A 5'3 Perspective


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Fabulous Finds Friday: KOKU – Ottawa’s First Nail Art Bar

First of all – happy Friday my friends, we made it!

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending the media/blogger launch party for Ottawa’s first and most fabulous nail art bar, KOKU. Located just minutes from downtown, this modern nail bar kiosk is taking the city by storm! Modeled around the tagline “life is too short for boring nails” KOKU Nail Art Bar was painting up a storm last night. Besides free nail art manis [this is not a dream!!], the event featured a DIY manicure contest, blogger showcases [myself included!!!] and live music!

KOKU Nail Art Bar - located in St. Laurent Shopping Centre.

KOKU Nail Art Bar – located in St. Laurent Shopping Centre.

I wish I had taken more pictures during the party but I found myself too busy meeting new people, putting Twitter handles to faces, painting nails and of course, talking polish – but here are a few of my own snaps, along with a few borrowed ones from my fabulous [and absolutely stunning] blogger friends!

A few of the girls! From left to right, Maxine, Erin, Me, Darcy and Lauren

A few of the girls! From left to right, Maxine, Erin, Me, Darcy and Lauren

A fabulous turn out - definitely gives me a reason to frequent St Laurent mall more often!

A fabulous turn out – definitely gives me a reason to frequent St Laurent mall more often! And how cute does Ms. ML look on stage!

DIY Mani supplies! I could have played with these all night!

DIY Mani supplies! I could have played with these all night!

Erin getting her "blogger" manicure from me!

Erin getting her “blogger” manicure from your gal – ellepottsie!

My lovely and patient model Erin!

My lovely and patient model Erin!

Emily rocking some great nail art!

Emily of Tinfoil Tiaras rocking some great nail art!

The amazing and talented Lisa Holden's nail art!

The amazing and talented Lisa Holden’s nail art! If you need manicure inspiration you should definitely follow this lovely lady on instagram, or just visit her at KOKU!

Of course this post would't be complete without an outfit shot!

Of course this post would’t be complete without an outfit shot!

Always ahead of the curve and equipped with the latest technology and highly trained staff, KOKU provides clients with the fastest service in town with the very popular – Express Mani and Pedi – you can be in and out with fabulous fingers nails in 11 minutes flat [and only $11 dollars]! That is definitely a concept I can get behind!

KOKU’s manicures and pedicures are extremely affordable and appointments aren’t required [yet], although I can already picture lineups forming all around the mall once the general public learns about this incredible nail experience.  Their service offerings include:

Express Manicure – $11
Full Manicure – $15
Men’s Manicure – $12
Girl’s Manicure – $11
Gel Nail Full Manicure (shellac) – $30
Express Pedicure – $18
Full Pedicure – $25
Men’s Pedicure – $18
Girl’s Pedicure – $15
Gel Nail Full Pedicure – $40
Hand Exfoliation – $5
Hand Message – $5
Feet Message – $7

Next time you need a manicure [or pedicure] and are in the Ottawa area, I highly recommend visiting the wonderful staff at KOKU Nail Art Bar. You will not regret it, just be prepared for everyone around you to be struck with a serious case of nail envy!

Thanks again to @20YS and @THANNSkinCare for hosting and inviting me to be a part of such a wonderful event – may you experience nothing but great success with KOKU Nail Art Bar!

xo Lauren


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Cheese-less, Cheesy Kale Chips

If you haven’t tried kale yet, you are likely in the minority. This dark leafy green has become one of the most popular vegetables over the past few months – but not without reason, the benefits of the green stuff are endless. Kale is believed to protect against cancer and significantly lower cholesterol if eaten regularly. Additionally, it is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, all of which are antioxidants. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw (WebMD).

So now you’re probably thinking – how do I incorporate this into my daily diet? It is easier than you might think. An easy swap would be to use kale instead of [or in addition to] other greens as a salad base – sounds simple right? It is, however, you’ll want to massage your kale first to turn it from bitter and tough to silky and sweet. All you need to do is take bunches of kale in both hands — with the fibrous ribs removed — rub them together and repeat. You’ll notice a visible change as you do this; the leaves will darken, shrink in size and become silky in texture. This means the cellulose structure is breaking down. So you salad will take an extra five minutes to make, not the end of the world though. If you don’t have time to massage your kale – try throwing into a smoothie. As long as your blender is strong enough it will breakdown completely and you won’t even know it is there. If you’ve got a few extra minutes to spare, I highly recommend baking your kale and turning it into chips. This is my favourite snack, I always feel so naughty eating them because they taste too good to be true. You can find pre-made kale chips in many grocery stores and health food markets, however, the price tag on the crunchy treats are through the roof. For convenience they are a great option, your wallet on the other hand will hate you. Also, many of the store-bought brands contain added sugar, the recipe I am about to share with out doesn’t require any.  Rest assured, there is nothing even remotely unhealthy about these chips – so dig in, guilt free.

Cheese-less, Cheesy Kale Chips

Inspired by: The DetoxinistaCheese-less Cheesey Kale ChipsIngredients

One large bunch of curly green kale (preferably organic)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1/4 cup + 1 T. water
3 T. fresh lemon juice
3T. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions

Pre heat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Wash the kale and tear it into bite sized pieces. Dry each piece well. The drier they are, the crispier the chips will end up. Put the pieces in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine the rest of the ingredients using a high powered blender.
Once well combined, add the sauce to the bowl of kale and mix well with your hands. You want to make sure each piece of kale is coated in sauce.
Spread the kale onto the parchment paper –  I like to split it between to baking sheets – and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Once the pieces start to turn brown on the edges, they are done.

You can store the chips in an air-tight container in the fridge – if you have any left. These kale chips don’t last long in my house!

Have you ever tried using kale? I’d love to hear some of your favourite recipes or uses!

xo Lauren


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After A Little Hiatus, It’s Time For Another Round of Outfit Pictures

I know, I know, I’ve been slacking with my outfit sharing lately. Life has been crazy and showering and doing my hair taking pictures has fallen by the wayside. I’m sure you’ve all missed my smiling mug shots lots – ha! Anyways, if you did, today is your lucky day. ellepottsie ellepottsie ellepottsieellepottsie ellepottsie ellepottsieJeans: Citizens of Humanity (old) / T Shirt: Aritzia – Wilfred / Jacket: American Eagle (similar) / Purse: Chloe / Sunnies: Ray-Ban /Sandals: Anthropologie – IsaperaellepottsieHave a lovely day friends!

xo Lauren


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Recipe: Salted Caramel, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Cue the drooling. These ooey, gooey bars are unreal [okay – I couldn’t taste test them myself because they contain both dairy and gluten, but the reaction of others is enough for me to guarantee my statement]. This recipe is surprisingly simple, however, the clean up at the end is just a bit stick [duh – we are using caramel]. Just soak the dish in warm water before trying to scrub, you’ll thank me!

Salted Caramel, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Recipe from: Two Peas and Their PodSalted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie BarsIngredients

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream (or half & half)
Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a square Pyrex dish (approximately 9X9) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugars, using an electric beater if you have one, until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream (or half & half). Microwave caramels on high until caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.

5. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel and spread dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.

6.Bake cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool bars in the Pyrex dish. I left mine in the fridge overnight before cutting and serving.

Happy baking!

xo Lauren

PS – The winner of the Revlon giveaway is [drum roll please!]…Capture1CapturePlease send me an e-mail to claim your prize! Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the Revlon Haute Tropics giveaway! If you weren’t the lucky winner, remember the Haute Tropics collection is in store for the next three weeks only – so what I am saying is don’t wait, these colours are too beautiful to pass up!

NOTE: I wrote everyone’s name down beside a number that entered and used the random number generator to select the winner.


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Manicure Monday: Pinky’s Nails in Toronto

I wish I could say I created this nail art manicure myself, but that would be a lie. Sure I came up with the concept – but the results would not look so unbelievable without the help of a true nail artist. Enter Pinky’s Nail Art Studio in Toronto. Although the location is slightly off the beaten path, the manicures you’ll leave with are beyond worth it. If you can dream up an idea, the talented men and women at Pinky’s can make it happen – nothing is too challenging or over the top for these nail artists!Pinky's TorontoI knew that Pinky’s was the only appropriate place to take my favourite Toronto beauty queen for a birthday mani, so off we went to get pampered! Sarah and I opted for quite opposite designs, hers, sweet and cute, while mine was darker and edgy. The wonderful staff at Pinky’s helped us turn our lofty manicure ideas into reality and began to create works of art on our finger nails. An hour and a bit later we left the salon with smiles and perfect manicures.

Cupcakes and Hearts!

Cupcakes and Hearts!

Skulls, Diamonds and Tribal, OH MY!

Skulls, Diamonds and Tribal, OH MY!

I honestly could have spent hours at Pinky’s, browsing through the sample manicure wheels and chatting nail art – everyone was so welcoming and friendly! If you are ever in Toronto and have time to get a Pinky’s manicure, don’t think twice, just do it. It is worth every penny!Pinky's Nails Pinky's Nail ArtSince visiting Pinky’s I am more excited than ever before to try out new manicure ideas – I definitely learnt a thing or two about how the pros paint nails and I cannot wait to try out these new tactics on my own!

Need some inspiration for your next nail art manicure? Follow Pinky’s Nails on Instagram – you won’t regret it!

xo Lauren

PS – Today is the last day to enter to win two bottle of Revlon Haute Tropics nail polish – click here for details.


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Fabulous Finds Friday: The Romper

Imagine waking up in the morning, throwing on one pieces of clothing [okay – maybe some shoes, and accessories too] and walking out the door looking fabulous? Sounds great right? Guess what – it is possible. Enter the romper, the playsuit, the jumper, the onsie, whatever you want to call it – it is a pair of short attached to a top. Sure you probably wore something like this when you were a baby and yes – it did look silly, but these one pieces are stylish and absolutely awesome! I am the proud owner of three rompers and I can honestly say that they are part of my regular summer outfit rotation.

Not sure which style to go for? Here are three of my favourites:JumpsuitFrom left to right, AG + Liberty Emma Romper (on sale at Anthropologie for $79.95), Wilfred Peri Romper (I own this one!) and Urban Renewal Open Back Romper.

If you’re getting tired of wearing summer dresses day in and day out, this is the perfect option to mix things up – while keeping your outfit simple and hassle free.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

xo Lauren

PS – Only a few more days left to enter the Revlon Haute Tropics polish giveaway! It is easy to enter, just click here and scroll to the bottom for the contest details.


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Boyfriend Approved: Grain and Lactose Free Carob Chip Muffins

I’ll admit it, I’ve been on a complete baking tear these days. Usually when this happens, about 50% of the recipes I make turn out to be worthy of adding to me repertoire. This time, I have yet to find a miss, everything has been absolutely delicious. These muffins are no exception – and I know they are great because Neil was disappointed when we ran out!

Grain and Lactose Free Carob Chip Muffins

Inspired by: Living Healthy With ChocolateGrain and Lactose Free MuffinsIngredients

3/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup peanut butter (you can use 100% almond butter instead)
3 tablespoons honey
2 eggs
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cinder vinegar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup unsweetened carob chips (or chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the honey, eggs, vanilla, apple cinder vinegar and baking soda in a bowl.
Add the almond butter and peanut butter and mix well. Fold in the carob chips.
Spoon batter into nine paper lined muffin cups or a silicon muffin tin and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow time to cool before serving.
Serve and enjoy!

Another easy as can be, healthier recipe!

xo Lauren

PS – Don’t forget to enter the Revlon Haute Tropics nail polish giveaway!!