Sunday, 31 May 2009

Bare who?

I am not one for product promotion or marketing. That is more Jessica's speed. However, I cannot say enough about Bare Minerals makeup. I was bragging to Jessica about this line of products a couple weeks ago in Vienna. I thought I would take the time to give this makeup line a little bit of free marketing.

Who hates liquid foundation? clogged pores? uneven skin tone? The thought that some of your powder or foundation might rub off on your white blouse, or your boyfriend's shirt? Us ladies are always looking for a better way to cover our blemishes, dark circles or hangovers, without looking like we spent all morning doing it.

I heard about Bare Minerals makeup last winter when I was in Arizona. It was all over the TV and in Sephora, but I thought it was too good to be true. How can some mineralized powder stay on all day, make my face look flawless and still be good for my skin? Well surprisingly, it can. Now available at Shopper's Drug Mart (though, they can't keep it on the shelves), are starter kits that match your skin tone. I grabbed the Medium toned kit for $75, and I was not disappointed. Some foundation powders, brushes, and a how to dvd and book is all you need to get started. Once you read the instructions (DVD is only for those hardcore ppl), you will be ready to go and I promise you will NEVER look back.

I purchased the starter kit and it is all I have used for the past few months. I thought the $75 price tag was a bit high, but now, it is all I use (in replace of many different powders, foundations etc), I think its a pretty good deal. I also bought the amazing primer they have ($26). Once my starter kit runs low, I will probably just replenish my fav foundation powder.

Ok enough propaganda..check it out...hopefully you will love the products as much as I do..or at least you will love all the compliments on how great you look ..True story!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Put Me in Your Suitcase....Salzburg

Salzburg is as small as it is beautiful. If you venture to mid western Europe, it is not to be missed. With the backdrop of the Alps and many beautifully designed buildings, one cannot help but fall in love with this quietly quaint city. I spent a night in Salzburg in transit from Vienna to Munich in May. Basically the city can be turned upside down in a day. Navigating Salzburg's winding streets and many historical sights took my boyfriend and I only about 4-5 hours. It was intense, but we were on a tight schedule. Anymore than a day here and you best have a Sound of Music tour or Salt Mine tour (supposed to be amazing) planned. Here is what not to miss:

1. St Peter's Bakery - one of the oldest bakeries in Europe. Pay 2 euros for hot baked bread that is to die for.

2. Catacombs - on the side of the main mountain/hill there are catacombs that are hundreds of years old. Pay the 3 Euros to navigate the narrow steps for a unique perspective of Salzburg.

3. Salzach Bar - Enjoy a coffee or mixed drink on this floating boat bar on the Danube. If the weather is nice, sit outside at night and enjoy the sun setting over the Festung Hohensalzburg (Mountain).

4. Hohensalzburg Fortress - The oldest preserved castle in Europe sits atop of the mountain and overlooks the city. The castle tour is mediocre, but the furnicular ride up is worth the hundreds of photos you will take.
Let me know if you want more information or visit Wikipedia (the owners of the above picture and other valuables)

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Greek Salad

As the temperature rises my appetite decreases and I crave healthy, fresh foods/meals. Greek Salad is one of my favourite summer indulgences – it’s all of the above plus I love ALL the ingredients. I won’t keep you any longer….

  • Handful of black Kalamata olives
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced into cubes
  • 1 cucumber peeled, diced into cubes
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded, diced
  • ½ red onion, sliced finely
  • 100ml/3fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g/5oz feta cheese, diced
  • 2 pieces of pitta bread, toasted and diced into cubes
  • 1 generous sprig of oregano (or 2 tbsp dried oregano)
  • pinch of salt & pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss.

Enjoy outside in sunshine!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Twitter…I LOVE her (?)!

So after reading my BFF’s post about Twitter being pointless (*gasp*) I decided to counterpost (rather than leave a comment) as I strongly believe in its benefits – both personally and professionally.

Where do I even begin? Let me give you an example of what I do in the mornings: press the snooze button (once or twice) before getting up, brush my teeth and take a shower. In between cleaning my ears, moisturizing, getting dressed, blow-drying my hair and applying make-up I check Twitter. It’s become part of my ‘routine’ if you will. Yes, I partially check it to see what my friends have been up to but I mostly check it for news and events happening that day. You see I don’t just follow friends or celebrities (for my gossip fix!), I follow News casts (@CNN, @CBCNews, @BBC, @NPR…and more are all present), industry based companies (I work in the movie industry so I follow industry giants - @Universal, @Paramount etc; entertainment news site – @aintitcool; platforms – @itunestrailers etc and different cinemas) and either projects or things I’m interested in (for example I enjoy cooking & food - @OliveMag, @innocentdrinks, @toptable). Twitter allows me to check in on all of the above (and more) in one quick and convenient location – all I need to do is log in.

Twitter, unlike Google works in ‘real time’ – for example, a few months ago I had a beauty appointment; while arriving to the salon there had been an accident and the road had been cornered off and I had to take a different route. In today’s day and age we want to know what happened and we want the info pronto. After my appointment I checked TwitterSearch to see if anyone posted about the incident and guess what? People had. I knew exactly what had happened in seconds and Twitter made it possible. Google wasn’t able to tell me b/c there wasn’t an archived story or article about it as it had just occurred.

Twitter in the purest form is meant to be used to update your followers on what you’re doing but it’s evolved into a sharing tool with people posting things they’re interested in (albeit books, movies, exhibits, clips, restaurants, quotes etc), recommendations and asking for advice – not sure what anti-aging cream you should you use? Just ask your followers. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get a response.

It’s only as good as you make it. Follow people/companies you’re interested in and you’ll reap the benefits.

Kennedy – I took forward to debating this topic (and many others) in Vienna this weekend ;)

Monday, 11 May 2009

Twitter...I barely knew her

What's the deal with Twitter anyway? I mean..where does it fit in? What is its real purpose? I joined Twitter about a month ago, like many people out there. I watched patiently as Ashton Kutcher battled Larry King for the most followers..and won (no surprise there). My question what?

People drop off Twitter as fast as they join. I guess most people realize there isn't a huge point to it. Besides the fun of updating your friends about your life in 140 characters, what else is there to it? Its no wonder people drop out..I have gotten pretty bored myself updating my followers on what I am doing. Is anyone even caring? reading?

At least with Facebook, there is a point. Not only can you update people, you can add friends, create events, share photos and creep to see what your crush is up to this weekend. I have yet to see any real merit in Twitter...even the name is dumb.

What are you up to? Not Twittering...I welcome any reasons to continue

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

You Lost Him at Hello

Wow..what a great book. Do I normally say that? Well anyway, a friend lent me this book the other day and it hasn't disappointed. Its a bit of a quick and fun read..not too heavy on the brain power, but very enjoyable. I can't tell you how many times I have laughed out loud or nodded my head in agreement. As you can tell by the title, this book is all about mistakes women make when dating mean. It is not feminist, nor negative. It is uplifting and insightful. The author applies her sales techniques to everyday life and dating. Some of her advice is pretty basic and not that revolutionary. However, having a sales background myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the numerous stories of how she and her friends have ruined their chances with love by making the same mistakes rookie sales reps make:

1. Don't use all your bullets at once/the beginning - Most successful sales people have product features/deals that close the don't want to give all your assets away at once..if you know what I mean.

2. Know and love your product - Men and customers alike can sense a lack of confidence or knowledge from a mile make sure you know yourself and love yourself..otherwise how can he?

3. Your best five - Five what? Five OUTFITS! This tip is awesome...wear the same 5 killer outfits in rotation when you go out. That way you can save time, know that you look good and have the confidence and comfort to pull it all off. What are the chances anyone will notice you are repeating outfits? Ok..maybe your girlfriends...until they copy your genius idea.

Just a taste...pick up the book to find out more..its great for a plane ride..until you laugh out loud :)

Friday, 1 May 2009

Budapest on a Budget

I know it’s hard to think about going on holiday when all you hear about is the doom and gloom (and swine flu….) but rest assured this is one city break that is doable on any budget and I’m going to show you how…but first let’s get acquainted with our city of choice: Budapest, Hungary.

Hungry is part of the EU but does not have the Euro (€€) the currency is Forint (HUF) and it’s relatively low compared to the GBP or CND (bonus!). The city is mainly divided into 2 sections: Buda & Pest with the river Danube dividing them. The Buda side is the hilly west side whereas the Pest side is more flat and where most of the nightlife and restaurants are located. The city has roughly 118 natural or specially drilled hot springs beneath it and as a result there many baths and pools around the city. Have I caught your interest? That’s what I thought. So how does one travel here on the cheap? If you’re in Europe easyJet fly daily into Budapest from most major cities and our NA friends why not include a stopover here on the way to Austria or Germany – it’s a quick train ride away.

Things to do on the cheap:

We stayed at Suite Hostel and got the deluxe private room which ended up being a whole apartment to ourselves – it was perfect! Plus the hostel has entertainment in the evening (ie. BBQ on the Terrence, Boat cruise etc…) and b/c the employees are all travelers themselves they know what you’re looking for: free internet, breakfast & friendly service (to name a few).

We bought our lunch at the Great Market Hall where it’s a great place to try the local cuisine. Another good place is the ‘For Sale Pub’ located across the street from the Great Market Hall & beside the Burger King (don’t ask, BK is everywhere in Budapest). Also, if it’s sunny Liszt Ferenc street is lined with restaurants and good way to top up your tan.

Getting Around:
Budapest can easily be explored on foot but if you must…the metro, bus and tram all use a similar ticket – unfortunately you need a new one for each time you switch and tickets are only valid for 30 minutes. It’s a little cheaper to buy a pack of 10 tickets and sell any unused ones back to your hostel/hotel. Metro Line 1 is the oldest underground line in mainland Europe and has been recognized by UNESCO.

See: I love walking tours, I’ve said this before on Provoke, but the main reason I do is b/c they give you a good grasp of the city – almost like the Coles Notes to a city. There’s a tip-based tour running at 10:30 & 2:00 starting from Vörösmarty Square in front of Garbeaud Café

Views: The best view of the city is from the Citadel, it takes about 15-20 minutes to walk up but the views are well worth it.

Baths: I know this what you’ve been waiting for – I saved the best for last (gotta keep our readers on their toes!). The two major baths are Gellert & Szechenyi Baths. At the latter if you leave within 2 hours of entering you get a small refund. I went to Szechenyi Baths and was spoiled for choice with over 20 pools ranging from 18-78 degrees you’re sure to find your perfect temperature. Or for those wanting to workout, there’s also an outdoor pool for lane swim.

Start planning your trip today. You won’t be disappointed – promise!