Tuesday, June 28, 2011


This post is about 6 months in the making!! I'm happy to finally finish it. We're talking about longer, fuller and darker eyelashes here! I've been using Latisse since mid-December. Now I have to say that I haven't been diligent in using it at all. The directions say to use it every night and in as early as 4 weeks your lashes should show a marked growth, with full growth in 16 weeks. I probably started off using it maybe every other night. Then I forgot about it for a little while so I'd go back applying it nightly. Mostly when I would remember to. Probably not the best way to tell you about the product but I just wanted to share some of my experiences since using it for an extended period of time.
  • Side effects: I did experience some itchy eye & eye redness. My eyes usually get red because of my contacts but I have been noticing people commenting about the redness of my eyes since using Latisse. I also experienced having drier eyes, which probably added on to contacts irritation and redness. No eyelid skin darkening, and since I already have brown eyes can't tell if those got darker.
  • Does it really work!! YES! I have a sequence of photos that I took that you can see my lashes clearly got longer and fuller. I do have a tiny gap in my lashes right now after some of them fell out, I guess they were crucial ones that clearly make a visible difference since it is right in the middle. I'm really happy with the results and have even put some in sparse areas on my eyebrows to speed up growth. (you're not supposed to do this really...)
  • They recommend using 1 drop on each eyelid but I found that to be way too much. So I would place a drop on the applicator brush and use it for both eyelids. I know you're not supposed to in order to prevent possible contamination/infections, but I think as along as you make sure your face is clean and you don't have contacts in, it's ok.. It is just such an expensive serum that I don't want to waste a single drop! Plus I probably have way smaller surface area on my eyelids than the average person. :P Shh.. don't tell..

The tiny bottle (looks tiny but lasts soooo long) with the serum and the sterile brushes that come with it.

3/5 - you will probably be able to tell that I became a lot more diligent in using Latisse from this point on...
5/6 - stupid gap
Apparently if you stop applying it your lashes will eventually go back to the way they were before using the product, within the course of weeks to months. We shall see! I haven't run out of product yet and I have a new bottle waiting for me, so that will probably be a while until I stop using Latisse.

Currently wearing For Audrey by China Glaze. It really is the true Tiffany Blue!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Being healthy this summer!!!

What am I making with the above ingredients you might ask?? It's summertime and really really hot in Florida.. so I to be healthy -- got a popsicle mold to make my own popsicles instead of going out and buying those artificial flavored ones. I am very eager to make some with watermelon and curious to see if I can incorporate alcohol in these (obviously can't put too much or they won't freeze!).

Here are the fruits washed & chopped up: berries were on sale at the store this week as well as peaches & nectarines (I prefer nectarines)
Basically, what I did was puree a handful of frozen mixed berries with a splash of orange juice and roughly stir it into greek yogurt. I wanted them to have a swirl in them, not completely mixed. And then I put the fruit into the popsicle molds and poured the yogurt mixture in. Be sure to tap it so air bubbles can escape.

The finished product!!!! even prettier than I imagined them to turn out!!!

Adding to the healthy diet for summertime, I decided to venture into meatless burgers and I made black bean burgers. These contain a lot of fiber! Now, I've never even tried these before so I have no idea if they taste the way they "should" taste. But I am really happy with how they turned out and how they look.
Into these burgers, I put: one 15 oz. can of black beans mashed with a fork, 1/2 cup day old short grain brown rice, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes + their oils, 1 ear of corn (kernels cut off the cob), 2 cloves of garlic minced, 1/2 vidalia onion diced, 1 jalapeno diced, zest of 1 lime with seasonings of chile powder, cumin, dried oregano, salt & pepper to taste. Everything but the cilantro & beans were sauteed with the spices in a tiny bit of olive oil before adding all the ingredients together. mixing was the fun part, I guess. Make sure the mixture isn't too wet or else they will not be easy to form into patties. It is a good idea to oil you hands before handling the sticky mixture. I made my patties on the smaller side, so I ended up eating 2 of these sandwiches.. next time I will just make larger patties. I tried to make these really spicy but the beans seemed to cancel that out so I added some chipotle Tabasco onto it when I ate it.
The bread is those 100 calorie "Deli Flats" by Pepperidge Farm in Honey Whole Wheat. I added a small amount of mayonaisse and a handful of spring greens - voila! Black bean burger done. I am really impressed with the taste of these, obviously nothing can replace a hamburger. If I ever became a vegetarian, I'd probably consume a lot of these.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chicago Trip

So, I recently made a trip to Chicago and ate very well there. Above we have some mini cupcakes from Sugar Bliss - red velvet, carrot cake (my personal favorite), and their seasonal strawberry lemonade. Obviously I need to share all that goodness with you guys. Here is me trying to condense it into what will probably turn out to be a pretty long post. I was there for 10 days and made a restaurant list before I went. I basically was able to hit up all the places I wanted -- mostly places that I have never been to before this trip. I learned that if you see a slow roasted pork shoulder on the menu, you have to get it -- it WILL be delicious. Enjoy!

First off, I stopped by Ulta because the one in South Florida that I know of is just way too far for me to go to. I bought 2 things there: Fancy Fuschia (yes, I know.. ANOTHER nail polish) by Orly, which I am wearing at the moment, and the dual fiber stippling brush by Real Techniques which was created by Samantha Chapman (one of the YouTube Pixiwoo sisters)--these super soft taklon bristles are supposed to be awesome for applying liquid foundation and also help it last longer on the skin. Also stopped by the beauty store in Chinatown and picked up a pack of these hair velcro things that are awesome for keeping your hair out of your face while putting makeup on and a pack of facemasks by MyBeauty Diary (haven't used them yet).
I also went to Urban Outfitters and got this dress (red & black print, I think the apples are so cute!) and wallet in the coral color (so cute and very soft). Just need to make a note to myself: shopping alone is dangerous.. especially in Chicago.

Now, onto the food!!!

Chinatown - there is a restaurant (forgot the name, it's right across from Joy Yee's in the new section of Chinatown) now that features a chef who makes these hand pulled noodles, always drawing a crowd outside the restaurant watching him do his thing. I came here for a quick lunch and decided on the spicy braised beef noodle soup. It was definitely spicy and the noodles were pretty good!

Mia Francesca - Time to experience some italian food in Chicago! I ordered with a friend the Tri Colore sirloin carpaccio (SO GOOD) and the quattro stagioni pizza that featured the waiter mixed up the egg yolk on top when served at the table. I expected the crust to be thinner, so it was quite heavy and we could not eat it all!

Quartino - I forgot to take photos of the other food we got here but we mainly came for the duck prosciutto (2 servings of it in this photo, one with candied fruit preserves and the other with pickled vegetables). IT WAS MELT IN YOUR MOUTH DELICIOUS. At this family style italian eatery, we also got broccoli rabe, pizza margherita, paparadelle al sugo di manzo (homemade tuscan pasta ribbons in braised beef tomato sauce), and the tuscan sausage risotto.

The Purple Pig - "Cheese, Swine and Wine" is the motto here, and we definitely ate our fair share of pig during our lunch here. Here we have from left to right, top to bottom: Fried olives stuffed with chorizo, lardo crostini, charred cauliflower that had these delicious tangy pickles, morcilla (a.k.a. blood sausage) with fava beans, roasted bone marrow with herbs, and milk braised pork shoulder (this was the favorite).

Green City Farmers Market! I miss this place so much. There is so much awesome fresh local produce and always a ton of delicious foods to sample while you check out the spread. We actually spotted Rick Bayless here! How cool is that! We started out with a freshly baked croissant and then were inspired by a cooking demonstration by the exec chef from the Signature Room to make a summer salad with purple asparagus & radishes for lunch, along with bruschetta with beautiful heirloom tomatoes and toasted ciabatta bread sprinkled with thyme & olive oil.
Best lunch ever! It felt good to get in the kitchen to make this stuff, although it was 90+ degrees that day we basically didn't want to do much cooking (hence the store-bought rotisserie chicken).

Bongo Room - I miss this place! Brunch here was always delicious, but we made it for lunch on one of the weekdays. I have to say that if you go here, definitely go for a sweet item because they do those so well, and their savory items are just "eh." Here we have a beef tenderloin nicoise salad, pork loin sandwich with jicama slaw and chorizo omelette (the potatoes are really yummy).

Avec - this was the restaurant that I was looking forward to eating at the most. It usually has a pretty long wait time since they don't take reservations and seating is limited, so we went on a Tuesday night around 6:30 pm and got seated right away! The top 2 dishes were my favorite -- the famous chorizo stuffed medjool dates and the roasted pork shoulder with tiny rock shrimp, harissa, peanuts and hominy. We also got hanger steak, shaved brussel sprouts salad and bucatini with pork meatballs in spicy marinara. Everything was SO good. This is definitely a must-go-to restaurant if you ever visit Chicago. The only sad thing is that we did not have enough room for dessert.

Frontera Grill - Now, anyone who knows me will know that I am a huge fan of Rick Bayless. So it may come as a surprise that I've never had the pleasure of dining at Frontera, but now I can happily say that I have. I took photos of everyone's food, but I ended up ordering 2 appetizers instead of 1 entree. Well, I also had to get the Frontera margarita (it was pretty strong and very delicious). I ordered the trio of ceviches (which included: tuna with mango & guacamole, steamed calamari & shrimp with lime habanero jicama and cilantro, albacore with tomato olives and green chile) and the sopes rancheros (Crispy corn masa boats, savory shredded beef, roasted tomato, avocado, homemade fresh cheese). This was definitely the most expensive meal I had in Chicago but it was well worth it!
The next day we continued on our Rick Bayless eats to have a late lunch at Xoco (left), one of my favorite places to eat in Chicago. I love the soups there and it was very appropriate for this day, as it rained the night before and the temperatures dropped from 90+ degrees to 50 degrees (what the hell, Chicago!?) We got the Chicken Pozole and the Torta of the day which was a Mole Poblano braised pork (the sauce definitely made this sandwich). About 3 hours later, we headed to Belly Shack (right) for dinner. Here I ordered the Belly Dog which features pickled green papaya salad and fried egg noodles - sounds weird but it was AMAZING!! I only wish I was hungrier because I was only able to eat half of this ginormous hot dog. Friends also ordered the tostones which was excellent and came with a garlicky chimichurri , and for dessert soft serve with strawberry sauce, lemon zest & tapioca. Very interesting asian influences that worked really well together with these typical american eats.
Heat - Later that night, we had more hot dogs haha. This new place just opened up in Wicker Park, conveniently located very close to my friends' apartment where I was staying. This late-night gourmet hot dog joint was opened by an ex-head chef of P Diddy's. We ordered the Duck & Orange dog (so good), Char dog, and the Pheasant & Cognac dog. Since it just opened, everything came with an order of truffle fries and free soft drinks. The duck was definitely most savory out of the 3.

Bistro Zinc - we decided on french for my sister's graduation dinner, a bit indulgent and very delicious! I got the Vol-au-vent (stew du jour) with mashed potatoes & puff pastry. Friends got the Truite Sautee (trout pan fried on a bed of spinach in a tomato-caper vinaigrette), Salmon with this awesome charred onion vinaigrette and mushrooms & asparagus, and the quiche du jour that tasted like it had some goat cheese in it.
Feast - my favorite meal ever is brunch. I walked by this place while doing some shopping in Wicker Park and I knew I wanted to eat here. This ended up being my last meal in Chicago. I got the Steak Benedict and my friends ordered Chilequiles and the Garbage Omelette. Their mimosa is made with freshly squeezed orange juice & prosecco. Their potatoes were excellent and definitely filled me up really quickly. Afterwards we stopped by iCream, which is this place that you can create your own ice cream and they make it right in front of you in cuisinart mixers with liquid nitrogen! This process creates such a creamy ice cream, it was really delicious. We decided not to be so bold as to make our own mixes so we went with some that are already made: Mom's favorite (chocolate with nutella and raspberry mix-ins) and Pomegranate Tea (pomegranate green tea with blueberry mix in).
I hope you will get to experience all of this deliciousness in Chicago at one point in your life, but you should go soon before it all changes!