Friday, December 7, 2012

Seasonal Lippies

Man, there are few things better than waking up early to make it to Panera in time before they sell out of egg souffles. If you can make it before 10 am, you should be safe; although, some days I'm there at 9 am and they're already sold out. Have you tried the new one, Sausage & Gouda? IT IS SO DELICIOUS. That egg souffle plus a black hazelnut coffee and I am the happiest girl. Mmm...

8am: 2.5 hrs post-sunrise, had breakfast on the beach
Sorry I've been away so long, this is the first entire week I have had some real down time, i.e. no work. Between work + wedding/trips, it's been a surprisingly busy past few months. I'm just glad to finally get some "me" time and wind down, just in time for the holidays, yay... to the dismay of many people, I really hate Christmas music so it's been tough shopping (maybe good for my wallet?) or even sitting at Starbucks for too long. This week I made it to the beach, got back on my workout routine (any other Flywheel addicts out there?), and unpacked/reorganized a much needed bathroom+bedroom. I am grateful to be in 80 degree weather, and slowly coming to the realization that I am a warm weather girl. It just feels so good!
1pm: clouds started rolling in

Now, onto my latest obsession...

I really love how a bold lip makes the rest of your makeup so easy -- concealer  mascara, lipstick and you're done! I have been focusing on improving my skin and, to tell you the truth, my laziness has gotten the better of me. I didn't even put on false lashes as I had planned for the wedding I attended. Here are my go-to lipsticks (haha, if you assume that implies 2-3 in number.. you would be wrong) for the fall-winter season aka the holidays. Even though I live in a place where seasons don't really exist, I did rock the darker lip while in Milwaukee and Chicago.. man, it was so cold up there. I shiver just thinking about it.

  1.  Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stain - 005 Crush: these really leave a nice stain on your lips, although in my experience, the stain is a different color than the applied balm. I like how build-able these are and this color is more successful in the darker berry shade range than others I have tried (Smitten turned out very red on the lips). This stains a brighter red than I would have liked, but the easy solution is just to reapply more product.
  2. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On lip pencil - Ozone: since the only lip pencils I own are either red or nude, I got this clear one for its ability to be worn under any shade of lipstick without affecting its actual color; so far, so good! I really am a fan of these lip pencils, they last very well the colored ones are so nice I usually end up wearing them alone. I would recommend wearing some lip balm underneath as they can be a bit drying.
  3. Clinique Almost Lipstick - 06 Black Honey: I have had this for a year now, still loving it. This could actually be worn year-round, considering how sheer it is. It has red undertone so if you build up the color, your lips actually can look very red.
  4. Wet 'n' Wild Super Lustrous lipstick - 508A Black Cherry: this lipstick only costed $0.99! Probably the most pleasant surprise I've ever gotten from any makeup I have ever purchased, I have to say that I love love love this lipstick. It is such a wearable and easily applicable darker lip that is not too vampy and it is so moisturizing on the lips. I wore this almost every day while on my trip. I wore this while teaching one night and it prompted my students to ask me "Miss, are you going on a hot date after class?" HAHA!
  5. Wet 'n' Wild Mega Last Matte lipstick - 918D Cherry Bomb: this was the color I wore to the wedding! I applied it with a lip brush a couple of times and it lasted all night, through all the eating and drinking. It didn't dry my lips out either, which I had anticipated; thank you for exceeding my expectations yet again, Wet 'n' Wild. The only weird thing was that in photos, this looked a lot lighter and redder than it did in real life. I was really trying to go for that vampy burgundy lip, since I knew I was going to cry my eyes out watching my friend get married I didn't want to wear very much eye makeup :P.
  6. Topshop Lips - Inhibition: with its satin matte finish, I am loving this violet lipstick. The formula is not drying at all and the color is very build-able. I have been enjoying wearing this more on the sheer side for an everyday lip, just by applying it and rubbing it into the lips with my fingers. If only a Topshop would open in SoFla, I would be so broke immediately haha.
  7. L'Oreal Colour Riche - 785 Sultry Raven's Pout (Project Runway): this is my go-to for a nude lip this season; in my opinion it has a very slight lavender/violet-y pink undertone that sets it apart from other nude lipsticks, such as Fairest Nude which is a lot more brown-based.
  8. Mac - Scarlet Ibis (Marilyn Monroe), matte: this orange-y red lipstick is what I'm wearing when I'm feeling festive! Loving it.
  9. Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate lipstick - 01: this red is a my normal go-to red lipstick; it is not too orange or blue undertoned that it really goes well with any look and outfit. I really love these Kate Moss lipsticks.. currently on the hunt for the burgundy in the new matte collection, but sadly, I don't think it's out in the US yet.
Hmm, I feel like I need one more lipstick to round out that number to a nice 10. :) I welcome any and all suggestions.

Origins Let It Glow holiday set, includes a full size Gin-Zing refreshing eye cream, a 1.0 fl. oz. VitaZing Energizing Moisturizer (SPF 15), and a mini GinZing brightening mascara. I bought this for the eye cream specifically, and I am really loving it. I have always wanted to try the moisturizer so this set was really a great value at $32.50. Haven't tried the mascara yet. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

B-day in Chicago

I was in Chicago for my birthday early in the week, so of course I hit up some of my go-to food scenes (Belly Shack, Publican, Xoco) and then tried a couple new places too (Gilt Bar -so good!, Slurping Turtle, Sable Kitchen). I didn't take photos at all meals because (1) my camera kind of sucks in dim lighting and (2) I was lazy.

Slurping Turtle - macarons: yuzu, raspberry-wasabi, chocolate sesame
The best thing I had here was the duck fat-fried chicken. Then again, you can't go wrong with duck fat fried anything.
Magnolia Bakery - pistachio cupcake & small coffee, awesome breakfast hmm?
XOCO - egg & chorizo torta came with a delicious salsa verde. I wish this could be my breakfast every morning..

XOCO - (apparently I was on a pistachio kick) churro with pistachio glaze, very sweet & delicious

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nail update

yea, I know I'm on a nail polish ban but Wet 'n' Wild is too cheap to pass up.. especially when I saw these:
 fastdry "Gray's Anatomy" and Fergie's "Hollywood Walk of Fame"

Gray's Anatomy 1
Gray's Anatomy 2
Gray's Anatomy 3

feeding my lip balm hoarding self..
New EOS!! white=Sweet Vanilla Nonsense, pink=Watermelon Wonderland, blue=Blueberry potion

Haven't done anything too creative lately, but I tried out the glitter gradient with Essie's Chincilly as the base and the glitter is China Glaze Polarized.. this definitely came out better on my left hand (you don't even want to see my right hand)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm back!

Getting back to the grind as summer is winding down.. I've been working a lot recently, which involves a lot of driving around to different locations, skipping lunch.. not good, I know. Just need to get into the groove again. Anyways, here is something to help you all with going back to work/school or just to help you indulge in your pumpkin spice latte cravings :) $5 for $10 at Starbucks! Enjoy.

I have done a bit of shopping lately as well. I'm now a VIB at Sephora, hah.. I can't say that I'm too surprised. Here is a taste of what I have recently acquired:

Found these on clearance for $6 at Target! score. They are more comfortable than you might think!

My new addiction.. these have permanently been in my purse since I bought them. I usually don't even enjoy Reese's cups but these are like the perfect ratio of chocolate to peanut butter.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Facial Peel: I am currently on the second week of this peel. AMAZING product. The hardest thing is staying out of the sun because the alpha hydroxyl acid makes your skin more susceptible to sunburn. My skin is looking pretty awesome right now--very smooth, even tone, faded acne scars. Pretty expensive but totally worth it. (it was also only $75 in the store, it's $78 online) Love it. It is definitely one of those things that is great to do after summer just to revitalize your skin after all that sun exposure, sweating & humidity.

Godiva Solid Shampoo. A Lush store finally opened in my mall so I stopped by to check it out. I still am pretty stocked up on my bath supplies so one of the salespeople convinced me to try a shampoo bar. This is supposed to smell like Jasmine Flowers, but to me it smells like something else.. something yucky. Also this is supposed to be a shampoo + conditioner in one type deal, but I find it pretty drying so I still use my normal conditioner after using this. I probably would not repurchase this.

Since I got a 10% off coupon for becoming a VIB, I decided to get the Marc Jacobs Dot perfume. Doesn't it have such a cute bottle? I got the smaller bottle (1.0 fl oz) so its not as fancy-looking as the 1.7 fl oz. bottle, haha. This is a floral scent that I can handle, it's not too overpowering and lasts all day. Brings the girly girl out of me :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

some summertime eats

Happy Summer! It's going by really quickly, so take advantage of the sunny days & seasonal eats before it's too late.

salsa.. cherry tomatoes, corn, jalapeno, red onion, garlic and cilantro (can't forget the lime juice!)

Cherries are in season right now! Eating them every night.

Attempt #1 to make my own horchata. Soaking the rice overnight...

The next morning, after blending. Note to self.. strain better next time!

I added some milk & ice before drinking. It tasted OK but I think it needed more cinnamon/spice.

Quinoa black bean salad--salsa from earlier + black beans + quinoa + cumin, chili powder & olive oil

homemade pickles.
loving this color combo right now!

close-up on the fingers: Zoya Lolly + topcoat

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summertime nails

Happy Fourth of July! I thought I'd be festive with my nails :)

Lovely day at the beach.. it's gotten really sunny & hot since Tropical Storm Debby passed by.

Zoya Paz. Seriously like a traffic cone and I LOVE IT.

I made my own fruit & nut trail mix! Thanks to Whole foods, I got: pumpkin & sunflower seeds, pistachios,  dried edamame, walnuts, dried apricots+papaya+pineapple+cranberries. I have really been addicted to this lately, it really is a great snack to have around the house. And when you buy each item separately from the bulk foods section you can save a great deal of $$!

A final nail design I did recently in celebration of the Heat winning the NBA finals.  Haters gonna hate!

Monday, June 11, 2012

...left my heart in Chi-town

"Libations" @ The Publican for brunch. LOVE.

[May I forewarn you that this is going to be hell of a long post.] I made my annual trip to Chicago a couple of weeks ago and indulged to my heart's content. There was no holding back. The craziest day was when I went to The Publican for brunch, and later had 2 dinners--first at Belly Shack and the next at the long anticipated Girl & The Goat. The craziest thing was that while at Publican brunch, guess who walks in after me to have brunch there too? None other than THE Stephanie Izard (and her hubbie). It was just so crazy to me because last year on the day I was going to Frontera Grill for dinner, I saw Rick Bayless at the farmer's market. And this year, the same thing was happening on the day I was to dine at Girl & the Goat. Yea, I freaked out quite a bit and you may find me crazy.. but it was probably the best day of my week-long stay in the windy city.

Now.. my camera decided to break down on me in the middle of my trip so unfortunately my photos are not complete. Many of these photos are also low quality because I had to rely on my camera phone, so I apologize! In the meantime.. saving up money to go get a new camera. 

SO.. let me attempt to recount this epic food journey in chronological order as best I can. I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon after my flight was delayed for 2 hours because of an electrical issue. First meal was at Chinatown since one of my friends lives there.. I slurped down a steaming hot & spicy bowl of noodles, to make a haircut appointment. Those noodles really hit the spot. Later, we met up with another friend downtown to visit my sister's workplace, and then we hit up Pinkberry for a snack & Xoco for dinner. And so begins my nearly nonstop eating for the next 7 days.
Popped my Pinkberry cherry! Original with mochi, pineapple (my healthy addition, haha) and the milk chocolate crunch (this was really really good). I have to say it was not a mind-blowing fro-yo experience but it was still really yummy.
Seafood caldos. This is not my favorite thing I've gotten at Xoco; the broth was heavy in the shrimp flavors, almost overpowering. The catfish in here was really fatty too. I am sad I didn't have enough room to fit in a churro for dessert :/ regretting that decision now.. but in my defense I did think I was returning here for lunch the next day so I didn't want to go overboard.
 Thursday.. lunch plans switched from Xoco to Frontera Grill--no complaints there haha. I didn't want to fill myself up since I was going to Tequila Dinner at Adobo Grill in Oldtown afterwards, so we got the bacon guacamole (VERY GOOD) for appetizer and I got the chicken tamale. So dinner: if you haven't heard of Tequila dinner at Adobo Grill, it's basically the best thing ever. Usually hosted by a certain tequila company on the last Thursday of every month (May was hosted by Cabo Wabo), they make a 4-course menu each paired up with a tequila cocktail. They also give you samplings of their blanco, anejo and reposado tequilas to taste on their own. I think my favorite one was the anejo, and my favorite courses were the first and last ones. The appetizer was some delicious corn masa fried thing.. can't remember what it was exactly but it was very tasty. Second course was a stuffed poblano that had a mixture of rice, pork, veal, pineapple and nuts with the most delicious creamy sauce over the whole thing. It had that whole sweet, savory & sour thing going on, definitely very memorable. Third course [see photo] was a grilled pork chop served with poblano mole, sweet potato mash & asparagus. SO FULL at this point, haha. Finally, dessert: A delicious quatro dulce corn cake with a cajeta ice cream. The best cocktail other than the traditional margarita was this drink they made with guava puree and mango. Yuuuum yum yum. Tequila dinner never disappoints! I was also really happy that so many of my friends were able to make it to the dinner, it was great catching up with all of them. Man, I missed them so much.
The only photo from Tequila dinner. This was course 3--at this point we've all had too many margaritas to count and the 2 previous courses were so filling in themselves. Sadly I didn't even make it through half of this plate because I made the  conscious effort to save room for dessert.
Friday.. On this day, I grabbed lunch at a food truck Soups in the Loop on the University of Chicago campus (apparently they are there every Monday in front of the bookstore!). I chose the creamy lobster bisque, which was very tasty and satisfying with some pretty large chunks of lobster in it.. just what I needed on a cold & rainy day (I was freezing my butt off in the 50 degree weather haha). At night, I attended my class reunion party at a bar, so just ended up eating dinner there. Best thing they had were these meatballs, and I probably ate one too many.. we'll just end the story-telling there to spare you some more gruesome details. :)

Saturday: Brunch at Mana Food Bar! What! A vegetarian restaurant? Yes, it is. It is also apparently the most reviewed Chicago restaurant on Who knew! Anyways, this is probably the best vegetarian meal I've had, with that year I did a vegetarian Thanksgiving following as second best. Mana is smart because they incorporate a lot of asian flavors in their food, and I really do think that Asians do vegetarian cuisine in the tastiest way. Props, Mana. Also this meal was surprisingly filling, considering I shared these 3 dishes with 1 other person. I wish I had more room to order more food, I'd love to try the tamales, okra, mushroom saute and ravioli. Also pretty sweet deal 4-6 pm every day they do 2 mana sliders + a beer for only $7.50. Darn it, I wish I lived in Chicago! :) Dinner was at another Alumni function over at the University, which was a little disappointing but at least the selection was wide enough that I was able to find yummy things like arugula salad, eggplant parmesan, a meat & cheese bar, tiramisu and cannolis!
This seasonal dish featured fiddlehead ferns! It seemed like they were quickly sauteed with some sugar snap peas + korean red pepper flakes, and mixed in some dried apricots, served over some brown rice. This really had a nice kick that went along with the crunchy veggies, nicely balanced with the sweetness from the apricots.
Mana Sliders. Yummy in my tummy. Brown rice + mushroom burger w/ spicy mayo and pickled cucumbers. I do feel like they could improve this by using better bread.
Potato pancake. This definitely did not taste the way I expected it to. It tasted waaaay better! So the super thin pancake is made with sweet & white potatoes, and it's topped with a pear + golden raisin chutney and scallions, served with a delicious crema.

 Finally, Sunday is here--the most epic food day. Brunch at the Publican, probably one of my favorite places in Chicago. [see first paragraph for rest of story]
my drink of choice--bloody mary, which came accompanied by a cute little beer: I chose the Zombie dust

Side of maple-glazed bacon.. this stuff is SO GOOD. I almost regretted ordering an entree because I wanted to order more of this awesome bacon.
My friend ordered the pork shoulder which came with a sunny side up egg, pickled asparagus over some grits.
Fulton Market quad. 2 types of sausage, headcheese, sunny side up eggs + whole grain mustard, rhubarb compote, pickled cauliflower & hot peppers. The headcheese was my favorite thing on the plate!
Some extra pickles hehe. These were in our bloody mary's.. they are some the best sweet pickles I've ever tasted so I asked for some more! mmm.... crunchy deliciousness..
Dinner #1 at Belly Shack. You probably remember me raving about the belly dog last year. We were so tired by this point of the day and almost didn't make it here but after a painful journey it was definitely worth it. This was still as delicious as I remembered. We were so hungry that we devoured the fries before even touching the dog. That dipping sauce is some kind of curry heaven in a little cup and the sauce on the dog itself was epic as well. I'm drooling just thinking about it!

Finally, second dinner @ Girl & The Goat! I was only able to get a reservation for 10:15 pm. Now, I am NOT used to eating that late at night, so I was really surprised that I was able to eat as much as I did. We started off with the goat liver mousse. They came with some piping hot crumpets and an array of pickled veggies & things, the most interesting was a pickled rhubarb. We ate so fast I wasn't able to get a photo of everything, but look how much liver was leftover. That stuff is RICH. It definitely set the tone for a pretty hefty meal.
After that goat liver mousse, we were excited to get our kohlrabi salad, which had blueberries and honeyed almonds in it. This was really refreshing and surprising in how well the sweet flavors worked out with the more savory ones.
Soft shell crab, served in some kind of crab broth & kimchi if I recall correctly? Very strong crab flavors in this one.
To take a break from all the goat, we ordered the pork ribs. Man these were fall-off-the-bone-good. They were served on top of a mushroom slaw, which was very tasty as well. You know I love me some mushrooms.
My favorite dish we had: Pig Face. This is how it is presented. Basically its a patty that they make with all the delectable parts of a pig's face and put a sunny side up egg on it. The server told us to break the yolk and mix up all that goodness; his words, "the messier the better."
Mixed up Pig Face.
Goat belly, served with lobster and crab! How much more indulgent can you get. Since goat is not as fatty as pig, this is less fatty than pork belly. But it is still pretty heavy of a dish. I was pretty full at this point, trying to make a concerted effort to save some room for dessert.
Goat cheesecake (tasted like Thanksgiving!) and Rhubarb parfait that had meringues in it and a sorbet on the bottom (this was a non conventional dessert espeically in its uses of rhubarb, but I enjoyed the mixture of textures it presented).

 Monday.. grabbed work-break lunch at Weber Grill (which never disappoints!) with my sister (cheeseburger for me and pulled pork+meatloaf combo for my sis), then headed over to Millennium Park for the free concert with some sushi, edamame, pad thai & Thai iced teas. It is awesome to lay in the grass over there in the amphitheater. Later, I got my first banh mi sandwich ever from Ba Le bakery over in Argyle. I got the "Special," which I assume contained roast pork & pate along with the typical pickled daikon, cilantro, basil, mint & jalapeno. It definitely had a nice kick and the bread was awesome.

 Tuesday=last day :( I met up with some girlfriends for afternoon high tea at the Drake. Food coma ensued. Note to self: just because food comes in smaller & cuter forms, when you eat a lot of it, you still get really uncomfortably full. My favorite were the roast beef sandwiches and the clotted cream to put on the scones. I chose the Palm Court tea since it was described as the most popular or original tea, something like that. Proper etiquette is to eat in this order: sandwiches, scones, cakes. We followed this without even knowing, haha. I really enjoyed our attempts to be "proper" and it was a great time to showcase our English accents! It was also pretty hilarious when the server came to ask us if we would like more of any of the food, most of us were so full we couldn't imagine eating any more, but 2 girls decided to each get another egg salad sandwich. So, we ordered 2 egg salad sandwiches. It was taking quite a while for them to bring us these 2 measly sandwiches, but little did we know the waiter thought we meant 2 sandwiches each and brought us 8 more! I don't think I ever laughed so hard in my delirious tea-intoxicated state. Later for dinner, I had just enough time before getting to my gate at MDW to grab a Wreck sandwich & chocolate oatmeal cookie at Potbelly's. So sad they don't have them in FL. Their hot peppers are so good, and I die for their cookies.

Afternoon tea @ the Drake. My scone + clotted cream, lemon curd, strawberry jam. Palm Court tea. I don't usually put milk & sugar in my tea, but since we were at high tea, might as well drink it the proper way. Plus, it was so fun to say "Darling, would you please pass the sugar cubes?"
Now that I'm back, my stomach is suffering from withdrawal from all the wonderful things I was able to eat in Chicago. Good food is just not as accessible here in SoFla. I miss Chicago a lot, as always.. and this time was particularly sad because my closest friends in Chicago are moving elsewhere soon, so future trips to the city will probably not ever be the same. I need to start running on a regular basis again, to work off all the indulgences I let myself have!

P.S. Currently, I am wearing Zoya Giselle on my toes (love it! great light peachy color, had to put 3 coats) and Elodie on my fingers (lovely jelly watermelon-y coral color, perfect for summer). Sorry for the lack of photo but I am lacking a functional camera right now! :(