Tag Archives: Toronto Blogger

Exploring Toronto’s Deer Park and the Don Valley Trails 

Alright so this post is a little late and is going to be brief, but I couldn’t help but share my experience while exploring Toronto’s Deer Park and the Don Valley Trails about a week ago. Even with living in Toronto for 20 years, it’s something I’ve yet to do.

Now I can’t take all the credit because the idea did come from my boyfriend Stevie while we had a bit of time off together. So we went out as a family, dog and all.

Essentially we started from St. Clair subway station on the Yonge Line (TTC) and walked East on St. Clair until we hit the valley. We then took the hidden paths into the forest and followed the creek.

What we found was stunningly luscious landscapes, cute waterfalls and interesting stone structures scattered throughout. By the time we had gotten to the DVP we started coming across cool areas of graffiti under the many bridges, and then A LOT of greenery. The entire walk took us about 2 and a half hours, and was time well-spent.

The entire time we travelled through the valley we felt like we were in a distant land, as if we had hopped on a plane and left the city. Usually you have to hop on a bus, GO train or take a drive outside the city to find this kind of landscape, but as we discover our city more deeply that has began to change. Though I doubt many people actually explore the vast area so profoundly because it isn’t marked all that well, but that should definitely change in the future; in my personal opinion.

I highly suggest setting aside some time to explore Deer Park and the Don Valley Trails if you have yet to do so. It’s especially nice if you need to clear the mind and forget about all the noise for just a brief little while. Heck, or even a photoshoot!

Charting New Territory,

pG. =D

New Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser at Kiehl’s, and DIY Cucumber Inspired Mask

Happy Monday All!

I’m excited to say that we FINALLY have the Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser at Kiehl’s stores in Canada (not online, yet), which is great considering it’s popularity elsewhere in the world! Social media has been living for it recently.

Obviously I picked one up the moment it hit the shelves and I’m already obsessed. It’s thick consistency and light, but fresh smell are a great start to it’s light lather and great cleansing properties; it even takes off light makeup! It leaves the skin feeling moisturized and hydrated which makes it great for a dry skin type, and all skins, even those with acne.

You can pick one up at your local Kiehl’s store, for now!

I was feeling inspired by the launch of the cleanser and so threw together a DIY Cucumber Mask. It was hydrating and soothing, also super cooling. If you’re thinking you might want to give it a shot, see the instructions below!

What you need:


Instructions:

  1. Peel and puree the cucumber,
  2. Mix the other two ingredients with the puree,
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min,
  4. Wash skin using Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser and then dry,
  5. Apply mask to skin and leave on for 10 minutes,
  6. Wash off and finish with prefered skincare routine.

Doesn’t your skin feel super fresh?

I’m vowed to myself that I’m going to start trying more DIY masks and I’ll definitely be sharing those experiences along the way.

I’d also love to know your thoughts on this DIY mask and also the new Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser (once you get your hands on it). As always, leave those thoughts below or shoot me an email.

itspetergrande@gmail.com

Stay Fresh,

=D. 

White Chocolate Blondie Heaven.

Recently I’ve become obsessed with baking during portions of my spare time. Whether that’s because I have a sweet tooth or I just like keeping busy, I’m not too sure. Either way, I’ve made some magic happen the last little while to the point where I want a dessert in my hands 24/7 going forward.

My most recent creation is the White Chocolate Blondie; which myself, my roommate and my friends all basically fell madly in love with after just one bite.

So you want to know how I did it? Cool, ’cause I’m willing to share.

What you’re going to need is:

  1. 1/2 Cup Salted Butter,
  2. 8oz. White Chocolate,
  3. 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar,
  4. 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar,
  5. 1 Large Egg,
  6. 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract,
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Butter Extract,
  8. 1 Cup All-Purpose Flower,
  9. 1/2 Cup Sprinkles,
  10. 3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream.

Before going any further I would suggest dividing the White Chocolate into 2 x 4oz bunches and chop to prepare.

Here’s how to prepare the White Chocolate bars of sheer goodness:

  1. Begin my pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees celcius and by also lining an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment/wax paper,
  2. In a microwavable safe bowl melt the butter and 4oz of white chocolate for 30 seconds. Stir and melt for another 15 seconds, stir until smooth. Add the two sugars and stir until smooth. Add the egg as well as the two extracts, and whisk. Fold in the flower and sprinkles, stir until combined. Now go ahead and pour the batter into the pan, and then smooth,
  3. Bake for 25 minutes,
  4. Begin preparing the ganache by heating the cream in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until it is very hot, stir in remaining white chocolate until it melts and add some sprinkles. Stir until smooth and pour over bars.

There you have it, the White Chocolate Blondie. I do suggest waiting at least 2 to 3 hours before slicing the bars into your preferred sizes.

I also stored mine in the fridge that way they would keep fresh and be safe from predators, aka the roommates.

I also suggest having your Blondies with some milk, because the pairing of the two is beyond what any cookie tastes like after being dipped in milk.

Additionally, I’d like to know how your experience was while baking these bars of gold. So please, comment AND share your photos/videos.

Stay Sweet,

pG. =D 

The 7 Day Mask Challenge || Week One || Day 3

Well I’m almost halfway through the first week of the two week challenge I bestowed upon myself, The 7 Day Mask Challenges.

Week One consists of Sheet Masks and Sheet Masks only, while Week Two will consist of just Professional Masks alone. Incase you’re just tuning in now…

Last night I dabbled with the Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Rice Mask that claims to be moisturizing and complexion enhancing, it was the latter that sold me on it. Also, I haven’t ever really tried anything with a Rice content before.

To prepare my skin I cleansed with my Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser and did a little exfoliating with the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening Exfoliator. Exfoliating is one thing I’m being sure to keep consistent with during this challenge to ensure that I don’t create and build-up or clogging where I may not want it.

I did mention that this could either go one of two ways for my skin, because it often doesn’t benefit to overload the skin with moisture so consistently. However to avoid this even moreso it helps to piece together a solid mask schedule before diving into a week straight of them.

For now, let’s get back to the…

Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Rice Mask

I had been eyeing this one down for a little while now and decided that The 7 Day Mask Challenge would be a good time to give it a go.

Retailer Description:

  • Authentic face mask made with fresh Rice ingredients to moisturize the skin,
  • Jeju Green Complex consists of Green Tea, Tangerine, Cactus, Camellia Leaves and Orchids,
  • A triple layer sheet for complete adherence and long-lasting effects,
  • Clinical Test completed: moisture level in the skin increased by 125% after using product.

Alright so before going ANY further I want to touch on the last claim in the above list made by the retailer. I’m not going to agree nor disagree, however I am going to say be mindful of claims like this. I mean, who wants skin that’s 25% more moisturized than what the skin can truly handle?

Anways, after preparing my skin I placed the mask on for 15 minutes and let it get to work, and it was an enjoyably comfortable 15 minutes at that. The mask itself wasn’t too wet in product and it fit the face quite well, it began to almost tighten too. At moments I felt my skin tightening with the mask and I imagine that was a factor of Rice being in the formula. It wasn’t a product of dehydration either, something was definitely taking its course in my skin.

Once I removed the mask I payed notice to the radiance my skin had obtained, and the overall enhanced glow that it had been given by the Jeju Complex. I let it dry for a few moments, after patting it of course, as per normal and then went on with the remainder of my nightly routine.

Would I try the Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Rice Mask again?

Absolutely, it was refreshing and inexpensive all together.

Would I recommend it?

Sure, there’s no harm in healthy, comfortable moisture.

Overall I would give this Sheet Mask a 3/5 stars in its category.

Now that I’m halway through I’ll be detoxing my skin with the Dewytree Detox Black Mask to pull any unnecessary sebum and debris out of my pores, before going forward with the rest of my 7 Day Challenge Schedule.

Catch ya tomorrow?

Stay Fresh,

pG. =D

The 7 Day Mask Challenge || Week One || Day 2

Yesterday I shared my experience with the SNP Charcoal Mineral Black Ampoule Mask and my positive results overall. Right after posting that I went on to my Day 2 Sheet Mask, the Etude House Hyaluronic Acid Mask.

The mask itself is obviously much different from the one that I did the night before, in the sense that it’s more hydrating than pore tightening. The reason for the change in benefit is because you never want to over-nourish OR over-stimulate the skin with products offering the same results, on back to back days anyways.

That being said I began Day 1 with pore tightening and followed with the hydrating mask to offer a balance in the skin, before going at Day 3 of The 7 Day Mask Challenge.

Let’s take a look at Day 2’s mask choice…

Etude House Hyaluronic Acid Mask

Retailer’s description:

  • Low-irritant mask made of breathable o.2mm air sheet,
  • Contains Hyaluronic Acid,
  • Provides intense moisture and smoothness to skin.

Personally I’m often drawn to products that use Hyaluronic Acid in their formulation because my skin drinks it like I drink water. I usually have a lot of dehydration in my skin due to wearing makeup and a filthy addiction (that I’m slowly kicking), so the HA really does wonders for carrying that H2O back into my skin. 

The mask itself was drenched in the Hyaluronic Acid formula and at moments it may have felt slightly uncomfortable, like the drops of serum dripping down my neck for example. I’ll definitely take note of this when using any Etude House mask in the future. Regardless I kept it on for 15 minutes in total to ensure that I was going to see the right end result, being smoother skin and more hydrated skin.

And are those are the results I felt, saw?

Yes they were, definitely. Although there was no DRASTIC change in the quality of my skin post-usage it definitely felt nourished and soft, which all of us can potentially benefit from.

Would I run to the store to pick this up?

Probably not, there’s other masks on the market that I’d rather try instead.

Overall I give the Etude House Hyaluronic Acid Mask a 2/5 stars for Sheet Masks.

Tonight I’ll be indulging in my third mask of The 7 Day Mask Challenge, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a follow-up post.

For now, leave a comment with what hydrating Sheet Masks you use in your routine.

Hydrating is key,

pG.

$30 Off || Frank + Oak Launches New Service || Style Plan 

This past January I was extremely pleased when Frank and Oak reached out to me with a feature for their campaign at the time, First Time. It was one of my first real interactions with the brand besides an occassional visit to their store on Queen Street West in Toronto, and it was a delightful one nonetheless. After some chatting I was gifted a beautiful Jasper Oxford Shirt in White and a pair of Newport Chinos in Dress Blue that I still wear often, even as we get into April. At the time they were offering newcomers to the brand a new outfit for a crazy low price of $59.00.

To those of us who enjoy shopping (raises hand), it was a steal.

Frank and Oak, with its’ origins in Montreal, are dedicated to affordable luxury with men and their increasing need to develop their self-image in mind. Don’t get me wrong they also carry collections dedicated to their female shoppers as well. The quality of their apparel paired with their outstanding level of service and customer care as well as inovation, makes for a brand worthy of buying from.

With their innovative nature the company has now taken their commitment to service a step further, which has enticed the launch of their new service Style Plan.

The cost of this new service? Only $89.00 that gets billed monthly at your discretion, and this secures you up to 4 pieces of clothing a month that suit your style and that get delivered to your doorstep; for an incredibly low price plus free shipping.

Essentially Style Plan simplifies the shopping experience for busy people like myself who don’t always make the time to shop apparel; or it allows the shopaholic to maximize on their spending while doing nothing but clicking a few buttons, meaning more focus on another important purchase.

#First World Problems.

Style Plan in a Nutshell:

  • Each month receive 5 tokens,
  • Browse the current collection and make selections with your tokens alotted (unused tokens don’t expire),
  • Confirm order,
  • Products are shipped for free within 1- business days (returns are also free).

Pretty awesome, and seamless. Right? After signing up myself I must say, it is.

As a fan of Frank and Oak I was super excited to be informed about Style Plan and its forward thinking answer to the most common phrase there is, “I don’t have time… to shop.” I just placed my first order and there was three new shirts on my purchase that I’ll definitely be sharing once I unbox: a crew-neck, a short-sleeve dress shirt and a long-sleeve dress shirt.

I’d definitely recommend giving at least ONE MONTH a shot since there’s no obligation to commit to more than one, seeing as how you can pause or cancel your subscription at any time. But also because the kind folk at Frank and Oak are allowing me to offer my followers $30.00 OFF OF YOUR FIRST MONTH.

That means your first month of Style Plan for only $59.00.

If you turn away from this I am going to have to call you crazy…

Here’s how you can get hooked up and on the plan like I am:

  1. Head over to STYLE PLAN REGISTRATION (CLICK) to make sure you register with yout $30.00 off of your first month,
  2. Login if you have shopped with Frank and Oak before or create a profile if it’s your first time,
  3. Enter the required personal and billing information before going ahead,
  4. Follow the prompts to help Frank and Oak create your personalized Style Plan,
  5. Use your first 5 tokens to select and fill your first order (additional tokens are available for purchase if needed),
  6. Confirm order and wait for your new wardrobe to arrive in the mail.

    How easy was that…

    Much like myself, now you can sit back and enjoy your freedom as you patiently await your new pieces to arrive. Heck you might even feel an urge post or share with others about how simple and convinient that was, yes?

    I can’t wait to receive my three shirts in the mail and try them on as the heat begins to pick up for once and for all; with that being said check back for my post next week after I’ve unboxed my new Frank and Oak faves.

    Ahh (deep breath). Can you feel it? Spring is finally here.

    I’d also be curious to know about your experience signing up for Style Plan, to those of you who do. So either leave a comment or shoot me an email with your thoughts on Frank and Oak’s new service.

    Email: itspetergrande@gmail.com

    Style Wisely,

    pG.

    The 10K Journey || Days 16-21 

    APRIL 8TH/17

    If you follow me on Instagram by any chance (@itspetergrande) then you know that over the last 5 days I have been away in New York City with 70 other KCR’s (Kiehl’s Customer Representatives) from around the world; celebrating the Kiehl’s Legacy Awards. For 5 days we toured, learned and developed together while creating lasting memories that will certainly be cherished forever.

    With that being said I barely had any time to run despite my good intentions, and I’m not upset about that either. What I was privileged to experience has only enhanced me as an individual AND employee.

    This week I’ll be back with a few posts about some memorable moments from my trip but starting tomorrow, the race to raise $2000.00 to send a child with cancer to camp for a week, is on.

    Are you ready to help me get there?

    pG. xo 

    The 10K Journey || Day 15

    APRIL 2ND/17

    It was the final day of the annual Friends & Family sale at Kiehl’s and I won’t joke when I say I was mildly happy. 

    It’s been a hectic few days with packing for my trip to NYC next week while working the sale, and then my bestfriends’ Dirty 30. But c’est la vie because that’s life and I’m in it to live it.

    I haven’t been able to run since Thursday and it is definitely eating me alive because if there is ONE thing that I am, it is committed. Sometimes the going gets crazy though and it makes sense for us to prioritize rather than over-exert and become under-productive in other areas of our life.

    That being said I went home to pack and got ‘er done before getting in a sweet sleep and cuddle with my boy, and puppy; before heading off to NYC in the morning for the next 5 days.

    I’m taking this 10K Journey to the USA with me.

    pG.  

    The 10K Journey || Day 14

    APRIL 1ST/17

    I may or may not have beeen slightly hungover, and I swear I drank low-cal/sugarless drinks. So much for that!

    I’ll keep it short because the story for the day goes like this, work and sleep.

    Just one more shift before my greatly anticipated trip to New York City for the Kiehl’s Legacy Trip.

    Oh, and if you have yet to sponsore my run for Camp Oochigeas please do so here:

    LINK
    Be back with a little bit more excitement tomorrow.

    pG. 

    The 10K Journey || Day 13

    MARCH 31ST/17 

    As exhausting as yesterday was today is a new day, although I don’t see myself doing much other than work…

    Minus an evening cab ride to Vaughn for my bestfriends’ 30th birthday. Despite being mad tired it was my obligation as buddy and I could not, NOT go. 

    When we got the warehouse it was lit and in more ways than one. The lighting was incredible with fixtures that lowered, raised and spun. There was co2 and lasers. I was certainly wide awake then.

    I’ll be honest when I say I probably won’t make it for a run over the next few days due to being tiresome and work. However that’s why I’ve mapped out a run thru Central Park in NYC for Monday night.

    Check back for that recap, soon.

    pG.