If you’re planning on going to Disney, visit here before it’s too late! Kouzzina is slated to close September 30, 2014.
On the first night of my Disney vacation, Mr. Pixelbunny and I chose to dine at Kouzzina. We could use the Disney Dining Plan, and dining there cost us one table service credit. When we asked, we were informed that with the dining plan, we were entitled to an entrée, a dessert, and a drink.
When menus were brought to our table, I thought the leather-like bound one was beautiful. I couldn’t stop staring at it. This picture doesn’t do it justice!
There are numerous tables with wonderful wait staff attending to them. The kitchen at the back is semi-open so you can see the cooks bustling about and the occasional flame as they sear and cook your meals. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t see a whole lot of kids there (perhaps it caters more to an adult palate?).
We started with a trio of olives and two kinds of olive oil. I don’t remember the name, but our waitress informed us that one olive oil is lighter, and the other more hearty. It’s difficult to explain, but the hearty one has a more complex flavour compared to the lighter one. The fresh bread that accompanied it was still warm and soft. The olives themselves are olives, although I can’t comment much on them as I do not know much about them and don’t eat them on a regular basis.
Of course, we couldn’t resist getting calamari for an appetizer. This plate is definitely meant for sharing as the portions were huge! Each piece was lightly battered and lemon juice was already sprinkled on top. The dip accompanying the calamari is tomato based, and had a smokiness flavour to it. There’s a little bit of spice to the smokiness which made is all the more delicious. This is definitely an appetizer you have to try.
For my entrée, I opted for the traditional whole fish. The waitress told me that the fish I received was yellow tail snapper. It is pan roasted, and served with braised greens (of which I’m not too sure that it was), olives, topped with shaved fennel and red pepper and a lemon on a small fork. The fish was cooked perfectly, and I literally ate the whole thing. All that was left was a fish skeleton. There is quite a lot of liquid/olive oil in this dish, which I think comes from the braised greens. Sometimes I dipped my fish into it, sometimes I didn’t. This dish is great, and definitely worth it if you’re charging it to your Disney Dining Plan.
Mr. Pixelbunny ordered the Fisherman’s Stew. When it came, it looks rather small next to my whole fish, but his dish was hearty and definitely filling. Our only complain was that his shrimp was undercooked. All the other seafood was perfect, but undercooked shrimp was off-putting. There is heat to the tomato base and is quite spicy. I’d order this again, but would pay more attention to how well cooked the seafood is.
We couldn’t leave without getting dessert, and Mr. Pixelbunny was fixated on loukoumades. They are essentially little small puffs of greek doughnuts, drizzled with honey and cinnamon. They are quite chewy and bread-like, so after eating 1, maybe 2, we were stuffed.
I opted for galaktoboureko. This delicious dessert consists of semolina custard that’s baked in phyllo pastry, and powdered with icing sugar. The custard is light, but slightly dense. It has just the perfect amount of sweetness to it, and the phyllo is flaky and crispy. I would love to find a place back home that makes this.
If you’re planning a visit to Disney World, I would recommend coming to Kouzzina, especially if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. You will receive very large portions of food and the food is great.
2101 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
It’s summer time, which means it’s time to break out the sunscreen. I am pretty terrible at remembering to use it daily, unless I know for sure that I am spending the day out in the sun. However, when it’s a 5 sec walk from my front door to the garage to get in the car, and then driving straight into underground parking at work, I hardly get any sun on my face. However, I’m pretty sure the hood of my car is reflecting those UV rays onto me, so it’s better to have something with SPF on rather than not.
Now I am an extremely lazy person, and any excuse to be able to snooze that extra few minutes is golden. This is one of the reasons why I reach for a separate day moisturizer with SPF from my night cream. To have SPF already in my moisturizer means it does double duty, which means less time slathering on product and waiting for it to dry completely before putting the next layer on.
I found this at the L’Oreal Spring Warehouse sale and figured it was a good product to try out. Not only does it contain both UVA and UVB SPF25 protection, this bottle has a special oil-free formula for sensitive skin to make your skin soothed and more hydrated. It also claims that it has 48hr hydration. I don’t know if that is useful at all since I wash my face twice daily, so the need to have 48hr hydration is a bit excessive.
There’s 118ml of lotion in this sturdy plastic bottle. It has this great oval shape which allows you to squeeze it ever so slightly in order to control the amount that comes out. For my face, I find a nickel-size amount is enough for my face and neck. The cap is flip top for ease of opening and you won’t ever lose the lid (unless you break the lid off, then that’s a different story).
It’s fairly thick for a lotion, but not quite as thick as a cream. I think this is likely because of the SPF properties in the lotion. It has that telltale sunscreen smell, so unfortunately there’s no escaping that. Applying it to the face is easy, but it does take a bit of time to work away the white cast from the sunscreen. I’m left with a slightly dewy complexion, but that’s easily fixed with a bit of powder. I’ve also been able to wear my foundation over top without the need of a primer to keep it in place. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the sunscreen, but on days where I’m not in the sweltering sun or I know I’m not going to be profusely sweating, I can get away without using primer.
I’m impressed with it’s hydrating properties. I wish there was some way to create a product that contains sunscreen without that sunscreen smell but I have yet to find it. I like that it does double duty of hydrating and protecting from UV rays. It’s a little too thick for my liking. I don’t love this product, but I do like it. I’ll continue to use it until it’s done, but I can’t say for certain if I will repurchase it or not.
Where to Buy
- Walmart – $10.47
- Shoppers Drug Mart -
Toner was always something I never paid that much attention to in my younger years, and now that I’m past the young adult phase of my life, it’s time to put more effort into taking care of my skin. Having said that, I started paying more attention to toners. I originally used Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion 2, because my mom would give me the sample bottles from her bonus kits. I used this on and off during my university days, and continued to use it for several years after that. It doubled as a makeup remover, even though I’m pretty sure that’s not what it’s supposed to be used for. After years of using the same thing, I wanted to try something new.
I first bought this just over a year ago, when Lancôme was selling their larger bottles sizes for a cheaper price. I bought one and tried it out, and loved it. I’ve since tried other toners as well, but I ended up coming back to this one. And here I will explain why.
The bottle itself has a light blue tinge to it, with an embossed image of the famous Lancôme rose.
The cap is reflective, with another embossed Lancôme rose at the top.
Twist off the cap and you’ll find an inner seal. Bonus points for sanitary control!
With that inner seal gone, now we can get to the actual product!
The bottle I have contains 200ml of toner. Upon opening it, I’m treated to a fragrance note of white lotus, which is very pleasing to my nose. Lancôme’s website claims that this exfoliating toner will help speed cell turnover to improve skin tone, texture, and clarity. I like it because it removes all excess oils from my skin and you can see those results on your cotton pad. After using it, my skin feels cooled, refreshed, and ready for the next step! Using this has made my skin looking and feeling more radiant.
A word of caution to those with broken skin – it will sting! I made the mistake of popping a pimple and then using toner and wow did it sting! If your skin is normal, you will be fine. But if there’s any broken skin anywhere, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Those with normal skin looking for a refreshing toner and a more radiant skin, this toner is for you! If you can wait until December/January, that is when Lancôme releases their larger sized bottles at a reduced price. This way, you’ll get more bang for your buck!
Where to Buy – $35
Only two empties this month. And they’re two favourites too!
Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover
I’ve lost track of how many bottles I’ve gone through. It is my favourite eye makeup remover and will continue to be! Last I checked, I still have 2 backup bottles in my stash in addition to the mega bottle I opened up recently. If you have any stubborn waterproof makeup with everlasting staying power, this stuff is magical and takes it right off!
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser Foaming Formula
After trying multiple facial cleansers, this one is the one that I find works best with my Clarisonic Mia. Almost every other cleanser I’ve used stings the eyes, but this stuff doesn’t sting at all. And non-stinging formulas are key when using cleansers with any type of Clarisonic. No matter how you manoeuvre it, your cleanser WILL run and it WILL get into your eyes. I’ll write another post about my Clarisonic later, but for the purposes of this post, I love this facial cleanser and highly recommend it. I also have a backup in my stash in addition to the one I just opened.
I picked this one up at the L’Oreal Warehouse sale for Spring 2014 for $29.99. It originally retailed for $46, but now it is no longer available. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from trying it out. It claims it is an intense moisturizer that is excellent for dry skin. With the drying winter months behind me, I wouldn’t mind the extra hydration.
Some of the ingredients include Himalayan Pink salts, pure extract of thermal plankton, and insulating bio-polymer. The website claims you can use this by itself, or as a hydrating boost for your current moisturizer.
There’s 20ml of serum housed in a cute little glass bottle with a white pump.
The safety cap prevents the top nozzle from being pushed by accident, so no product comes spilling out. It easily came off with a little tug.
You can see in the picture that the product is a greenish colour. What you can’t see is that it has an iridescent sheen to it. Two pumps is what I like to use for my whole face and neck. I use this both in the morning and evening. It has a light scent that’s nice and pleasant. The product absorbs very nicely into the skin and does not have a leftover greasy feeling. An added bonus is that it gives a fresh and illuminated look to my skin.
I quite like this! I’m almost done the whole bottle and I’m sad I didn’t purchase a second one to have as a back up. If you can still find this, I recommend trying it out!
Where to Buy
- Unfortunately, it is no longer available for purchase.
Towards the end of May, I participated in a Twitter contest to win a chance to attend a special breakfast with Dave Lackie, Shiseido, and Cityline for an upcoming innovative beauty launch. Luckily, I was one of the participants selected! This event was to mimic events that a beauty editor is able to attend and we twitter winners are lucky enough to experience this!
On arrival, we were all served a tall glass of cranberry lime spritzer (pictured above in front of the Shiseido gift bag). It was light and refreshing and was a great way to start off the morning.
The event was held at Arcadian Court, downtown Toronto. The room was beautifully decorated, with tall tables forming a U shape so that everyone could see the front. Everything was impeccably placed.
All of the flower settings were placed in an Erlenmeyer flask. I thought this was a rather nice ode to science, as Shiseido really values scientific research in the creation of their products. The science geek in me was so excited to see this.
Along the window were displays of the newest Shiseido beauty innovation: Ultimune. There were beautiful displays of these bottles alongside with the natural ingredients used in the making of this product.
I loved that they had the actual ingredients instead of signs. Also, having the red peppercorns in a beaker was another nice science touch.
These three were housed in little glass bottles. Aqua in pool, explains Elaine Shigeishi, is water encapsulated in oil. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I think they somehow managed to combined water and oil together and they’re not separating.
Ooo herbs that I recognize!
Another three mini glass bottles.
I like that these two were presented together. I can’t explain why, but the two work as a pair.
After having mingled with other guests and chatted with some of Shiseido’s representatives, Dave came out to announce that breakfast was about to be served!
It was amazing seeing these two beautiful ladies in the flesh! Shelley Rozenwald is the Chief Beauty Adventurer of Hudson’s Bay, and Elaine Shigeishi is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Shiseido.
I still can’t believe I met Dave Lackie. A picture with him was absolutely necessary. You can’t see it here but he’s slouching to be closer in height to me. He’s quite tall!
To start off our breakfast, our first course was organic yogurt panna cotta. This is composed of a house made granola that included oats, pumpkin seeds, and toasted slivered almonds. There was also an assortment of dried blueberries and cranberries, as well as fresh strawberries and raspberries. The panna cotta wasn’t too runny or too dense, but nicely in the middle. The granola gave it good texture and crunch, while the berries provided a subtle sweetness.
Next up was my favourite, O&B artisan apple bâtard french toast. Bâtard is a type of french bread and this one had some apples baked right into the bread. This was used to make french toast, and was served with delicious peameal bacon, cinnamon crème fraiche, and drizzled with maple syrup from Fortune Farms.
The compressed fruit and berry plate was a mixture of fruit slices and berries. I’m not understanding why the word compressed is being used, as the watermelon and honeydew are sliced, and the cantaloupe are sliced super thin. Some raspberries, blueberries, a slice of strawberry and a piece of pineapple was what I found on my plate. Fruit was sweet, but you could tell from bites that it had been prepared well beforehand and kept in the fridge.
After breakfast, we were invited to try out Sony’s new VR headsets to watch a short loops of video clips that Shiseido had developed in promotion for Ultimune. Unfortunately, the videos don’t use the VR capability of the headsets so I’m unable to comment on how they were. You could adjust the size to fit your head at the top. At the smallest setting, the weight of the headset still pulled the headset too far forward, and I had to use my hand to prop them up so I could view the video properly. The video was strictly video, as in there was no audio. I’m not sure if it was because audio wasn’t working or if there was no audio track.
Some tables were set up with Ultimune on display with an informational booklet. Everything looked so lovely.
I had to get one more picture with Dave before I left. It was a dream meeting him in person! I only wish I could have overcome my shyness asked him more questions!
Everyone who came to the breakfast were given a gift bag full of great Shiseido products. I took the subway with another attendee and we both compared our bags. To our surprise, they were different! Both of us received a pack of Shiseido cotton, an Ibuki starter kit, and a bottle of Ultimune. It was the remaining 2 products that were different. While I received a cheek highlighter and a lip gloss, she received an eyeshadow compact and lipstick!
I am so thankful to Dave Lackie, Shiseido, and Cityline for putting on such an amazing and fun experience for me. It really does give you an idea of what beauty editors get to experience during new beauty launches!
As for me, I’m excited to start trying out Ultimune! You can expect a full review on here when I’ve had a couple of weeks to try it out!
I’m a lazy person. There, I said it. I mean, who really wants to wake up at some ungodly hour just to get ready when you could spend that extra 30min or so in bed? I’ll admit, I’d much rather snooze a few more times before rolling out of bed to wash my face, do a 5 min face and then be out the door to go to work. However, I will spend the time at night to take care of my skin just before going to bed.
Enter Ecotools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge for Sensitive Skin. This sponge has made it easy to at least give my face a good clean in the morning rather than my usual wet face cloth. Dab a little bit of facial cleanser, work in small circles, and then rinse off. Voila! Fresh, clean face ready for quickie skincare and makeup application.
The sponge itself is housed in clear plastic shell, then enclosed in a sturdy recycled paper box.
The sponge itself when it first came out of the packaging was hard and had a little bit of give to it when you pressed a finger into it. It does take a little bit of time for water to soak in, at which it becomes nice and soft with a springy texture. The sponge itself is made out of 100% natural ingredients, including Konjac vegetable fibre. This was pretty interesting as I’ve always eaten konjac (I know it under the name of konnyaku) whenever my family has hot pot.
I like to use the flat, pointed side under my eyes, the sides of my nose, and below my lips. The larger rounded side of the sponge I use for the rest of my face. After using, I’ll squeeze it a couple of times under running water to rinse it, then place it in a small dish by the sink to dry.
It has a slight rough texture to the touch, but once wet, it is soft and offers a very gentle scrub. The best part of this product is that it is fragrance-free and colorant-free!
I use this mainly in the morning with a small drop of my facial cleanser. At night, I still default to my trusty Clarisonic. This is a great way to work a little TLC in my morning skincare regime without having to set aside a lot of time for it. The best part is that after using this to clean my face in the morning, I find that my skincare products have been absorbing better. Bonus!
Where to Buy
- Farleyco – $11.99
* Disclaimer – I received this product from FarleyCo for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.
I’ve never used a makeup sponge before. I’ve always applied my foundations mainly with my fingers, and sometimes with a brush when I’m wearing contacts. When this appeared on my doorstep courtesy of FarleyCo, I was intrigued.
The sponge is housed in a clear plastic mold, then into another clear plastic case. The mold is helpful in helping the sponge retain its shape. However, when I opened mine up, there was a slight indent in the flat side of the sponge. It wasn’t a problem, because after washing it under water and drying, the indent was gone, and the sponge looked perfect.
You can see that the sponge has 3 main areas – a flat side, rounded side behind it, and a pointed tip.
The flat edge is designed for the contours around the eyes as well as the nose.
The rounded side (that you can easily see from the above pictures) is the area you use for overall application. It’s best to dab the foundation all around instead of dragging it across the skin.
The pointed tip is for more precise work in covering up blemishes and around the nose.
I found that I actually like using the flat edge for all over the face, and then the pointed tip for around the eyes and nose. Not only was application super easy, but I could also do it well without wearing contacts! That’s right my fellow poor-sighted girls, I was able to achieve an even application without having to be right up close to the mirror!
To use, I pump the foundation to the back of my hand, then dab the sponge onto it. After dabbing it onto various areas on my face, I then use the different areas (flat, round, tip) to lightly stipple the foundation into place. The sponge does absorb some of the product so watch out for that. Whereas I use 2 pumps of foundation for application with my fingers, I find I need 3 pumps with the sponge.
For a first time user of makeup sponges, I love this! I’ve worked this into my daily beauty routine and it is super easy to use. I highly recommend this to the poor-sighted who want an even makeup application with no fuss!
Where to Buy – $9.99
* Disclaimer – I received this product from FarleyCo for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.
Garnier Refreshing Remover Cleansing Towelettes
Makeup wipes are a must for lazy people (aka – me) and for traveling as well. These wipes did an excellent job taking off all of my makeup, and most of the waterproof stuff as well. I had some trouble getting waterproof eyeliner and mascara, but that job I usually reserve for my trusty Lancôme Bi-Facil. Otherwise, makeup comes off easily and leaves me with a nice, fresh scent!
Marcelle BB Cream
Full review here. I can’t believe I actually finished this! This has been my go-to for work as it is super easy to put on in the morning, and out the door I go. I’m really proud of myself for finishing a whole tube, and this was the larger 70ml size too!
Laneige Water Bank Essence
Full review here. I love this and would absolutely repurchase it again. It is perfect during the drying winter months for me, or for those with dry skin. I highly recommend this Laneige line!
Nude ProGenius treatment oil
I received this cute mini pump bottle as a sample from a Sephora order. I’d never tried oils before so I wasn’t sure how I would like it. Surprisingly enough, it’s not as bad as I expected. I had literally pictured oil being slathered on my face for a greasy finish, but this absorbed nicely into my skin and left it with a nice glow. The mini size made it good for travel and it gave my dry skin a nice boost in hydration. I liked it for night time, but I felt it was too much for day time application.
Went out with some of Mr. Pixelbunny’s cousins and it was decided that we’d all do sushi downtown. His cousin recommended Yuzu no Hana, and we all met up there.
It has a small and cozy atmosphere, with tables close to each other in an intimate setting. The exposed brick wall at the back is illuminated by soft lighting from behind the cushioned bench seating. Opposite to this wall is the sushi counter, where sushi chefs, slice, assemble, and even torch each dish to order. It’s magical watching them work, almost to the point where you’ve forgotten the conversation you’re a part of. Our server was extremely attentive, and was knowledgeable when I asked him what my chirashi consisted of.
Everyone started off with a complimentary miso soup. It was flavoured just right, and although I don’t have it very well seen in the picture, there were thinly sliced fried tofu in there.
I wanted to start with my meal off with an oyster shooter. Consisting of a fresh oyster, some bits of uni, tobiko, green onion, yuzu ponzu, and a quail egg, this was served in a tiny little port glass. I contemplated whether to mix everything prior to eating it, or just to toss it back into my mouth. In the end, I tilted my head back and popped it into my mouth. It was a mix of flavours that worked really well together, except that the oyster had a slight off taste to it. It’s too bad, because it had the potential to be quite good, but that off taste set me back a little.
For my main, I chose chirashizushi. The fish in my bowl consisted of salmon, tuna, sea bream, fluke, and butter fish. Other wonderful additions to the bowl were tam ago (sweet egg), some pickled mushrooms, pickles, and burdock root, a shiso leaf, pickled ginger, freshly grated wasabi (none of that paste stuff), and sticky sushi rice that’s lightly dusted with furikake. The freshness of the fish is outstanding, with the best being the butter fish, followed by fluke, sea bream, tuna and salmon. I would love to try the deluxe version next time.
Mr. Pixelbunny got YUZU bento, which includes grilled salmon, tempura, sashimi, sushi, and a chef’s selection of side dishes which included some kind of fried root vegetable, tam ago, pickled burdock root, lotus root, dried date stuffed with cream cheese, and some type of black bean. I got to try a bite of everything and it’s all really, really good. From the size of it, it’s definitely filling as there’s a bowl of rice that’s included that didn’t make the above picture.
One of the dishes the cousins ordered that caught my eye was the YUZU maki. It’s essentially shrimp tempura and avocado roll with spicy scallop and salmon on top, topped with tobiko, spicy mayo and a sweet brown sauce (teriyaki?). The roll itself isn’t set aflame, but rather the plate underneath, creating a visual spectacle at the table. Mr. Pixelbunny managed to capture the cool blue flame in this shot. The roll itself is tasty certainly packs a punch, but I’m not sure it merits its hefty price tag.
For dessert, I got the matcha crème brûlée. It’s topped with a sliced strawberry, blueberries, a raspberry, gooseberry, and a cream-filled wafer roll. The crème brûlée is really good and you can definitely taste the matcha. I quite enjoyed the taste and liked that it’s not too sweet.
Mr. Pixelbunny chose the sake cheesecake for his dessert. What was really neat about his was that you can taste the sake! It is topped with a sliced strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and mint leaf, dusted with icing sugar, and served with a different type of cream-filled wafer roll and a smear of raspberry sauce. Again, the cheesecake is not overly sweet, and the sake taste is not too overbearing either. I prefer my brûlée over his cheesecake, and he prefers his cheesecake over my brûlée. Both are very good in my opinion.
Everything we’ve eaten here has been fantastic! With the only exception of the oyster in my oyster shooter, everything else is fresh, wonderful quality, and with great taste. I wouldn’t hesitate to eat here again. I do have an eye on their matcha tiramisu for next time!
Yuzu no Hana
236 Adelaide St W,