Thursday, July 24, 2014

Photo Diary: A Beautiful Day at the Beach! {21.07.14}

This is the first time I've been to the beach this summer, and I'm already excited to go back! Where I live it is a big deal to go to the beach, so when we go, it's a whole day trip. We chose to go on a sunny day, and the weather was seriously gorgeous. Not too hot, but not cold either. And I know most people go to the beach to go swimming, but this beach's water was so cold and it was filled with seaweed! And the waterbed was made up of rocks, not sand- it hurts when you walk in! But you know me, I wanted to go to get my tan on (spoiler: I didn't get much of one). So we basically lied on the sand for the whole afternoon. It was such a relaxing experience!
Of course I went with Genevive! And we both wore our sunglasses, so I didn't feel awkward posing in mine. I don't know why, I just feel antisocial when I'm wearing sunglasses in a photo and no one else is.
Another hair flip photo. Too bad I couldn't have one with me in the water!
The beach view. It looks like there's not a lot of people, but I'd say there was a decent amount. We did get a spot near the water though, so it definitely wasn't crowded.
The water was so pretty! I've mentioned it before, but I love looking at water waves, it's kind of mesmerizing.
These cute ducks came to visit.
Found the perfect spot to take some pictures!
Another plus- minimal amount of people around so I can do my posing. Just kidding!
Then we went back to the sand part of the beach and here's another jumping photo- I think these are becoming my tradition now! It's so much fun! It takes many tries (at least for me) but I'll spare you the weird-looking failed ones.
Snacks of the day- gummies and nuts, small things like this are perfect for munching on!
A walking out of the water photo. Because I've never had one before.
The sand at this particular beach was so soft, I wanted to walk in it forever. I kept playing with the sand, it just feels so good to let the sand run through your hands!
Officially my favourite beach as of now (not that we have many beaches where I live).
After chilling at the beach for most of the day, Genevive and I went down Queen St. East in Toronto looking for somewhere to eat. We found this place called "Lion on the Beach" which took us quite a while to realize it is a pun for "Lying on the Beach", since it was in the beach neighbourhood. Well, I think it was a pun...could it be that it's not?
There's even a lion painting beside the entrance!
How can I not stop by and admire these pretty flowers?

And that's the end of my beach day! I would have included food pictures of the restaurant, but to be honest it wasn't great so I don't think I should. Nonetheless, I can now officially check off one thing from my 2014 Summer Bucket List!

Do you like going to the beach? What's your favourite activity to do there?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How To Achieve Starbucks Gold: The Healthier & Cheaper Version

Hello! I am very excited to be writing a guest post on Every Day In Grace!  My name is Marie, and I am from the blog Elle Charie! My blog is mainly about beauty, fashion, design and healthy living. If you are interested in these, please check my blog out and let's chat via my twitter! Anywho back to the blog post!

I recently achieved Starbucks Gold Status. I know what a lot of you are thinking – WTF is Gold Status? Basically it's a reward program where you receive free refills, free food/drink for every 12 stars, and free birthday drinks! So if you drink coffee to stay awake and Starbucks is your go-to, I def recommend becoming part of this program! So how do you become part of this program? Well, all you have to do is purchase 30 items on a registered Starbucks gift card! It’s super easy, and I am going to show some tricks to get that gold status faster, healthier and cheaper!

Oh also, did I mention you get a super cute specialized card with your name on it? Basically I am going to be sharing with you 5 drinks that are healthy & cost effective!

5 Health & Cost Effective Starbucks Drinks

1. Very Berry Hibiscus Starbucks Refresher

Photocreds: we heart it 
So this drink is super delicious, contains hibiscus which is common in a lot of teas and known for its Vitamin C & Minerals. It is also a natural diuretic, so great if you're planning to go on a detox diet! Also it's only $2.75 in Canada! Maybe cheaper for the American counterparts! It only has 70 calories! 

2. Steamed Apple Cider

Photocreds: divas can cook 
Only 170 calories for a tall, and that includes whip cream! Plus, you get all the health benefits of apple juice which cleanses liver, promotes heart health, and boots the immune system! Also, its only $1.75. And well… The whip cream will be our secret! ;)

3. American Misto/ Café Misto

Photocred: we heart it 
So this one doesn’t really count as “healthy” unless you want to chirp the health benefits of coffee which may include reducing change for liver disease (I am not sourcing any scientific papers here). But if you still need that morning “freshener” but want to cut the calories, this is your drink! It has only 80 calories with skim milk and roughly around $2.50.

4. Soy Chai Tea Latte

Photocred: we heart it
Only 180 calories- It's black tea so it will waken you up in the morning and a nice alternative to coffee. Get soy milk for the additional health benefits and lower cals. Black tea is full of antioxidants that can help prevent cardiovascular disease! Also, it contains ginger which aids digestion, boosts the immune system, and reduces inflammation! This is only $3.15 for a tall!

5. Green Tea Frapp

Okay, so this is my personal favourite! Although it may not be the cheapest or healthiest drink, it makes green tea taste good! Which is an amazing feat in itself for my taste buds. It is around 300 calories if you get a tall with non fat milk! Cut the whip cream for even less calories! It's around $4.00! Green tea is great if you are going on a diet because it actually gets rid of your hunger! Also, green tea has antioxidants that often can help prevent cancer, and its aids healthy cells in growth and development! So maybe it can prevent cancer too! 

Best of luck on your quest for Starbucks gold (if you feel it would be beneficial to you), and cheers to making cheaper and healthier drink decisions! If you liked this post check out my blog for more!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Things I just Cannot Do!

Recently, I came across this cute new tag created by Dali from DaliRae! It's a quick one, but very fun to make. It actually took me a while to think of things I just cannot do, because I wanted to write things I would never ever in a million lifetimes do. They might seem weird, but it's how I've always been ;)!

Things I just cannot do:

  • Go to sleep without writing in my journal
  • Eat any seafood other than fish and seaweed- I just can't bring myself to try it!
  • Go to sleep without washing my face first
  • Open my eyes on a scary roller coaster
  • Watch a movie and not finish it, even if it's really bad. It'll eventually get better, right?..
  • Go somewhere scenic and not take pictures
  • Stop being attracted to sparkly jewelry
  • Be completely done reading everything on my "To read list". It's never ending!
  • Resist homemade baked goods
  • Not wear a watch
  • Cut my hair so that's it's shorter than my shoulders. I look terrible with short hair!
  • Go out for the day without bringing a water bottle and sunscreen
  • Blow dry my hair- I always let it air dry completely!
  • Eat or drink anything remotely beet flavoured- I mentioned it before, but I'm scarred for life from a science experiment I was in
I hope you will continue this tag- I tag every single person reading this! It's a very fast post, and it's so interesting to see what other people would never do. You can write as little or as much as you want. We can get to know each other in a creative and fun way!

If you do this tag too, make sure to leave your link in the comments so I can see them! Or you can leave some examples of things you would never do.

PS. If you want to use my picture, email me and I can send you the picture without my Blog name! My email is in the "Contact" tab.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Reading

A Beautiful Mess always has amazing pictures, so I was so excited to see their new post on How to Create Bright and Sharp iPhone Photos. They give easy to follow editing steps and it's useful for Blog photos too!

This week, I've been really into watching chick flicks on my computer. I have a lot more free time now, so I can watch more movies! While searching some popular ones up, I came across Top 100 Chick Flicks. I'm not going to watch all of them of course, but it's a good start. I already watched a few super funny movies from there.

If you're bored, or want to know how many words you know, try Testing Your Vocabulary with a fun quiz!

I can always benefit from reading more Networking Tips, especially one written for introverts.

I haven't eaten ice cream for quite some time now, but this Easiest Ever Ice Cream Cake has got me drooling. Seriously, it looks amazing!

You're probably making these 5 mistakes at work- I'm not currently working, but this was interesting to read. There's some awesome and easy to follow tips in there too!

How gorgeous is Amber from Barefoot Blonde with her new baby and gorgeous floor length dress? And her braid is just absolutely stunning!

Photos: barefoot blonde, a beautiful mess, a beautiful mess, cupcakes and cashmere 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favourites!

Hello there! This week I have been quite busy at school. Don't worry, I'm not back in High School yet- I've just decided it was time for me to go to driving school! I have my first license, but I always thought I wouldn't need my full license because I don't really want to drive. I know, it's the complete opposite of most people. I'm already past the age of getting a license, but I thought, since it's summer, why not go learn a few new things? "It's summer" is quickly becoming my new reason for doing various things these days. I'm loving summer so far, I can't say it enough. I can't believe July is almost over! I still feel like summer just started.

Hope you have a super wonderful weekend- take advantage of that sun!

Favourite Food (I've been obsessed with boxed salads lately- I've had four this week!):

Favourite Snack (Pita with Hummus- When you toast the pita beforehand, it tastes so good! Who knew?):

Favourite Buy (Beautiful floral notebooks from Anthropologie!):

Favourite Video (Word Crimes- A new take on Blurred Lines from Robin Thicke!)

Favourite Moment (Our backyard ginormous cucumber is finally ready to eat!):

Photo (of pita): you beauty

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Photo Diary: The Giant Thimble and More Downtown Adventures! {11.07.14}

Last weekend, Genevive and I took a trip downtown Toronto again! This time, we explored a couple new places- Fashion District and Bloor-Yorkville! Both were supposed to be high class, fancier neighbourhoods, and they didn't disappoint. Well, actually a bit. It turns out Fashion District (Sounds fancy, huh?) was more of something of the past and not a lot of the same shops remain today. Fashion District is just what people call that area nowadays. And to think, I thought it was a street full of super expensive and beautiful stores such as Chanel and Yves St. Laurent! Fashion District was still a great place, it just wasn't what I expected.
On our way, we found this cute little "farm" in the middle of the busy streets of Toronto! They even have their own CN tower mural!
The sun was so bright, look at our puny shadows! That means the sun is very strong, and it's best to stay indoors. But we had the day to explore, so we stayed out and continued walking. Sorry in advance for the bad lighting in the photos, the sun was just killing it!
One of the highlights of the day was finding this life size thimble in Fashion District. I had only heard of this monument the day before, so we made sure to stop by and take pictures. I mean, where else can you find a giant thimble? By the way, don't you think the thing under the thimble looks like a hamburger? Or is it just me?
And to go with the thimble, there was a measuring tape painted on the ground. It's from several years ago, evidently. But it's still super cool and unique! I wanted to take a picture with my lying down beside the measuring tape. Unfortuently, there were a lot of people rushing by and I don't think that would've been the best idea.
One of the reasons I love downtown- there is art everywhere! Here is yet another graffiti. Of course I had to pose.
Luckily, we randomly wandered into Urban Outfitters, a store that we don't have where I live. So I took advantage and got this cute pair of sunglasses! Lately, I've been into wearing different styles of sunglasses, and this pair looked different than the ones I own.
We went to the Anthropologie at Bloor-Yorkville, which we also don't have where we live. I found Pablo Neruda's Love Poems book- I used to read his work in English class! Maybe if I had this pretty pink book, I would actually like his poems ;).
How cute is this bike in front of Free People? You can't tell from the photo, but there are pastel coloured yarn wrapping around the bike (It's probably not meant for riding). The whole store is decorated so pretty, if you ever pass by Free People, you should definitely go in and have a look even if you don't buy anything!
There were so many fun and unique places in Bloor-Yorkville! I'd say it was a successful adventure ;)!

What are your favourite places to explore in your city?

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Summer Reading List

You might remember from my Summer Bucket List, I said I wanted to read ten books from my to read list. Well, here they are! I have a lot more in the back of my mind, but here are the ones I'm going to really try to read. And since I'm so excited about each of these books, I decided to share them with you guys! It'd be fun if we could read them together :).

Across The Universe, Beth Revis
I borrowed this book from the library a few years ago and never got the chance to read it! So many regrets now, because recently I've heard so many good things about it. It kind of reminds me of The 100, which is now a TV show! Haven't watched it, though.

"Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming."

Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan
I don't know what drew me in, the mysterious sunglasses, the pearls, the beautiful diamond earrings...all I know is this is a story about the high class Ellites (I mean, hello? They live in a palace!) and it's the Asian version, which I've never seen before. Plus, doesn't the author's name sound so cool? You've got to say it out loud. Is it just me that notices these things?

"When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers."

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
I've seen the trailer for this movie many times, but refused to watch the movie until I had read the book. It looks very haunting and dreamy at the same time- so intriguing!

"As a child, Kathy – now thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory. And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed – even comforted – by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now. A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance – and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work."

Bossypants, Tina Fey
Everyone knows Tina Fey is the master of comedy- she's written so many popular movies, shows, scripts...I've recently read Mindy Kalling's book and she mentioned Tina Fey quite a few times. All good things, making me very curious to read what she has to say. I'm guessing this will be a fast and fun read, with lots of giggles on the way.

"Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy."

Paper Towns, John Green
Ever since I've read my first John Green Book (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), I've been waiting for another book that has a similar writing style. I love the way he uses words- the narrator is casual yet pensive about describing mundane situations. I always go through his books super fast, so I know this one will be a breeze!

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew."

Eleanor And Park, Rainbow Rowell
This is another book I've had to opportunity to read before, but just didn't. Again, it's only recently that I've heard great things about it. I haven't read a romance in so long, and everyone says the love between the two teenagers in this books will make you swoon! And that quote at the end of the summary is just too much for me to handle. It needs to go on a T-shirt or something.

"Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor. Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try."

Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
I have to admit I was drawn to this book because of the cool sunglasses and the pretty blue background of the cover. I really do judge a book by its cover. But don't worry, I also read a lot of reviews, so all that's why all the books in this list are very popular, known books. The summary of this book also reminded me of Gone Girl, another book about a missing person. I find these types of mysteries very thrilling and usually the end is unpredictable!

"Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world."

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Another mysterious looking book...this one sounds very magical yet dangerous. I tried checking this out at the library the other day, and so many people were in line for it. I hope that means it's really good!

"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance."

Room, Emma Donoghue
This is the first book I'm reading from the list, and it's probably the most unique. The narrator is only five years old, and the way he describes everything is so innocent and captivating. You don't even realize the real situation at first because the narrator himself doesn't understand. I didn't read the summary before starting this book, and I was in for a big surprise when I found out. Before I started reading, I also thought this was a horror book because of the bright, messily painted letters on the creepily blank background. I had no idea, that's just the impression the cover gave off. I'm still less than ten percent done though; I'm only getting started!

"To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work. Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another."

Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
From the cover, I had no idea what this book was about. But it did win the Pulitzer Prize and the I'm curious to find out what the little birdy has to do with whole story. Maybe it's a symbol like in To Kill a Mockingbird?

"It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate."

All photos and summaries were taken from Goodreads.

What books are you currently reading? What books do you want to read? I'd love to add them to my list!