Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For The Garlic Lovers

Hello, Garlic is one of my favorite foods and ingredients in cooking.  It is probably one of the most widely used ingredients in cuisines around the world.  According to studies, it is claimed to have many health benefits in preventing illnesses such as heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even cancer.  Garlic can help with such illnesses because it is known to have many antioxidants including antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.  I simply love its taste and aroma.  The health benefits are icing on the cake for me.  See more insights and tips on prepping garlic in this New York Times article.

Pretty garlic plants from Botanical Garden in San Francisco

Speaking of garlic, we recently visited one of San Francisco's landmark restaurants, The Stinking Rose.  As the name implies, it serves up dishes using garlic and lots of it.  It is not only an eatery for the tourists, but locals like me enjoy this place just as much.  Here are some pictures of what we enjoyed during our recent visit:

Garlic cooked in olive oil as appetizer.  It was so good with bread.

Interesting nostalgic decor everywhere

Pork chop with glazed apples

Rabbit in tomato sauce

We were so full after the entrees and had to pass on their famous garlic ice cream.  I will definitely try it next time.

On another note, there is an annual garlic festival in Gilroy, CA every summer.  Gilroy is located about 2 hours away by car from San Francisco.  I think I need to join this festival for the first time this year, I heard there is great food and fun.  Not to be missed!

Until next post......

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tom Ford Beauty - Traceless Foundation Stick and Traceless Foundation SPF 15 in 03 Fawn

Hello, This is a quickie post on Tom Ford Beauty Traceless Foundation Stick and Traceless Foundation SPF 15 specifically in 03 Fawn.  Please see my previous post on the foundation stick here.  In January, I got re-matched on the foundation stick to 03 Fawn and picked up their Traceless Foundation which is a liquid foundation in 03 Fawn also.  

I have been loving both products so much.  So I wanted to share some photos of both foundations in 03 Fawn for those who are interested in this color.  Also my thoughts on the Traceless Foundation SPF 15 which I did not review in depth previously...

Left:  Traceless Foundation Stick
Right:  Traceless Foundation SPF 15

Traceless Foundation SPF 15 in 03 Fawn

Finish - Dewy with a luminous glow
Scent - Light scent
Skin type - Normal to Dry
Price - $78 for 1 fl oz.
Lasting Power - You can use the Tom Ford Translucent Finishing Powder to set the foundation and it will help it last much longer
Repurchase?  Yes.  Finding a good base is very important, so I am willing to splurge a little on a good one.  If the base does not look right, it will not matter what else you put on your canvas.  The frosted glass and square shaped bottle is very elegant.  I like that it came with a pump.  I like the light texture and the dewy glow it adds to my skin.  It is a natural lit from within look that is so pretty

Color - 03 Fawn is a light neutral color good for light skin tone.  It is neither too pink or too yellow 

Texture - Light weight liquid
Coverage - Light.  For more coverage, I would use the foundation stick over it.  The foundation stick can be used all over the face for full coverage or you can conceal areas only where it is needed

As promised, here are the swatches:

Heavy swatches
Top:  Traceless Foundation Stick
Bottom:  Traceless Foundation SPF 15
After the foundations are blended out
Thanks for reading!  I hope this helps those of you who are interested in the Tom Ford foundations in 03 Fawn.  Until next post......

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Obsessed With...YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis A Levres Glossy Stain

Hello,  YSL launched Rouge Pur Couture Vernis A Levres Glossy Stain recently and I did not hesitate to go check them out once they arrived at my local Sephora.  I have tried other lip stains in the past and did not like them because they dried out my lips.  I was skeptical about the YSL Glossy Stain at first.  But after I tried one,  I ended up going back for more... 

From left to right in the picture:
7 Corail Aquatique - Medium coral 
10 Rouge Philtre - True red
20 Rouge Enamel (Sephora exclusive) - Warm red 

The formula is very unique and there is nothing quite like it on the market.  It is a cross between lipstick, gloss, and stain combined into a glossy stain formula.  The consistency is thinner and feels lighter than that of a lipstick or gloss.  The formula stains the lips which makes it long wearing and it is not drying.  The colors have good pigmentation.  It is formulated without parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, and triclosan.  I am happy that YSL has decidedly become cleaner with their ingredients.  The glossy stain can be brushed on lightly or it can be built up with more color for dramatic looks.  I chose two reds because I do not currently own a lot of reds.  I figured I can better control the intensity of the red in a stain formula.  The applicator is flat and slanted.  It is quite a nice applicator for the stain formula because you can control the application easily with it.  As you can see in the swatches above, the finish is a bit creamy and glossy. 

Via Google images - A glimpse of the applicator

Check out this cute animation from the YSL website:  

This is a good alternative to lipstick or lip gloss if you want to try something different.  Do you like lip stains?  Have you tried these?  Until next post......

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Riley Modern Skincare

Hello and Happy Sunday!  I have been incorporating Sunday Riley Modern Skincare to my daytime skincare routine for over one month.  I am happy to report that I am adding Sunday Riley Modern Skincare to my list of HG skincare lines that already includes Acure, Arcona, Aveda, and Melvita.

Sunday Riley Modern Skincare is all about using Green Technology and incorporating their own NV-5 Ageless Complex in the products.  You can read more about Green Technology and NV-5 Ageless Complex on their website here.  I have done a lot of research online before investing in the products.  During my research, I discovered lola's secret beauty blog and Lola's blog contains a wealth of information on Sunday Riley's products.  Lola has been an avid user of the line for many years.  Her posts are well written, insightful, and informative.  Go check out her blog.  

To give you a quick overview of the Sunday Riley products, I have been layering or mixing the first three products in the daytime after cleansing and followed by sunscreen:

 - Juno Transformative Lipid Serum - It is a facial oil and it is the star product in my opinion.  This product gives your skin a luminous glow like no other
- Skin Adrenaline Anti-Aging Concentrate - Light moisturizer for all skin types including oily skin
- Good Genes Treatment - This is a brightening treatment that I use five days in a row as a treatment once a month.  I would layer or mix it with Juno and Skin Adrenaline
- Start Over Active Eye Cream - I have not started to use this product yet.  It was a gift with Sunday Riley purchase at the Barneys New York Beauty Event in February.  I wanted to finish up my Origin Eye Treatments before opening this one
- Charisma Creme Cleanser - I picked up this cleanser last weekend after trying the sample I received in February. It is a good cleanser for normal to dry skin and it will remove eye and face makeup while it softens the skin

All products are available at Barneys New York.

In the evening after cleansing, I am still using and rotating between Acure Radical Age Reversal Treatment and Sponge Ladi Avokanto. I reserve these treatments for bedtime because I find both textures to be too heavy for daytime.

Thanks for reading.  Until next post......

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

To Hyang Korean Restaurant

Hello, My foodie sister had recently visited To Hyang Korean Restaurant in San Francisco.  She raved about the meal she had there, she described it as super spicy home style Korean cooking.  The restaurant was featured in Anthony Bourdain's show on The Travel Channel, The Layover, see a clip of the episode here.  

To be honest, I have only eaten at a handful of Korean Restaurants in the city .  Since I love Korean food and wanted to try a new restaurant, I decided to check out To Hyang myself last weekend.  The restaurant is small and nothing fancy like most family-run restaurants in the city.  It does not have an attractive store front, I never noticed it even though it had been at the same spot on Geary for many years.  It was around 8 pm when we got there, there was no wait and there was one table available, lucky us!  It turned out we sat at the same table as Anthony Bourdain and Chris Cosentino in the episode.

First thing first, we ordered yogurt soju based on my sister's recommendation.  It was really delicious, but I did not feel the soju kick.  I wish there was more soju than yogurt in it.  

All the homemade side dishes were so good especially the kimchee dishes.

We did not order what Anthony Bourdain and Chris Cosentino ordered, instead we ordered a couple of non-spicy dishes.  The oxtail with vegetables and eggs in soy and vinegar sauce was very tasty.

It was a cold night, so we thought soup was a good idea.  The beef bone noodle soup with beef was mild and hit the spot.  There were two types of noodles in it, wheat and clear noodles.  

Overall, the food was tasty, but portions were on the small side.  Next time, I will definitely order some hot spicy dishes to satisfy my Korean craving.  Thanks to my sis for discovering a new Korean joint for us.  

Thanks for reading, until next post......

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Milani Baked Powder Blush in Rose D'Oro and Corallina

Hello, When it comes to drugstore powder blushes, Milani Baked Powder Blush has been my favorite for quite some time now.  They remind me a lot like my other favorite, MAC Mineralize Blush.  Both Milani and MAC's formula and finish are very similar.  Both powder blush formulas are baked into a dome shape in the pan.  The colors offered in both lines are equally amazing and highly pigmented.  But Milani wins hands down in the price department, it costs three times less than MAC.  Milani is a great dupe if you are on a budget and still want quality that is comparable to high end brands.

I currently own two Milani Baked Powder Blushes in 02 Rose D'Oro (left) and 08 Corallina (right).  They may look dark or vibrant in the compact, but they can be applied sheer or heavy depending on which tools you apply it with.  They can be applied sheer with a powder diffuser brush or heavier with a regular blush brush.   It looks great either way, it can easily take you from day to night.

02 Rose D'Oro - Warm pink with gold shimmer

08 Corallina - Vibrant coral with white/silver shimmer

Heavy swatches in 02 Rose D'Oro (left) and 08 Corallina (right)

The plastic compact comes with a mirror and a small brush, very handy for touch up.  

In conclusion, you can't go wrong with these blushes.  These colors are right in trend for Spring and Summer.  They are available at most drugstores for under $8.

Do you use Milani Baked Powder Blushes?  Which shade do you wear?  Until next post......

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

butter LONDON Nail Lacquer in Yummy Mummy

Hello, butter LONDON Yummy Mummy is not a new color.  It is butter LONDON's best-selling "magic" lacquer.  It is a beautiful lavender or grayish beige color with silver shimmers.  This is not an average beige or nude tone, there is something interesting about it.  It can be a chameleon under different lighting and angle, it changes its tone ever so slightly.  It is super easy to wear and perfect for all occasions or everyday.

Mine came in the Quick Change Artist Duo Set from Nordstrom last year.  I saw a few sets still available at a Nordstrom store near me, but the set is no longer available online.  The lacquer by itself is available at Nordstrom and wherever butter LONDON is sold.

With flash
No flash

Thanks for reading.  Until next post......

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Best of February Roundup - Algenist, Benefit, and Lavanila

Hello,  I have some exciting new and old products to share with you today.  Let's jump right into Best of February Roundup...

Skin Care - Algenist Firming & Lifting Intensive Mask

I am a big supporter of local businesses.  Algenist is a biotech company located in San Francisco that focused on developing micro algae-based renewable energy solutions.  The team of scientists unexpectedly discovered Alguronic Acid in the process.  It is a compound produced by a specific type of algae, you can read up more about the Alguronic Acid and its skin benefits here.

I picked up Algenist Firming & Lifting Intensive Mask at Sephora.   It is a gel mask that contains key ingredients such as Alguronic Acid and peptides.  It has a cooling and soothing sensation on the skin and it is safe to use around the eyes.  I use this mask before big events or whenever my skin needs a pick me up.  What it does for me is it calms redness and de-puffs the skin.  I see immediate results of smoother and tighter skin after using it.  Though I feel that it can be hard to remove with just water, I recommend using Clarisonic or a face cloth to help remove the product.  It can be used up to twice a week.  I look forward to trying other Algenist products in the future.

Makeup -  Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup SPF 25 PA+++ and Hello Flawless Custom Powder Cover-Up SPF 15

Continuing my support for companies from San Francisco, I have been a big fan of Benefit Cosmetics for a long time.  They came out with their new liquid foundation in February called Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup SPF 25 PA+++.  The name is a mouthful, but they are known for very unique and catchy product names. 

According to the Benefit website, it is an oil free liquid foundation with brightening properties.  It comes in 9 shades and my shade is Petal, the second lightest shade.  It is a very good match for NC25 skin tone.  To me, it delivers an equal balance of luminosity and natural finish.  It has a runny texture and feels very comfortable on my dry skin.  It has light coverage and can build up to medium coverage.  I am pleased with the air tight plastic bottle with a pump and the built-in sunscreen of SPF25 PA+++ is wonderful.  Overall, I am happy with this new addition to my makeup collection.  I think this would be a great foundation for the warmer weather to come.

I also picked up the companion powder, Hello Flawless Custom Powder Cover-Up SPF 15 in Petal.   It is a powder foundation that can be worn alone or over any liquid foundation.  It comes with a brush and sponge in the compact, but I prefer to use a kabuki or powder brush to apply the product.  It helps set the liquid foundation and makes it last longer.  I think the two products together create a flawless look that can last up to six to seven hours.  Both products are available in department stores such as Macy's and Bloomingdale's.  They are also available at Sephora and Benefit Cosmetics Boutiques.

Fragrance - Lavanila Vanilla Grapefruit Eau de Parfum Roller-Ball 

For those who are new to Lavanila fragrances, here is a brief introduction according to the Sephora website:

LAVANILA carefully infuses pure essential oils with 100 percent active botanicals for natural fragrances that are fresh, clean, and nurturing. With each spray, proprietary natural technology wraps the skin with super antioxidants goji berry and kakadu plum, soothing willowherb, and hydrating olive leaf for a healthy dose of 30 essential vitamins and minerals and 19 amino acids. Imagine, a fragrance that not only smells good but also is good for you!

I have been wearing Lavanila Vanilla Grapefruit Eau de Parfum for about five years.  I had purchased the full sized bottle fragrance with the body lotion in a set years ago and fell in love with the scent.  The notes are grapefruit, lime, cedar wood, and Madagascar vanilla.  After I finished my first bottle, I decided to pick up the roller ball version because it takes me quite a long time to finish an entire bottle of perfume and it is more travel friendly.  I am also trying Vanilla Coconut Eau de Parfum Roller-Ball.  The notes are young coconut, Monoi Tiare, and Madagascar vanilla.  It smells heavenly as if I have been transported to a tropical island!  These fragrances are long lasting and good for all seasons.

What are your thoughts on these products?  Do you support your local businesses?  Until next post......