Thursday, October 28, 2010

October Favorites!

Here are a few of my favorites for the month of October. Wow, it totally just flew by, which I'm kind of glad in a way. I'm actually excited this Holiday season and can't wait for it to get here sooner!

1) Songs: Check it Out by Nicki Minaj & Will I AM; Mike Posner!; Back to December by Taylor Swift (her new album is not that great)

2 ) I love the fact that Panera finally got a "rewards" card, God knows I'm there enough to enjoy some freebies. I was immediately rewarded with a free pastry. I will go there tomorrow to study and partake in refills of their iced green tea. Delicious!

3) I have recently became a "candle burner". I was never into this stuff. For some reason, maybe because it's finally feeling like fall where I live, I really just love having a candle burning when I am in my room. Currently addicted to "Autumn" from B&BW. I need a back-up soon.

4) Favorite beauty products this month: Dark Kiss Body Lotion from B&BW: I was totally over B&BW stuff for a while. I mostly buy their hand soaps. Since I had a coupon where I can get a Signature Body item for free I picked this up. I can't stop lathering myself with this stuff right after I get out of the shower! To me it smells like raspberry & dark chocolate, perfect right before bed snack without the calories.
I also picked up this Soap&Glory "Mist You Madly" on one of my Target trips. You know how you always end up getting a lot more stuff than you planned when you go to Target? Well this was one of those because it was on Clearance. Soap&Glory is an UK brand of bath & body products that I've only heard of through youtube. After some "googling" I found out that it was started by a former CEO of Bliss, so must be good. This body spray isn't the typical scent that I go for, it's woodsy & patchouli, seriously just cedar on the first spritz. But somehow it manages to meld into my skin at the end of the day and is just lovely.
I just painted my nails again with this Sephora by OPI nail polish in "Meet For Drinks". I thought it was vampy for Halloween, even though I wear this all the time. It's the only nail polish that I have where you can actually see the amount of polish in the bottle, I'm a third done! Incredible, since I have a nice stash of nail polishes.

5) Other favorites that are not pictured: Tresemme shampoo & conditioner makes my dried out hair so soft and silky. Lush Brazen Honey Mask: I am just starting to get into Lush products and this mask is definitely worth the $6 and 3 weeks expiration date. It smells of honey & herbs and gets rid of my blackheads. It is meant to detox your skin after you're been bad to it. Forever21: I don't know what I'd do with my weekends if I didn't live near a Forever21. This store seriously gets so much of my money. It helps that it's cheap & that they tilt the mirrors in the dressing room so you think you look better than you do in reality.

I also made 2 purchases from the MAC A Tartan Tale collection:
Her Blooming Cheek Blush & The Faerie Glen lipstick (lustre)
Umm...isn't the swatch of this blush gorgeous? I can't stop starring at it. The only bad thing is that I think it looks better swatched than on my face. But it's still lovely, gives me that "just pinched" look. I'm a little iffy about The Faerie Glen lipstick, it turns a little grey on my lipsticks but I will try to play with it some more. Those two were the only things that appealed to me out of 100 products, which I guess would make the collection in general underwhelming.

Lastly: I love driving home when the sun is setting. Pretty. Too bad I have bad astigmatism and have trouble driving at night when everyone has their lights on...this picture is an accurate representation of how it looks to me at night.
~ A

Halloween nails & new makeup!

Trick or treat?

Last night, I painted my nails to get in the spirit of Halloween.. I did a spider web design on my thumbs and a jack-o-lantern face on my big toes. The faces took the longest to do (and you can tell which one I did first.. haha), but I am satisfied with the results. It looks better from farther away than it does really up close.

Now, onto the haul..

The new A Tartan Tale holiday Mac collection just came out today. I got a couple of things from it.. the majority of which are their Viva Glam products, of which 100% of the proceeds go to the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund. It's good to give back! :)

I got the 'Tis Noble to Give Viva Glam Bag, which included the Viva Glam V lipstick with accompanying lipgloss and one of their tartan themed bags. I also got the Pearlglide Intense Eyeliner in Undercurrent, a nice sparkly teal. These eyeliners dry quickly and do not budge!

This is the bag that came in the Viva Glam Set.

These are the M∙A∙C Kids Helping Kids cards, which are illustrated by children for children affected by HIV/AIDS. They are completely blank inside, so they can be used for any purpose, not just for the winter holidays. The interesting thing about them is that Mac sent these kids their makeup, and that is what they used as medium for their illustrations.

Here are swatches: (top) Undercurrent eyeliner, (middle) Viva Glam V lipstick, (left) Viva Glam V lipglass. The bottom is a comparison to L'Oreal Colour Riche Fairest Nude lipstick, dupe anyone? (the L'Oreal is a bit more brown and not shimmery)

Sephora had their friends and family sale this week...

I took the opportunity to stock up on my face wash, and now I probably will have enough to last me at least 4 more years. Haha, yes, I got the 32 oz. Philosophy Purity Made Simple one-step facial cleanser. I really love this stuff, it takes off all makeup, so I don't even need to use makeup remover. You only use a very small amount each time, which is why this bottle will probably last me forever! I also go their Supernatural mascara. It doesn't smudge at all, and is very light and natural looking - I like it so far!

This is the smallest mascara wand I have ever seen. I like it because I have small eyelashes so this is easier to use for me.

On the box, it says to "remove by massaging a little purity made simple and water onto lashes" and "small 'shells' of mascara will release from your lashes." This is what I found when I took the mascara off.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More butternut squash!

I've been itching to make this soup for the longest time, so I'm so glad that I finally was able to make it. We made a roast chicken the other night so I used the left over scraps and bones to make a chicken stock (basically just simmered it for a while with garlic and ginger), and I used it to make butternut squash soup! I had about 5 cups of stock and a 3 lb butternut squash. First, I cut the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes and roasted it in a 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until they were soft. It's not really necessary to roast them first, you could alternatively just plop the butternut squash cubes straight into the stock and cook them that way. I just really enjoy the flavor of a roasted butternut squash and I LOVE the smell that comes out of the oven while roasting, perfuming my whole kitchen! So, while it's roasting, chop up a medium onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Saute in a bit of butter and olive oil, (if you wanted to add other flavors in, this is when you add additional veggies, such as carrots, celery, apples, parsnips..) and then add your roasted butternut squash. stir this for 30 seconds and add the stock. Once everything reaches the same temperature, the soup is pretty much done. Now all you need to do is blend it up, either in batches in your blender or with a hand immersion blender (if you are lucky enough to own one! and I'm jealous if you do). I also didn't blend all of the squash, I left some pieces in there whole, just to have some different textures. Obviously you can change this to whatever your preference is. After this, just add the puree back into your soup pot and if its a bit watery, you can just simmer it for a bit until you reach the consistency that you want. Here, you can also add some cream if you'd like. I didn't because the squash itself has an inherent creamy quality to it and that's enough for me! I truly love the simplicity of this soup and the pure butternut squash flavor that you get from it. This is definitely for the butternut squash lovers out there. Especially with winter coming up, this is perfect! I wish I lived in a cooler place to justify making this more often :)

I served the soup with some grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and with a piece of baguette on the side for dunking. DELICIOUS! I drank about 3 bowls of this after I made it. I still have a lot leftover so I've been heating it up in the mornings, putting it in a cup and drinking it in my drive to school. Strange breakfast, yes, but it works for me and good alternative to coffee, haha.

This was a lunch that I made for myself this week.. basically just took what was available in the fridge to make this. Made a simple sauce with half a large tomato, garlic, corn and some garlic tops that my mom grows (like a green onion but more garlicky). Then, I sauteed this with al dente cooked pasta and finished with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Simple & fast.

This is the nail polish I am wearing now! There's nothing like a bright nail color to brighten your mood. This is Whitney from Zoya. LOVE IT. It's been on my nails for almost a week now, and it's barely chipped.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

I love pumpkin everything

Baking does wonders to relieve stress.. especially if you can watch people eat the product and they really enjoy it. This time.. I made pumpkin muffins. Baking with pumpkin is the best, because it is really moist and whatever you make will be moist as well. This was a recipe for 24 muffins but I just put double the amount of batter in each well so these muffins are HUGE.

gotta make sure to butter the top of the pan as well, so when the muffins rise they don't stick to the outside. learned that tip from Ina Garten.
I also only put the chocolate chunks in the centers of the muffin.

pretty, huh?


2 cups pumpkin puree (1 15 oz can)
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger spices
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
chocolate chips, cranberries, walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix pumpkin, eggs, oil, spices, sugar (2 cups), vanilla & salt in a very large mixing bowl.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda into the pumpkin mixture.
4. Whisk gently until just combined & it has a smooth texture.
5. Add chocolate chips (or whatever you want).
6. Divide batter into a 12-muffin pan. It will be very full. If you want smaller muffins, you need 2 pans to make 24 muffins.
7. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp sugar on the tops of the muffins.
8. Bake 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
9. Cool and enjoy!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

hell week(s) is finally over..

Here are some things I've been up to lately!

It's autumn, and I've been craving for some butternut squash risotto, so here it is! I used Ina Garten's recipe (I really love the saffron flavor in this) but cut the butternut squash a little smaller so it would take less time to roast (it took about 20 minutes), and I used less butter (replaced with olive oil). I ate 2 bowls of this when I finished and packed the rest for lunches to bring for the rest of the week to school. It'll be hard to wait until lunch time until I eat it.. I have a tendency to just eat my lunch when I get to school at 9:30 am.. and then have nothing for lunch.

Another thing I tried was making egg salad with soft mashed up avocado instead of mayonnaise. I guess you could say this is the healthier option, but I really think it is much more flavorful. I love avocados, and when they are really getting too soft to use for other purposes, this is great. I just added dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and served it on some italian sandwich bread. Delicious!

Made another video of the steps for making the risotto and egg salad, enjoy:

I got a new nail polish! I've been looking for a mauve/gray shade and stumbled across this one at Target. It was only $4.99 and I love it :) I applied it without any base or top coat because I was lazy today...

I lost old Nalgene bottle because I left it in one of my classrooms and by the time I realized it, someone had either taken it or thrown it away. So, it was a nice excuse to get this one! I had just gotten word of this new On the Fly bottle that Nalgene had made and was intrigued so I had to get it. Especially because it came in this pretty lime green color. So far, I am loving using this. It has an easy to drink from spout and is slim enough to fit in my car cup holder slot, not that it really needs to go in there, since this bottle doesn't leak at all. It has this button that you press to open it and there is also a metal latch for extra security if you need it. Also it really makes me want to drink more water when I'm drinking it out of this!

see that ball up in the top? It's made from some special spongy material that creates the leak-proof barrier when you close the lid. pretty cool, huh?

The button is so cute!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

BigTex and A World Famous Corn Dog

That's right everyone, I braved the crowds tonight to go to the state fair and experience Fletcher's Corny Dogs, who claims that they were one of the first who invented the corn dog, selling it at the Texas State Fair of 1942.

I am all about tradition, especially when it comes to fried items...

Here's BigTex giving everyone a warm welcome wearing this Dickies outfit.
Sorry about the bad pics, it was at night and I only carried my phone.
Here it is! So much deliciousness! The cornmeal batter is very sweet and cornbread like. It was by far the best corn dog I've had in my entire life. The dog itself wasn't anything special, it was all about the batter.

Then of course, in fair tradition, I had to get a funnel cake. Powdered sugar everywhere!
I capped the night off with some late-night froyo and now I need to hit the gym!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Easiest Potato Leek Soup Recipe and My Lipstick Army

First of all: I finally cooked the other day, surprise surprise!
I made a French classic,
This recipe was simple:
1) Chop potatoes into small pieces
2) Double wash Leeks, make sure you get all the mud off!
3) I sautéed my potato and leeks in olive oil and butter before putting in water to cover
4) Add salt and pepper to taste
5) Optional: mash up the potatoes for a creamier texture

No need for chicken stock or cream, just delicious on its own.

Secondly: I've been really into lipsticks, part of the process of growing up.
Here's a picture of my small(ish) army:

(L to R): Revlon Soft Nude, MAC Nude Rose, MAC Dressmaker^2, MAC Jazzed, MAC Vivaglam GAGA, MAC Victorian, MAC Utterly Frivolous, Revlon Strawberry Suede
(L to R): MAC Vivaglam GAGA, MAC Victorian, MAC Utterly Frivolous, Revlon Strawberry Suede, MAC Heartless (as previously featured), MAC Petals & Peacocks, and MAC Blooming Lovely

SO many MAC lipsticks as you can see, I'm hoping to broaden my brands but it's just so easy to buy a MAC lipstick and say, if I use up 6 MAC products I can get one back for free! Also, the names are pretty cool and I buy products just for the names and packaging.

Here are my top 5:
These are the ones I'd save if my apartment was on fire, along with my Urban Decay Naked Palette. If you have these 5, you don't need anything else in the whole wide world...
(this is so not true)

(L to R): Nude Rose, Utterly Frivolous, Strawberry Suede, Heartless, Petals & Peacocks
(T to B): MAC Utterly Frivolous, MAC Nude Rose, MAC Heartless, Revlon Strawberry Suede, & MAC Petals & Peacocks

5. Petals & Peacocks: very pretty cool-toned fuchsia color, I actually love wearing this blotted down and sort of like a stain on my lips. I bought this lipstick off of ebay way after the limited edition collection was over. I obsessed over this lipstick for 2 months straight and felt like a lucky duck when I finally bought it.

4. Strawberry Suede: the exact color of strawberries, it's a corally red, but more coral than red. I wore this a lot in the summer and will continue to do so in the fall. If I want a bright lipstick, I pull this one out, it makes me look tanned and healthy.

3. Heartless: my newest obsession. It's a classic red that makes me feel confident and self-conscious at the same time...but mostly confident. I like wearing this when I have an exam.

2. Nude Rose: this lipstick doesn't get much wear because I'm deathly afraid of breaking it even more. Since it is discontinued, I probably won't use it until I can get my hands on another one. It is my nude of choice and looks quite natural. I think this one has a cult following, so MAC you better repromote this.

1. Utterly Frivolous: Surprising that my top 2 lipsticks are discontinued and I found them for $10 at the CCO. This is such a wearable pinky coral. It's not quite bold and just adds that touch of color to your lips that makes them look utterly delectable!

Have a great weekend! I'll be back with more food!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blueberry muffins!

I think I have found a good blueberry muffin recipe! Finally! This muffin has a crunchy exterior and is soft on the inside. It's moist, not too dense and the tang of the blueberry is perfect in combination of the sweetness that is in the rest of the muffin. It was a stressful last couple of days, so baking always helps to relieve that - with the added bonus of being able to bring goodies for your friends. I find such joy in watching other people eat and enjoy my food.

hehe, some of the blueberries exploded - but they didn't bleed into the rest of the batter. I think it's really pretty :)

I have turbinado sugar right now as opposed to the regular granulated white stuff. So of course I had to take advantage of that and sprinkled a good amount on the tops of each muffin.
:) probably the most perfect looking muffin I've ever made. I over-filled the muffin liners so that they would have a large muffin top (best part of a muffin for sure!).

Here's the amazingly simple recipe!

2 cups blueberries (fresh preferred, but can use frozen-do not thaw)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. prepare muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, salt.
  3. Beat butter and sugar in another bowl until light & fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time to the creamed butter & sugar. Add milk & vanilla extract.
  5. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until incorporated. DO NOT OVERMIX BATTER.
  6. Fold in blueberries, being careful not to squish any!
  7. Pour into cupcake liners filling them right to the top. This batter is pretty thick so dont worry about it if there are spaces around inside the liner - the batter will rise and expand during the baking process.
  8. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar (don't be shy with this!). Bake for 25-30 minutes.

These only lasted about 2 days.. they are really THAT good.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

painting nails is the best procrastination tactic..

New nail polish makes me very happy. I was lucky enough to pick up this one from the Mac Store today -- it was the last one they had! Haha.. you don't know how happy that made me. Anyways, this is Bad Fairy from the Maleficent section of the new Venomous Villians Collection that came out on Thursday. They had 2 other ones as well: Formidable! (reddish violet with blue shimmers) and Mean & Green (green-purple-brownish.. many diff colors in this one). I was so tempted to get all 3 of these polishes, but Bad Fairy was definitely the prettiest on me. I usually don't even like glitter nail polish but this one is so pretty -- it changes color from orange to fuschia, depending on how the light hits your nail!! How cool is that! Also, it has a smooth feeling on your nail after it dries, no rough chunky feeling like some other glitter nail polishes are like. I LOVE IT.

I haven't had sushi or any type of japanese food in quite a while, so I took the opportunity to go to Yokohama Sushi with one of my oldest friends who was back home this week. We used to go there a lot because we know the family that owns it, and just haven't been able to go back there together for a long time. I can't even remember the last time we went. Anyways, I am so glad we went -- we had an amazing meal and one of the sushi chefs was super cute! ;)

Beef Tataki.
We always have to get this when we go.. it is too delicious to pass up

Spider Roll, Volcano Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll.
These were off their half-price menu.

Grilled Hamachi Kama. (collarbone of yellowtail)
*drool* Apparently, Yellowtail is in season right now so this was one of their specials! SO GOOD.

And, lastly, this was a cool photo I snapped the other day outside on the porch of my friend's condo building. You could literally see the rain slowly making its way towards us. Can't wait for hurricane season to be over...