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It's 5 O' Clock Somewhere!

Jan 30, 2015

Two cocktails-related finds
I don't know if we can attribute the current cocktail revival to Mad Men, but I couldn't be more pleased about it. In fact, as much as I love a nice glass of wine or a champagne flute, I also love the aesthetic appeal of cocktails. Whether you think of old classics such a the Negroni, the Manhattan or the Cosmopolitan - thinking of you Carrie Bradshaw - or the wave of new and trendy cocktails, there are plenty of reasons to pull up a bar stool these days and chat with the mixologist.
To discover or rediscover the history behind the most famous cocktails, I highly recommend Elixirs, Une petite histoire illustrée des cocktails written by Marie-Ève Bourassa. With plenty of wicked illustrations from Bruce Roberts, this book is a fascinating read. You'll learn how Hemingway used to go to Harry's Bar in Venice to drink Negronis or how the Mint Julep recipe was first brought to America in the 1700s by the French, who initially drank it with brandy instead of bourbon. 

You'll certainly be tempted to have friend over for a drink while reading this book. And if it's the case, why not try the fun assortment of artisanal cocktail syrups from Les Charlatans. Made in Montreal with all-natural ingredients, the line include flavours such as ginger, orange & rosemary, chile & Tonka, lime & pepper and cucumber & tarragon. I recently fixed myself a Cosmo with a bit of the orange & rosemary syrup. It was deliciously tangy! If you are a gin tonic lover, then you should try your favourite drink with a tad of the ginger syrup, it adds a nice spicy kick. 
You can find these stylish bottles at AlambikaLe Marché des SaveursLes Douceurs du Marché and also at l'Épicerie Latina.
Fancy a cocktail?

Catherine xo

Top 3 Argan Oil-Infused Products

Jan 27, 2015
I know I have been posting quite a lot of skincare related stories on my blog lately. I'm slightly obsessed with creams, lotions, oils and anything else that helps my skin and my hair get through the long winter months.
It's no secret anymore that argan oil, aka Morocco's liquid gold, is quite the beauty miracle. Used for centuries by Berber women, this rich oil pressed from argan nuts is packed with fatty acids and contains more vitamin E than olive oil. It's easy to get lost with the impressive amount of beauty products infused with the legendary oil available to us these days. That's why I thought I would share with you my current favourite argan oil products:
For hair
CHI Argan Oil Plus Moringa Oil ($25.75/89ml)
This lightweight oil is fabulous to tame flyaways and treat dry scalp while adding beautiful luster. It also helps protect against heat damage when styling with a blowdryer or a flat iron. I prefer to use it sparingly on wet hair to achieve soft and manageable hair. 

For body:  
The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Butter ($20/200ml)
I have a thing for body butter from The Body Shop. They are all organic and affordable, but this one delivers superior results. I like the thick and buttery texture, which I find extremely nourishing and not greasy at all. And the light nutty aroma is just delightful.

For face and cuticles: 
Divine Esssence Organic Argan Oil  ($18/100ml)
I like to add a few drops of this 100% cold pressed organic Argan oil to my moisturiser and give my face a gentle massage at night or before applying my makeup. It makes the skin so dewy and glowing, I love it! And it's apparently a very efficient way to prevent premature aging because Argan oil contains antioxidants that help neutralise free radical damage.
What are you top Argan oil products?

Catherine xo

Grey Knit Sweaters Are Having A Moment

Jan 23, 2015

How many times have I reached for a grey knit sweater on a cold January morning...Countless times, I suppose. There something so cosy, so comfy and effortlessly chic about grey knitwear. Chunky, cashmere, bouclé, dark ribbed, mottled, charcoal, layered, grey on white, grey on black or grey on grey...I love all the textures, the shades, the combinations. The possibilities are simply endless and that's what makes it so playful.

Image credit: 1 2 3 4 5 6

4 New Makeup Products To Try

Jan 21, 2015

Are you always intrigued and excited to try on new beauty products? I certainly am! And even though my entire body is in a slow motion mode because of the cold, it doesn't seem to be affecting my enthusiasm and my curiosity for beauty products. Here are some new makeup bits that have been rocking my boat lately...

Lancôme City Miracle CC Cream
Although I am past the BB trend, the idea of using a face product that claims to moisturise and even out my tone while adding radiance is most definitely appealing. While appearing a bit thick at first, this cream blends beautifully, offers a good coverage and leaves the skin with a healthy glow. Did I mention that it also has SPF50? 

MAC Lust Lipglass
This is not a new lipgloss; it's rather a new one in my collection. I recently took the opportunity to select this nude lipglass while I was returning 6 empty containers to my local MAC store. I tend to wear a lot of my "My Lip But Better" kind of lipsticks and I was looking for a gloss that would complement the assortment of nude lipsticks - something like 5 or 6 - I carry in my handbag. The shade is bang on. It gives such a nice polished look without adding too much colour to the lips. Exactly what I had in mind.

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner
While I have always been a big fan of eyeliner, I have often shy away from liquid ones, thinking they were more difficult to apply than gel or pencil ones. I have recently amp up my game and it's the Graphic Liner from Make Up For Ever that gave me a new perspective on the topic. Three things I like about this one: Its highly pigmented black hue, its superfine felt nib which allows for a precise application and its long-lasting formula that just won't budge.

Maybelline Brow Drama, Sculpting Brow Mascara
I know I am late to the brow mascara party! To be honest with you, I didn't understand the hype surrounding this type of product until I decided to try out the Maybelline Brow Drama. I am also quite surprised to be enjoying it that much. Like anything else, it needs a little getting use to, particularly because the ball at the end of the wand is rather large. But that being said, I think it's a nifty tool to have in your vanity case. It's so much easier and quicker than applying powder.

Which new makeup product are you looking forward to try on this season?

Winter Pampering - Part 2

Jan 16, 2015

Happy Friday everyone! This is the second installment of my winter pampering series where I will share with you some of my recent skincare discoveries. Today, it's all about face, lip and hand products to hydrate, restore and protect your skin from moisture loss.

Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum ($43/40ml)
This serum has given a massive hydration boost to my blotchy face ever since I started using it. There is something fresh and instantly soothing about it that makes it a great addition to my morning routine. A tiny bit goes a long way with this fast absorbing gel formulation.

Laroche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide ($29/40ml)
A friend of mine told about this light moisturiser that is powerful enough to be used in the winter. I have been pleasantly surprised to see how this silky smooth formula provides comfort to the skin without clogging pores or creating any irritation. It's such a gentle fluid that it can even be used for the eye contour area. It's only missing an SPF to be completely perfect.

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream ($20/75ml)
I have never been very disciplined when it comes to applying hand cream. Sometimes I forget or I  just can't be bothered with it. The trick, I have found out, is to use a formula that feels luxurious and extra special. This "crème gourmande" does the trick for me. It's such a reparative and long-lasting hand cream, it's not at all greasy, plus it smells like Heaven.

Lypsyl Intensive Lip Balm ($3.99/5.7g)
When I was young-er I used to enjoy finding a tube of Lypsyl in coat pocket in wintertime. I have rediscovered this brand a few weeks ago and now I just can't leave the house without it! I like just about everything with this lip treatment: The camphor and tea tree formula, the glossy texture, the aromatic light scent, the no-fuss applicator and how it helps my lips stay healthy though the wind and the cold.

What is your favourite hand cream at the moment? I love to try new hand creams every now and then. It's what winter pampering is all about, don't you think?

La Grande Tournée Du Chocolat Chaud

Jan 14, 2015
Dark 69% chocolate from gourmet boutique Point G
Not that you ever need an excuse to sip hot chocolate - I know I don't! - but I think you'll be pleased to hear about an exciting event taking place this upcoming weekend: La grande tournée du chocolat chaud Valhrona. On Saturday and Sunday, 22 restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers across the Montreal area will be serving up $3 hot chocolates benefiting La Tablée des Chefs, an organisation that feeds families in need and educate future generations through cooking classes and workshops. What a great and delicious idea! 

Hot chocolate with raspberry whipped cream from Juliette & Chocolat
Since I was invited to taste every single hot chocolate recipe at the media launch - yes, I'm a confessed chocolate addict - I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite ones:

...For a gourmet hot chocolate with marshmallows made with homemade honey, visit Geneviève Grandbois
...For a sweet hot chocolate with raspberry whipped cream, visit Juliette & Chocolat.
...For a rich hot chocolate with a Tonka bean and caramel mousse, visit Patrice Pâtissier.
...For a sexy hot chocolate in which you can drop a mighty dark 69% round chocolate, visit the gourmet boutique Point G.
...For an exotic hot chocolate with caramelised hazelnuts, coconut milk and lime zest, visit A la truffe.
...For a rustic hot chocolate infused with spices and served with pine needle marshmallows (surprisingly delicious!), visit the iconic French bistrot Laloux.
...For a fancy hot chocolate infused with aromatic pepper, spoil yourself with high tea at Maison Boulud Ritz-Carlton.

For more information visit La Tablée des Chefs and to follow the event on social media, use #lgtchocolatchaud

Clarins Giveaway!

Jan 12, 2015
How about kicking off the New Year with plenty of fabulous skincare products to pamper you face and body?
Today, I am pleased to announce that I have paired up with the lovely people at Clarins to give one lucky reader a nice gift basket of an overall value of $250. The prize include the following products that I have come to love over the years, aside from the serum that I just recently discovered:

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser
I enjoy how just a tiny bit of this lotion-like cleanser turns into a foamy texture when you add water to it. And most importantly, I like how it easily removes makeup and impurities while leaving the skin fresh and clean.

Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask
In the dead of winter when my face gets extra dry, I often use this gentle face mask to restore moisture to my skin. While it is quite a light and creamy mask, it is surprisingly soothing and calming.

Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate
This serum has done wonders to add radiance to my lacklustre face. I haven't been using it long enough to give you any feedback in terms of fine lines reduction. That being said, I can say that my skin is noticeably more even and radiant than before.

Clarins HydraQuench Cream, normal to dry skin - Winner of the Elle Canada 2014 Beauty Grand Prix 
Although I have combination skin, I sometimes treat my face to this extra-nourishing cream when it's polar vortex season. I like how my skin drinks up this light and fast-absorbing formula, which seals in moisture and protect my face from both the colder temperatures and overheated interiors.

Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion - Winner of the Elle Canada 2014 Beauty Grand Prix 
Some body moisturisers can be quite boring, but this particular has a silky luxurious texture combined with a divine orange blossom scent. It is also absorbed quickly so you don't have to worry about staining your clothes when you get dressed.

You have until January 26th to enter the draw. Good luck to all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
*The prize can only be awarded to a resident of Canada*
The winner of the Clarins giveaway is Alessandra Croci from Toronto. Congratulations to our winner!
Catherine xo

Most Popular Posts Of 2014

Jan 9, 2015

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you are having a great beginning of January and most importantly, I hope you are staying warm. 

For those of you who have recently started following Pearls & Caramel and for the others who are curious to revisit some important milestones of my blog, I thought I'd share with you last year's most popular posts. 

2014 was a year full of delightful surprises and great encounters. 

I had the honour of meeting Lubov Azria, the talented BCBG designer during a private dinner to celebrate the brand's 25th anniversary.

I took part of the #Jelefais campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer.

I had the chance to take my first helicopter ride thanks to Bombay Sapphire.

I was invited by Tiffany's to discover their latest T collection months before the official launch.

I noticed a surprise wedding at the 25th-anniversary bash of MARIAGE Québec 

I was so pleased to attend the Montreal vernissage of one of my favourite artists, the colourful Britto.

I got to wear a bright red nose in public at the Nez pour vivre event.

I celebrated the first edition of the soirées FashiOmnistas at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal.

I attended the lavish Bow Tie Affair organised by Experience Old Montreal to support the cause against prostate cancer.

I did a fun photoshoot with New Social Class and another one to showcase a chic little black dress from the ELLE by RW&Co collection.

I was invited at the first Gala Relève Mode at Collège Lasalle where I met a lovely 15-year-old girl who created the "Sugar dress" with tiny pastel macarons.

During a Neutrogena event at Habitat 67, I saw a fantastic soap replica of the iconic housing complex built by Moshe Safdie.

I discovered the new Birks Bee Chic collection at their garden party.

I went to the Oysterfest for the first time and it was so much fun!

I put together a chalet chic table decor with chic holiday ornaments from Rona.

I was invited at the opening of Leonce et Lena, the satirical political comedy by Les Grands Ballets.

I channeled my inner Parisian at the Cocktail à la Parisienne hosted by Holt Renfrew and Maison Ogilvy.

I celebrated the 10th anniversary of Jouviance with the most decadent chocolate cake from Maison Christian Faure.

And of course, I bought quite a few dressessome dashing blue heels, had many chocolate ice creams, took lots of pictures of my cat (like this one, this one and this one), tried lots of skincare products and countless lipsticks, ate many oysters and plenty of dark chocolate. 

But most importantly, I met the most wonderful people. As I am writing this, I feel beyond fortunate for all the wonderful projects I have had the chance to work on and all the amazing opportunities that came my way in 2014. I would like to thank you again for your support, it wouldn't be the same without you. 

Enjoy this recap and see you soon!

Black & blue
Cocktails & helicopter ride


Breast cancer awareness campaign #Idoit #Jelefais

I tried the oxygen facial at Dermapure
My French pharmacie skincare favourites


Catherine xo

Winter Pampering - Part 1

Jan 7, 2015

Here is the first instalment of my winter pampering series where I will share with you some skincare gems I have recently discovered. 

The colder months can often appear long and dreadful aside from wreaking major havoc on you skin. That's why I am always on the lookout for the best products to pamper my skin when I just can't escape the cold. Today, I would like to let you in on my favourite cleansing products - all soap and paraben free - to use when the temperature drops extremely low:

Laroche-Posay Lipikar Cleansing Oil ($23/200ml)
I had already featured this oil in my Post-Summer Beauty Fixes, because I just love how silky and luxurious it is. While common soap can leave your skin so tight and dry, this cleansing oil is just the opposite. It really locks moisture in leaving your skin plumped and protected from the harsh weather.

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Balm ($16/90ml)
I must admit that the idea of cleansing your face with butter can be repulsive at first. But fear not, this cleansing balm is such a treat. You simply apply it to dry skin, take a moment to massage your face, add water to allow the product to emulsify and remove it with a damp cloth. I am now completely addicted to this butter for its creamy texture and lovely scent. But most importantly, I love the fact that it doesn't strip the moisture and that it leaves the face beyond soft.

Uriage Gentle Total Exfoliant ($23/200ml)
Although I love to exfoliate my skin to remove dead cells and unclog pores, I am quite picky when it comes to using a mechanical scrub in the colder months. This particular one contains tiny granulated beads, which makes it a product delicate enough to use on face and body. Don't you love 2 in 1! 

What are you cleansing picks in the wintertime?


In The Mood For...

Jan 5, 2015

I don't know about you, but although today marks the official end of the holiday season, I haven't quite switched to my usual productive mode. Today, I just feel like reading with my cat...

....being inspired by art

"Backstage by Michael Carson
...sipping green tea. Discover my matcha green latte recipe.

.....wearing the softest cashmere scarf

and lounging in a cosy hotel room.

Is that how you feel too?

Catherine xo

Images credit: 1/2/3/4/5

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2015
Ring out the old, ring in the new, may you be joyful the whole year through. Happy New Year my darlings! 
I hope you are still enjoying the holiday season with your loved ones. I will be back with fresh new stories for you next week. But until then, here's a toast to a sublime year filled with hope, laughter and warmth. May you be blessed with health, courage and love. I am so thankful for all your support and your kindness over the past few years, it means the world to me. Big, big hugs xx.

Catherine xo
Image credit: Denis Vayer