A Letter from Your Server

Art work by Michelle Cheung for Novella Magazine

I work in the service industry. I know, shocker, right? An almost 25-year-old former journalism student needs additional income from a source outside of her field of study to support herself after 5 years in school and a workplace internship? Who woulda thunk it. I graduated from Western and Sheridan, and, after all that, I serve tables full time for a living, and not one bit of me is ashamed of that.

Yes, in all honesty, it truly makes you hate people. But ironically, you have to love working with people to do the job. If you don’t like to talk to people, you can’t be a server, and if you are serving and can’t talk to people, you’re probably not a very good server. Despite the negative connotation the industry has around it, I actually really enjoy it. On the flip side, you really don’t know how demeaning and selfish people are until you’ve worked in the service industry. I’ve learned how it feels to have complete and utter strangers think less of you, look down on you, and think you’re stupid with no motivation or aspirations in life. Let me make this perfectly clear for those who are unaware. Being a server does not mean that I am dumb or that I’m uneducated or unmotivated. It means that I literally make more money a year serving tables than I would with a starting salary in my field of study. It means that I get to socialize and interact with people from all over the world and from various walks of life. It also means that I have a flexible schedule, and, at the end of the day, I don’t have to bring my work home with me. It also means that it’s actually none of your business why people like myself serve tables, but it does not mean we are any less smart, educated, or capable.

I once had someone very close to me say that my job wasn’t really considered “working,” that it wasn’t a “real job.” Hearing this really pissed me off, to be honest.

In my opinion, some of the best people have worked in the service industry. You really don’t know what working is until you’re doing a job that is the very definition of a “job.” The amount of physical labour and stamina it takes to wait on people’s every need is astounding. It is a job that requires a great deal of physical and mental activity. You are always thinking and always moving. There is nothing I consider more of a “real job”.

I truly witness some of the greatest stupidity known to mankind. However, I do admit there are times that I have to ask myself, “would this request really be that inconvenient if I wasn’t a server?” The simplest things start to become a nuisance. But there are also times where my mind is blown by some people’s complete lack of common sense. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind next time you’re ordering.

  1. READ THE GODDAMN MENU! Don’t ask what kind of salads we have when they are literally listed right. in. front. of. you.
  2. Also, don’t say you’re ready to order when you’re clearly not. I have things to do while you decide what kind of wrap you want.
  3. Servers are not psychics. If you want or need something, ask politely.
  4. The menu is not a drawing board for your creativity.
  5. Don’t blame servers for the kitchen’s mistakes. I am not the one cooking your food, I am the one literally catering to you. So do not yell at me.
  6. Do not snap your fingers at me. Ever.

I’m going to tell you a story to finish this off. One morning, a customer with a very important business conference snapped his fingers at me and pointed to his coffee cup to get my attention for a refill. Instead of refilling his coffee with the fresh pot I had in my hand, I pretended it was empty, went to the kitchen, filled his cup with decaf, and proceeded to refill his cup with decaf that day and for the entire rest of the week. It’s the little things that mean the most. Being polite to your server will get you far and will guarantee you fresh regular strength coffee. Because, contrary to popular belief, we are people too.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

How to Wear Fashionable and Protective Eyewear

Ray-Ban Round Double Bridge $235

Most people buy sunglasses because they look good and keep the sun from blinding them while they sit by the pool or sip beers on a patio. But, little did we know, there are a lot more benefits to wearing sunglasses than just the “chic” factor.

Besides the obvious benefit of helping you see on a sunny day, sunglasses help protect you from permanent eye damage. “Sunglasses are important because they filter out UV and visible light,” says Dr. Janet Prystowsky. Both UV rays and visible light in the blue spectrum are what can cause permanent eye damage. “Sunglasses can also help minimize photodamage to the skin around your eyes.” Photodamage, the deterioration of sun-exposed skin, can cause wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer.

Dr. Prystowsky’s moral of the story: anytime you should be wearing sunscreen, you should also be wearing sunglasses.

What to look for

With so many eyewear options out there, it’s hard to know what exactly to look for when shopping for sunglasses. According to Dr. Prystowsky, there are two major factors to keep in mind the next time you’re looking to purchase some new shades.

  1. Look for sunglasses that say they block 99-100% of UV rays
  2. Those that claim absorption up to 400nm

Make sure your sunglasses come with UV protection, because not all sunglasses do! When trying on different sizes and shapes, keep in mind that wrap around shades or wide temples will offer additional protection around the periphery as well. You can find proper protective sunglasses online or in many sports stores or sunglasses shops. Don’t let the prices fool you! Just because the price tag is high, doesn’t mean your shades will be doing you any favours. You can find a good inexpensive pair of sunglasses for under $15!

Having trouble finding some fashionable and protective sunglasses? Here are a few to help!

Quay Australia Paradiso 52mm Cat Eye Sunglasses $69

Tom Ford Sean Sunglasses $525

Review: Caudalie Vinoperfect

As I’ve mentioned in other skincare reviews that I’ve done, my skin is a rather tricky thing. More recently my skincare routine has graduated from a mediocre and lazy 2-step wash and moisturize system to a more advanced regime of makeup removal, cleanse, tone/peel, and moisturize. So things are looking up. But just when I thought I had finally mastered the art of skincare, things like essence and serum were thrown into the mix.

I discovered that a Korean skincare routine could involve anywhere from 10 to 30 products (which is completely mind boggling to me because who on earth has that much spare time to wash their face). Anyway, most North Americans, including myself, are accustomed to a 3-step “cleanse, treat, and moisturize” system. Simple. It only begins to get complicated when there is an attempt to throw in a few Korean skincare steps, particularly the essence and serum part.

Let me break it down for you in the simplest of terms. An essence is a highly enriched, lightweight formula to be applied to the entire face, traditionally after washing and toning, to prepare the skin for oncoming products such as a serum. A serum is a concentration of nutrients to be applied for a particular purpose such as brightening, anti-aging, or to combat specific problem areas of the face like dark spots or acne.

Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

To be completely and 100% honest, I had no idea what an essence was when I started using this product. Is it a toner? Micellar water? Cleansing milk? Serum? Do I drink it? Pour it on my face? What? I didn’t understand. Essence is a somewhat vague and pretentious word to describe skincare if you ask me. Once I did some research and discovered what I was supposed to do with it, it began to make more sense to me.

This stuff is like citrusy, magic water for your skin. Applying it feels like you’re infusing your face with refreshing spa water. The soothing formula includes white peony to brighten and grape water to moisturize. Don’t worry, it’s not another product that feels good but does nothing for you. The Glycolic acid gently exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells without the need for rough cleansers or harsh deep cleaning face masks. Did I mention it smells incredible?

Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

I’ve used a couple of serums in the past and they never really made a huge difference to my skin, so I kind of lost faith in the power of serums. I think the combination of the essence with the radiance serum is what restored my faith. If this product is used solo, the results take longer to show, and the effects are less noticeable. I think that to really notice the benefits it should be used consistently and hand-in-hand with the essence. This product is great for help correcting dark spots and evening out your overall complexion to give your face a more healthy and glowy appearance if it is used after the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence.

Final Thoughts

I don’t have a lot to say. This stuff is like my new skin care crack. I’m addicted. I can visibly see and feel the difference in my skin’s tone and texture. My face looks healthier and glowy, and because of this I feel more confident not wearing makeup. If you’re going to add any of these Asian inspired skin care steps into your routine, I recommend adding the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence. It is definitely worth a try if you’re struggling to get rid of your dull, vitamin deprived skin.

Continue following our beauty and lifestyle coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Review: Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range

I can’t think of anything more frustrating and irritating than a shitty hair day. If your hair looks bad, you immediately feel uncomfortable and out of your element. It is like your safety blanket is damaged and unable to protect you. According to Viviscal, a woman spends nearly $50,000 on hair maintenance during her lifetime, and over 1/3 of women admit they’ve canceled plans because they don’t like how they look, and 1/4 women avoid going on a date when they have a bad hair day. It’s safe to say that having good hair is important to us women.

Viviscal has been researching hair for over 20 years, and have developed the most researched 100% drug-free hair supplement. The new shampoo, conditioner and elixir work with Viviscal’s clinically proven hair growth supplements as a unique dual-action system for thicker, body-boosting volume to attain gorgeous locks. Viviscal’s new Gorgeous Growth Densifying hair care range aims to work from the outside to make your hair look thick and luscious. Each Gorgeous Growth product contains Viviscal’s proprietary complex Ana: Tel™,  which contains clinically tested ingredients from natural sources, including pea sprouts, and nourishes strands with Biotin, Zinc, and Keratin to leave hair looking thicker and fuller. The Shampoo cleanses with a light, creamy lather and rinses out easily. It has a refreshing botanical scent that lasts. The Conditioner has a weightless formula that moisturizes the hair. The Elixir is a lightweight, body-boosting leave-in treatment for thicker looking hair.

My Experience

I’ll be honest, after my first time using Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range (the shampoo, conditioner, and elixir) I didn’t notice a huge difference in the thickness or denseness of my hair. Since I naturally have thick hair, the first time I used the product trio I only noticed that it gave my hair some added texture. It wasn’t until I gave the shampoo, conditioner, and hair elixir another chance that I began to see more noticeable results. Like I said, regarding thickness, my hair is already fairly thick, so it was hard to notice changes at first. But after the second, third, and fourth time using the products I began to see that not only was my hair given extra texture, but it was also starting to be more voluminous, specifically at the roots. I always struggle with getting enough lift, body, volume, and texture in my hair, especially at the roots where I flip my front layers over to the side. I like to have full-bodied hair, and sometimes products leave my hair looking too soft and flat at the time. These products would benefit those people who are struggling with fine and flat hair. For those of you who already have relatively thick hair and are hesitant to try a densifying range of products, I would still definitely recommend giving the Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range a try. It doesn’t make hair feel puffy or frizzy, but rather enhances volume and texture. Say bye-bye to bad hair days!

Continue following our beauty & lifestyle coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Novella’s Summer Sangria Recipes

The sun is shining, the temperature has reached above 20 degrees celsius, and patio season has officially arrived! You know what that means? Sangria. Nothing quite goes hand in hand like patios and sangria. In case they aren’t already, sangria recipes need to be a part of your summer entertaining, immediately. With that said, I have officially dubbed the summer of 2017 the Summer of Sangria! So, for the days you want to indulge in a refreshing batch of the famous Spanish beverage without venturing to a patio, here are two simple sangria recipes to make at home!

Red Wine Sangria

Wine takes the center stage when it comes to sangria; it is the livelihood of the drink. To make a more traditional Spanish red sangria, choose a medium-bodied red wine that is dry and slightly fruity, like a merlot. If you want to make it truly authentic, use a real Spanish red wine like Tempranillo, Garnacha, or other Rioja wines. Just a reminder, the wine doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive to make good sangria!

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1/4 cup of cherry brandy (you could also use rum)
  • 1/4 cup of orange liqueur (Cointreau)
  • 1 orange
  • Handfuls of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries
  • 200 ml of orange juice or 1-3 tbsp of sugar or simple syrup (optional, depending on the desired level of sweetness)

Slice the orange and add berries to a pitcher. Add booze and wine and give everything a good stir. It’s sangria, don’t over think it! Tuck the pitcher into the fridge and leave for at least two hours to let all the flavours steep together and allow the contents to chill.

Instead of adding carbonation to the actual sangria pitcher, this sangria will more enjoyable if bubbles are added to top off your glass. The best way to serve sangria is over ice and topped with club soda, lemon or lime soda, or even sparkling water. Now relax and enjoy!

White Wine Sangria

Don’t fret! If you’re not a red wine person, you can still enjoy a variation of the Spanish favourite. In Spain it is also known as “sangria blanca.” Similar to the red, when choosing a white wine for sangria, you want to pick something that is dry, crisp, and unoaked. Sangria is supposed to gain sweetness from fruit or a touch of sugar, so picking a drier wine is always best. Pick something like a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling, or a Portuguese wine like a Vinho Verde.

  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 1/4 cup of triple sec
  • 1/4 peach schnapps
  • 1 orange
  • Handfuls of pineapple slices and strawberries
  • 170ml of pineapple juice or 1-3 tbsp of sugar or simple syrup (optional, depending on the desired level of sweetness)

Just like the red, mix everything together, let it stand in the fridge for as long as you can (at least a couple of hours), and serve over ice and dilute with bubbles of your choice!

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.