Wednesday, August 24, 2016

{Confessions of a Product Junkie}... spend $ to save $$$

It's been forever since I posted a Confessions of a Product Junkie post, but don't think that means I'm a reformed product junkie!  I still love products, and today I'm sharing a way for you to get the most from your products.

No matter how much I spend on the product, it makes me so mad when I see all the product left at the bottom of a bottle, or other type of container.  Now, if it's a tube the solution is easy.  Cut that tube open, and you can probably use it for days...just put it in a zip lock until you've actually used it all.

If it's in a hard container, that option isn't possible, but here are 3 products you need in your life that will solve that problem.  These products may be available lots of places, but I got my at The Container Store, so I've linked to their website.

This "large" mini spatula is great for your foundation bottles, eye creams, serums, etc.  It even has a handy little side portion for getting under the lip of the bottle.
It retails for $4.99

This is the "small" spatula that advertises is great for lip products, but I also use it for concealers, eye shadow bases, etc.  

It retails for $3.99

This last product is great for your shampoo, conditioner, hair gels, lotions, etc.  The lotion saver bottle couplers retail for $3.99, and it comes with 3 couplers: large/large, small/small, and large/small.

These products are inexpensive products that will save you money in the long run.  Since we are approaching the holidays, I think they can make great gifts for other product junkies.  Santa put them in our stockings a few years ago, and I've thought they were just brilliant little items that I use all the time.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Montreal & Quebec City {Day 4}

The fourth day of my trip was dedicated to Quebec City.  The historic part of Quebec City (Vieux-Quebec), is divided into to parts... Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville).  My hotel was in the upper town portion, so I explored it before heading to the lower portion later in the day.

Basilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec was my first stop

Then I stopped at a Christmas store located just across the street where I selected the QC ornament that I was buying for my travel tree.

I wondered around the curvy and very hilly streets
The Historic District of Québec is a UNESCO site.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is the most photographed landmark in Québec City.
I really wanted to join the esteemed list of guests who have stayed here including: The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, QEII, Prince Grace, as well as FDR & Winston Churchill who met here in 1943 and 1945 for two wartime conferences, but I never really found a price less than $400+ a night.
There is a boardwalk around the hotel and you get some great views 

After walking around the Château, I headed toward Lower Town.  You can take a funicular up and down to lower town, or take a set of stairs.  I headed down the stairs known as L'Escalier Casse-Cou, which translates to "Breakneck Stairs".  I haven't always been known to navigate stairs without doing injuring myself, so I was very happy to make it down without breaking my neck (or anything else).
This is the first part of lower town you come to, and it is filled with lots of stores and boutiques.
I walked through the Place Royale, which is the quaintest cobblestone square you will ever see.

I ended up making my way to Cafe Saint Malo for lunch.  It's a small restaurant, and didn't really seem to draw lots of tourists like other Cafes you see in the area, but they had a pretty good crowd of locals.  I think that is always a good sign.  I had read about CSM prior to going on the trip and made a note in my travel book to look for it.

I ordered a warm goat cheese salad that was SO good.
I also ordered an omelet & frites.  It was very good.
I walked along the Antiques district, but a lot of the shops were closed since it was Sunday.  I then made my way to the Marché du Vieux-Port (Old Port Market).  You can get all sorts of things there, from Candy...
 to flowers...
beautiful fruit...
and vegetables.  There are lots of cheese, meat, wine, etc. too.  I bought another basket of strawberries because I had already almost plowed through the ones I bought the day before. 
I backtracked through lower town and back through Place Royale

I wondered back to the Funicular for a ride to the upper town
I lucked out and was the last one to load onto the car, so I was able to get great pics as we went up the hill.

Once I was back in upper town, I went inside the Château to look around.

I walked through a little market by Cathedral of the Holy Trinity where I found a Crepe stand.

I got a lemon crepe.

For dinner, I went to Chez Boulay Bistro Boreal.  The cuisine is all inspired by northern Québec.  It was the most pricey meal of my whole trip, but everything I had was amazing.

I started with a cocktail of Ungava gin, raspberries, grown cherries and ginger ale.
I'm not 100% sure what was in this salad, but it was very good.
I had the seared scallop and monkfish wrapped in bacon, barley risotto with corn and seaweed, sauce vierge with organic blackcurrant balsamic for my main course.
For dessert, I had the Sea buckthorn and meringue pie, pine forest spikenard crème anglaise.  It was very good!  I had no idea what sea buckthorns were, so the waitress brought me some to taste before I ordered.  They are tart, so kind of like a lemon pie.  
I really enjoyed my first day in Quebec City.  This 17th Century city is very well preserved and I love walking through history.  Stay tuned for my last two days in Quebec City!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Montreal & Quebec City {Day 3}

Day 3 began with a taxi ride to a downtown Montreal car rental.  I was ultimately headed to Quebec City, which is about a 3 hour drive, but I drove on about 30 miles northeast of the Quebec City to see some sites first.

I was a little nervous about driving this on my own.  (I don't think I've mentioned it, but when the trip was booked, I was going with my friend Abby.  A few weeks after we booked our trip, Abby was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  She spent the summer doing chemo, and wasn't able to make the trip.  She was greatly missed, and not just on the drive!).  I was nervous about driving because all the signs were in French rather than English, and once I actually got on the road and saw lots of signs like this, I was nervous about hitting a moose!

I drove up to Cote-De-Beaupre first to the Basilique Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré.

It is named for Québec's patron saint (the mother of the Virgin Mary).
More than 1 million pilgrims come each year to this region's most famous religious site.

I saw a sign going in that said photography was allowed, but missed the sign they put up during mass saying (mostly in French) that photography wasn't allowed during "celebrations".  Oops.

I drove back toward Quebec City and crossed a bridge to Île D'Orléans.  According to the guidebooks, the Algonquins called it Minigo, the "Bewitched Place".  I totally get that.  It bewitched me.

The homes I posted a few pics up, all have the St. Lawrence river behind them.  
It's supposedly one of the best places to get a feel for rural Quebec.  
I mean, are these not the most perfect carrots you've ever seen?
I bought a basked of strawberries that had just been picked (picking your own was also an option)
Looking across the SL river at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré
I drove around the entire island.  About every 60 seconds I said "Oh my word!".  Each site was more stunning than the last.  Some of the best sites didn't have great places to pull over to take pics.  Of course the various churches and attached cemeteries all had parking.  

I'm pretty sure this is is located in St-Francois.  
Each of the little town's had their own stone church and cemetery.

This Chocolaterie had quite the line for ice cream thanks to the extra-warm weather.  Think of a Dairy Queen dipped cone but with super legit chocolate and the chocolate was about 5x thicker than the DQ version.  
This is Ste-Jean.

I wanted to get some food at this cute place called La Boulange which was across from the church.  I went in and stood in the lengthy line for a few minutes, but there was no a/c, and the ovens were going, and I decided I didn't want it bad enough.
I finished driving around the island, I crossed back over to the mainland, and went to Chute Montmorency.
It's 27 stories tall, which my guidebook says is almost double height of Niagara's.

After the falls, I drove on in to Quebec City.  I dropped off my rental car, and took a taxi to my hotel for the next 3 nights.  I stayed Hotel Manior Victoria, which is located in Old Québec in Upper Town.
The lobby

My room


I showered, changed, and went to walk around some and then dinner.  
I had dinner at L'Entrecôte Saint-Jean and enjoyed the Steak frites.

Stay tuned for Day 4, 5 & 6 in Quebec City!


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