Saturday, April 30, 2011

100+ Followers Giveaways!

Christine from Starry Eyed Beauty is having a giveaway HERE.
Please check out her blog because it's one of the more recent ones I've found and really enjoy :)

Vida from Vibeauty is having a giveaway HERE.
She has amazing pictures on her blog!

First Depotting Experience!

Many makeup addicts turn to depotting to streamline their collections and organize better. After seeing so many people depot their products, I was curious to try this activity out for myself. The following post is by no means a tutorial, rather I'd like to think of it as a walk-through of my experience.

This was the mess I made while I was attempting to take apart a Lancome GWP quad and two eyeshadows from my E.L.F Butternut quad. I wasn't depotting much so I only used a few toothpicks as my tools and my freebie candle from Bath and Body Works to do the melting.

Firstly, I used my fingers to pry out the plastic insert of the Lancome palette so I could put it over the flame. These shadows came out very easily because the insert was so thin. So far, so good....

I was getting very tired of seeing my Butternut quad lying around with two shades I liked a lot and two which I did not care for at all. I depotted the darker shades which I use very often and left the lighter, useless shades in the palette destined for the dumpster. It took a bit of time for the flame to melt the plastic on the E.L.F quad but it was relatively easy. It is much easier to depot something with a lid because you won't feel the heat.

I put all my newly depotted shadows back into the small Lancome compact so I now have a nice set of neutral shades together in one place. The Lancome shadows had some tacky glue on them which allowed them to stick onto the compact and I glued down the E.L.F shades using nail polish. Nail polish is pretty much my make-shift super glue whenever I need it.

I would say my first depotting attempt was a success and I'll be sure to do it again soon :D I also went through my eyeshadows and weeded out some that I absolutely had no use for. I rarely throw out makeup (that is not expired) but I have some completely horrid products that only take up room in my collection. It also upsets me when I have products that I despise because I know I wasted money on the product. Luckily, I usually like what I purchase.

I decided to toss a The Face Shop single in a light blue shade. This and another The Face Shop single were my first eyeshadows ever. Unfortunately, there is barely any pigment and the shadows appear chalky on the skin. I'm debating over whether I should toss the other shade too, a pale baby pink, since I never reach for it.... I also threw out E.L.F's quad in Nouveau Neutrals which I reviewed HERE. I dislike all of the colors in the palette and the pigmentation and texture is sub-par on every shadow. I had no use for it in my collection so into the trash it went.

Do you depot your makeup? Are you a makeup hoarder or can you let go of some of your unused, untouched products? :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

First Impressions: OXY Clinical Face Wash

I recently received a sample of OXY Clinical's Advanced Face Wash from Walmart (anybody can sign up for these samples) and I used it to soothe the somewhat major breakout that Lush's Cupcake mask left me with. I thought I would do a quick review in case any of you have been looking for an inexpensive anti-acne face wash. The sample package I received also contained the OXY Clinical Clearing Treatment but the sample was already expired! So, unfortunately, I cannot review that product along with this one.

First of all, I was surprised at the generous size of the sample which I transferred into an empty sample container for easier storage. The full size is housed in a pump container and contains 150 ml, retailing for around $8 at Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Ulta. The cleanser is a milky white color and the scent is really nice. I was expecting a strong medicated scent since the marketing seems to be suggesting a "clinical" approach. But the scent reminds me of fruit in a good way. The formula is not thick and rather runny which I like because I can spread it around my face easily.

I normally use cleanser once a day when I shower but when I tried this out, I was desperate to get rid of some spots so I used this once in the morning and once in the evening. I used about a quarter size of product each time I cleansed and although it didn't foam up much (there is no sodium laureth sulphate in this product!), my face felt clean and refreshed after using it. The cleanser contains 2% salicylic acid which is common to a lot of acne treatment face washes. This product claims that the salicylic acid remains on the skin which I don't really understand at all. After washing my face, I experienced a bit of dryness but nothing irritating. There was no residue from the cleanser either so I cannot attest to the claim of having more medication remaining on the skin. After about three days of using this cleanser, my skin seemed to heal a bit faster than usual and I had no negative side effects.

I have since stopped using this cleanser and switched back to my normal routine but I have more than half the jar still left. I will use this cleanser whenever I have a breakout I want to calm because it has the salicylic acid and it is quite gentle. I have oily, acne prone skin but I try to avoid using salicylic acid and other acne medications on my entire face everyday because I don't want to become immune to the effects.

Have you tried out OXY Clinical skin care before? Do you use anti-acne medicated facial cleansers?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Coral Pink Blush: Milani's Luminous

If you look through my blush collection, you will see that about half of the colors look almost identical. I have a weakness for coral pink blushes with subtle shimmer and therefore it is no surprise that I had to have Milani's Mineral Blush in Luminous. This blush has been toted to be a dupe for Nar's infamous Orgasm blush.

Milani blushes are packaged like many of Physician's Formula face products with the snap opening and flip up packaging which reveals a mirror and useless brush. I tossed the brush that came with this blush because it is absolutely useless. I would much rather the blush come without the flip top so the packaging could be slimmer or they can include more product instead of spending the money on a useless brush. But for about $6-7 you can't complain too much and most drugstore products go on sale regularly.

At first swatch, I could definitely see why Luminous has such positive reviews. The powder is finely milled and smooth to the touch. The pigmentation is very good and the sheen of the blush is gorgeous. When swatched on the back of my hand, the pigmentation is lighter but still noticeable. On my cheeks, the blush adds a subtle warmth that can be built up. I really like this blush for everything aside from the packaging which I can deal with. I highly recommend this blush to everyone! I'm excited to wear this in the summer when I have a tan so I can achieve a bronze, healthy glow. :)

Spring Break Eats~

During a normal school week I tend to eat simply (and frugally) mostly due to lack of time and energy to find a decent place to eat. So when I'm on a break I like to try out new places around town that I've heard of through bloggers, The Food Network, and the like. The past week I went to a few interesting eateries with my boyfriend so if you're ever in the area, you can try them out for yourself!

After reading the beautiful Winnie's blog post on Ippudo's amazing ramen I had to try it for myself. Apparently it is quite a popular place as we had to wait for about fifteen minutes for a seat during lunch time. The staff were very friendly and energetic; every time a customer walked into the dining area to be seated, all the waiters and chefs would yell "welcome!" in Japanese.

I ordered the Miso ramen which the menu describes as "Soy bean paste flavored noodle in the original "Tonkotsu" based soup with pork chashu, cabbage, spinach, menma, ginger, and scallions". The noodles were not as thick as I usually like but the bowl was still very satisfyingly good. The amount of toppings was on point and I was happy to finish the entire bowl. The portions are just right for me as well.

My boyfriend ordered the Karaka ramen, described as "The original "Tonkotsu" noodle soup with Ippudo's special blend of hot spices, topped with pork chashu, kikurage, cabbage, onion, minced pork, and scallions". The noodles in his ramen were thinner and he preferred my noodles but enjoyed his soup better since he likes spicy food. I tasted some of this and it was good but I don't tend to eat spicy food so I preferred mine :)

For an extra $3 you get a rice bowl with a choice of topping and a small salad. To be honest, I am not sure if the extra $3 is worth it because the amount of rice you get is extremely small. The eel was yummy and the salad was pretty unique. I detected a bit of wasabi mixed into the salad dressing. If you are really hungry, I suggest you get the Kae-dama which is an extra portion of noodles for only $2.

After a pleasant experience at Ippudo, we went to Grand Central to walk about and digest our ramen. I really love the architecture of Grand Central and in general, I think train stations have a romantic aura about them. There is a lot to do there actually because there are quite a number of shops (Mac, Origins, L'Occitane, Aveda, Pylones) and many places to eat.

The main reason we went to Grand Central was because I had heard a lot about Magnolia cupcakes and I was very excited to try the little monsters myself.

I picked the cupcakes randomly and ended up with the Easter cupcake, Japan Cupcake (top row, far right) whose proceeds to go Japanese Earthquake/Hurricane relief, Carrot Cake Cupcake, Coconut Lemon Cupcake, and two Chocolate with Vanilla(?) Frosting Cupcakes (center). The Japan Cupcake was my favorite as the cake was just sweet enough and the icing was not too sweet. To be honest, I did not like any of the other cupcakes very much at all. They were all average and I was disappointed with the consistency of all the cupcakes. They were super crumbly and were a hot mess to eat. The icing on the chocolate cupcakes was too sweet and there was too much of it. Perhaps my biggest gripe about these sub-par cupcakes are that these do not come cheap at more than $3 a piece! I was extremely disappointed and will not be repurchasing anymore of these overpriced sweets ever again. However, these seem to have a cult following so you may like them. If you do, please tell me how the quality of these cupcakes justifies the $3 price tag because I can't figure it out.

On another beautiful spring day, we found our way to the tiny eatery called Ino. I first heard about this place on a Mario Battali show on The Food Network. I love my carbs and my boyfriend suggested we eat Italian food so I thought this was the perfect place. This resturant is quaint and tiny; so tiny that I do not recommend a party of more than three to eat there. The restaurant has a whopping eight tables for two and a small bar area. There is very little room to walk and the tables must be moved for people to go in and out of their seats (you'll know what I mean when you go there). This place is perfect for an intimate date and I hear they boast an extensive wine list (I can't drink so I cannot attest to that claim).

We started off our lunch with four of the bruschettas: (from top left clockwise) (1) ricotta salata with wilted greens, (2) white bean, tomato, and basil, (3) caponata and goat cheese, (4) pepperonata and crotonese. My favorite was the pepperonata which was sweet and not spicy at all. My boyfriend liked the white bean the best. The ricotta salata had lots of garlic in it and was a bit too much but if there was less topping, it would have been equally as scrumptious on the bread. The bread was amazingly good, crunchy but not hard.

Of course, I had to order the infamous Truffled Egg Toast, one of Ino's signature dishes. You can smell the unique truffle oil before this even arrives at your table (but then again, the resturant is so small you can easily detect the lovely aromas of your neighbor's food). This dish consists of a piece of lightly toasted crispy bread with a indent for a soft boiled egg to rest in. The top edges of the bread are topped generously with fontina cheese which melts into a gooey, scrumptious mess. My boyfriend and I cut the toast in the middle so we could each try some. The dish was a perfect meld of crispy bread meets runny egg meets savory cheese. However, we both would have enjoyed this better without the truffle oil which was a bit overwhelming. Perhaps more refined palates would enjoy the truffle oil more but it added an unnecessary taste to the otherwise quite perfect egg toast.

For our main entree, each of us ordered a quattro panini which is basically a sampler of sorts of four paninis on their menu of your choosing. Each piece is a quarter of a panini so in the end you are still getting the same amount if you had ordered one of the others. A regular panini is $11 while the quattro is $12 which is quite reasonable if you ask me. This is a picture of my quattro and I did not bother taking a picture of my boyfriend's because it is quite impossible to see the fillings. I believe my favorite was the mozzarella, basil pesto and pepperonata panini (bottom left). But we got eight different mini paninis so it is a bit hard to recall exactly what we ordered. Once again, the bread was the most delicious part and the fillings were just a bonus. I had thought that the servings would be extremely small and I had even warned my boyfriend to eat a bigger breakfast in case. But we left the resturant entirely stuffed and in hindsight, we probably should have only ordered one quattro to share. I guess I was being a bit too greedy in wanting to try out more toppings! Nonetheless, I recommend this place for a quick bite with one or two other people because the prices are reasonable and the food is perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

With our budgets, my boyfriend and I can't be spending a fortune on eating out so sometimes we will attempt to cook something at home. We both rarely cook and usually end up making pasta for lunch. But I was getting sick of pasta and I wanted to try something new yet easy. We settled for quesadillas!

We used monterey jack and sharp cheddar cheese as well as red onion and green peppers. My boyfriend wanted to just use cheese but I wanted to make it somewhat healthier so I threw in some veggies. We sautéed the red onions and green peppers in some canola oil until the onions were sweet and seasoned with salt and pepper. We then heated up the tortillas in the same pan, added the cheese, then a portion of the veggies. It turned out really well and the onions and peppers added a lot of flavor to the otherwise bland quesadilla. 

So, those are a few of my food highlights for the past week! Where are your favorite places to eat? Do you like these food posts or should I just stick to beauty talk? Tell me in the comments! :)