Monday, November 22, 2010

weekends are made for baking

To me, there is nothing better after a long week than designating half a day out of my weekend to baking a few things on my To Cook List. I wake up after a much-needed, long 8-hour sleep feeling ready to tackle new recipes. I take my time getting out of bed, pad downstairs in my jammies, and a nice cup of hot tea or coffee later, I start pulling out various bowls, measuring cups, and jars of flour and sugar. The past weekend, I had two projects in mind: first, some pumpkin Nutella bread (above) that had been on my mind for a month now, and secondly, my first commissioned (!!!) birthday cake that my cousin requested for her mom! :) She gave me free rein over the whole thing, so I decided to make a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate frosting.

After pureeing and straining out about a million seeds from my raspberries, I cooked it with some sugar and a bit of cornstarch to make the filling.

Layering the cake with raspberry filling.

Crumb coating to help keep the frosting smooth~

Final application of frosting!

I jazzed up the otherwise plain-looking cake with some colorful birthday candles and mini star sprinkles--aren't they cute??

Close up of the sprinkles

The result! It took me about 7 hours to bake, assemble, and clean everything after these two most recent projects. I should have been tired, but I felt so happy with the (really yummy and well-appreciated) results that I was ready to take on the second half of my Saturday, which included my aunt's birthday party and the latest HARRY POTTER!!! I'm a huge Potter fan, so it was a nice way to end my day. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Is there anything better on these chilly autumn days than a good cup of hot chocolate? I think not. Today I took some time out for myself after a long day at work to make this spin on traditional cocoa. Decadent and creamy, with an extra punch of heat from some cinnamon and cayenne, this drink definitely lifted my mood and kept me warm long after I drained my cup. You could use nonfat/soy milk, but I did myself a favor and went all the way with whole milk and a good bit of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate. I feel more ready to face the colder days ahead. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

MAC Cut-A-Caper Lipstick

Though the packaging from MAC's A Tartan Tale collection was pretty cute, none of the products really appealed to me besides this lustre lipstick in Cut-A-Caper.

It's a cute, soft coral-peach that's right up my alley. In person, the lipstick looks brighter than this picture, which is what attracted me initially. I love bright lip products! However, when swatched on my hand and lips, it was rather disappointing for me.

First of all, it applied too sheer for my liking. This swatch probably took about 5-6 swipes for this amount of opacity.

Compared to my MUFE Rouge Artist Intense in #38 (left), Cut-A-Caper (right) is definitely lighter and more peachy. However, the MUFE lipstick only took 1 swipe to get that color as opposed to the 5-6 that Cut-A-Caper required.

Lip swatch

Yes, it is pretty enough on the lips after a few layers, and yes it isn't too drying, but it tends to settle into my fine lines and to be honest, the color isn't unique enough to make up for its lack in pigment. In fact, on my lips it looked very close to my (much cheaper) Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Pink Please. Again, this is all a matter of my opinion. Cut-A-Caper just didn't make the cut for me, so back it went. Oh well, better luck next time!


P.S. The dress I'm wearing in the picture above is the same one I'm wearing in the picture below. It's from the collaboration Tucker did with Target (yay!). I bought 3 pieces from this collection (including this and this) and love them all.

Coolest part about this dress? It has pockets which are so seamlessly integrated that you can't even tell they're there. In fact, I didn't even realize it had pockets until I was smoothing out my dress one day. I thought I had ripped a hole in it, haha! Worn with a braided belt from F21 and red pumps from Nine West.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sephora FF & VIB Sale 2010 Haul

So after returning a few items I deemed unworthy after testing, this is the final stash that I came out with from this year's Sephora Friends & Family and V.I.B. sales. Most of the items are necessary refills that I use on a daily basis, but I did indulge in some new products that I'm quite happy with. :)

The Final Cut:
-Too Faced Enchanted Glamourland
-Boscia Peppermint Blotting Linens
-Dr. Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel
-Rene Furterer Dry Shampoo
-Clinique All About Eyes
- Guerlain Rouge G lipstick in #64 Gemma
-NARS blush in Sin
-Purity Made Simple Luxury Size
-Laura Mercier Mineral Foundation Primer
-Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Foundation
-Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 (not shown)
-Laura Mercier Secret Concealer (not shown)
-Clarisonic Replacement Brush Head Twin-Pack in Sensitive (not shown)
-Make Up For Ever Lip Brush #3N (not shown)

Seeing this list puts me on the verge of a heart attack, so I keep having to remind myself that the majority of the items are things that I use every day, and only 4 (Guerlain lippie, Too Faced palette, NARS blush, Laura Mercier creme foundation) are really considered "indulgences."

Ahem. Yup. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :P

Did anyone else haul from Sephora during this season's two biggest sales? Do share! :)
Hello...again! I know, I know, I've been so bad at updating this blog. My last post was over a month ago. October was super hectic yet went by so quickly that I felt like I never had a moment to sit down and write. So, in an effort to be more regular with the postings, I've decided to do more short, to the point updates rather than attempt entire detailed reviews. That way, it will be easier and more fun for me to keep up with this, and that should be the whole point of blogging right?? Of course, I will still write reviews on things I acquire/like, but at the same time I will post more random life, fashion, food-related (my favorite!) subjects. new favorite toy!

I went to LA a few weeks ago for a relaxing weekend, which I spent catching up with college friends and eating everything I had been missing. The bf and I went to the new, swankier mall section of Third Street Promenade and wandered into the Disney Store. The moment I saw this toy, I knew I had to have it!

Just looks like any old regular green bean...

But unzip it.....

....and you'll find the cutest little peas in a pod from Toy Story 3! They only made a brief appearance in the movie, but I remember thinking they were so adorable. I practically squealed when I saw this in the store, and even picked up another one for the boy's little sister. It's currently sitting on top of my bed frame's ledge, fully unzipped so you can see the little guys inside. :)

Anyway, it's 1am here in California, so off to bed I go. Consider this the first of many mini posts.

Ciao! <3