Monthly Archives: June 2014

The simplicity of limited manicure options

Hello, dear sweet readers!  By now, you know that one of the areas Dash of Pink has a focus on is beauty.  While I love experimenting with fun new looks and methods, this is about my decision, in one area, to do the complete opposite and cut back!  As much as I love pretty things and pleasing aesthetics, I also find the simplicity and peace of minimalism very appealing, so I’m always striving to streamline, and this time I decided to attack my nail polish collection.  I’m admittedly a bit of a beauty junkie, but I found myself going back again and again to the same few colours.  Also, nail polish tends to get goopy and start to dry out and separate well before the end of the bottle is reached, so this should save some money as well.

Once upon a time, I had a wide rainbow of colours:  ballet slipper pink, Barbie pink, dusty rose, fuschia, red, wine, coral, nude, white, silver, pale lavender, deep purple, magnetic greyish purple, and black.  I loved all these colours, but my favourites were pink, red, and a sweet neutral like a French manicure.  So as these shades began to need replacing, I decided to simplify.  Eventually I whittled the rainbow down to 3:  red, bright pink (the colour I wore on our wedding day), and black.

The black I don’t even wear on my nails.  I’ve found that it works wonders on black shoes that have scuffs or peels, so I keep a black polish on hand for shoe repair haha!  For nails, I’ll stick to my two favourite mani shades, and I picked up a nail pencil for making a natural looking French mani.  Using those and a good top coat, here’s what I’ll be sporting for a while.

Bright Pink – this one is called Fuschia Power by Sally Hansen Hard as Nails.  I used to wear Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro Nail Lacquer in Posh Pink, as that was the exact product I used for my wedding manicure, but switched because I couldn’t find information online about whether the Rimmel one was 3-Free.  They’re the exact same shade though, so I’m glad I found this one!  This is my signature, and my favourite colour in general!

Red – I use Right Said Red by Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure.  I know that all Sally Hansen nail colours are 3-Free, and a whole bunch of them are also free of formaldehyde resin and camphor.  I’m a pink girl through and through, but I do believe that red nails are a timeless classic, and sometimes you just want to evoke that old Hollywood glamour – plus it’s great for Christmas, Valentine’s and Canada Day/4th of July!

Neutral – Hands down (no pun intended) the easiest option.  I simply use the nail pencil as directed, and either buff my nails or slick on a top coat – foolproof fabulous French-ish!

There you have it, my little step towards a simpler, more streamlined routine.  Do you have a few favourite manicure looks?  Or do you like trying something new every time?

Hot Wheels

I’m not referring to the super cool toy cars of the 90s.  Does anyone remember those? 

What I am referring to is our new set of wheels – our first car!

Isn’t it pretty?  To be sure, it’s not the sleekest machine, but it was a great deal and runs really well!

You may recall that we already have a motorcycle, which is actually our main vehicle (cause that’s not odd at all).  The bike is awesome, fast, fuel efficient, and generally great for the city, however it does have a few drawbacks.  For starters, storage space is very limited, basically just what can be fit into a backpack.  It’s also not the best in bad weather, and the ride itself isn’t super comfortable or relaxed for longer trips.  I know, I’m stating the obvious when it comes to a sports bike.  Another thing – I have cute outfits that I want to wear, and the bike wouldn’t safely allow for that!  So although we had looked a bit at getting a cruiser for more comfort, a lot of the other issues with storage and me not wanting to wear jeans, boots, and a leather jacket in the middle of the summer would still persist.  This brought up a seemingly crazy question – what if we could get a car for the amount we’d spend on a motorcycle?  If the insurance was reasonable, it would be perfect.

So, Nick set about his methodical research, and found a listing of all possible cars to buy along with their risk factors.  Using this, he optimized to find the least risky cars to insure, and narrowed it down to 4 options – I love this man and his amazing mind!  Next he looked up AutoTrader and Kijiji/Craigslist, and found this gorgeous car going for under $2,000.

Within a week (yes, a week), we had ourselves this beauty in our parking spot, ready to hit the road with our very own plates and everything!

We’ve loved having a car, because it makes long trips so much easier!  We’ve used it for visiting family that lives over an hour away, and in town we’ve used it for shopping like groceries, which we tried once with the bike, and was not fun at all – you try cramming a week’s worth of food into a backpack, and then you’ll know what I mean.  We’ve both lived without a car for so long that we’re constantly discovering new little joys of having one – like how we can just leave CD’s and tote bags in the car for when we need them, and last weekend, we went to the car wash!  It was very exciting for us 🙂

It’s not a super cool car, but it’s our little 4-wheeled baby, and we love it!  For cool wheels, we’ve always got the Ninja!

Do you guys have fun car/vehicle buying stories?  Is anyone else weird like us, and uses the “fun” vehicle as the main one?

(Pic of Hot Wheels toy cars from Wikipedia)

The Meet Cute – 5 years ago today…

A “meet cute” is the scene in a movie, usually a romance, where the hero and heroine meet for the first time in some adorable way.  Classics include literally running into each other, causing the girl to drop her books/files, while the chivalrous and now apologetic boy charms while helping her gather her things.  But this story is of our meet cute, and it’s one of our favourite relationship stories to tell.  It took place on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 in Waterloo, Ontario.

It was a beautiful, hot, summer day in Waterloo, and I had just gone down to the university campus to try and figure out class scheduling conflicts.  My efforts were in vain, so I decided it was best to head home.  I see my bus leaving just as I get the bus stop in my view, so now I’ll be waiting at the corner of King and University for an unknown amount of time (that’s the good ol’ GRT for you).

As I’m waiting, and not in the best of moods, I hear a voice from behind me – “Excuse me, miss in the dress, can I ask where do you get your hair cut?”  I turn, a little annoyed, and there he is.  A tall, handsome, blond stranger wearing a bright white linen shirt.  Nick.  He whips off his aviator sunglasses with a flourish and puts them on top of his head.  Honestly, between his charming smile and gorgeous green eyes, I find myself transfixed.  The faux hawk and scruffy goatee I’m not crazy about, but he’s still striking.  We converse, he tries to sell me a discount spa package that he’s been selling for work – $60 at Chameleon Spa for a haircut, pedicure, facial, wax, and massage (a $180 value!).  I’m not at all interested in the voucher, since I’m going to my salon tomorrow (but very interested in him), and in the meantime my bus arrives.

Well, Nick is not deterred, he hops on the bus with me to continue his pitch, noting that we go to the same university.  After a few stops, he realizes that I’m not buying, so he decides to hop off, but not before asking for my phone number.  The line was “You’re pretty cute, I’d love to see you again.”  I say “Sure, we’ll probably run into each other on campus.”  His response is “I mean, can I have your phone number and call you sometime?”  I figure the chance of him calling me is none to none, so I give it to him, writing it on his hand since his phone is dead.  He hops off, I continue home, and feel all warm and giddy inside for days.  Three days later we speak on the phone, he asks me out for gelato…. and the rest is history.

It’s been 5 years since then (crazy!), and I am still as enchanted and enamoured with him.  Thank you, darling, for trying to sell me on a spa package, hopping on that bus, and asking for my number.  I know my life changed that day, and we’ve been inseparable since then – I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Cute couples readers – what are your first meet stories?  

 

HCG P3 Cheesecake

This spring, Nick and I both went on the HCG diet to cleanse and reset our metabolisms.  While on maintenance, we were allowed to eat whatever we liked except sugar and starch.  This time around, we were on maintenance when his birthday rolled around, so I set about finding a birthday cake that we could eat then.  Lucky for me, he likes cheesecake far more than regular cake, and I was able to find a perfect recipe!  Full disclosure – yes, it’s “diet” in that the recipe was perfect for maintenance phase of HCG, but this cake is very rich, and still pretty hefty on the calorie counts, but sooo worth it.

HCG P3 Cheesecake (Adapted from My HCG Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ground pecans or almonds (I used almond meal)
  • 2 tbsp sweetener
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 8-oz packages of cream cheese (I used light)
  • 1 cup sweetener
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp no sugar added jam (I used raspberry)

Directions

For the crust:

  1. Mix together ground pecans or almonds, 2 tbsp sweetener, and melted butter.
  2. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch cake pan (I lined mine with parchment paper before), and bake at 325 for 10 minutes.  Then turn oven up to 450.

For the filling:

  1. Beat together cream cheese, and 1 cup sweetener until well mixed.
  2. Add in 4 eggs, one at a time, and mixing well in between.
  3. Add in yogurt and 1 tbsp vanilla.
  4. Once well mixed and uniform, pour over crust.
  5. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, lower heat to 250 and continue to bake for one more hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

For the topping:

Warm no sugar added jam of your choice for about 20-25 seconds in the microwave, until thinner and glaze-like in consistency.  Spoon over cheesecake, and spread carefully to cover the cake.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours before serving.

Of course, I also added candles and sang Happy Birthday to my sweet husband, but that part’s not really in the recipe 😉

This cheesecake was so delicious and easy that I would happily make it again, but one slice was more than enough to fill us up!  We even had it for breakfast later on.  I know lots of people who are wary of artificial sweeteners, so you could use stevia or xylitol, or even plain old sugar if you’re not on HCG Phase 3.  I used a sweetener that measured out the same as sugar (like Splenda), so it you’re using something different, you may need to change up the measurements for sweetener.  For us, this turned out with that perfect balance of sweet and creamy, so it was a hit!

Anyone else doing sugar-free baking?

Also, what’s better – cake or cheesecake?  Chime in, I’d love to get your thoughts!

 

Little HomeSense Treasures

A little while ago, I went on a mini shopping spree.  I’m not really one for shopping sprees anymore usually – there’s the fact that I’m cheap (ahem, frugal), and while my teenaged self loved to see the offerings at the mall and spend hours browsing either alone or with friends, I’m far more impatient nowadays and prefer to shop online.  But as luck would have it, I had a $25 gift card to HomeSense (kind of like HomeGoods in the US) sitting around, and finally I decided one evening to go out and find something to use it for.

Let’s just say that for a girl who’s used to Ikea and online, it was a bit overwhelming at first – what did I want?  A sweet decorative dish?  Linens?  A pretty lamp?  Vases, throw pillows, fancy sauces and cookbooks?  I remembered why I tend to shop online!  But eventually I settled upon two items, and I’ve really liked them ever since.

First up, this cute little organizer caddy/doodad.  I like it because it’s a great little spot to thow papers that need to be dealt with, emptying pockets, and collecting those little knick-knacks that tend to become clutter if they’re allowed to roam free.  It also has a really small footprint on the desktop, yay!  It was quite the bargain, but I love the rich espresso leather finish with detailing 🙂

The other item was more on the pretty/frilly side.  I love scented candles, so this beautiful (pink!) one caught my eye.  Not only is the shape and colour nice, but it smells good enough to eat!  Not overly sweet or fake, just as if I’ve been baking delicious cakes all day….. mmm, cake…

They’re little touches, but I thought them sweet, and part of how we make our place really a home.  What do you think?  Are any of you guys scented candle fiends like me?  Any organizing-lovers?

 

Summer Style Updates – Closet Swap Campaign for Raise.com

Hello, dear readers!  Summer is finally upon us, hurray!  Picture me doing a ridiculously dorky happy dance through a rainbow, because that’s basically how I feel whenever the warm weather returns.  And with summer we have a chance to wear summer outfits!  This is very exciting, because we can show our legs and toes and arms again without all of those limbs freezing into numbness.  Not too long ago, I was contacted by Jessica from Raise.com to be a part of their “Closet Swap” campaign highlighting how I’d be transitioning my style into summer – of course I said yes, and that’s how we got here!  So without further ado, my favourite style tips and trends for summer:

1. White & Light Colours – even if you’re not vacationing in Cabo San Lucas or Mykonos, looking the part will make your day feel more special.

For casual settings, like running errands, hanging out at a beach or pool, or going to a fun patio, I love this beachy white dress – it’s a cute little H&M piece (similar here), and I love wearing it with a big colourful necklace and comfortable white wedges, like in this picture.

For work and dressier occasions, I picked up this sleek shift dress from Venus (similar here), which is a light ivory/cream with black lace detailing.  It’s the perfect silhouette, and thanks to the lace needs very little embellishment.  I usually wear it with a delicate bracelet and earrings, and here I’ve paired with red peeptoe heels that have roses on them to give it an added touch of colour.

Of course, an airy white maxi dress is perfect for that beachy vibe (similar here).  This is one of my favourites from a vacation in Mexico, paired with bare feet and kisses!  

2. Bright Colours – let the natural beauty of the season’s gorgeous blooms and juicy fruits inspire you!

This thrift store find makes me feel like I’m off to pick flowers or berries, and I always get compliments on it.  Here, I’ve paired it with simple white flats and sunglasses.

An old favourite, this sweet jersey dress from Venus (available here), with a simple silhouette that adds interest due to the zipper and slight shimmer in the side panel fabric.  This dress basically feels like pajamas, and looks super cute – I’ve worn this both for adventuring (with flip flops and shades) and in the office with heels!

And I can’t leave out the classic fitted party dress from Sirens.  This one is a lipstick red, and always looks great for a night on the town!  Here, I’ve paired it with red lips and a fun silver clutch for a dinner cruise around Toronto’s waterfront.

3. Pops of Colour on Neutrals – Simple black and white will always look amazing, but why not dress it up with a splash of colour?

Here, I’ve paired a simple black bustier top and white eyelet skirt.  To add colour, I’ve added a wide red belt to cinch the look together, and red rose peeptoe heels.

This is another cute party dress from Venus, black with paillettes all over it.  For fun, I’ve paired it with bright pink satin heels for a fun night out.

This outfit is one of my all-time favourites – a black bustier top with a frilly white skirt with black lace detailing from Le Chateau! (Fun fact:  This is the exact outfit I was wearing when I met my husband, 5 years ago!)  I chose to wear it with simple black patent pumps (these ones), and let the neon pink clutch from Aldo shine.

4. Accessories – the easiest (and often most budget-friendly) way to change your style for the seasons.  I’ve already mentioned a few, like adding a fun pair of bright heels, a big necklace, or a fun clutch, and for summer – sunglasses!

This is the same red party dress from before, but instead of the silver clutch, I paired it with a fun flower in my hair and silver heels, super cute and feminine!

Here, I’m wearing the blue version of the zip neckline jersey dress from Venus, but this time with delicate black sandals from Naturalizer, sunglasses, and my beloved Aldo clutch, which has a cool chain to wear as a crossbody bag.

There you have it, my 4 simple ways to update your style for summer.  Don’t be afraid to try a new colour or combination, flaunt your favourites (did someone say pink?), and enjoy all the open-toed, light fabric, shorter hemlines you can while the weather is right for it.

Also, be sure to check out Raise.com, the great company that is running this campaign!  They work based on an awesome idea – you can buy discounted gift cards there, and sell unused gift cards for cash!  It works really well to save money, since you have so much variety, and you can get exactly what you want!

Happy styling, and shopping!