Sheet Mask 2 : Sephora Pearl Mask.

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Name of Mask:

Sephora Collection Pearl Mask for Perfecting and Brightening. Made in Taiwan.

Brand:

Sephora Collection.

Unique Material:

Natural lyocell fiber masks – consists of cellulose fibre made from dissolving pulp (bleached wood pulp) using dry jet-wet spinning.

Pros:

  1. Next day radiance/glow
  2. More liquid left inside the packaging which could be used to rub on neck/shoulders etc
  3. One size with good contour/shape for the face

Cons:

  1. Nothing really besides there was no instant change after removing the mask

Review:

3/5 stars

I found that this was a simple “everyday” mask, easy to use, next day results. No smell, did not irritate skin or cause any redness.

Made from broccoli extract – never knew what this was. After some research, I found out that it is made from drying and reducing normal broccoli into an extract. Contains vitamin C and vitamin K while providing a good source of vitamin A, folate, and potassium. It has a lot of overall health benefits but focusing on the skin : it can fight skin damage, target free radicals in your skin and raise collagen levels. This will reduces wrinkles, improve smooth the overall texture of your skin.

Instructions said to leave it on for 15 mins, I did it for 20. There was enough fluid left behind in the packaging, enough to apply over areas that weren’t under direct contact with the mask – i.e. neck, collarbones. It was a one piece mask, fit the face very well and felt cool and comfortable.

I put this mask on right before bed and did not notice much of a brightening effect but in the morning, I noticed my skin did have more of a glow!

Where I purchased it:

Sephora – sells for $8 CAD.

Ingredients:

-White pearl From Natural Origin: Unifies the complexion
-Broccoli Extract: Brightens and unifies the complexion

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Triethanolamine, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Maltodextrin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Piroctone Olamine, Parfum (Fragrance), Polyquaternium-51, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Sprout Extract, Conchiolin Powder, Peg-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Trideceth-6, Linalool, Citric Acid, Hexyl Cinnamal, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

Sheet Mask 1 : Sake Brightening Hydrogel Mask by Boscia.

Written and Reviewed by Arlini.

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Name:

Sake Brightening Hydrogel Mask. Made in Korea.

Brand:

Boscia is pronounced Bo – sha – means botanical science. Boscia is a North American brand under the parent company FANCL, a huge cosmetic company in Japan. Boscia is also a vegan brand and approved by PETA.

Unique Material:

“a 100 percent hydrogel mask that firms, tightens, and brightens skin.” Infused with sake, antioxidants, peptides and plant extracts with marine collagen.

Pros:

  1. Hydrogel mask – grips well to skin, don’t feel like it will fall off
  2. Hydrates and softens skin
  3. Good ingredients

Cons:

  1. Two parts to the mask – found there was a gap between upper and lower part
  2. Expensive at $11
  3. No immediate “wow” factor – benefits only seen the following morning

Review:

I was excited about this mask as it was my first hydrogel mask. The difference between hydrogel masks and regular masks is the material that is used. Regular masks would use either cotton or fiber whereas hydrogel masks used a thicker material. Hydrogel masks are also more slippery. The benefit is that they lock moisture better and stick to the face easier. Although, I did not find a problem with the way regular masks stick to my face but hydrogel masks almost “grips” the skin. Because of this “gripping” action, I was able to get lots of work done in the 20 minutes waiting time without having to worry about the mask slipping off my face.

The mask itself is in 2 parts – one part goes over the upper part of the face and the second, over the lower part of the face. Both the parts are folded in together – which meant that when I removed the mask, there was no place to keep the second part and I had to keep it on the mask packet – which I did not want to go as I did not want to pick up the germs from the package. The next time, I must remember to use a plate to hold the second part of the mask. Overall, I would prefer a full mask.

The mask is very very slippery due to the gel. Best to stick onto the face right away and then pull into place. I did find a gap between the 2 parts on my face and got fed up with having to adjust. It was a small gap but I would have preferred no gaps.

Again, when I had removed the mask, there was no wow difference initially. Skin did feel hydrated though. I was also a bit rushed and wanted to get over with the skin care routine as most of the day had gone by without me getting down to work. Masks do take time and best to use when a bit more relaxed. After removing the masks, I was surprised to find not much essence left over on my skin for me to work into, as I usually find with other masks. There was no pulling feeling and skin feels supple.

I will wait till tomorrow to see if there is a difference. Overall, I think expensive for $11.
From the picture on Sephora’s website, they had overlapped the lower part of the mask with the upper part.

Next morning:

Skin looks much better – hydrated and smooth and clean. Lines and wrinkles were not as visible as before. Some spots appeared faded. Skin felt soft.

Where I purchased it:

Sephora for $11 – I think at Christmas 2016. Got 4/5 stars on Sephora’s website.

Ingredients:
-Sake: Extremely rich in vitamins and minerals to provide powerful hydration and brightening benefits.
-Marine Collagen: Helps skin reduce moisture loss, thereby strengthening skin to resist the first signs of aging while providing skin softness and firmness.
-Willowherb: Helps to calm skin inflammation and reduce visible redness and irritation.
-Jojoba Leaf: Helps to prevent free radical damage while nourshing the skin.

Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus Powder, Polysorbate 60, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Allantoin, Trehalose, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Niacinamide, Algin, Potassium Hydroxide.

 

Happy Doctor’s Day!

March 30th is National Doctor’s Day in USA!

This date was first observed way back in 1933, when general anesthesia was first used in surgery. On March 30th 1958, the US house of Representatives adopted the resolution to commemorate Doctor’s Day and in 1990, it was approved by the Congress and Senate with the final resolution signed by President George Bush.

This day is meant to celebrate the contribution, dedication and compassion that physicians put into their work. We spend many years getting educated and when we finally get the degree, there’s still more years of residency/fellowship training to complete and never ending exams to study for until we are deemed board certified. It is a very tough field to be in – workinIMG_1325g long and often unpredictable hours and it’s definitely not easy maintaining a healthy work-life balance = physician burn out.

Whenever people ask me about my job (currently doing a year of general surgery training), they are shocked about the hours that I work (often 80-90 hours a week) – working most weekends and only 2 weeks of vacation this year, they always ask me, so why do you do it? My answer every time is that it’s for the patients. There is something magical and fulfilling about examining a sick patient for the first time, operating on them, seeing them heal as an inpa
tient and subsequently following up in a few weeks to months in the office.

It’s often their gratitude and kind words that help get doctors through long shifts. Although, not all patients are thankful, many are rude, mean, will swear at me/others or demand things as if you are their personal servant. What I do not tolerate is those that just simply disregard me because either I’m a female or because I appear too young to be a doctor. But in any case, please remember that we are all humans and only wish and want the best outcomes for everyone, so please be respectful!

I want to especially recognize the commitment that doctors have for their patients, especially the ability to maintain their composure with tough patients in tough situations, the selfless dedication to come into work everyday to treat others despite not being in the best of health themselves and lastly, the compassion and care that doctors provide to help patients heal.

 

Recipe : Gnocchi Gratin with Gorgonzola Dolce

IMG_1335Doesn’t that name sound so fancy?

See the original recipe here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/gnocchi-gratin-with-gorgonzola-dolce

Alright, this recipe I made back in 2012 and it was delicious! I made it again a few years later and I used pappardelle instead of gnocchi, but I recommend sticking to the original recipe. It uses rosemary and Gorgonzola, two ingredients that I would’ve never thought to pair together in a creamy dish but it’s brilliant!

The recipe guides you through how to make gnocchi – it’s really easy to do but to be honest, unless you have plenty of time to spare, I recommend buying ready-made pasta so let’s skip the first few steps. If you want to make gnocci from scratch, go to the Bon Appetit website and follow from there, I have deleted those ingredients/steps from my version.

Ingredients4 to 6 Servings

  • 6 ounces Parmesan, grated – can definitely add more if you want!
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 sprig rosemary – either use fresh or dried rosemary (maybe 1 1/2 tsp if using dried)
  • 1 1/4′-thick slice fresh ginger – says slice but I find using finely grated ginger works a bit better
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fine dried breadcrumbs – measurement isn’t necessary, use what you have available
  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola dolce or other mild blue cheese – stick with this amount otherwise the cheese will overpower the dish
  • 1 bag of Gnocchi – roughly 500g

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C or 375°F.

Start off with a smaller pot and add the cream, rosemary and ginger. Let this boil but immediately take off the heat once boiling. Set this aside (with the lid on) for approx 30 mins to let the flavours blend together while you prepare the rest.

Now get a larger pot and boil some salted water. Add the gnocchi, these will initially sink to the bottom of the pot, but as they cook, they will float up to the surface. When they reach the top, scoop them out and put into your baking dish. The recipe recommends coating the dish with 1Tbsp butter.

Next, the recipe recommends mixing the bread crumbs, butter and parmesan in a small bowl. If you know me, you know I’m all about efficiency and using the least amount of dishes. So skip the mixing step, it’s going to be baked together so it can mix then.

Break the gorgonzola into smaller pieces and mix it up with the gnocchi. Then sprinkle some of the grated parmesan over top.

Strain the cream/rosemary/ginger mixture that you have set aside and pour it over the gnocchi/gorgonzola/parmesan. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese/butter/breadcrumbs over everything. You’re ready to bake!

Bake for about 25-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Enjoy! This dish is best served HOT!

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so where are you from ? are you from India?

If I got a dollar for every time someone has asked me that question, I would be a millionaire!

These automatic assumptions really make me frustrated, in 2017, with so much immigration and travel, why do people still judge others based on their appearance?

I am born in South Africa, moved to Canada then to Ireland and now in USA. While I LOVE to talk about my background and all the places I’ve been blessed to live, I don’t like being judged or attacked with multiple questions – especially not when I am travelling and trying to get from point A to B. It’s like I’m getting cross questioned in every taxi I get into, sometimes I just want to be in my own space, you know?

Whenever I am curious about a someone else’s background/heritage, I just ask them so where were you born? What’s your cultural heritage  – usually I get a straight forward answer like I’m from NYC but my heritage is Brazilian – but I’m not one of those people, like the many that annoy me, that will dive down into all your ancestral history and past forefathers.

Especially when I am travelling, there is always someone who has to comment either calling out ‘Namaste Miss’ or ‘hello Miss India’ or say something on those lines, like why? I’m not born nor have lived in India, while I have travelled there >10 times because I simply love the country, I don’t appreciate being labelled or have names called out at me.

My answer has evolved over the years depending on what question gets thrown at me. I used answer politely and educate people but honestly, over the years, I’ve just become sick of having to explain to strangers about why I am not from India, how I got to Africa, why I moved blah blah plus, who cares where I am from, my main goals are where I am going.

Usually I find it’s Indians from India who suddenly get super activated when they see another brown person and their FIRST question out of their mouth, is ALWAYS, so you’re from India? No. Oh but you look Indian. Yes ancestors. SO where in India? All over. But like your family has to be from one place, no? I’m born in South Africa so yes, they are in that one place. Oh SOUTH Africa, yes yes but you look very very Indian? Yes again my ancestors are Indian. OH yes yes, so like do you speak Hindi? No, I speak English. Oh but why don’t you speak Hindi, that is the language from your forefathers. UGH!- the questions go on and on no matter how irritated I try to sound or how short my answers are, they continue and continue. Like I get that it’s nice to see other people with the same heritage as you in another country, but with India having a population of 1.25 BILLION people, don’t you think you’re going to come across other Indians in other countries, why is it such a shock to see fellow brown people!? 

Non-Indians either start off by asking where I am from, so I say Canada, then they say oh but you don’t look Canadian – UH I didn’t think ‘Canadians had a LOOK?’  then they get majorly confused and ask so where were you born- I was born in South Africa and at this stage they are super confused because I apparently don’t look white enough to be Canadian or black enough to be an African. So without even asking more, they go on to say they thought I was from India and continue to talk about someone they know who recently visited India and how they want to go too… Besides having brown skin, I don’t have an accent, don’t wear Indian cultural clothes 24/7, so why can’t a person with brown skin be from some where else? I am a global citizen.

After living in Ireland for 7 years and being told that I don’t “look South African or Canadian”,  I started to ask them the same questions based off the same mentality that they asked me, “so then it would be safe to assume that since you have white skin – you must be British.” A lot of them get offended if you assume they are British despite them being undoubtedly Irish – but it’s really the only way to get the point through.

One time in Amsterdam, a guy asked me where I was from, so I said Canada. Oh you don’t look Canadian. (grr!) I didn’t have any patience to go through my life story so I just said yes, I am native. While that really confused him, it seemed to make more sense to him since I didn’t have white skin and he was excited to have met a Native Canadian haha! he’s probably still confused about that one. Plus the poor Natives who have their own cultural names, have been called “Indians” for years because of Christopher Columbus, the idiot who thought he was in Asia. Why hasn’t this huge mistake been rectified, again it’s 2017!!

Sorry for the huge rant but don’t get me wrong, I am honoured to have Indian ancestry and I have the utmost respect and admiration for Indian culture – all I’m asking is for others to respect my actual background and that while I appear Indian on the outside, there is a lot more beneath the shell.

The next time you look at someone and judge them based off their external appearance, just try to remember that everyone has their own story and sometimes, it may be something completely different than what you were expecting. So be respectful, travel more to expand your horizons and educate yourself.

 

What to do in Washington, D.C. for a weekend.

Welcome to the Capital!

Three weekends ago, I took a bus from Philly to D.C. I planned the trip a few days prior to the weekend because one of my patient’s told me about the cherry blossoms and how they were supposed to bloom early this year in mid-March. Sadly, we had a random freak blizzard/snow-storm that week and the poor cherry buds got frozen which delayed their blooming. 😦

But in any case, spending a weekend away from the daily grind was amazing. Washington D.C. is such a pretty town with so much to do and see. Thankfully I didn’t see TRUMP but there were protests going on near the White House (which I carefully avoided), and there were people offering Trump : Make America Great Again water bottles on street corners, which again I avoided.

IMG_1202.JPGHere’s my itinerary and the highlights – I saw and learned so much but here is a few things that stood out to me that I want to share.

Hotel: Washington Court Hotel : chosen because I had a genius deal on it @booking.com from $454 to $150 for a Deluxe King room. It was close proximity to Union Station, Capitol Hill and the National Mall so I could walk everywhere close and take an Uber to outlying places. The front desk staff weren’t friendly but the room was awesome with a super comfortable bed, a large flat screen tv, mini- fridge, a iHome clock/iPhone player and a spacious bathroom. When I first arrived, I spent some time in the lobby, getting my bearings and figuring out my game plan for the day. Surprisingly enough, there was a medical conference going on at the same hotel, and I kid you not, four different hotel employees came up to me and told me that my group was downstairs in the banquet hall in case I was lost and looking for them. Like geez, can I ever escape my job and escape from people who are in the same profession – didn’t think I had the look of a medical student or a physician – maybe because I’m brown? Who knows.

Day 1:

  • arrived at 10am and went straight to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City to shop.
    • I visited the makeup store Kiko Milano – so exciting because I LOVE their nail polish and liquid eyeliner pens and I’ve only shopped with them in Italy&Spain, so I’m glad they’re expanding to North America.
  • Capitol Hill : home of the Congress
  • US Botanic Garden :IMG_1210.jpg
    • home to about 65 000 plants, it was a great break from the cold because they keep it nice and toasty inside
    • has a beautiful layout that takes you from room to room, you’ll see everything from palms, to desert plants, to orchids, to herbal/medicinal plants, to roses.
    • I just read on their website that the garden serves as a rescue center for plants confiscated at U.S. borders in cooperation with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum : ∗∗∗∗∗ 5 stars! It was busy on Saturday!IMG_1243.JPG
    • In the lobby, the Apollo Lunar Module (LM) which was made to go into orbit to the moon was on display. The Apollo 11 LM called “Eagle” is what Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin used to touchdown onto the moon. It honestly looks like a home-made science project covered in tin foil, but hey, this thing apparently made it’s way to the moon, so I won’t judge it too much. They also had a piece of lunar rock on display which I touched, so cool! (see photo on left)
    • Planetarium: Journey to the Stars (narrarted by Whoopi Goldberg). I love stars and am fascinated by outer space. This was so cool, you basically just sit reclined and the entire ceiling is a dome, in which they project the video onto. It showcases real images from telescopes of stellar formations, our sun and other celestial bodies. It really gives you perspective of our universe and how there is so much more out there – there’s really a lot of space in space. Take a moment to look up at the stars and constellations the next time you’re outside on a clear night – it’s really magical.
    • 1903 Wright Flyer : Wilbur and Orville Wright started making this in 1899. They first flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, making a 12-second flight, traveling 36 m (120 ft), with Orville piloting – wow, can you even imagine life before airplanes? What an incredible feat. (photo below)IMG_1221.JPG
    • Model of Lockheed 10-Electra, an airliner that Amelia Earhart purchased in 1936 in which she used on her round-the-world trip. Sadly this is a model, as in 1937, Earhart, her co-navigator Noonan and the Electra were all deemed lost at sea. While the airplane wasn’t that impressive, Earhart’s determination as a woman breaking through the “sky ceiling” by taking flight and becoming the first woman to achieve so much in the field of Aviation. She was the first woman VP of the National Aeronautical Association, lobbied Congress for aviation legislation and even creating a line of “functional” women’s clothing. Kudos.IMG_1217.jpg
  • Dinner: Rosa MexicanoIMG_1250.JPG
    • authentic Mexican restaurant, got some awesome guac and a vegetarian chile poblano! Not going to lie, I had to get Mexican food in the capital before Trump deported them across his wall.
  • Late night views: POV Terrace at the W Hotel
    • one of my high school friends recommended going here because it’s a great rooftop with beautiful views overlooking the White House and the lawns to the Washington Monument. I’ll have to come back during summer since they had these plastic covers up which obscured the view a bit.

Day 2: 

  • IMG_1260Lincoln Memorial IMG_1258.JPG
    • even though I’ve been to DC twice before, this was my first time walking into the Lincoln Memorial. President Lincoln sits so majestically overlooking the reflecting pool and Washington Monument. He sits so peacefully as a symbol of unity, strength, and wisdom.
    • This site itself is historic as it is where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.
  • Smithsonian Natural History Museum  : probably my favourite museum this trip and it reminds me of the movie Night at the Museum
    • the main Rotunda is stunning, and the main display of the African Elephant. I had to take a panorama of this room (see below)
    • I really liked all the exhibitions here, especially the Hope Diamond which is a 45.52 carat diamond from India, one of the world’s most famous gems – estimated value $200-250 million.IMG_1289.jpg
    • IMAX shows:
      • Dinosaurs Alive 3D: this movie was ok, I thought it spent too much time talking about paleontologists and how they discover new fossils – but what I thought was particularly interesting was that we don’t know how dinosaurs sounded like, or how their external appearance actually was like. I guess with media/movies and the animations of dinosaurs that we have been exposed to, we automatically think of a T-rex as being various shades of green with a fierce roar and we think of other dinosaurs such as velociraptor as having either some sort of stripe or dot design along their back to tail- but no one really knows how they looked like! What if Tyrannosaurus rex was purple and had a furry skin? Hmm that kind of sounds like Barney, haha!
      • National Parks Adventure 3D: the park service turns 100 this year! This show really made me want to visit more parks. What I thought was interesting was IMG_1273.JPGthe story of President Roosevelt and how he first started the national park service after his wife and mother died of illness. He visited Yosemite and was able to heal and gain clarity after being out in nature. He also talked about John Muir, who was a strong advocate for preserving the wilderness in USA before the national parks were founded. One of the quotes they mentioned was “keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” I’ve been to a few of the parks, most notably, Yellowstone which was the first founded national park and has the one of the world’s largest calderas or supervolcano with the beautiful Grand Prismatic Spring, the Grand Canyon which one of my favourite places in all of USA, and the Giant Sequoia park in California which are host to some super tall trees. I really want to go to Yosemite, Zion and Devil’s Tower.
  • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum : I came back here again because I had tickets to the new 3D IMAX show. 
    • A Beautiful Planet (narrated by Jennifer Lawrence) – done in collaboration with NASA, this film showcased video and the life of astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). I wouldn’t say this is a must see, but the footage of Earth from space was pretty cool. The astronauts said from space, you can’t see cities during the day but there’s tremendous evidence of life on Earth, especially the damage that we, humans, have created, from burning down large parts of the Amazon rainforest, to the melting ice glaciers – they really emphasized the fact that we have to save our planet. They also said something that has stuck with me, they said that from their vantage point, especially at night when larger cities light up, you cannot see country borders or division. [with the exception of North and South Korea (in which the border is almost clearly outlined with light and the North is very dark, in contrast to the South which is bright)]. The show will hopefully help remind us that we are all global citizens, this is our planet, we should do what we can to preserve it. (hint hint Mr. Trump!).
  • Washington MonumentIMG_1230.jpg
  • Food!
    • Dinner: Carmine’s Italian Style Family Restaurant: I had to sit at the bar area here IMG_1295.JPGsince the dinner tables only offered the dinner menu which each entree apparently feeds 4-6 people. They had a separate menu for people with dietary restrictions: gluten free, avoid seafood, vegetarian and vegans. I ordered the Ravioli with Cheese which came with a bread basket. Food came fast, tasted decent, not the best Italian I’ve had but it was interesting overhearing peoples conversations beside me.  College basketball was on the TVs and Washington was playing someone else so it was funny hearing people get excited when their team scored and then mumbling swear words under their breath when their team made a bad move.
    • IMG_1297.JPGDessert: Pitango Gelato : I took a stroll down the street from dinner and came across this heavenly store which sells gelato, sorbet and cafe drinks/bakery – only using organic and fresh ingredients. I got a Cardamon and Matcha Green Tea gelato – was amazing, 5 stars for sure!
    • Drink(s): I had a Fresh Mint Fresca at Oyamel Cocina IMG_1299.JPGMexicana. I had walked one store down from the gelato place and this restaurant was so beautifully decorated with bright colours of butterflies so I had to stop by. I sat at the bar area since that was the only place available and they also had USB plugs under the counter, so it was a perfect place to charge up my phone before my journey back to Philly. The drink was awesome and their food menu looked great too, I’ll have to return to try more. I also met some interesting people that sat beside me who gave me more off the beaten track places to visit the next time I’m in town.

While I didn’t end up seeing any cherry blossoms, it was overall a very educational and fun trip. I would love to go back and explore more of the city area and some of the other free museums.

Until next time D.C.!

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Recipe : Spinach and Artichoke Dip.

So cheesy and so easy.

I’ve made this recipe numerous times for friends and family, and every single time, people go back for seconds/thirds/even fourth servings and the plate is wiped clean. So many people have asked me for the recipe and I’m happy to be able to share it.

It’s super easy and simple, literally anyone can make this. I don’t really use a recipe anymore, I just throw a few ingredients together in a baking dish, mix with my hands and bake away.

The Original Recipe is from Kraft see link: Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip with Cheese. Here is my tweaked version.

  1. 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped – don’t rinse the juices off, it adds more flavor, just drain the excess then chop
  2. 1 pkg. (10 oz.) chopped spinach – recipe says use frozen, but why? get some fresh spinach!
  3. 3/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese – I recommend mixing most of this with the dip, but save a handful to sprinkle on the top
  4. 3/4 cup KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise   – I don’t use Mayo, I use 3/4 cup plain cream cheese instead
  5. 1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese I add more cheese because I just love cheese – sometimes Italian five cheese blend in addition to mozzarella
  6. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder – meh skip this step too

Heat the oven to 180°C or 350°F before you start combining ingredients.

Mix your ingredients, use a spoon, or I prefer to use my clean, washed hands.image1

Transfer the mix into a oven-safe baking dish, size doesn’t matter, use what you have available.

Bake for 15 minutes until the top is starting to get golden, then change the oven to broil for 2-5 minutes for an extra crispy top.

While it’s baking, prepare your tortilla chips or cut up pita to eat it with.

Take it out of the oven, let it cool a little bit, grab your friends and family.

(Note – the photo attached is from the first time I made this back in 2012, before my final edits and before I started adding an extra crispy broil to the Parmesan on top.)

Bon appetite, this dish is best served HOT!

This recipe is very versatile, you can add whatever you want to it and I’m sure it’ll come out great. I try to keep it simple and cheesy.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the First Day of Spring!

#Ritas Ice : First Day of Spring !

Today, one of my work colleagues, told me about Rita’s offering free Italian Ice to customers. I had no idea what Rita’s was so I searched it up and saw that it’s their 25th annual First Day of Spring Celebration!

They offer a ton of Italian Ice flavours which change every day – ranging from Mango (customer favourite and what I got) to Jolly Rancher Watermelon to Sour Patch Kids! They also sell Frozen Custard and Gelati which is frozen custard on the bottom, with a layer of Italian Ice in the middle and a swirl of frozen custard on the top!

It was started in 1984 by a former Philadelphia firefighter who started selling flavoured ice during one hot summer from his front porch. He subsequently opened a store under his wife’s name, Rita, selling Italian Ice often mixed with chunks of fresh fruit. The store is basically famous in Philadelphia and now they’ve expanded to over 100 outlets in 9 states.

Literally every person who I asked about Rita’s, becomes ecstatic and their eyes immediately light up just talking about their favourite ice flavour.  The lady behind me in line started talking to me about how long I was waiting for and then she started asking me where I was from – I told her Canada and that it’s my first time trying Rita’s. She was proud as a Philadelphian to have been attending their first day of Spring celebration for the last 5 years. She explained to me that they have different daily flavours so I asked her what she recommends, without hesitation she said “definitely Mango!” The three younger girls in front of me overheard and added to her comment – they told me to get the Gelati- especially vanilla flavour since it’s “simply the best”.

After waiting in line for about 25 minutes, I took the locals advice and got a Mango Gelati. I have to say – their ice is very smooth.  I was a bit hesitant, thinking that it would taste artificial or have too much sugar, but I was happily taken by surprise. It was delicious and even the gelati was like a yummier version of thick whipped cream. Yum!!! I can’t wait to go back on a hot summer’s day to try another flavour of Italian Ice!

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Thanks for visiting the site! 

Who am I?

My name is Yashoda and I’m a 26 year old female physician. I was born in Durban, South Africa (I’m a fifth generation South African!) then after a near death experience – my parents, my brother and I moved to Canada when I was 4 years old – to a very small town called Springdale, Newfoundland. From there, we moved to the Greater Toronto Area when I was 8 and that is my home base. I went to Dublin, Ireland for medical school straight after highschool and I worked for a year in Cork, Ireland. Being in Europe was awesome!!! After that I moved to Philadelphia, USA to do a year of surgical training with UPenn. Currently back in Toronto – Happy 150th Canada!

Where will I go to next? Follow me on my journey.

What is itsYlife.com? Why did I start this? 

Most people who I meet ask me a lot of questions, then they get intrigued with the answers and tell me I should write a book about my life- well this my version, this is my story – welcome to itsYlife.com! ♥

I’m hoping to explore more on this blog as well as inviting you to travel with me to see new cities, try new food and drinks and to invoke conversation by asking you to reply to topics with your own thoughts and opinions.

I’ve decided to have 3 main focuses :

  1. Blog – this will be about my daily/weekly activities, upcoming events, what I’m currently listening to/favourite music, new items that I love and how you can get them, and including random chats with strangers or things I’ve overheard from other peoples conversations (hehe).
  2. Travel – Here, I will be featuring cities/hotels/attractions – join me on my adventures! So far, I’ve been to 31 countries and visited 95 of 250 global attractions (so many more places to see!). I really believe that travelling expands your horizons and being immersed in different cultures truly enriches your life. I’ve gained lots of perspective and it is the best way to really appreciate your surroundings and admire our beautiful home, planet Earth.
  3. Food & Drink – Yum, I’m hoping this will make you hungry! – I’ll be posting reviews of cafes/restaurants and also posting recipes, with photos of course! I love to cook and bake and my taste testers usually give me two thumbs up, so I’d love to share as food feeds your soul and as the saying goes “the way to a man’s(/woman’s) heart is through their stomach”!.
  4. Beauty – working in collaboration with my mom, Arlini, to review and explore skincare and makeup, hair and nails! I was always attracted to makeup & nails growing up but skincare is a new area that we are now addicted to! Be sure to follow for the latest reviews of products!
Come on this journey with me!
Thanks for reading/sharing/following.