Monthly Archives: November 2013

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Tea/Drinks

Nov 13-17: Starbucks buy one, get one free offer!

November 12, 2013

I begin with today’s “How Starbucks Butchered My Name” (#HSBMN) pic:

Shamar.

That’s my cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte, misspelling forgiven. If you love Starbucks, mark this on your calendar: Enjoy a “buy one, get one” offer on November 13-17th from 2-5pm when purchasing any of their holiday beverages (that includes hot, iced, and blended versions of their Peppermint Moncha, Skinny Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbred Latte, Eggnog Latte, and Caramel Brulée Latte).

Enjoy!

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Beauty - "The Lovely"

13 products that got me through the month

November 11, 2013

I know, I’m a tad bit late in posting this, but it took a while to really figure out what products I’ve been going back to again and again in the past month. And looking at them at once, I’m realizing there’s problem a reason my skin hasn’t been acting up as much as usual: I really loaded up on some quality skin products this time around. Plus, I found some other gems along the way. Hope you enjoy this month’s round up of my faves!

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1. GlamGlow Youth Mud Mask, $69

Celebs are crazy about GlamGlow I finally know why. It’s worth every bit of the hype. I have been hearing about GlamGlow’s mask for so long, I finally decided I had to see for myself. It has a pretty interesting ingredient list: volcanic rock, volcanic mineral ash, French sea clay, green tea, grape seed, cucumbers, and no artificial colors or fragrances. It’s supposed to leave skin glowing, exfoliated, and pristine. You just stir a little to liquify, and apply. I didn’t expect all the tingling that ensued (if only I read the packaging right in front of me…it was something I found a tad uncomfortable but got used to very quickly). Then you let it sit and tighten and dry, and scrub off with water in circular motions (it has little particles that help exfoliate your skin). My skin was left glowing and continued use kept breakouts at bay. I highly recommend giving it a shot. It costs a pretty penny, but so worth it.

2. St. Ives Lotion Spray, $7.50

A fairly new habit I’ve started in the past few years is never ever forgetting to use lotion after a shower. I’ve become a lotion freak. My skin is so much softer for it. I thought the idea of lotion sprays, like this one from St. Ives, was a cool concept. I just thought it would make the process so much quicker. The pros are they all smell great and they are so easy to apply. If you’re used to really lotioning up though like me, just be prepared that this just gives you a super light veil of moisture on the first go. You still have to rub it in, and it’s actually a little more precise than I assumed it would be. But it’s definitely made my mornings a little quicker and is nice to have when I want to switch it up (plus, no getting stuck in tights right after! If you know what I mean, then you just know what I mean).

3. KnockOut nail polishes, $14 each

My friend Lara recently reintroduced me to my first love: KnockOut nail polishes (I remember writing one of my most early posts on the brand that the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O rocks too). They truly, truly started the trend on matte nails so it’s nice to see them not only thriving but killing it in some parts of the world. Flatte Black, Plaster (taupe), and Lili (lavender) have been front and center in my nail polish collection.

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4. Laura Geller BB Cream All-In-One Perfecting Beauty Balm, $34

Laura Geller can do no wrong in my book. Some people say BB creams are played out, that they had their time. But honestly, I feel like companies are really improving on them and making them so easy to use that I rarely feel like I need anything more. Most BB creams have kind of a matte finish but if you’re looking for one that will make you all glowing and dewy, check this one. I was so impressed with it from the very first time I used it. It gives just a tinted veil of color, keeps skin soft and protected with SPF 21, plus it contains antioxidants like ginseng root and gingo biloba extracts.

5. IT Cosmetics IT-O2 Ultra Repair Liquid Oxygen Foundation, $38

I’ve been a fan-girl of IT Cosmetics since they launched and for good reason — the whole line boasts quality products that helps improve your skin at the same time. Their concealer is amazing, their brow pencil is what dreams are made of, and now their foundation is just as high quality. This foundation specifically is suited for more mature skin, since it contains skin-plumping peptides and hyaluronic acid as well as antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. It has a light finish, so you really have to use a lot for people to even tell you’re wearing any makeup. Also, check out the website b-glowing.com, which has a awesomely curated selection of beauty products. They really know their stuff, and the fact that they carry IT Cosmetics (which is where I found this foundation) is reason enough for me to keep looking for new gems on their site.

6. Ole Henriksen Truth To Go Vitamin C Wipes, $15

As a dedicated Ole Henriksen Truth Serum advocate, these new wipes just made everything come full circle for me. I’ll never travel without some sort of makeup wipes on hand, and the best part about these are they’re formulated to not only wipe off all your make up, but also to brighten with vitamin C. Plus, it smells like orange sherbert.

7. Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow, $20

If you’re as into brows as I am, you have to have this in your kit. These will last you a lifetime. Literally a dot of this gel from Make Up For Ever is all you need to perfect your brows. Make sure you’re extremely light handed with it so you don’t look over done, but for truly flawless brows give Aqua Brows a try.

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8. Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray, $24

When I want major volume but still a flexible hold, I’ve started turning to Living Proof’s Flex Shaping Hairspray. The best part is, you can use it on wet or dry hair to get a really sleek style (plus the humidity protection keeps my hair from frizzing up after drying it). I love it especially for when I’m setting my hair in waves.

9. Zensation Light Therapy Device, $245

I know, the price tag is ridic. But it’s a professional grade light therapy device you can use at home so if you think about cost for this versus facial and doc treatments, it’s worth it. It helps improve skin tone and texture with 8, 20 minute treatments (read: you have to be dedicated to your skin). It reaches down to the collagen level with its 3-in-1 LED light energy to help smooth skin and keep your complexion staying bright. I’ve only started using it at the end of the month (to be honest, it was sitting on my table for months because I was too intimidated to use it!). But there’s no pain or scorching involved. Just a face massage with amazing results.

10. Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Day Cream, $42

I think the direction I’m moving towards, I have less qualms about using the more expensive stuff in my skincare routine because honestly some of them are SO legit. The more I learn about Jurlique as a brand, the more intrigued I am by them, like the fact that they have their very own biodynamic farm in Australia where they source all their organic ingredients. This moisturizer is great if you have dry skin (ie me, all winter). It has avocado oil and shea butter to keep it baby soft and I love its light, delicate scent too.

11. Laura Mercier Eau Gourmande fragrance set, $45

I really hope Laura Mercier never stops selling these three as a gift set, because these perfumes are everything. I always find a day and occasion to wear Mercier’s scents in vanilla, fresh fig, and almond coconut milk. The best part about these three is you can layer them and mix and match to create unique scents, and their so small and travel friendly, I’ll never leave without them now.

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12. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, $22.50

There’s a reason this is a cult favorite. I feel like I may have written about these a million times, but I still can’t find anything that rivals the smooth, buttery finish of these lip balms. The tint is so natural and beautiful too — trust me, you’ll get hooked so fast.

13. Juara Invigorating Coffe Scrub, $37

If you love the idea of taking a shower in coffee and chocolate, this is kinda the best thing ever. It’s an amazing scrub made with walnut shells and real Indonesian coffee beans (a clinically proven skin tightener!) that will leave your skin baby smooth.

What got you through the month?


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - RANDOM

Man proposes to his girl by hiding the ring in her Birchbox

November 8, 2013

Now, this is a guy who pays attention.

I just saw this on Birchbox’s FB page and, Chad, I’m really impressed. In case you don’t know, Birchbox is a company that delivers a specially curated box of beauty goodies every month to its members. I imagine Mandi to be like me, who squeals every time she gets a box in the mail…or at least did something for Chad to deduce that this tiny cardboard box is precious enough to her that he could successfully hide a diamond ring in it (a gorgeous one at that!).

Photo: Birchbox Facebook page

Just thought this was the cutest (and creative!) way to propose. Kudos! And a lesson to all not to throw any Birchboxes away in haste. Congrats to the cute couple!

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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Recipes

Recipe: A very indulgent baked Mac n’ Cheese

November 7, 2013

For my friend Danish’s birthday yesterday, a few of us decided there’s no better way to treat him than to make him food and watch basketball (actually, I think the basketball part was a treat for me some of us more than the birthday boy himself).

Baked mac n cheese

Sharaf made steaks, Sanila baked delicious red velvet cupcakes, Waqas handled the chai, and Fauzia made what I was told were “slutty brownies” (I won’t even try to explain the metaphor there). I decided it would be a good opportunity to make a dish that I’ve recently been craving since my friend Archana made for me a couple years ago: baked mac n’ cheese (yes, I just made Danish’s birthday about me). It also made sense as a side dish to the steaks, and a nice precursor to the desserts. And honestly, who doesn’t like mac n’ cheese?

A mountain of gruyere and cheddar cheese.

This also makes a great menu item if you’re already thinking ahead to Thanksgiving. There’s a lot of moving parts to the recipe but it’s pretty easy to make. The original recipe is from Barefoot Contessa‘s catalogue, but I made it with the slight spice-modifications that Arch did (namely, adding minced jalapenos and chili powder which adds a nice kick to it).

Minced jalapenos

And by the way, no one mentions how hard it is to find gruyere cheese! Well at least I had to go to three different grocery stores to find it. Stupid NY. (Sidenote: this also might be due to the fact that I wasn’t confident enough in my ability to pronounce ‘gruyere’ correctly to ask for it when I was at the store).

Ingredients

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
16 ounces Gruyere, grated (I got two blocks of 8 oz cheese)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon of chili powder
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
2 jalapeno peppers (minced)
1 ½ cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed..I used more like 8 though! See how much you need as you go)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.

Heating the milk, melting butter to whisk with flour, and cooking noodles


While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Turn off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, ½ teaspoon of chili powder and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and jalapenos and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. In a separate pan, first melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top (note: because I ended up using more slices, I also needed about 2 more tbsp of butter to dress it with).

Almost ready to bake


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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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It turned out well for the first time making it, I think. And PS, if you really want to get guests in the birthday-celebrating mood, make them all wear tattoos of your face like so:

I'm trying to ignore his Movember 'stache, too

Trippy right? And so fun. Although, not gonna lie, it was kinda weird waking up and seeing Danish’s face staring back at me first thing in the morning. Customized temporary tattoos by Wakhtarrr Paper Company. Check em out! etsy.com/shop/wakhtarrr

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Sofia Vergara named as the new brand ambassador for Head & Shoulders!

November 6, 2013

It’s hard to imagine a flawless Sofia Vergara dealing with something as pesky as dandruff. But turns out, Head & Shoulders has been party of her beauty regiment for over 20 years! It seemed only natural that she was just announced as their new brand ambassador.

The gorgeous Vergara family

“I am excited to be joining a new family,” Vergara said. “Head & Shoulders has been a part of my hair care regime and my family’s since I was young. In fact we joke that 8 out of 9 Vergaras use it; AND there are a LOT of us.” Seriously, check out the photo!


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Lips - Product Review

The lipstick that got me to start wearing lipstick again

There were two lipsticks I remember being particularly attached to: Revlon Stone Edge (a brownish nude), and Clinique’s Nude Bloom (a taupey matte shade) which are both discontinued now. I remember when my friend who used to work behind the Clinique counter told me they were going to discontinue Nude Bloom, I panicked and visited this foreign site called eBay just to stock up. (sidenote: WTH Clinique? That lipstick was precious! *still coping*). Anyway as far as attachments go, that was the last time years ago that I can remember religiously wearing lipstick. I feel like reds and scarlets are easy to find, but nudes — they’re tricky. Recently, at a press event, Elizabeth Arden’s incredible Global Makeup Artist Rebecca Restrepo was on hand to show us their new lipsticks and lip liners that she personally curated: their Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick and Precision Glide Lip Liner.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick

I told her my trials and tribulations of finding a nude that’s not truly nude, with just a little bit of color to define my lips and won’t wash me out. Turns out I’m not alone — 72% of women who wear lipstick have trouble finding the right shade of color. Restrepo began perusing the line to color match me. Tip: Instead of using the outside of your hands or wrists to test colors, Restrepo showed me I should actually use the tips of my fingers to color match. “The color of your fingertips is closest to the color in your lips,” she told me. Not soon after, we landed Mink, the glorious kind of taupey, ever so slightly rosy, perfect solution to my discontinued-Nude-Bloom woes.

Mink

It doesn’t stop at the color though — the lipsticks have moisture binding spheres and shea butter to keep lips looking smoother. The medium-to-full coverage lets you build the color or keep it light, like I normally do (see below).

Mink

I should add their Glide Lip Liner are also what dreams are made of. They’re highly pigmented, and do not budge (they have staying power for 12 hours). I pair Mink with their lip liner in Naturel.

Glide Lip Liner

The coolest thing about the lip liners though is its little paddle tip. It’s the most innovative thing I’ve seen on a lip liner. The flexible rubbery tip lets you blend the color on your lips and spread it evenly for the most accurate application. Pop it out, and the opposite end of the paddle is a sharpener. Pure genius.

Lip paddle on their liners

Seriously check it out — they have the most gorgeous range of nudes, pinks, and reds that Rebecca Restrepo herself personally perfected, and it may just get you to wear lipstick again too. Lipsticks ($25) and Lip Liners ($20.50) are available at department stores like Macys and elizabetharden.com.


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