

 

After the Final Rose – Saying Bye to Ben

Ben laurenThe vacations have been taken, the drinks have been drunk, the roses have been given, and the hearts have been broken. Ben has gotten down on one knee and pledged his life, or at least the next 8 months, to perpetual front-runner, Lauren B. (For what it’s worth, I think these kids might have a chance.)

It’s safe to say that this was a pretty solid season. It did end up being quite the Olivia show a good portion of the season, which meant the audience didn’t get a chance to know the remaining girls. Which was a shame, because this has been one of my favourite group of women in a long time. They, for the most part, seemed to have their heads on straight. They got along fairly well, and their only signs of cattiness near the end was directed at Olivia. Not to say there was no cattiness. For example, the Jubilee, Amber, and Jami argument that was addressed in the women tell all.

In the end, we saw Ben choose Lauren over Jojo in a heated race for his heart. He didn’t seem to know who he was going to choose right up until the very end. But it seemed to the audience, the choice was clear from very early on. I’ll admit, there was a little bit of doubt in my mind during the finale that the editing was leading us astray and that he would choose Jojo, but that was not the case.

It’s all going to work out for Jojo though. She was named as the new Bachelorette after rumours swirled that it would be Caila. Speculation has it that it was Caila up until the week before the finale, but it was given to Jojo, most likely due to the fanfare the second placer received.

I enjoyed this season for the most part, of course there were slow weeks, just like in every season, but it wasn’t trainwreckingly boring like my darling Kaitlyn’s season. I am looking forward to a season with Jojo as the lead much more than I was looking forward to one featuring Caila. To catch up on a whole season of podcasts, you can find them here. Let me know in the comments or on twitter how you felt about this season!

 

Niagara Restaurant Round Up

I have been hoarding pictures of food on my phone for a while now. Instead of doing a food pic friday collage with all of these photos, I decided I would give the low down on all the restaurants that were photographed. In all these restaurant’s case, I have been there at least once before, so I will give you the scoop on those visits as well.

Frijoles

This is my favourite grab-and-go Mexican place in Niagara. My usual is the fish tacos, which are crispy. I love adding the pineapple salsa to them when available. I’ve tried a few other things there, like the chicken and the shrimp, but I always end up back with the fish.

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The Works

My favourite type of food is twists on food I already know I like. The Works is great for that. I love burgers, and they have a lot of variations. I’ve gone probably half a dozen times, and have never gotten the same thing. I’ve gotten the Crappy Tire (pineapple, brie, and bbq sauce) on both chicken and beef, the Sk8er Boi (peanut butter, onions, and bacon), the Dead Ringer (onion rings, bbq sauce, and brisket). My latest trips, featured in the photographs, brought me to the Gotta Have KD (kraft dinner and cheddar), and the Surf and Turf ( beef and shrimp patty, arugala, shrimp, goat cheese, and a pineapple salsa). My favourite has been the Surf and Turf, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that KD burger since early January.

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Moku’s

This place is Fonthill’s newest (and only???) Hawaiian restaurant. Before I have had the fish and chips, the fish has a coconut beer batter and the fries are outrageously good, and the Teryaki Burger, with pineapple and a teryaki bbq sauce. I love pineapple on savoury items, and the burger patty is one of the best. On my latest trip, I got the wonton soup to start, very reasonably priced and a great little starter, and the Kalua Pork Plate. For the sides, I got the beans and fries. The pork was great, as were the fries, but the beans are passable. Maybe try the macaroni salad.

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The Brickyard

If you hop across the border to the other Niagara, you’ll find a great little BBQ place in the heart of downtown Lewiston called the Brickyard. My family has been hitting this place up for years. The food is insanely reasonably priced and tastes even better. I find it hard to drag myself away from the bomb brisket, but when I do, I get that sweet, sweet pulled pork.

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Taco N Tequila

The first time I came here, I wasn’t overly impressed with my shrimp tacos, rice, and beans. I went back not too long ago for a charity dinner and my opinion was completely changed. This place has the largest margaritas in Niagara. So naturally, I got one.

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We were so full from our oversized bevs, that it was hard to consume our delicious meal. I had the bean soup to start, a beef burrito which I could barely eat a third of and finished the next day for breakfast, and some churros that we took to go. Is there anything better than churros?

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Kully’s

Kully’s is a perfect place in downtown St. Catharines to meet up with your friends and eat some highish end pub food. Last time, our group of 7 took part in a cheap burger deal that no longer exists. This time, my eye was caught by the Chili Lime Pulled Pork and Mac. It was a pulled pork sandwich with a DEEP FRIED MAC AND CHEESE BLOCK. It was so unbelievably good OMG. It was worth the month I lost of my life eating it.

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Iggy’s

Another high end up, this time, located in Fonthill. They have an unreal beer selection if you’re into that. Twice I got the fish and chips, which have an apple cider batter, and I’ve enjoyed it both times. The last time I got a burger with a crab cake on it. YAAAS QUEEN. It was great.

Well, that’s about it for now, I’m sure I’ll have another restaurant round up soon enough. In the meantime, let me know what your favourite Niagara restaurants are.