Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011 Wrap Up! Picture Heavy!

Every January I wish I could fast forward to the end of the year to December all over again because it's my birth month as well as all things festive and the start of the winter break. But it's really hard to believe that it's really the last month of the year once December actually rolls by. What better way to start off December than a look back on what I did in November? :) I'll work my way through the month in order from the beginning to the end of the month.

You probably all know by now that I have been consumed by school, work, and other obligatory things. So it was a real treat to be able to go out and have dinner with one of my best friends, M, who has appeared on my blog before. We chose to eat at Spring Natural which is conveniently located on the corner of Spring and Lafayette in Soho. I picked this place because I've walked by it at least a hundred times in the past year and it looked like a nice spot. Plus, I wore heels that day for thirteen hours and my feet didn't want to wander too far from the subway.

M and I ordered a seafood risotto for our appetizer which was very satisfying. The portion was quite small but the risotto was very rich and creamy so we probably wouldn't be have been able to eat a lot of it anyway. This dish is also available as an entree if you can handle the thick pasta.

For my main dish I ordered the goat cheese ravioli which I believe was one of the specials of the day. The cheese was very flavorful and pungent but unfortunately made the pasta a tad too salty. The dish was still good though but nothing I would crave for again.

Here is an obligatory close up of my goat cheese ravioli. You can see the added mushrooms and veggies sprinkled throughout the pasta. The portions are perfect for me but people with larger appetites might not be in luck.

M ordered the tamarind ginger glazed organic salmon which I did not try but I don't think she enjoyed it too much. Spring Natural tries to distinguish itself by offering vegetarian, vegan and some free range options but I don't buy into those labels much as I believe it's mostly a marketing scheme.

After our pleasant dinner, we headed to Pinkberryfor some frozen yogurt. I don't remember the last time I ate frozen yogurt before this because I think it's unbelievably expensive. I got a plain yogurt with strawberries and M got pomegranate yogurt with an assortment of goodies on hers. M ordered for both of us so her name is on the label :) I'm not sure if Pinkberry changed their formula but the yogurt actually tasted really good as I never really loved frozen yogurt before. But for almost four bucks for a small cup, I'll save frozen yogurt for special occasions.

Here is a quick shot of my nails for the night which is yet another Sephora by OPI polish from the Manhattan Minis collection. The shade is Never Know 'Til You Tri-beca and its an elegant blackened raspberry. The color is much more beautiful and glossy in person but I did my nails the night before so the varnish
got a bit worn down during my sleep *oops*. I think the shade goes very well with my rose gold watch though!

Of course M and I had to take a few pictures together because we don't get to spend much time together anymore. We used to see each other everyday in high school but now we probably hang out five times a semester due to our busy schedules. She always has such pretty hair!

A few days after my date with M, my boyfriend and I celebrated our two year anniversary. We decided to spend our day in the city because there's always something to do in the city. We started off our day in Times Square where there was a promotional event for the new Super Mario 3D game for the Nintendo 3DS. The event was quite underwhelming but it was amusing to see a bunch of people dressed up as Marios and others with tanooki ears and tails.

We had to get a picture with one of the Marios! I wish there were more people dressed up as some of the other characters like Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi!

A random pedestrian actually came dressed up as Sonic who, according to my boyfriend, is from another video game company. Apparently Sonic and Mario are rivals.... I thought it was pretty hilarious and in gaming lingo, this guy would definitely be a "troll".

We then headed uptown to the Natural History Museum because I had an assignment to do for school (I swear I have not had a day totally to myself since the summer). Central Park is really lovely during any time of the year but its especially gorgeous during the fall when all the leaves form a warm rainbow collage. I filmed my last outfit of the day in the park which you can see HERE! I actually filmed that video on the same day because my boyfriend willingly agreed to help me film! So I am very grateful for his willingness to put up with me and my constant re-dos and dorkiness :) Oh, by the way, can you tell I love that pink blush blazer because I wore it on both days and I try not to repeat the same pieces during the week!

For lunch we went to Shake Shack because I love their Shack Stack burgers but I'm trying to eat less meat so I only eat meat on special occasions (although this effort has been a failure for the last week or so due to lack of self restraint). Mmmm, boy is Shake Shack good. The price is a yeh bit high at almost $10 for a burger and the thirty minute wait can be really annoying but the end product is SO satisfying. I actually talked about this burger before at the beginning of the year when I had it for the first time :)

Just another picture of us because I feel like it ;) I haven't done a personal post in awhile here so I thought it'd be nice. I personally enjoy reading and watching people talk about their own lives when I really like their blogs and videos. It gives me a sense of who they are beyond the product reviews and tutorials.

It's crazy how fast night sets in now and by the time we traveled from the museum on 81st street to Wall street, daylight was almost gone. I dragged my boyfriend to Zuccotti Park because I had wanted to see the Occupy Wall Street movement for weeks. Everyone in the country should know about the Occupy movement by now and although I had seen it on television every night and read about it online, I had not actually seen the protestors. I couldn't let an opportunity like this slip away so we walked around the park and saw all the people, tents and signs. It was a very interesting little community and I'm glad we went to see it because a few days later the protestors were forced to remove their tents and whatnot because they were on private property. Ironically, protests have increasingly shifted uptown and the past few days I've seen demonstrators frequently in the neighborhood I go to school in.

After perusing amongst the demonstrators, we headed back to the subway and stopped at West 4 to have dinner. My boyfriend picked the restaurant this time which is rare since I usually make the decisions of where we should go. It's nice not to have to choose once in awhile. He wanted to go to Pearl Oyster Bar because his brother had taken him there after our high school graduation and he really enjoyed it. The restaurant has a very cozy atmosphere, typical for many restaurants in that area given the small amount of space they are allotted. If you check this place out, definitely go in at six or six thirty because after that, the line will be out the door.

We ordered three starters: New England clam chowder (not pictured), fried oysters, and raw oysters. I personally love seafood so I enjoyed all the food that night. The fried oysters were my favorite appetizer because they were the perfect crispiness and the tartar sauce was under the oyster meat in the shell which was a nice touch.

The raw oysters were also good but I kept getting pieces of shell on my oyster which was very annoying. I have never had that problem at other places so I have no idea what's up with that.

For our main, my boyfriend and I shared the best known dish on the menu at Pearl, the lobster roll. Ah.... I'm getting hungry just thinking back to that lobster. Basically they take meaty chunks of lobster and coat it in a mixture made mostly of mayonnaise and sandwich it into a toasted buttery bun. It's also known as heaven on a plate in my book. The shoe string fries were immensely tasty and complemented the roll very well. Needless to say, we ended the day with full tummies and big smiles. 

Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day which was celebrated with my family and friends. The above is a sampling of what I had that night. It looks like a lot of greens but to be honest, I didn't realize I didn't like brussel sprouts so I ended up giving half of the ones I took to my mom :X I'm not a huge fan of turkey but I eat it for the sake of eating turkey on Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why I do that... guess it's tradition.

My mom loves to bake and decorate desserts so I ate a bunch of cupcakes that night. Yum! She kind of cheated by using cupcake mix but it's good nonetheless. The frosting was homemade cream cheese frosting, my favorite! Oh, and I guess she didn't realize that gingerbread men are usually associated with Christmas and not Thanksgiving haha.

At first I wasn't going to wear any makeup and just wear pajamas for Thanksgiving because we were hosting dinner at our apartment. But I had a little extra time and I threw together a simple look last minute. I tried out Dr. Jart's BB Cream for the first time and didn't even use concealer or powder or any other cheek product for that matter. I did a neutral eye with Mac's Gold Mode pigment, lots of liner, lashes and paired it up with a bright lip (I'm still loving the Tarte Lipsurgence Pencil in Swank!).

So those were pretty much all the lighthearted, enjoyable memories of November. Only a few more weeks of school left and then I'm free from classes for the month of January! I look forward to doing more posts like these soon so let me know if you like them! Hope you all had a lovely November as well~

My Current Go To Fall Look

I feel like a tape recorder gone berserk because I feel like my excuse for not posting as frequently as I used to is always the same: there are not enough hours in a day. But to make up for that I forced myself to film a tutorial over the weekend! I currently don't have the time to take chances with my makeup because I can't afford to make a mistake and spend an extra five minutes correcting it. Check out the video below to see how I do my makeup most of these days! I change up my cheek and lip products but for the sake of keeping everything affordable, I used drugstore products.

Products Used:
E.L.F Mineral Eyeshadow Primer
NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Yogurt
Revlon Colorstay Quad in Blushed Wines
Maybelline Expertwear Quad in Natural Smokes
Physician’s Formula Gel Liner in Black
Revlon Beyond Natural Blush and Bronzer in Pink Rose
E.L.F Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Baby Lips

I'm still working out some kinks with my camera so for my future tutorials I think I will not zoom in so close to my eye as its difficult to stay in focus. It honestly bothers me a lot when videos don't look as good as I want them so I will try my best to produce better quality videos! My next blog post will be more along personal lines so expect lots of pictures of food and all that goodness coming soon!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pretty Party Nails: Sephora by OPI's The Sparkle That Never Sleeps

First and foremost, HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! Hope you all get to spend your Thanksgiving with family, friends, and loved ones. Thanksgiving always rings in the holiday season for me and I'm always very excited for December.

Nothing much on the beauty related front to post about but I might as well show you the holiday appropriate polish I am currently wearing. Yes, it is another polish from the Sephora Manhattan Minis Collection. 

As you can tell by the title of this post, this polish is called The Sparkle That Never Sleeps and it is red and blue confetti and silver glitter suspended in a clear base. I thought this would be a nice layering polish as I don't like the white tips of my nails peeking through my polish (the tips of my nails have been abnormally white for my whole life). I first applied two coats of ORLY's First Kiss, a very light pink, and then applied two coats of The Sparkle That Never Sleeps. The sparkle was nice and from afar the shimmer is very flattering. I wish there more flecks of confetti but that's just my preference.

I am itching to film some holiday inspired makeup tutorials but there are not enough hours in a day! I will try my best in the upcoming weeks to upload at least one before the year is through! Happy start of the holiday cheer everyone! :D

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Current Foundation Routine & NOTD

Flawless skin is the essential starting point for any makeup look whether you are trying to achieve a dramatic and sexy smokey eye or a simple "no makeup" face. As most of you know already, my skin is far from perfect and I suffer (suffer is probably too dramatic but you get my drift) from acne, acne scarring and redness. Thus, I turn to makeup to conceal my complexion woes.

First I start out with my concealer which is Lancome's Effacernes Concealer in Clair II. I have reviewed this in-depth already so besides that I love this concealer, I don't want to say too much more about it. I use my Ecotools concealer brush to place the product and my fingers to blend out the concealer.

Since August I have been predominantly using a little sample of Laura Mercier's Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Bisque. I only use a tiny bit and it really goes a long way! If I buy the whole tube, it'll probably take me more than two years to finish.... You can see how much was originally in the same jar in THIS post. I also featured this tinted moisturizer in my August Favorites so I do enjoy this product quite a bit (the only downside is that my face can get quite oily throughout the day from this, but just a tad). I use my Ecotools concealer brush to place a bit ofthe product on the places where I need the most coverage such as acne scars, redness, and on my cheek areas. Then I use my Sigma F80 brush to blend out all the product all over my face. This brush is the best for blending out thicker consistency foundations as it gives a beautiful, natural and airbrushed appearance.

Lastly I use my E.L.F Studio Complexion brush to pat on the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation to set everything while adding a tiny bit of extra coverage. I use a patting and light swirling motion to avoid cakiness.

Watch the video below to see exactly how I use all these products!

Here is a closer look at my nails from the video. I cannot stop raving about the Sephora by OPI Manhattan Minis Collection as all the polishes are ON POINT. This one is Stand By Your Manhattan and it is gorgeous. But really, every single one that I have tried from the set (four out of six so far but I have yet to show swatches of all of the ones I have tried) is amazing. I have to thank this set for reawakening my love for nail polish and reminding me of how nice it feels to have manicured nails!

Oh the shimmery goodness of it all! Tell me, what are you loving on your nails at this moment? :D

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Exfolikate: Is It Worth The $85 Price Tag?

Exfolikate was one of the products I was most excited to test out in the Sephora In The Glow Kit. The kid is no longer sold but Exfolikate is a permanent product from Kate Somerville. This facial exfoliant is touted to be one of the best on the market because it is gentle yet effective and uses both physical and chemical exfoliators to smooth the skin. It definitely is a luxury skin care product as a 2.5 ounce tube of Exfolikate retails for $85. The .5 oz size which I have retails for $19 which is actually a better deal than the normal tube. The tube seems like it contains a lot of product but the product only reaches about the "e" in Kate (the bigger text running the length of the tube). The packaging is extremely misleading as the product only fills one third of the tube.

The good news is you only need a pea sized amount. The amount shown above is how much I used during my first application and I applied way too much. That amount is good for two uses. I use an exfoliant one a week so this probably will last me quite some time. The suggested directions are shown above and I follow them as stated. I feel a bit of tingling when I use this but it does not hurt or burn in any way. The tingling is normal but some people might not like that sensation.

The green scrub has a "natural" scent which reminds me of some kind of candy or fruit. The scent does not bother me as it isn't overpowering but it definitely is noticeable. Looking at the ingredients list, I do not see any signs of an added perfume but I could be wrong so do not quote me on that.

As for results... I do think this makes my skin a bit softer. But just a bit. Exfolikate is a nice weekly treat for my skin but I won't be running out to pay another $19 for such a small tube. The Olay Microdermabrasion Treatment pretty much does the same thing but with larger and more scrubbing particles which means a more thorough scrub. However, those with sensitive skin will like the Exfolikate better and right now my skin actually can't handle the Olay treatment because the weather is dry. Exfoliating is an essential part in any skincare routine so it's no wonder the market is saturated with hundreds (probably more like thousands) of products like Exfolikate with a more palatable pricetag. If you have the money for Exfolikate and have sensitive skin, I would say give it a try. But if you're not willing or able to throw down a whole lot for one item in your skincare, you aren't missing much.