V-day Yummies from Make Fabulous Cakes

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There’s no sweeter way to say “Be mine” or “I love you” than with yummy treats. So today, I’m going to share with you 3 Valentine’s Day recipes from my blog make-fabulous-cakes.com. Instead of running around trying to find THE ultimate Valentine’s Day gift, why not spend some time in the kitchen? These easy-to-make but sinfully delicious delights are guaranteed to impress and will show them that you care.

Let’s start with something easy.  My brownie hearts are a snack made with love – literally! Start by baking your favorite brownie recipe or use the one here. You can also make things even simpler; buy already made ones.  Now, take a heart cookie cutter and cut out the brownies.  You can earn extra love credits by cutting two different sizes of hearts and stacking them together.

And who can say no to cupcakes?  A fitting flavor for this occasion is my Red Velvet cupcakes – scrumptious cakes with a hint of cocoa topped with cream cheese frosting. Whip these up and they will surely knock your sweetie’s socks off!

Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

2 1/2 cups cake flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 Teaspoon vanilla

2 ounces red food coloring

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon distilled vinegar

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl.

In another bowl with an electric mixer, whisk the sugar with eggs until light and creamy.

Slowly add the oil and mix until well blended.   Add in the vanilla.

Mix in the food coloring with buttermilk.

Stir the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and beat for another minute.

Mix the baking soda with the vinegar and let it fizzle a bit.  Fold it in the batter.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.  I used the ¼ cup measure to scoop it and fill the liners to about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 25 minutes.

The cupcake is ready when an inserted wooden skewer or cake tester comes out clean or when it springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.

Next, frost the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy.

Add in icing sugar and beat for a minute. Add vanilla.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another minute.

Add color if desired.  Frost cupcakes and add some sprinkles and enjoy!

If your sweetie can’t eat gluten they can indulge in these gluten-free Meringue Pops.  Simply follow the recipe found here to bake up some meringue. Then attach a lollipop stick in the back of each with some white chocolate.  Place a handful in a vase and give it in place of flowers!

Now, after making all these Valentine’s Day yummies, don’t be surprised if you get some extra lovin’! Have a great Valentine’s Day!

For more baked goodness visit http://www.make-fabulous-cakes.com/

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Valentine’s Day Contest: Win a Romantic Getaway

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BTR has caught the love bug!

Share your best Valentine’s Day memory for a chance to win a romantic getaway for 2 at the luxurious Château Versailles in downtown Montréal. The prize includes transportation, a 2 night stay, 1 dinner, 2 breakfasts and a $500 shopping credit at Beyond the Rack. To enter, post either a photo or short story sharing your fondest memory as a comment on the BTR Romantic Getaway Contest post on our Facebook page.

Contest is valid February 13th 9 AM through February 16th midnight ET. The winner will be announced on our blog and Facebook page.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Getting Candid: Interview with Model Alisa Pysareva

Alisa Pysareva Interview_blog image

Brains, blonde and beautiful! There is no mistaking that Alisa Pysareva was born to model. And while it appears that she has hit the genetic lottery, her look is not the only reason why we adore her as the face of BTR.

We recently sat down to have a candid interview with Alisa where she opens up about modeling, plastic surgery and her hopes for the future. Read our Q&A with the sexy, yet very down-to-earth model below!

BTR – Most people think the life of a model is very glamorous. What do you think people would be most surprised to know about modelling?

Alisa – The life of a model is not as glamorous as most people think. Modeling in general is very physical work. A model needs to be healthy and fit not only for her appearance, but also to handle the long hours of standing on high, sometimes ill-fitting heels in less than ideal environments. A professional model must also be easy going, friendly, patient and prepared at all times – including those long hours of waiting backstage or at casting calls. There is a lot of competition and so it’s important to always leave a good impression. Finally, modeling is not always about being beautiful.  To be a successful model you need to understand the basics of marketing because your #1 job is to sell a product.

BTR - Do you always feel beautiful, or are you more critical about your appearance given it’s your livelihood?

Alisa – Of course I don’t wake up each morning with full makeup and hair done like you see me in photos or on the runway. However, I’m not very critical about my appearance. I do undergo criticism from different clients and the public, but I don’t take it personally because I understand that “beauty” is subjective. For me, beauty comes from within, from confidence, intelligence and good manners. As for modelling, it’s a matter of preferences: some people like brunettes with dark eyes or curvier bodies, but you can’t please everyone!  I’m happy with my Russian features.

BTR - Do you have a favorite body part? Least favorite?

Alisa – No, I don’t have a favorite or least favorite body part. I’m grateful for everything I have.

BTR – Being in such a competitive industry where youth is idolized, do you feel pressured to undergo plastic surgery?

Alisa – The only surgery I’ve ever done is laser eyesight correction. I’ve never done any cosmetic surgeries and I’m not planning to. I don’t judge those who do cosmetic surgery but I do find it sad when I see 20-somethings in this industry who feel the need to. Youth is idolized, but for me aging is natural and beautiful. I draw inspiration from women of all ages! Moreover, I’m very happy to observe that the commercial market is changing and you are seeing more and more models in their 30s and 40s occupying advertisement campaigns.

BTR – If we’re being honest, many of us think that models are constantly dieting. Do you diet? What are some of your favorite foods to eat?

Alisa – While some models do need to diet, I’m very lucky with my genes and fast metabolism. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t take care of myself. Skinny does not always mean healthy and for me health is a priority. I don’t have a specific diet but I believe that everything should be balanced. Plenty of water, fruits, vegetables and berries are a must for me. I don’t take any supplements simply because I believe that it’s better for you if all your vitamins and minerals come from food. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do prefer fish over meat, and eggs are always in my diet. I also love freshly squeezed juices. I really have a lot of fun mixing up all sorts of vegetables, fruits and herbs. My “classic” juice is a carrot, apple and orange mix with a touch of ginger. I have to admit though that I do spoil myself sometimes. Especially when I have cravings for something sweet.

BTR - We know that you studied biochemistry. If you weren’t a model, what would you want to do?

Alisa – Yes, I did study biochemistry and before I started modelling full-time I was either going to go to medical school or business school. I love to study. Even after I stopped university you would find me with a book in my hands. As a matter of fact, I’m currently involved in an online business management program and I am really enjoying it!

BTR – If you were stranded on a deserted Island what would you bring?

Alisa – Lol! That’s a funny question! Water, a knife, matches, a warm blanket and a cell phone to call for a helicopter after I finish my fried prey for dinner.

BTR – What is your ultimate life goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Alisa – In 10 years I see myself surrounded by my own healthy, happy, mutually loving family. Career wise, I see myself running a business. Perhaps in luxury bedding.

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Sue Wong Gowns

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We’ve all had that dream. The one where you’re the Belle of the ball, twirling around the dance floor in an exquisite gown.

Well, this is where your fairy-tale begins. Sue Wong couture-inspired dresses and gowns are created to make a lasting impression. There is something for every taste and occasion including sexy cocktail dresses, beaded formal gowns and even styles for brides-to-be. Fashioned from quality fabrics, each style is hand-beaded and filled with delicate details and feminine silhouettes.

So be picture-perfect for your next occasion. Shop our Sue Wong event today.

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BTR Employees Reveal Their Style Secrets

Employee's Picks_blog

At Beyond the Rack, we appreciate our employees and their individual sense of style. This week 4 of our most fashionable colleagues reveal their style secrets and tell us what spring trends most excite them.  Let us introduce you to Jenna, Samuela, Amanda and Scott. Check out what they have to say and shop events with their Employee Pick stamps to see what’s in their shopping cart this weekend.

Jenna, Content Manager

1)How would you describe your style?

My style is constantly evolving. It’s a gut feeling, it comes from within. If a piece makes me look and feel good, then I make it mine. I don’t buy things simply because they are the trend of the moment. I believe that fashion is what you buy; style is what you do with it!

2)What are your top pick trends for spring?

I’m loving the crop tops, the mid or tea skirts and pastels and floral. And don’t forget that killer pair of kicks, simply a must have for any fab outfit!

Samuela, Fraud Prevention Coordinator

1)How would you describe your style?

I get my style inspiration from the 90’s, ethnic clothing, menswear and lingerie. I love experimenting with unconventional pieces and just make them my own. My style is constantly changing.

2)What are your top pick trends for spring?

Bomber jackets, pastel colors and slip dresses.

 Amanda, Assistant Buyer

1)How would you describe your style?

I like to stay on top of the trends. I always make sure to incorporate fashion-forward items with classic timeless pieces. I love a good bargain; I purchase clothes often but at a reasonable price. I also never leave the house without a good pair of heels on. Fashion for me is the perfect way to play dress up. I’m also definitely not afraid to show off some skin, while remaining classy of course.

2)What are your top pick trends for spring?

Feminine skirts, maxi dresses, open back styles, slits to show off some leg, cropped tops paired with long skirts, brown for spring, pastel colors, transparent mesh on tops, colorful patterns on pants and bottoms, leather pieces – to name just a few.

 Scott, Stylist

1)How would you describe your style?

I have a taste for classic styles with just enough trendy pieces mixed in to stay current.

2)What are your top pick trends for spring?

My trend picks for men this spring are soft structured jackets, patterned everything, mid-century styles, and sportswear inspired looks.

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Going for Gold: Team Canada at Sochi

Sochi Olympic_blog

We’re all pumped to see our fellow Canadians represent Canada at the Sochi Games. As our athletes get ready to compete on the world stage, we watch in pride. The goal is an obvious one: win the most Olympic medals and claim the top step of the podium. While competition will be tough, we have every faith in our Olympians and wish them the very best. We will be watching and cheering!

Bring us home some metals guys!

Images courtesy of storage.canoe.ca and i.huffpost.com

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And the Winner of Our Spring Trend Contest Is…

Spring Trend Winner

DANNA FALLUM! Congratulations and enjoy your $1000 shopping spree.

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Aquaswiss Special – New Low Prices on Distinctive Watches

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Dare to be different with an innovative timepiece by Aquaswiss!

Founded in 1999 by a third-generation jeweler, Aquaswiss designs are a cumination of years of development. Their three-dimensional watch styles are the touchstone of their company, including the Chronodome, defined by its curved, rectangular shape and bold domed crystal on the chronograph, the Ice, a chronograph with a geometric-faceted pyramid-shaped crystal, and the Diablo, a six-time-zone watch with a world map dial. The creativity and sophistication of these designs have elevated Aquaswiss into a watchmaking legend, and the rest is history!

Today, their fine timepieces can be found adorning celebrities like Selena Gomez, Ricky Gervais, Michael C. Hall, and Anna Lynn McCord. They’ve also been featured in Elle, FHM, and Harpers Bazaar.

For the first time on BTR, get your hands on a fabulous Aquaswiss watch for only $119.99. It’s our lowest price ever!

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Trend Alert: The Bucket Bag is Back

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The Bucket Bag is back — and in a big way!

Spotted all over the fashion week runways, this slouchy handbag was a favorite for many designers. Moschino, Rebecca Minkoff, IMAXtree and Louis Vuitton all sent their models down the catwalk clutching different versions of the classic bag. Updated with bold graphics, studs, chains or patterns we saw the Bucket Bag in a new light. And we loved it.

And it’s not just us. Young Hollywood starlets like Miranda Kerr, Nicky Hilton and Vanessa Hudgens were seen out and about carrying their favorite take on this design!

So whatever your style, get carried away by the versatile yet polished Bucket Bag.

Images courtesy of elleuk.com

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Hair by Moses

Hair By Moses_blog

Wouldn’t you love to have a good hair day every day? Do you dream of finally saying goodbye to frizz, flyaways and damaged hair for good? Well, dreams do come true.  Let us introduce you to Hair by Moses.

When it comes to hair, celebrity stylist and colorist Moses is an expert. His award-winning products are packed with essential minerals and nutrients vital to attaining healthy tresses. Gentle enough to use every day, his shampoos, conditioners and treatments leave your hair shiny, manageable and soft to the touch.

So take a cue from celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Stacy Keibler, Gretchen Rossi and Lilly Ghalichi. Shop our Hair by Moses event and begin your journey to healthier, better-looking hair today.

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