Thursday, 28 July 2011

Sally Hansen Fingernail Polish : Crackle in Distressed Jean

Sally Hansen Fingernail Polish is quickly become my favorite brand of nail polish. The quality is great and the collections and colors are really enticing. The brand came out with a new crackle polish to go along with the recent crackle craze and I just had to try it! It's the first drugstore crackle I see :) I'm glad I can try this out without having to hunt for OPI or China Glaze.

So far, my thoughts on this is that it's little difficult to do it properly, but the effect is really cool. It was 6.69$ which is quite expensive if you keep in mind that China Glaze and OPI usually retail for about 7-10$. However, since here in Montreal, these brands are very hard to come by, and since the drugstore prices for polishes are normally quite high (4-14$ approximately), it's not that bad!

This Sally Hansen fingernail polish also came in white, silver, pink, a duo chrome purple and another color that I cannot remember (red maybe?).

This is how it looks on my nails :D

What do you guys think? Do you like this crackle trend? Will you purchase the Sally Hansen ones?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Santa Elena (travel update)

We left San Jose on a four and a half hours bus ride to Monteverde/Santa Elena on monday. The ride was uneventful apart from the flat tire that left us stranded in a gas station for over one hour.

Upon our late arrival in Santa Elena, we checked into the pension Santa Elena and went out to a nearby pizza joint for dinner. (I got attacked by a huge moth there who bumped forcefully right into my face X| I hate moths) The pepperoni and cheese pizza we ordered was expensive (10$ for a small), but super tasty

The next morning we booked a 40$ zipline tour and left at 7:30 in the morning. (for the record 40$ for a zipline is quite cheap for Costa Rica, most zipline are around 65-70$ in other areas) It was the most amazing experience. Most of the lines were your basic, fast ride over the trees. It's fun, but it's nothing out of the ordinary and we went on a zipline tour two years ago which was the same exact thing. However, the last two lines, which were optional, really made this tour exceptional.

The gear is really flattering on me ;)

The first optional activity was the option to do the last line in an horizontal position instead of sitting like you normally would. They call it the superman because you  look like you are flying like superman. I was scared at first, but you feel like a bird flying across the jungle. It's incredible!

The last activity was what they call the Tarzan swing. It consists of a cable which you hold onto (you are also attached to it with a harness, otherwise the whole thing would be insane). You stand on a platform situation 150 feet above the ground. The idea is that while holding the cable, you let yourself free fall until the cable reaches it full length then you start swinging.

 I went first because I wanted to be able to take a video of Mathieu doing the jump afterwards. I'm glad I did. I don't think I would have wanted to do it if I had known what I was getting myself into. The experience was positively terrifying, but adrenaline filled and really amazing. It's a feeling like no other I ever had! :) I'm so glad I did it! I have a video of Mathieu on the Tarzan swing. It shows the whole thing better than I can explain it =p

After this, we went back to our hostel and cooked some amazing cheese and steak sandwiches before heading to the frog pond and the butterfly garden. We saw a bunch of species of both and learned a ton. It was a truly great day!

We are leaving Central America in just 8 days s we are trying to make the most out of the time we have left! I can hardly believe it's already almost over :O

Big daddy's grill & patio [Travel review]

Staff/Service : The food always came out really quickly and all the staff members were really nice, from the girl who took our order, to the cook (and owner I'm pretty sure) who often came out to chat with us! We were always well received there :)

Food : The food was absolutely amazing, everything we tried on the menu was great! You could tell that a lot of thought has been put in developing the recipes for each dishes and the ingredients used are always really fresh. We experienced fish & chips, corn dogs, tuna burgers and onion rings like we never did before!

Price : Not too expensive, about 5-7$ per plate, a little more for the tuna steak burger (which was totally worth it!) The portions are big and the quality of the food is of the high standard. They have specials on alcohol when it's raining : the local beer is 75 cents and the house wine is 1.50$ per glass, great deal!

This is another restaurant which I needed to mention because we spent so much time there! We kept going back every day because we wanted to try more stuff from the menu because everything tasted so great! I really love this place =D

Pension Marilos [Travel Review]

Pension Marilos is the only hostel we have stayed at during our stay in Boquete. I was also by far the best deal we got!

Price : 15.45$ for a double private room with private bathroom, hot water and free wifi in the room (the fastest we have had by far)

Services/amenities : Communal kitchen

Rooms : high ceilings, spacious, one double bed and one single bed, furnished with a dresser, a  side table and reading lights above the beds. Very clean and comfortable as well as intimate and quiet.

Staff : Helpful, patient and professional

Bathrooms : The private bathrooms at pension Marilos are spacious and very clean. The hot water was quite temperamental in our room (we had to open the hot water from the sink at the same time as the hot water from the shower to be able to get hot water), but we found a work around :P. Also, the shower was very sensitive to temperature changes and as soon as you added a tiny amount of cold water it would become glacial), but other than that I have no complaints.

Pension Marilos is an amazing deal (much cheaper than anything we got so far and a lot more for the price) : it is cheap, comfy, clean and quiet! We stayed here 7 nights and loved it

Cafe de Encuentro [Travel Review]

Staff/Service : Very quick and extremely friendly! The lady that works there was amazingly sweet & attentive. Most clients seemed to be regulars who really liked her and we definitely understand why! She treat all customers with such attentiveness and kindness, it was really a welcoming place =)

Food : Always very good and fresh and great portion sizes too! I always had too much food XD The waffles, coffee, egg & bacon, french toast, homemade pineapple juice and egg and english muffins were all super flavourful and well done!

Price : not dirt cheap, but really worth it for the quality of the food and the quantity.

We went there for almost every single breakfast throughout the week we spent in Boquete. I recommend it to anyone staying in the area, it's a great restaurant!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Last days in Boquete and Tortuguero [Travel Update]

We ended up booking yet another tour with the Boquete Outdoor Adventure company. This time, it was a secluded island tour including snorkeling gear, sea kayaking, lunch and transportation to a remote island with a beautiful beach. We left in the morning with a bus and after 2 hours on the road and a beautiful 45 minutes boat ride, we reached the island in question. The island is part of one of Panama's national parks and is not inhabited. The beach is breathtaking, the water pristine and the sun, very strong. We spent a relaxed day there, sunbathing among the many tiny beach crabs, we spent some time in hammocks and we kayaked around the island for a bit. It was a lot of fun and well worth it! The pictures are beautiful and I'm a couple shades darker now :p (I did burn like a lobster while we were there even though I kept reapplying sunscreen, now that the redness is gone though, I have the closest thing I ever get to a tan, a medium beige color XD).

The next day, we went rock climbing on the only spot in Panama for rock climbing. The granite textured walls, with climbing difficulties ranging from 5.7 to 6, are the beautiful result of a lava flow that came from the Baru Volcano many hundreds of years ago. At first, our guide went all the way up (with no harness or anything) to place the rope for the climbing. It took him no more than 2 minutes to get to the top and he made it look really easy. It isn't! I could barely climb two different routes, both of which were 5.7 in difficulty (which is supposed to be quite easy according to the guide) and my hands had blisters all over them. It was a great feeling to conquer the wall of rock with nothing but your arms and legs though, so even though it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun! That was our last day in Boquete and in fact, in Panama.

The next day, we took a bus to San José (about 9 hours) Costa Rica to continue our trip. The border we passed through to get here has got to be the most unpleasant border I have ever seen (and at this point I've seen quite a few). It took forever just to get out of the country, let alone get into Costa Rica. Officials were also searching very throughouly the suitcases of locals going through the border and we found that a little shocking (the man spent at least 5 minutes groping in the underwear bag of a girl there, touching everything and asking what everything was in the suitcase). When they saw our passport though, they let us go through without even opening our bags.  It might be that they are extra careful because of possible drug smuggling out of the country, but it still seemed quite excessive.

Upon arriving in San José, we booked a tour for Tortuguero, a national park on the Caribbean side of the country which is the home of nesting turtles during the months of July through October.  I will review that package in depth in another post because there were some issues in management which I cannot ignore, but overall the experience was fun. We did a jungle boat tour, saw a banana plantation, a walk in the rain forest and we watched turtles nest at night. We saw tons of wildlife, including caimans, tiger herons, toucans, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, sloths, green iguanas, sea green turtles, rhino beetles and more. It was nice to see the wildlife up close like this! The tour however, was very touristy and had a pretty rigid schedule, so other than the planned activities, we couldn't really explore much of Tortuguero. We booked this package because the national park is not exactly easy to reach independently (many buses and boats to take to get there) and since we are leaving soon, we thought we would save time by doing so. We definitely saved time and had a great time!


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