Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Exams, Are You Done Yet?

Good luck to everyone who is writing finals right now and congratulations to those of you who are finished! Enjoy your Christmas break and find time to relax this holiday season with friends and family! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Layering Scents

Etiket hosted its very first in-store engraving event this past week! Gerard Camme, from Atelier Cologne in New York came to our boutique to engrave and give us a sneak peak of the newest fragrance – Mistral Patchouli. (Stay tuned for its arrival in Spring 2013). He engraved beautiful leather pouches while answering all of our fragrance related questions. My burning question was the following: Can you layer scents without smelling overpowering?

Scents are created to be worn alone and smell different on every person once they have mixed with each individual’s natural body chemicals. Of course, there is neither a limit to how many perfumes you can wear nor a correct way to wear them. Gerard and I experimented with a variation of colognes until I found my favourite. First I sprayed the Vanille Insensée onto my pulse points and then spritzed the Orange Sanguine on top. This lightened the overall smell and created a sophisticated and spicy yet flirty and fresh scent on my skin. I found this mixture perfect to wear in the winter months or even in the spring. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I have grown up drinking tea from a very young age. My mom always told me the answer to any problem was tea. If I was sick, the easiest cure was tea. I learned quickly that if I was tired the cure was tea, and if I couldn’t sleep the cure was simply a cup of tea. For many years I couldn’t start my day without tea but ever since I moved to Montreal for school I have broken out of that habit. My blogging journey has opened my eyes to many different flavours of tea – herbal, spiced and green teas to name a few. It took me a while to learn that there were more kinds of tea then the classic Orange Pekoe by Tetley and Red Rose. I never knew the world of tea was so extensive! 

I had a very special visitor this weekend. Mama Baz came to Montreal to celebrate her birthday with me this year. I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to take her for afternoon tea than Nocochi, which is located on Sherbrooke and Mackay, right by the Musée des Beaux-Arts.

            The atmosphere was very relaxing and had an art-gallery inspired environment. We noticed many couples, friends and families enjoying small pastries, tea and European-style coffee. All of the pastries are made by hand following traditional Persian and Middle Eastern recipes. They also have an extensive breakfast and sandwich menu. This cozy little patisserie also offers catering for both meat-eaters and vegetarians.

We both ordered the most delicious almond croissants that melted in our mouths at the first bite. After pouring over the menu for at least 10 minutes I decided to go with the Casanova tea, which was a blend of black teas from Ceylon and China with vanilla, cinnamon, mango, berries and rhubarb combined with flower petals and dried fruit. My mom also chose a black tea called the Shining Star. This tea was scented with spices, vanilla, cloves, citrus fruit, cardamom orange peels and golden nuggets. It was the perfect choice for a celebration and I’d love to go back for their Afternoon Tea. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stella by TOCCA

For a long time now I’ve had my eye (and nose) on this scent by TOCCA. There was just something about Stella that drew me in immediately.  Most citrus scents are best suited for casual, outdoor summer days but Stella stands out in the citrus category. It is chic, modern, and elegant in addition to being refreshing, pleasant and bright. It can be worn in the spring or summer to add some glamour to any occasion. Despite being a summer scent, I plan on wearing this throughout the holiday season to make my Christmas aura classier. I find Stella to be very sophisticated, and it smells beautifully natural when spritzed on my skin. Rather then being overpowering, all of the notes complement each other perfectly.

This fresh and flirtatious fragrance is composed with top notes of Bitter Orange, Blood Orange and Water Accord; middle notes of White Freesia, Wild Diamond Orchids and Spicy Lily; and bottom notes of Sheer Musk and Sandalwood. Once again TOCCA has successfully drawn from Italian and European influences to create another whimsical and magical fragrance.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Café Vasco de Gama

My latest coffee adventures led me to Café Vasco de Gama – a treasure of old-world food in a traditional Portuguese store (counter setting) located on Peel and Maisonneuve. Their mouth-watering display shelves are stacked with fresh, authentic products and their extensive breakfast and lunch menus with the wine and spirits list makes your decision making process very difficult.

After contemplating my order for a long time, I finally decided on the Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Panini, which came with a Greek Salad on the side. My mouth is watering all over again as I’m writing this and thinking about the delicious meal!! Naturally, I had to order a coffee as well and after much deliberation settled on the Viennois Coffee – a Viennese style latté with whipped cream on top. I also tried my friend’s Sental Iced Tea, which was absolutely incomparable to any other Iced Tea I’ve ever had.

Aside from being an amazing café, Vasco de Gama’s gourmet market sells olive oils, wines and spices. They also offer a catering service. Every review I’ve read has amazing things to say and if that’s not enough for you, explore some articles here where they’ve been featured in the news. My visit to Café Vasco de Gama lead me on a voyage of exciting tastes and new discoveries. I can tell their fresh food captures flavours from every corner of the world. I can’t wait to go back and explore some more! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Storing Fragrances

So the snow has already threatened to flurry – or perhaps it’s already fluttering down where you are – which means you’re firmly in the winter-woolly mindset. Or at least you’ve started to wear socks again. You’ve also moved into a new fragrance: perhaps an eau-de-parfum version of your favourite summer floral, or a completely new spritz that’s rich and delicious and more in ine with your want-to-sit-by-the-fireplace-all-evening head space.

Q: So how best to store those favourite warm-weather scents so they’re fresh for next spring?

A: Store them in the fridge. Yes, in the fridge. It will prolong the life of your scent, and it’s a great solution if you like to switch up your fragrance with the season, but keep your scent stockpile in tip-top shape. 

Originally published on The Whale and the Rose

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


My newest discovery is a cute, little, hole-in-the-wall coffee shop called Pikolo Espresso BarThis café is on Sherbrooke and Parc, conveniently located right across from the Provigo grocery store! I first heard about it through a friend and decided I had to drag my next coffee-loving victim, Alan, to try it with me!

Pikolo has a laid back atmosphere but is quite small. When we went, we noted that it was very cozy - and by cozy I mean ridiculously warm. The staff must have had the heating on full blast because I was dying from the heat in there! Regardless Alan and I both ordered warm drinks but ironically, neither of us chose an espresso.

Alan ordered a cappuccino, which he enjoyed. I can’t seem to break away from my coffee comfort zone, and not so surprisingly ordered a mokaccino. I’m not going to complain about not being adventurous because I was really happy with my choice! We noticed a lot of people studying there but the shop wasn’t very big and seemed a little too squishy to use as a study spot. We were really lucky to even find a place to sit. 

The best part of our drinks had to be the coffee art, which seems to be a trend everywhere I go! Despite the intense heat and tight quarters, I would recommend Pikolo as a cute date spot. It’s not overwhelmingly large and it is fairly quiet so you can hear what the other person is actually saying! For all you espresso lovers out there – don’t miss a chance to try Pikolo! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Special Post: CASCO

The Commerce and Administration Student Charity Organization (CASCO) is a student-driven initiative that raises money to support the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. This was my first year being a part of the CASCO committee, and it was an absolute pleasure to work closely with so many philanthropic youth, truly dedicated to making a difference.  

 Every year the students on CASCO organize a Charity Fashion/Dance Show and a Silent Auction. This year, the 12th annual show was held at L’Astral, a beautiful theatre downtown and featured performances by Dance Pack, Mosaica, Urban Groove, Brosaica and of course the CASCO Committee themselves! Each performance took the audience through different parts of the world in collaboration with this year’s theme: Coast to Coast.

 The dancers modeled clothing from some of Montreal hippest boutiques and designers including: Dom Rebel, Kollontaï, Top Belle Pour Toi, Billie, Valérie Dumaine, American Apparel, Annie 50, & Lustre Atelier + Boutique.

  The show was a huge success. With over 300 people in the audience, we managed to raise just over $10,000 through ticket sales and the silent auction; we’re still working towards our initial goal of $12,000. None of this would have been possible without the endless hours of work put in by the co-chairs, execs and of course the committee members as well as the generous donations from all of the sponsors which included but was not limited to Aveda, Desjardins, Ernst & Young and Etiket

Thank you to everyone who came to the show and supported us! Stay tuned for more events coming your way! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Starbucks Secret Menu: Chocolate Pumpkin

If you remember from my very first post, I talked about my favourite coffee - the White Mocha from Starbucks. I never branch out and try new drinks because I'm worried I won't enjoy it. I stumbled upon a Secret Menu on Pinterest with a bunch of specialty drinks at Starbucks that you will not find on the menu.

Today, the barista made me a Pumpkin Spiced Latté and added in a pump of Chocolate Syrup. I’m not usually a fan of pumpkin but the chocolate syrup added the exactly what was missing. Perfect for a fall day, this drink reminds me of Thanksgiving. Too bad the fall season is basically over but I’m sure the barista would be happy to make this for you if you ask! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

LaLicious Love

I've decided to cheat a little bit this week and not talk about a new fragrance. I'm still very much enjoying my TOCCA fragrances and am not on the hunt for anything new at the moment. Instead, this week's post is about a number of delicious smelling products from my favourite line at Etiket - LaLicious.
LaLicious is an all-natural bath and body line that began in California. The entire line includes body soufflé scrubs, body soaps and body butters. The scrubs use natural ingredients and are created by a special whipped technique. Coconut and almond oil provide minerals, vitamins, and proteins that are essential for beautiful skin. The oils also penetrate skin easily while locking in moisture without leaving a greasy feeling. Almond oil relieves itching, dryness, inflammation, burns and thread veins. Vitamin E oil soothes and conditions as honey helps soften. Pure cane sugar is a less abrasive exfoliant than salt and won't sting cuts on the skin. LaLicious helps exfoliate, condition, moisturize and smooth the skin.

The first LaLicious product I bought was the Sugar Reef Scrub in the summer. This scrub made my skin feel amazing and I quickly became obsessed with the smell. I looked for every excuse to take a shower simply because I wanted to exfoliate…my roommates thought I was insane! My next addition was the Lily Mango Body Butter. This moisturizer was perfect for the summer months and reminded me of being in the tropics. Next I received the Passionfruit Lime Body Soap. This uniquely created whipped soap lathers nicely on your skin and leaves it smelling delicious! My current obsession is the Coconut Cream Body Scrub and I recently added the Coconut Cream Body Butter to my collection. Each scent leaves your skin silky smooth with a lingering scent that stays with you for a while so you don’t even need to use another fragrance.

On a fun note, celebrities like Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Eva Mendez and Kate Hudson can’t seem to get enough of LaLicious. I love this line and have to constantly remind myself that these products are not edible! Even the packaging says, “no tasting please!” 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Special Post: Movember

November 1st marks the beginning of Movember – a worldwide philanthropic effort to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer. Gentlemen all over the world grow a mustache for the entire month and collect donations for this great cause.

Growing up with an incredibly smart and inspiring older sister and many female cousins, I was always raised with the mindset that girls could do anything and everything boys could do, if not more. I also went to an all-girls school between the ages of 11 and 18 so I guess you can say I’m a bit of a feminist. My parents always supported our ambitions no matter how ridiculous they may have been.

As I’ve grown up and entered the co-ed world in university I've met many people who challenged my feminist views simply to get a rise out of me. For this reason, I sometimes struggle to maintain the mindset that girls can do everything boys can do. That being said, I thought joining the Movember movement with an incredible team of women would be a great way to show female power while supporting a great cause that is usually dominated by males. Even though we can’t grow a mustache we still have the ability to make a change. If you’d like to donate to the Etiket Mo Sistas please visit our Mo Space and support this great cause. We had a fun photo shoot at Etiket and even lost a few articles of clothing along the way. When we reach our goal of $2,500 you will get to see our risqué photos! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Le Cagibi

I recently found myself exploring the Mile End area for a school assignment with my adventurous, coffee-loving friend K, which is the location of this week's café!  My fellow explorer and I found Le Cagibi – a very hipster café located on St. Laurent in the heart of Mile End, which we inevitably had to try out.

K, being an espresso man, ordered an Americano. For those of you who are not big Espresso fans (or don’t know much about them like moi) an Americano is a shot of Espresso with hot water. It’s usually quite strong and is great if you are up late working on an assignment and need that caffeine kick to keep you going. K described his Americano as “delightfully balanced” and “not too harsh and not too mild”. He finished by saying the best part of this Americano was the “nutty finish”.
Staying true to my simple coffee and hot-chocolate-loving-self, I ordered a Mochaccino, which is an espresso based drink with milk and a hint of chocolate. My drink was huge and literally came in a bowl! Needless to say, it took me a little while to drink it but it was delicious and I enjoyed every sip. It was the perfect blend of coffee-base and chocolate without being too sweet – I actually had to add in a teaspoon of sugar, even though I often don't enjoy drinks that are too sweet.

Le Cagibi was quirky, cozy and super hipster. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and homey vibe. It’s a great study spot and we saw a lot of students reading and doing work, which made me feel a little guilty for being out and not labouring over textbooks. The music was relaxing but nothing I recognized - again very hipster. After looking into this café a little more I learned that Le Cagibi invites artists to perform all the time. Click here to see their calendar of events. They recently hosted a panel discussion among various artists about art and social activism. Le Cagibi was definitely a hit and if it weren’t so far I’d be studying there all the time! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Viaggio Collection by TOCCA

I’ve been exploring new fragrances for a while now but feel a little nervous to fully commit to full bottle of a new perfume. The TOCCA collection at Etiket recently caught my eye. I’m not sure if it was the beautiful packaging or the Old World inspired bottles, but I found myself very drawn to all 6 of the TOCCA scents. Before investing in a full sized bottle, I decided to try 3 different eaux de parfum from the Viaggio Collection. This set includes Colette, Bianca and Giulietta – 3 very flirty and feminine fragrances.

Colette is named after a Parisian novelist and performer who whose works centered around explicit themes. Her novels caused controversy when they were first published in the early 1900s, but her personal escapades – she was married three times and romantically involved with women – are the reason for her scandalous legacy. With key notes of Vanilla, Sandalwood, Musk and Incense, this perfume is mystifying and I prefer it as an evening scent. Colette captures the mysterious essence of a woman. Let her intrigue draw you in… 
Bianca is a very light and floral scent. It is inspired by teatime in Italy and reminds me of high tea at the Royal York. Intoxicatingly fresh, clean and sparkling, Bianca personifies la dolce vita with key notes of Green Tea, Rose, Sugar and Lemon. This is a brilliantly created, fresh scent that I love wearing during the day. A whisper of musk and sugar linger on the skin, capturing your imagination… 
Giulietta is my favourite scent of the three. This sweet, refreshing scent is inspired by the love story of Italian film director Federico Fellini and his wife Giulietta Masina. The scent is reminiscent of the couple’s holidays spent on the island of Corsica where the two dreamt up the director’s visionary tales. With key notes of Green Apple, Pink Tulips, Vanilla Orchid and Amber, this delicate scent transports me to vacation mode on a remote island somewhere far away…

Named after the Italian word for “touch”, TOCCA Beauty is renowned worldwide as a fragrance house of distinctive and exquisite scents. Its perfumers develop scents that are reminiscent of bygone times and familiar places yet infused with the unexpected, creating something fresh and new altogether. Leaving a touch of mystery in the air, TOCCA’s sophisticated products are meant to inspire and surprise. TOCCA’s beautiful fragrances can be found in a luxury candle collection, fine fragrances, and body products however my favourite unique product is the solid perfume intended for the sophisticated traveler. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Café Castel

When I think of autumn the sound of crunchy leaves, beautifully vibrant colours and studying at cafés all come to mind. As the temperature swiftly drops, I am reminded that snowflakes and bulky winter coats are just around the corner. Unfortunately, this also means that this is time for school to really pick up and for midterm season to begin. Regardless of the chaos and stress of school, it is time to enjoy this perfect weather and my favourite season while it lasts! I’ve decided to explore Café Castel this week and use it as my study spot for this year's midterm season!

I recently tried the Mocha After Eight, and the only way I can describe the drink is by saying it tastes like Christmas in a cup! They add a special twist to a classic mocha by adding After Eight chocolate powder, which brings a minty zing to the drink. My next new adventure at this cafe was trying the Café Olé! Translation: Café au Lait. I thought this drink was going to have a Spanish twist, however I was mistaken. If you don’t have a big sweet tooth I would not recommend this drink as it is just a normal mocha with just a lot of milk and is super sweet! After these two drinks I took a wider step out of my usual coffee bubble and tried the Chai Latté. Oh my goodness this was to die for! I ordered it on a grey, rainy day when I really needed a pick-me-up and some motivation for studying. This latté did the trick! With the perfect balance of cinnamon, spices and sweetness this heavenly drink won first place for my perfect autumn drink.

Over the course of the week I’ve visited Café Castel every single day and have tried so many new drinks! The staff members are starting to recognize me and say "hi" every time I pop in! I feel like I have VIP status now, and I love it! It’s also a huge bonus that Castel is next door to Bronfman - any management student’s home away from home. Apart from the convenient location and delicious drinks, I’d have to say that my favourite part about Café Castel is their coffee art. If I haven’t convinced you to try this place out yet, maybe my photos will. Enjoy!

Mocha After Eight

Left: Café Mocha                        Right: Chai Latté

Mocha Olé