Monthly Archives: December 2011

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Fashion

A happy early birthday to me?

December 21, 2011

Boots: Karen Millen

My birthday is less than a month away and although I love celebrating my friends’ birthdays, I’d much rather just migrate somewhere far and WARM for mine (I was a duck in another life). Not that I actually ever have, but for one, I think that would then alleviate myself from the burden of planning a party. I hate asking people to come out in the cold to celebrate, and I really rather spend QT with people than have a crazy chaotic thing where I barely get two words in to each person. The best birthdays I’ve had were with just a few people at brunch or dinner (and did I mention I hate the cold?). What’s more, I’m the most annoying person to get a gift for–I don’t even know what I want half the time so it doesn’t make it much easier for others.

All that said, this has been a tremendous year. I felt like a working machine but it makes me happy waking up everyday and knowing I’m doing what I love. Besides that, I’ve really settled into some amazing friendships; took full advantage of this brilliant city I live in (and others, ie Buenos Aires); and overall feel pretty clear in my head and even healthier physically (a far departure from 2010 let me tell you, where I started the year off getting hit by a car while I was crossing the street…stupid drunk lady). And that seemed to have set the tone for the rest of the year which had as many ups as it had downs. But whereas 2010 started out rough, it ended wonderfully (namely my little nephew was born last December!) and carried into 2011 just the same. I learned a lot through the months: patience for one thing. Not sweating the small stuff. Staying ridiculously positive. And never taking anyone in your life for granted. Things will always get better if you let it.

So now with ALL that emotional vomit spewed and out of the way, some of my birthday gifts came in a little early this year and for once I just embraced it. It started off with this beautiful Marc by Marc Jacobs watch. I saw it at the store and became somewhat fixated:

Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs

After I told my cousin, Safia (the same one who has an ardent appreciation for all-things accessories), about how much I loved it she went out and got it for me because she is simply awesome (and forced to give it to me early since we also live together and I happened to open the package–hey, it was addressed to me!). I think I can just sit and stare at its gorgeousness all day.


Separately, I decided to spoil myself a little (why not?). After playing stylist a couple months ago for Karen Millen, I really fell in love with some of their pieces. I went to the store and the minute I tried on these fur-lined leather boots, I was smitten.

Karen Millen boots

I was in the market for booties, and yes the heels were 4 ½” which is like ridiculous, but the 1” platform cuts the height and it’s surprisingly super comfy to walk in. For $550, it was a splurge if I ever knew one, but I’m a big believer in investing in winter clothes and accessories because they last forever. I needed to pace myself though-–I had JUST paid for a trip to go to Argentina after all, and I figured I’d come back for them.

Since the day I tried them on, I could not stop thinking about them and I finally went back a couple weeks ago, already mentally preparing myself on shelling out the big bucks for it, but to my delight, it was on sale for more than half off! I tried them on again and yes, still in love and practically skipped my way over to the cash register. [Note: the whole store is having a crazy sale right now so you might want to check it out and see if you can find any gems yourself!].


This is going to be a long-term relationship. With its stacked heel and cozy sheepskin lining, it’s one comfy pair of heels (I’m also a very “heels” kinda girl…I think I can even walk better in them than flats!). I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I also love how these don’t make that ‘click-clacky’ noise while you walk thanks to crepe sole. It’s one purchase I did not have to second-guess at all. So yeah, I guess, Happy Birthday to me ;).

What have you spoiled yourself in the past with for your birthday?

All photos by Shazia Memon.


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FOOD - "The Delicious"

Sh*t girls say Part TWO!

December 19, 2011

If you haven’t seen Sh*t Girls Say Part One (so funny, so sadly true), prepare to roll over laughing. But Part Two I’m happy to announce is just as hilarious! I thought I might share since it exhibits many glorious food themes…


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Inspiration of the Day

J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons just doing her thing




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Beauty - "The Lovely" - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Gift Guide - Gift Guide

23 gift ideas…because it’s not too late, Procrastinators!

December 18, 2011

Hello! It’s December 18th. Which means for those of you who are celebratin’, you have like one week til Christmas. But don’t feel bad, fellow procrastinators. Because I too am a procrastinator. And that’s why I waited until December 18th to post a gift guide for you all. This is sort of an addendum of my Holiday Picks video with even more beautifully delicious ideas. So without further ado, my awesome gift guide:



This just reminds me of my very first apartment in New York when I lived with two fellow tea-lovers, Eugenia and Jess, and every so often, we’d have a jasmine tea with these blooming teaposies. This Blooming Garden Tea Set includes a heat-resistant glass teapot (with a removable filter for loose tea) and two matching cups and saucers. The best part? It comes with 6 blooming teas that expand when immersed in hot water. It’s kinda magical really.







This would definitely be top on my list as far as makeup gifts — Tarte’s holiday gift set puts the glam in full gear with this silver clutch that comes with three interchangeable palettes that can be easily snapped inside. The clutch even has space for your essentials (a mirror plus pockets for your credit cards and money) and has a gold chain strap to wear over your shoulder or as a cross body. Also, it comes with their maracuja-infused lip gloss in a universally-flattering shade. And the price (under $50) for all you get is insane.



The Kiss My Face “Peace Offering” line is truly unique. Not only are you giving a loved one the gift of natural and organic beauty products, but 10% of profits support Seeds of Peace, bringing together teens from countries of conflict, like Israel and Palestine, to a camp in Maine to develop a better understanding of each other, build leadership skills and learn how to build a new generation of peace. Plus Peace Soap is biodegradable for a healthier planet — really, what’s there not to feel good about?




I think five-year-old Shy would cry tears of joy from getting a Hello Kitty set like this. And would totes re-use the tin box for lunch. This is filled with all sorts of lip licking goodness: (2) lip gloss tubes, (2) lip gloss wands, a lip balm, a heart lip gloss compact, (1) lip gloss key chain, (1) loose glitter pot, and a sheet of the cutest Hello Kitty temporary tattoos…all for your lil beauty blogger in training ;).



A no-brainer for the beauty junkie, these are seriously my FAVORITE products from Make Up For Ever all in one set. If you want to share the amazing-ness of MUFE, gift a girl with these and she will in return love you FOR EVER (get it?). Corny jokes aside, this comes with their HD Microperfecting Primer, HD Microfinish Powder for a flawless face; their Aqua Cream‘s long-lasting, waterproof cream formula to highlight your eyes, and the Aqua Eyes eye liner which is one of my very favorite pencil liners that I use religiously. For added drama, MUFE included their Smoky Lash mascara, and their Lab Shine gloss for a look-at-me-pout.



“It’s the first time I’m doing something with a bit of sparkle to reflect the holidays,” Jacques Torres said about this new limited edition truffle box set. Comes with unique flavorings like pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookie, and cranberry chutney in glittering confections. It’ll be sure to impress the chocolate fiend on your list.



Is it SO wrong if I throw in one selfish gift in the mix?



I love my wreath from Organic Bouquet so much (if you remember, it’s one of the items I mentioned in my video), that since then I’ve been looking for all sorts of other kinds to gift. Williams-Sonoma has a whole inventory of wreaths, but this hanging herbal swag really caught my eye. It comes with sprigs of preserved lavender, Santa Cruz oregano, sage, and rosemary. YUM.



Get him what he’s too lazy to get himself in a very manly gift box. Kiehl’s Ultimate Man set comes with their Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream –White Eagle, Energizing Moisture Treatment, “Ultimate Man” Body Scrub Soap, Lip Balm #1, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. But don’t blame me when he decides he can’t live without them going forward.



And don’t you forget it, dammit. (Plus, it will really make a girl ‘aww’ when you give it to her).



I died a little when I found this. Ole Henriksen makes one of my VERY favorite skincare products, their Truth Serum, which brightens and softens skin like no other. Since then, I’ve sampled so many more of their products and was never disappointed. This set comes with seven of their best, their African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser, Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, Truth Revealed Super Crème SPF 15, Sheer Transformation, Invigorating Night Gel, Walnut Complexion Scrub, and of course their Truth Serum — for only $55!



I recently learned more about Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, and heard some pretty shocking numbers about childhood hunger right here in the States. While we’re enjoying our holiday feasts, 16.2 million children are going hungry. This campaign is not only dedicated to ending childhood hunger, but to also provide children with healthy, nutritious meals. Every dollar you donate will provide a child with 10 meals. As even more incentive to donate this holiday, until December 31st, SOS’s partners will match your gift dollar-for-dollar so the amount you donate essentially doubles. Visit to donate now!



I guarantee anyone you buy this for will fall in love with it. I’m crazy about mine! And right now, they come in so many holiday colors and designs — I suggest you run over to the website to take a look before they’re all sold out!



This cookbook from Glamour magazine has recipes of all the essentials with the cutest names. Consider some of the following: He Stayed Over Omelet, Invite Me Back Muffins, Get Skinny Dip, All-Grown-Up Deviled Eggs, Complexion Soup, Workaholic’s Salad, Make New Friends Plum Cobbler, and so on… You’ll learn all the essentials (and make mama proud). Plus it has the coveted recipe for the ‘Engagement Chicken’ — the legendary dish that has a track record (at least amongst some Glamour staff and readers) of getting dudes to pop the question promptly after experiencing its deliciousness. I’m not making this up!


Tie breakers


Tally notebooks

OK fine these may technically be three different gifts from Set Editions, but I adore all of them, so you’ll just have to deal with it. Settle arguments, find a way to write what you’re having trouble saying, and keep a log of it all with these nifty gifts. Especially cute for couples…or you know…self-reflection.



This is one of Giada De Laurentiis’ holiday faves, but also, what better way to get the family together than to decorate your own gingerbread house, people?!



This is one of those gifts that I think a girl would not only love, but appreciate because makeup brushes are one thing we need but seldom buy an organized kit for ourselves. This 8-piece travel-size kit from Napoleon Perdis has all the essentials. Plus, I’m obsessing over its teal handles. Your friends can never claim to have taken your brush by mistake ever again.



There’s a reason I always ask anyone visiting San Francisco to bring me back Ghirardelli’s Peppermint Bark for me. Not only are they freakin delicious, they’re available nationwide ONLY during the holidays. So stock up for yourself and buy a pack for someone extra especial.



I’ll try not to be selfish and make an exception this time by letting you wear my favorite scent from Victoria’s Secret because the price is incredible. For the SAME cost of their full size Bombshell perfume alone, you get that PLUS a travel size perfume, the same-scented body lotion and body wash. I’m buying this for myself. Like, today.



Keeps drinks cold without watering it down. Genius if you ask me. Cuz how many times did you come back to your coke and find that it turns into coke-flavored water? Or has that only happened to me?



This Maine-based company knows all about that face-numbing cold weather/dry skin combo. Using all-natural, handmade products (in some pretty cool packaging), this gift set from Rocky Top is perfect to help ride out the cool months, especially for those with sensitive skin.

22) FRAAS WRAP, $66


One of those things that I didn’t realize how much I loved until I got it as a gift. This is a versatile, beautiful wrap that so cozy to snuggle in even if you’re out thanks to it’s stylish design (which doesn’t go overboard with the ruffles). It’s warm but still thin enough to not bulk under your coat…or wear it over your coat if you’re really gangster. I’m sure moms would love it to wear over their evening wear too (that includes your desi clothes…where my brown people at?!). Available at select boutiques or by special order, 212-575-0191.



Makes an interesting gift for the Dexter fan, horror-buff, or clean-table lover. And talk about a conversation piece! (And no, it’s not real blood…how sick do you think I am??).

What are you getting for the loved ones on your list? Hope this helped!


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face - Product Review

Review: Tom Ford Traceless Foundation

December 16, 2011

Hey all! I just had my very first beauty product review posted on Bergdorf Goodman‘s blog, and it was for none other than Tom Ford‘s new beauty line! Check it out HERE or keep reading for the deets below:

My review on Bergdorf's blog

Tom Ford Traceless Foundation, $75

Tom Ford is a genius. To say that he’s made an indelible mark on fashion would be an understatement. So when Mr. Ford decided to bring his keen aesthetic to the beauty world, I was first in line. As far as my expectations of the launch, I had comfortably settled somewhere between tempering my anticipation…and secretly pining for pure magic. After all, when it comes to my skin tone (which generally falls in the “medium” or “tan” category), I typically find that even the biggest beauty brands are left scratching their heads over how to achieve a perfect match.

The formulation of his Traceless Foundation is incredibly lightweight, moisturizing, and above all – illuminating. Before applying, my skin was dull and lacked vibrancy (hey, it’s been a long week!). After application my skin was visibly dewy and radiant. Caramel is a tad deeper than my skin tone but only in the slightest — it actually adds “warmth” to my complexion…something I tend to lack during the cooler, winter months. What I find particularly refreshing about Traceless is the yellow-undertone of the shade range…a welcome departure from the pink-undertones that I typically see in many foundation formulations.

Tip: If you require added coverage in certain areas (as I do on blemishes), use your finger to concentrate the coverage of your application. Tap, tap, tap until desired complexion perfection is achieved. If you need even heavier coverage (and let’s face it, girls – sometimes…), I recommend using Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation Stick, or a combination of both liquid and stick. Read the rest on BG’s website!

Another tip! I would definitely check out the colors in person at Bergdorf’s counter — I thought it was rather difficult to tell what my color match is from looking online. Case in point, I thought Caramel would definitely NOT suit my skin color, but after trying it at the store, I found that it was the closest match. Have any one of you tried his foundation or the other products in Mr. Ford’s line? What do you think?


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American - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Grahamwich in River North, Chicago

By Summar Ghias

A meal at Grahamwich

When the gourmet sandwich shop Grahamwich opened last year, buzz abound. Celeb chef Graham Elliot’s judge spot on the Fox show Masterchef and recent stint as Lollapalooza culinary curator had Chicago foodies chomping at the bit. Reviews on his new establishment, however, were conflicting; Time Out Chicago (my usual go-to magazine) was less than impressed. Having heard from my gourmand older brother that it was worth a try, I figured it time to go see for myself.

Housed in Chicago landmark, Tree Studios, a former artist colony established in 1894, Elliot has set out to ‘redefine what a sandwich shop should and could be’. While I’m not quite sure it does all that, it’s definitely a good alternative to Potbelly and Quiznos if you’re ever in the mood for fancy.

Grahamwich tuna sandwich

I got the Pacific tuna sandwich ($10) with roasted pineapple, wasabi peas, yuzu aioli and sweet soy on a Hawaiian bun. My friend got the wagyu beef sandwich ($10) with baby arugula, grainy mustard, Yukon potato, and onion rings on a pretzel roll. They were both surprisingly good, and I didn’t feel as if my sandwich was overdressed like some of the reviews had mentioned.

Most enticing on the menu, however, are the snacks, which include truffle popcorn with grated parmesan, chopped chives, sea salt and cracked pepper and cinnamon stick frozen yogurt with roasted apple, salted caramel, and pie crust. Yum. We devoured them.


The space is a little scene-y, but I happened to like the benches and common area feel. So, the next time I’m feeling like I’ve had a little too much of my standard vegetarian on wheat at Potbelly (which I generally devour with equal enthusiasm), I’ll be sure to head back here to mix it up a little.

Restaurant Info:

615 N. State St.
between Ohio St. and Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 265-0434
River North


Meal: Lunch/Sandwich/Snack
Occasion: Lunchtime alternative to Potbelly
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ** (Scene-y, but given the area, how could it not be)
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes (and I have).

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