Thursday, February 18, 2016

City Perks - Saskatoon, SK

City Perks has been around for quite a while; I remember walking past when I was in ninth grade thinking how cute it was and wishing I was sophisticated enough to have coffee dates at a place like that (it was a whimsical and very adult prospect for my thirteen-year-old mind). After that, I remember sitting in City Perks many times while in university. I was usually reading, sometimes I was studying or doing homework, but I was always just so happy to be there - it's one of those places that brings about those lovely feelings of peace and contentment. Around that time, however, it was quite often very busy - I wasn't the only person in Saskatoon who had fallen in love with this place - so there were times I would arrive only to find there was no seat for me that day.

Then came the renovations. When I first heard of them my heart dropped a little, thinking the magic of the place would be lost, but I was so wrong. City Perks was updated to allow for more catch ups, study sessions, coffee dates, family outings, first dates, and so much more to take place all at once. They maximized the square footage and added in some beautifully unique touches to the d├ęcor, all without losing the essence of what it already was.

Now City Perks has expanded to a second location, which I still haven't had the opportunity to visit yet, located in Ens Toyota in the C.N. Industrial area (just bordering Stonebridge), in the south part of Saskatoon.

Another thing to mention about City Perks is their amazing food, especially their dessert - I don't always let myself add a treat to my order, but I am definitely always tempted!

Have you visited City Perks before? What is your fondest memory of the place?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I go in and out of reading phases - you know, where you read like crazy for awhile and then it takes over 6 months to finish a book, even a good one. Overall, I would say I am a reader, but one of the last books I finished was one of those 6 month books, yet it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith was utterly fantastic. My heart connected early on with the main character, Francie Nolan. Throughout the novel, the way she looks at the world, how words form within her, and how she connects to others all really spoke to me. I also really liked how faith, doubt, and the existence of God were woven throughout, but wasn't the focus of the novel.

This story takes place in the early 1900s in Brooklyn, NY. The Nolan family is poor, but getting by. The novel follows Francie, the oldest child of Johnny and Katie Nolan, throughout her childhood and early adolescence. We see their family struggles, the love in their family, and what everyday life in Brooklyn at the time was like.

I honestly laughed out loud and cried at different times. It was a fantastic read. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? If so, do you have any recommendations for books I may like that are similar? As it turns out, there is a film based on this novel that I would really like to watch - if you have watched it please let me know what you thought!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Palette

I am a huge fan of the Urban Decay Naked line of cosmetics. I have the Naked2, Naked3, and Naked Basics palettes (and have had all the others in my virtual shopping cart at least once before... #moderation). I honestly use each palette at least twice a week, and I have hit pan on 3 colours in the Naked Basics palette, with serious dents in the other colours. It was when I had actually used every last bit of the shade Naked2 from the Naked Basics palette that I finally let myself pick up this new addition to my addiction. (Side note: I really wish Urban Decay would sell Naked2 as a single shadow. I probably would have bought it 3 times over already.)

When this palette first came out, I wasn't too sure if I would really like it. I find I go quite neutral in my neutrals (? - that's a thing, really), but if I lean one way or the other it is ever-so-slightly warm. So, I was thinking that I should just pick up the original Naked Basics palette again. But, upon closer inspection, I made the decision to try this new one. I found with the original Naked Basics palette that I didn't use much of Venus (soft, off-white demi-matte) or Crave (deepest, darkest brown/black matte), so I essentially only had 4 working colours of the 6. I tapped my brush into those two every now and then (Venus more than Crave), but they're not showing much use even still. The Naked2 Basics palette, however, has 6 usable shades for me. The lightest shade isn't so light, and the darkest shade isn't so dark.  I anticipate using the four middle shades most, but I think I will get a bit more use out of the two end ones than the corresponding ones in the original Naked Basics palette. The only thing I will say is that the original Naked Basics palette caters a little more to people with extremely fair skin (#gingerproblems) - the colours allow for a barely there natural eye if you want it, whereas the slightly darker shades in the Naked2 Basics make it a bit more noticeable that you're wearing eyeshadow. Non-translucent friends needn't worry about this, though :).

Ok, now on to quality. These shadows are up to par with the standard of the Urban Decay shadows in their other palettes (I haven't tried many of their singles, so I can't really speak to them yet). Urban Decay really does a good job of their mattes. These shades are all buttery, blendable, and perfectly pigmented. I wouldn't change a thing!

Something that I learned when checking out the info on Sephora when writing this post is that the Naked Basics palette was created to coordinate with the Naked palette and the Naked2 Basics palette was created to coordinate with the Naked2 palette. Makes so much sense, yet I didn't know it until now. I mean, I've been using my Naked Basics palette with my Naked2 and Naked3 for a long time, and I think it works great with them, but I'm excited to try out the Naked2 Basics with my Naked2 to see if it's that much better. Kinda cool!

Have you tried out the Naked2 Basics palette? What did you think? Have you tried any of the other Urban Decay Naked products? I'd really like to hear your opinions!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

This weekend was amazingly relaxing! Most of Saskatchewan is off today as a statutory holiday for Family Day, but my workplace, being federal, does not recognize it (we get Easter Monday instead!). I don't mind, though. The streets of downtown Saskatoon were eerily quiet on my drive to work, and walking from my car to work was so beautiful. It was quite warm this morning, so warm that the birds were out chirping, which is one of my favourite things. I walked slowly in to work, breathing the refreshing, crisp (but not too cold!) air while enjoying their tune. Also, free parking downtown on a work day? I'll take it! (Side note: it has since begun to snow A LOT, but it's still quite pretty).

As I'm sure we are all aware, yesterday was Valentine's Day. My boyfriend and I celebrated by going for dinner at 2nd Ave Grill and then curling up on the couch to drink wine while watching some White Collar on Netflix. The meal was super tasty and we are so absolutely wrapped up in White Collar.

He also surprised me with those beautiful flowers above, isn't the bouquet unique? I love it.

How was your Valentine's Day?! Have you been to 2nd Ave Grill before? Have you watched White Collar? (No spoilers, please! We're not done yet.)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Citizen Cafe & Bakery - Saskatoon, SK

I recently visited Citizen Cafe & Bakery with my friend Jackie. I have been here quite a few times before, but it seems I haven't shared it on the blog. To be honest, this is one of my most favourite places in Saskatoon, so that's actually quite surprising.

Jackie and I have been friends since our first year of university when our rooms were right next to each other and we learned that we share a love for dance. Even though we live in the same city again, we don't get to see each other as much as we would like, so this was a much needed catch up lunch :).

Citizen Cafe has an amazing menu - I always have trouble choosing what I want to order. They even have a great selection of gluten free and vegan options. Aside from their great coffee, food, and treats, they also offer a warm, inviting atmosphere that happily caters to children and families.

I definitely recommend visiting Citizen Cafe if you're ever in the area!

Have you been to Citizen Cafe before? What's your favourite thing to order? I really like the homemade Oreo - so delicious!
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