Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Life in Pics

New York City has finally thawed! Which totally means...

BRUNCH + Central Park!

I had no idea that Central Park had so many beautiful gardens .  If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out the Conservatory Garden. Pretty flowers and allergeeeez. But seriously, it's worth it!

I also had no idea that you can't order alcohol on Sunday before noon. I found that out during brunch at The Smith (looking like a total alcoholic when I asked if the server could just keep my Bloody Mary in mind when it hits noon).

I may have posted this pic already from a past brunch at The Smith. But it gives you an idea of the goodness there. Also, I ordered the same chicken sandwich I did last time. So it's still a pic of my most recent meal?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reviews: Caudalie Founder Favorites Set, L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza Mascara, Burt's Bees Soap Bark + Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

Caudalie Founder Favorites Set
image via pinterest

I was at Sephora asking about a serum that results in a more even skin tone. The rep went straight for the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. It is known for combatting the appearance of dark spots, which is exactly what I needed for my sunspots and freckles. So how excited was I to see that Caudalie had this Founder Favorites Set that included the full size bottle of the Vinoperfect serum! The ENTIRE set costs as much as the serum AND it includes three other products as a bonus!  Yup, $79 for the serum alone. Or $79 for 4 products. C'mon. A no-brainer.

I haven't had the set for long, but I wanted to share this with you asap because it already keeps selling out online. I think you should still be able to pick one up at a Sephora store.

My thoughts so far (I'm also linking reviews from Sephora):

Vinoperfect Radiance Serum- I love the clean smell and how quickly it absorbs into the skin. I'm talking fast! I try to use my Foreo Luna to get my serums and lotions deep into my skin, but my skin has already sucked up this stuff by the time I've taken the Foreo out of my drawer.  Reviews mention how quickly people see differences in the lightening of hyperpigmentation (especially for people with darker complexions). My skin tone is totally evening out, and I feel like parts of my sunspot are lightening. I know that it is pricey, but I highly recommend this!

Premier Cru the Eye Cream- I've actually used a sample of this before. It has a nice, rich texture that doesn't leave a greasy residue behind. I hear it's great for undereye circles. I didn't notice a huge difference for myself, but I will keep testing it out. 

Beauty Elixir- If you have money to blow, then you should get this for its refreshing effects. I will admit that it perks me up when I spray it on my face. But then again, any minty concoction sprayed in your face would probably wake you up. Definitely smell this before buying...it has a very strong scent.  And you may hate it. This product is also supposed to tighten pores, smooth the skin, and stimulate microcirculation. The only thing I noticed was a tingling of the skin, especially the lips. Maybe something is going on under the surface that I can't see? I personally don't feel like it is worth the $18-49 (depending on size) price tag.

Instant Detox Mask- I have only used this once so far. Unlike other masks where you feel like you have to cake it on, this product goes on like a thin layer of lotion. Light spa-like lavender scent. All I can say is that it didn't dry out my face. I will have to report back on this.

As of now, the champion of this set is the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum.  I would be open to trying other Caudalie products. The brand offers some all-natural products and is known for containing no parabens, phenoxyethanol, sodium laureth sulfate, mineral oils, synthetic colors, or ingredients of animal origins. To read more about Caudalie's "green actions",  click here.


image via target.com

I picked up this mascara in Blackest Black at CVS for about $9.  It comes in a waterproof version of the same color and non-waterproof Black. The metallic packaging is fun and futuristic. The main attraction is the double-winged applicator. 

When you actually insert the wand into the mascara, the applicator kind of looks like a mess. And the formula is a little clumpy. The tiny bristles do an ok job at separating my eyelashes- you can actually feel the gentle tug as it combs through them. 

You can see some of the clumps here. 

For the price, I think this mascara has potential.  Most days, I think the applicator does a good job of separation. But as you can see on the pics above, sometimes I get clumps. I don't have a lot of lashes, but the Voluminous Butterfly Intenza mascara gave them length and fattened them up a bit.  I experienced no smudging.  People online complained of flakiness.  Maybe my clumps are actually flakes? This mascara is an "upgrade" from the original L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly mascara with an applicator that has only one winged side. 

Reviews on Ulta and Makeup Alley for the Voluminous Butterfly Intenza


Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

image by feelunique.com

I bought this facial cleanser for about $8 at a local drug store.  The ratings for this product were relatively high, and I was stoked about the "100% Natural" description. 

I'm going to preface this review with the note that I tend to prefer foaming face washes for a clean feeling (it's psychological). This cleanser has a lotion-like texture with no suds. I tried to rub the cream in my hands first and then apply to my face. Little globs fell into the sink. Then I tried to directly apply the stuff to my face.  I still had some of it slide off of my face and down the drain.

The menthol and citrus ingredients made me feel like I was rubbing Ricola cough drops all over my face. The sting from the menthol was quite overpowering. My face got used to it, but your eyes may never forgive you. I suppose the tingling sensation can be refreshing on a hot day.  I didn't love this cleanser, but a lot of people do! 

Reviews from Drugstore.com and Amazon

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life in Pics! (Lots of food)

I normally try to do a recap of the week in photos, but here are some pictures that go beyond the past week. I'm playing catch-up!

Which reminds me of Uma Thurman's joke on Pulp Fiction.

Papa tomato, Mama tomato, and Baby Tomato.  Baby tomato starts lagging behind, and Papa tomato gets really angry. Goes back and squishes him. And says, "Ketchup". 

I don't know. I loved that movie. 

Which is why I was Uma for Halloween last year.

On Sunday, MF and I went hiking at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation with Oscar.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Creme Brulee!

During one of our lunch dates, this little Italian place my husband and I like for their brick-oven pizza ran out of creme brulee. I do love me some creme brulee, but no big deal, right?

Well, I guess it motivated my husband to try making it at home. He surprised me that evening with what I thought was a tasty rendition of the classic French dessert.  As Larry David would say: 
image via tumblr
Actually, it was REALLY good.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

March Madness

My good friend Thuy is getting married next weekend in New Orleans! I've known that little spitfire ever since I worked FOR her at a production internship in LA way back when...nearly 10 years ago?

Her bachelorette was in March, and she had no idea what we were doing for it. When the bridesmaids pulled up to pick me up from LAX (with a bag of Del Taco-how great are they!), Thuy asked if she needed her passport! Poor thing thought we were getting on a flight to some exotic destination. 

Then I opened the trunk. No wonder she thought that we were going away. This is a pic after the airport and a Costco run.  But look at all that luggage!!  We actually just rented a house locally for the weekend, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the way the girls packed. Every nook and cranny of that SUV was filled- I even had pickle jars and wine bottles at my feet.

We had debated between a house near Hollywood or Malibu.  Although the Malibu options were a bit more classy, we didn't think the hike in price was worth the location since it was still cold.  We wouldn't even be able to hang out at the beach! So we focused on a place that had enough space for all the girls. AND a heated pool on the property. 

Ha!  Well, the joke was on us.  Because the pool didn't get warm enough by the time of our arrival (or throughout the weekend). We did use the jacuzzi. As for the space, it turned out that most of us Asians like sleeping huddled on the floor in one room even though there were five bedrooms. Go figure. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Evolution of My Curls

I've always had hair issues. Ask anyone who knew me back in high school and college.  It was a giant bush of long pubic hair on my head.  (Oh, that I will save for another post!)

Yet, I had hope when I saw other Asian girlfriends of mine using curling irons to get those beautiful tousled beach waves.  One of those friends was Erin.  She also happened to be the awesome girl who inspired my move from LA to NYC in 2009 to start my acting career.  Yup, we moved together into our Murray Hill apartment.  

Of course, if you want to start your acting career, you have to get your headshots.  Within a month, I was using Erin's curling iron to create these horrible curls for my very first headshots.


Why didn't I even TRY to separate the curls??? It looks like my hair is literally made up of two giant curls.  Almost like two curly pigtails. Ugh.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kicking Breakfast Up a Notch (Or Three)

Feeling a little bit under the weather, so my mind went immediately to pho (my go-to healing soup).  Then I thought about an enticing email I saw this morning about a new Vietnamese breakfast from Mission Cantina.  The email was from Tasting Table, and it had an amazing photo to go with it.

image by TastingTable

Um, hello. Can we get an AMEN, YES PLEASE, whatever else implies a resounding, "I WANT THAT!"