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My-Sweet-Take-on-Tabbouleh Salad (Gluten-Free | GF)

I have a special spot in my heart for quinoa. It's versatile, filling, & known for it's high protein content. One day I bought quinoa from Bulk Barn & on my way out of the mall, I walked by a Mediterranean restaurant at the food court called Villa Madina. I've had tabbouleh plenty of times, but as I glanced over the tabbouleh this time, the first thing that crossed my mind is that I could use quinoa as a substitute to make tabbouleh.

Since then I've been using quinoa to make tabbouleh salad instead of bulgur wheat which is used in traditional tabbouleh recipes. However, the other day while making tabbouleh, I was snacking on red grapes & I thought red grapes would taste really nice with this salad.

I loved the end result, so I thought I'd share the recipe. I must warn you though, I don't have exact measurements. It all depends on your liking - if you like a lot of lemon juice, onions, or salt, then go for it. Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of the strong flavour of parsley, which is a bit odd considering that parsley is one of the main ingredients in tabbouleh. But that's exactly why I didn't add as much parsley as most people would & added more grapes instead.

  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
    - OR 1/3 Maggi chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes 
  • 1/2 red onion 
  • 40 seedless red grapes 
  • handful of mint 
  • 2 to 3 handfuls of flat-leaf parsley
  • juice of 3/4 of a lemon 
  • salt 
  • ground black pepper 

  1. Bring the chicken broth (or 1/3 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1/2 cup of water) to a boil. Add the quinoa & let it cook for 20 minutes or till the quinoa absorbs all of the liquid & it is cooked properly. Once it is cooked, let it cool. If there is some liquid remaining & the quinoa is already cooked through, use a sieve to strain the excess liquid.
  2. Cut the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, grapes, mint, & parsley. I didn't dice everything into small pieces & I cut the grapes in half. 
  3. Season with lemon juice, salt, & ground black pepper.

Chef's notes:
  1. I prefer cooking quinoa in chicken broth (preferably homemade) as it adds a lot of flavour to the otherwise bland quinoa. Alternatively, you can cook 1/4 cup of quinoa in 1/2 cup of water. You can also try adding a pinch of salt to the water before adding the quinoa.
  2. You can take out the seeds in the cucumber & tomatoes, but I was eating the salad right away, so I didn't mind leaving them in. If you plan on storing the salad, you might want to take out the seeds so that the salad doesn't get too watery.
  3. Traditional recipes of tabbouleh include a bit of olive oil, but I skip it.


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#30DaysofLipstick Day 26-30

This is the last post from the #30DaysofLipstick challenge that I took part in on Instagram. If you saw my previous posts from this challenge, you probably figured out my signature pose for this challenge. I can't decide whether I had more fun wearing so many lip colours or sporting my collection of big earrings!

Day 26: Stila Cosmetics stay all day liquid lipstick in Dolce

Day 27: Revlon matte lipstick in 009 Fabulous Fig

Day 28: Maybelline color sensational creamy matte lipstick in 665 Lust for Blush

Day 29: Mary Kay creamy lip color in Retro Rose (Limited Edition)

Day 30: Dose of Colors liquid matte lipstick in Berry Me

More links for the #30DaysofLipstick challenge:


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#30DaysofLipstick Day 21-25

Day 21: Sephora cream lip stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed

Day 22: Mary Kay creme lipstick in Hibiscus + Marcelle Cosmetics rouge xpression lipstick in 853 Jezebel in the middle

Day 23: Wet n Wild MegaLast lip color in 916D Ravin' Raisin + Sephora cream lip stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed applied lightly all over & blended in while it was still wet

Day 24: Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip lip liner in 14C Light Rosewood worn all over the lips

 Day 25: Mary Kay creme lipstick in Whipped Berries + Maybelline moisture extreme lipstick in G100 Chestnut mixed in all over

More links for the #30DaysofLipstick challenge:


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#30DaysofLipstick Day 16-20

Day 16: NYX Cosmetics soft matte lip cream in Addis Ababa + Revlon matte lipstick in 002 Pink Pout mixed in all over

Day 17: Maybelline moisture extreme lip color in 360 Cherry Brown

Day 18: Yves Saint Laurent rouge volupte lipstick in 25 Soft Beige

Day 19: Sephora cream lip stain in 04 Endless Purple

Day 20: Annabelle Cosmetics lip liner in 420 Blush all over + Maybelline color sensational creamy matte lip color in 660 Touch of Spice

More links for the #30DaysofLipstick challenge:


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#30DaysofLipstick Day 11-15

Day 11: Sonia Kashuk velvety matte lip crayon in 08 Mulberry Nude

Day 12: Senna Cosmetics' cream lipstick in Ruby

Day 13: Mary Kay creme lipstick in Rich Fig

Day 14: Wet n Wild MegaLast lip color in 913C Sand Storm

Day 15: Mary Kay creme lipstick in Raisinberry

More links for the #30DaysofLipstick challenge:


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#30DaysofLipstick Day 6-10

Day 6: Wet n Wild MegaLast lip color in 916D Ravin' Raisin + L'Oreal colour riche lip gloss in Rich Pink in the middle

Day 7: Make Up For Ever rouge artist natural lipstick in N9 Copper Pink + L'Oreal colour juice sheer glossy lip gloss in 850 Butterscotch Drop in the middle

Day 8: Sephora color lip last lipstick in 04 Brown is Back!

Day 9: Revlon ColorBurst matte balm in 225 Sultry

Day 10: Sofina lipstick (uncle got this from Japan years ago) + Barry M matte lip paint in 100 Baby Pink in the middle

More links for the #30DaysofLipstick challenge:


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#30DaysofLipstick Day 1-5

I'm doing the #30daysoflipstick challenge on Instagram, so I thought I'd post those pictures on my blog as well since not everyone has an IG account.

Day 1: Gerard Cosmetics lipstick in 1995

Day 2: Mary Kay creamy lip colour in Carefree Coral (Limited Edition) + NARS lip gloss in Orgasm in the center

Day 3: Senna Cosmetics cream lipstick in Down to Earth + Senna Cosmetics cream lipstick in Midas in the center

Day 4: Maybelline color sensational lip color in 265 Autumn Rush

Day 5: Revlon matte lipstick in In the Red

More links for the #30DaysofLipstick challenge:


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Review: NARS Pencil Sharpener

It may be odd that I'm reviewing a pencil sharpener out of all the wonderful beauty products that I've been trying out recently. But I've always believed (& I'm sure you makeup enthusiasts will agree with me here), that the tools we use are just as important as the products. Just like brushes or an eyelash curler, a good pencil sharpener will last you years.

The NARS pencil sharpener, which is made in Germany, is exactly one of those durable beauty tools. Since it's made in Germany, you can expect a higher quality sharpener for a higher price than something that's made in China. For $8.50 CAD + tax at Sephora, you get a dual-ended sharpener in the classic NARS rubber & plastic finish. This comes packaged in the simple black cardboard packing like the rest of their products.

The dual-ended sharpener is so convenient because I can sharpen my regular eyeliners & lip pencils as well as bigger lip pencils or kajal eyeliners. I have tried using this with drugstore & higher end pencils & haven't had any problems. However, I've heard that some people have had problems with some of the Sephora brand pencils which are slimmer, which I don't own any of so I can't comment on that.

I really love how you also get a cleaning stick. This securely slides into the front top portion, which is then covered by the lid, so you won't have to worry about losing it. The stick allows you to reach any small shavings or clean off product that's stuck to the blades without getting messy. The shavings get collected in the top portion of the sharpener, but in case you want to clean the back of the blade thoroughly, NARS has made this easy too. Simply pop out the bottom part of the sharpener to reach the back of the blade.

Besides all of these good qualities, the main reason why I chose to review this product is because of its performance. If you've only used sharpeners from the drugstore, you'll be able to tell the difference right away. It sharpens your pencils so smoothly & you don't have to rotate the pencil too much for it to sharpen, which means it's not wasting any more product than is necessary. This point itself should sell you on this sharpener, especially if you use more expensive pencils! With cheaper sharpeners you may have run into problems where you've just slightly sharpened your pencil and a bit of the tip just breaks off & you end up wasting more product to get a nice tip. I've been able to get a sharp point with this sharpener & the tip has never broken off.

The only downside is that the NARS rubber & plastic packaging may collect dust over time but you can wipe it down easily with a wet cotton pad. Don't mind the picture above with the shavings - that's dirty on purpose for that specific shot since I was experimenting.
I've been using this sharpener for over 2 years now & I love it. The last 2 pics are of my sharpener & the top 2 pics are of my mums brand new sharpener that I told her she HAS to buy because it's amazing.

Make the investment & purchase the NARS pencil sharpener. You won't regret it.



Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The product mentioned is purchased by me & all opinions are honest & my own.
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Cute & Comfy Shoes from Reef

I don’t live anywhere close to beautiful beaches, which is one of the reasons that I haven’t really been exposed to surfing or that lifestyle, so this was my first time hearing about Reef. I did some research & their website says the following: “Reef is a core surf company. [They] create authentic and innovative products intended to nurture an incredibly fortunate lifestyle that involves surf, sensuality and a life filled with happiness…Reef continuously creates high quality, comfortable sandals and surf apparel for an active lifestyle. Our products are eco-friendly as we constantly strive to improve our environment.”

Although I’m not a surfer, while browsing through their shoes for girls, I found cute shoes. I actually dislike wearing socks & boots all the time, so I avoid wearing them for as long as I can. I opt for flats at times even when there’s snow on the ground – yeah.. I can be a bit crazy at times. Keeping that in mind, here are the top 2 that I liked even though the weather in Canada is chilly these days & most people here wouldn’t choose these to wear right now:

  • “Suede wedge features hand woven textile from India”
  • These would look great with so many outfits. You could pair these with skinny blue jeans & a casual T-shirt for a casual look. You could also wear them with skinny jet black jeans, a plain gray or white T-shirt tucked in the pants at the front with lots of jewelry & accessories for a more dressed up look.

  • “Mattress-inspired quilted PU foam footbed with anatomical arch support”
  • I was attracted to these because of the colour. I have a handbag & a shirt that are similar to it & it’s hard to find casual shoes in this colour. & if you think you won’t be able to wear these with a lot of outfits, you might be surprised – I used to own mustard coloured flats that I wore with everything. They added that extra pop of colour, which I really like.

In the footer of their leather flip flops for women page it states that “This popular Reef footwear features ISA L.I.T.E. (low impact to the environment) leather sandals, soft suede footbeds, and comfortable arch support.” I’ve actually spent some extra money for flats that had soft footbeds & comfortable arch support & those were super comfortable even on days when I was on my feet all day, so I would definitely recommend you to look for footwear with these features.


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me using images from the brand’s website.
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24k Drama

Before I start getting carried away on this keyboard, I want to let you know that this is a look that I did months ago (in Feb 2014 to be precise). If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted this look a few times already - I haven't included any of those pics in this post, but keep reading for links to them if you want to check them out. Also, this post is picture heavy, so I'll try to keep the rest of the post short.

If you don't follow me on Instagram (@saimese), here are the pictures & video that this look appeared in prior to this post: {picture 1 • picture 2 • video • picture 3picture 4picture 5}

Moving on to the products used.

Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in 063 Eastend Snob
Medusa's Makeup lip gloss in Whispers

Revlon Colorstay foundation for combination/oily skin in 250 Fresh Beige
Maybelline Fit Me concealer in 25 Medium
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder in Honey - Medium 3-4 [to set the concealer & foundation]
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil matte bronzing powder [to contour]
Laura Geller's Blush-N-Brighten in Roseberry [cheeks]

I didn't remember to take a picture of the highlight product(s), so I'm unable to recall what I used since this was months ago. It seems like I used a combination of items, including an eyeshadow.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer
Prestige Cosmetics eyeshadow in C-153 Angel [highlight]
Annabelle Cosmetics Studio Pigment in Magentini [browbone + crease + outer 3/4 of lower lashline]
Glow Essentials pigment in 24k [lid]
BH Cosmetics eyeshadow in CM20 [black shade in the outer corner + crease]
Pari Beauty Transforming Eye Gel [mixed some in with the pigments & black eyeshadow for better colour payoff & to reduce fall-out]
Maybelline Ultra Liner waterproof liquid liner in Black [upper lashline + inner & outer wings]
Almay intense i-color defining liner in Onyx [tightline + waterline]
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black [upper & lower lashes]

Since the look was super dramatic, I wanted to use dramatic eyelashes too.

Senna Cosmetics Sketch-a-Brow pencil in Dark Taupe [inner third]
Senna Cosmetics Sketch-a-Brow pencil in Mink [outer two-thirds]

I wasn't aiming for an Arabic, Bollywood, or South Asian bridal inspired makeup look, but I know that's what a lot of people would call this. I just really wanted to use my 24k gold pigment that I bought from the beauty school (Glow Academy) that I went to because I hadn't used it before. One thing led to another & it just turned into this dramatic look while I was doing my makeup. I really like how it turned out.


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