Product Review: Boscia Sake Balm

I’ve been testing out a new last-step moisturizer from Boscia, their Sake Balm.  This gel cream moisturizer is their “bounce” product.

Boscia Sake Balm 1 wm
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New Boots: Dublin River Plaid Boots

I had a chance to attend The Mane Event Chilliwack in Chilliwack, BC, today with a fellow equestrian friend of mine and spotted none other than the very pair of plaid boots from Dublin that I’ve been lusting after online for the last month or so.  They JUST came to Canada and Abby Saddle Shop was selling them at their booth at The Mane Event.  Wouldn’t you know it?  THEY HAD MY SIZE.  It was like the stars aligned and wanted me to have THESE VERY BOOTS because they didn’t have them in black in my size, the only black pair they had in my size was a different model that were too tall for me, and since I already have my Ariat Lakeland H2O Boots boots in a brown/teak colour, the decision was made.  Oh, and they were 20% off, so that REALLY cinched it for me.
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My New Fall Boots: Ariat Lakeland H2O

Ah, fall!  My favourite season for so many reason, not the least of which is the fact that I am not sweating constantly!  What can I say, I get cranky when I’m overheated lol.  And while I love sunny weather, I don’t like the accompanying heat.  It must be why I endured living in Alberta for so long 🙂

Back to the subject at hand, I have been wanting to splurge on a pair of good knee boots for fall, but as a stout (and short) girl the bane of my existence is the fact that my calves prevent me from being able to own MOST knee boots.  So the search was on for a pair that would fit my wide calves, short stature, AND look stylish.  Enter Ariat.  I already owned four pairs of their equestrian boots, and I knew I loved the fit for my feet and knew my size and knew they wore well, so it made sense for me to look to them for fashion.  I decided on the Ariat Lakeland H20, which meant they are waterproof and even approved for riding.  They even have spur rests on the back.  Many reviews online have said they are great for riding and doing chores (which will NOT be happening lol, but, hey, good to know), so it seems most people are happy with the quality.

It only took about three wears before the calves stretched to fit snugly but not uncomfortably tight.  The first time was challenging, I will say, but I knew that since they are leather they would stretch to fit.  So now I still use boot pulls out of habit to put them on, but  likely in a few more wears I will not need to.    For those with regular or slim calves, wearing these with skinny jeans would look fantastic. I am not there yet, but we shall see.  I am content wearing these with tights and dresses, one of my favourite looks.


Ariat Lakeland Boots 2 wm

Ariat Lakeland Boots 1 wm


Ariat Lakeland 1 wm      Ariat Lakeland 2 wm

Ariat Lakeland Boots Back View wm   Ariat Lakeland Birds Eye wm

Ariat Lakeland Details wm        Ariat Lakeland Inside wm


Ariat Lakeland Sole wmI love the detailing.  Suede panels in the middle, cream stitching, leather straps on the outside, plaid lining and boot pull loops on the inside.  Practical construction with Goretex makes this waterproof boot Vancouver-friendly and warm for the tootsies.  Good grips on the bottom will help when we do get our few days of frost and snow this coming January.

And while these are too beautiful to do chores in, it’s good to know they can stand up to some abuse and just be hosed off afterwards without ruining them.

I bought these on Amazon at a great price of $150 USD and Prime shipping within the US (I use a parcel receiving service across the border).  I noticed the price goes up and down, so it’s a good idea to monitor it.  This pair is the teak colour, but the boots also come in Ebony as well.

What is your favourite way to wear boots?















Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

It’s tomato season!  And while I am not lucky enough to have my own gardening plot, I am lucky enough to have a friend with a mother who does!  She gifted me (more like begged me to unburden her with) a bag of cherry tomatoes, some grape tomatoes, and romas.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them all, but I was set on making a sauce to freeze and have on-hand.  But that is such a waste since cherry and grape tomatoes have such a unique and sweet flavour on their own.  Then I remembered that a few years ago I really loved slow roasting these babies, so I set out to do that today!


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Slow roasted tomatoes are the homemade (and in my opinion superior) version of the sundried tomatoes without that weird chewiness and over-intensity.  They are more like how sundried tomatoes SHOULD taste. And you can have many more of them in a dish without the flavour taking over.  I love them as a side dish for poultry or salmon, as a salad topper, in omelettes or breakfast scramble, or tossed with (zucchini for me) pasta.


Straight from Oven



Cut the cherry or grape tomatoes in half and toss with a few pinches of Himalayan Salt, pepperItalian seasoning (to taste) and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat.


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Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle a bit more olive oil and sprinkle sparingly with garlic powder.


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Bake at 225 degrees F for three hours.  At the three-hour mark, they are fine to enjoy, but since I had errands to run and wanted them a bit more intense, I turned off the oven and let them sit inside with the ambient heat for a few more hours while I ran out.

The aroma that fills the house is amazing BTW.  And when I came home to make dinner, I was thanking my pre-five-hour self for having the foresight to do this lol.

I decided to use my newly made deliciousness to dress up some grilled salmon on a bed of wilted pea shoots and do a quick balsamic reduction to dribble on top.  I took a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and brought to a boil on the stove in a sauce pan on medium-high heat.  Once at a boil, reduct heat to medium-low and simmer for about five minutes until it thickens up a bit.  Don’t reduce too long or wait for it to cool before using or it will harden like candy.  Use it right away.

Drizzle with more olive oil and enjoy!




What is your favourite dish to have with roasted tomatoes?






Product Review: Marius Fabre Aleppo Soap

Aleppo Main Text


Known as “Syria’s green gold,” Aleppo Soap is said to be the ancient precursor to the centuries-old, traditional olive oil soap of Marseille.  You can check out my post on savon de Marseille by clicking here.

Consisting of 82% olive oil, 12% laurel oil, and soda, this brownish gold soap is rumoured to date back to and have been used by Cleopatra.   Although modern Aleppo soap is made using cold process soap-making methods, it was traditionally made using hot process soap making methods, boiled for three days in large cauldrons and cured for nine months to dry and harden.  It starts out bright green from the olive oil and ages to the golden brown you see upon purchasing.

Each piece of soap is stamped with the artisan’s name, and unlike Marseille soap, the other five sides are left raw and untouched.


Aleppo Stamped


As you can see, the other five sides are raw and undecorated, unlike the Marseille soap which is stamped on all sides.


Aleppo raw edges


This soap is definitely harder than the Marseille soap, although when wet it does soften considerably.  Be sure to keep dry and not sitting in water or moisture between uses or it will melt faster and won’t last as long.

Household Uses

I used the Aleppo soap for bathing and washing my hair.  It doesn’t lather as much as liquid shampoo, as to be expected, but it does clean my hair nicely without leaving a nasty film.  In fact, I likely did not need to use conditioner afterwards.  I did, though lol.  Old habits die hard 🙂

A naturally anti-bacterial, anti-itch, and very moisturizing soap, it is purported to be useful for insect bites, irritated skin, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, acne, among other things.  I didn’t have a chance to use it for laundry or dishes, but seeing as how my Marseille soap was a rockstar for dishes, I have no doubts it would perform nicely.   Many people use it as a shaving cream as well.

I got a chance to wash a few of my makeup brushes with the Aleppo soap just to see how well it would take out dried and hardened makeup from a wedding job I did last week.  I am pleased to say it did beautifully.  Here is a pic of one of my lip brushes before with lip product on.

makeup before aleppo


And then 10 seconds later using Aleppo soap to clean.  It breaks down the emollient product nicely.

makeup after aleppo


Those sensitive to scent will be happy to know there is no added perfume or fragrance to traditionally-made Aleppo soap.  Modern soap makers do sometimes add other oils, colours, perfumes, dried herbs/flowers, etc, but the traditional bars are simply three skin-loving ingredients, olive oil, laurel oil, and soda, pure and simple.   Just be sure to read the ingredients.

Floats in Water

Apparently Aleppo soap is one of the only soaps that floats in water!  Well, now you KNOW I had to test that out.


Version 2


Yup!  It floats!

Syria’s Green Gold

It broke my heart to cut my beautiful soap, but I wanted to show you the colour difference and why it is called “Syria’s green gold.”


cut aleppo


Because this soap has aged for so long, it is quite brittle.  One piece remained intact, but the other side crumbled.  I was so sad.  The things I do for my readers lol.


broken aleppo


I guess that will give me the opportunity to grate some of it to use for laundry.  Yay?  lol


I chose to buy my Aleppo soap from Marius Fabre, one of the few remaining authentic manufacturers of Marseille soap in France.

Here is an up-close shot of the list of ingredients:


Aleppo ingredients



Aleppo description


You can buy Aleppo soap from Amazon by clicking here.  And for those of you interested in the Marseille soap I reviewed, you can click here to read the post and buy it on Amazon here.

What is your favourite soap?  Would you try one of the oldest soaps in the world?