Friday, December 5, 2014

Well hello there....



Long time, no see!  I hope that all of you in the US had a great Thanksgiving full of food, family, and relaxation!  Despite my best intentions to keep up with all my food and beauty shenaniganing, school and work have taken over.  After Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Cyber Week and all the holiday deals that have been going on, I have been in shopping heaven, but my wallet has been slightly unhappy!  

We're reaching the final stretch and my frenzy of paper writing will be over in just a little over week, and then I can finally focus on what I love writing about best....all things beauty and food.

I've tried for weeks and weeks every month to get up a favorites post because I have been trying out so many new products, but alas, I have written with no success, so just hang in there!

For now, here's a little teaser of what I've been doing as a study break...


Hazelnut shortbread cookies.

Definitely not healthy; definitely not gluten-free; but most definitely made my family happy.  My baking addiction continues, even if I'm not eating it.  But don't worry, I snuck in a couple (unsuccessful) GF versions myself ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For the Hummus Addicted: Sabra Hummus House in Washington, DC

Bringing you all a quick post about a must-go-to restaurant only available for a couple more weeks!  Having a packed schedule from day-night leaves me with little time to sit down and blog, but I had to get this up so you can all enjoy it while there's time.

I love hummus.  It's dangerous to put me near a tub of hummus because I will try to eat it with every meal.  With eggs, vegetables, bread, chips...you name it.  Imagine my excitement when I heard that Sabra was opening up a pop-up restaurant in DC!  It basically meant that I had to go and check it out.

I quickly arranged to meet at the Sabra Hummus House with a friend to indulge in a hummus centered meal.
My first impressions - the people are really friendly.  If I hadn't read beforehand that you absolutely do not need to tip, I would have thought they were competing for some serious tips. All the waitresses were incredibly accommodating and helped make the environment relaxing.  As I was waiting for my friend, one of the hostesses asked me for her name and actually stood outside until she came in. Even though it's a really small space, making it easy for the staff to be attentive, this extra step really impressed me.

The decor is also really nice. Although unfortunately my phone died before I was even in the restaurant,so I couldn't get any pictures.  But there's a nice earthy, homey feel to the restaurant with incense and candles burning throughout.

Although there aren't too many options for food, all of it sounded amazing.  The only concern I had is that they didn't have many gluten-free options.  However, I wasn't really in a position to complain because hummus is usually eaten with pita anyway...I'm sure I could have asked for vegetables instead of pita in all of the dishes, but I decided to opt for the one hummus dish that was already served with vegetables. I figured since I was in a hummus-themed restaurant, it was only fair that pita would be the standard accompaniment.  However, I was still extremely satisfied in eating my vegetables with the spreads and dips.  The vegetables were so fresh, and complemented the hummus perfectly. I know that the chef tried to source as many things locally as possible, and my vegetables were part of that. In fact, I knew they were serious about freshness when I saw actual fresh vegetables are part of the decor.

I think I would definitely go back just to try out everything else on the menu. There isn't a huge selection, and I wonder if that would change if Sabra House became an actual restuarant.  However, what's available now offers a fresh and healthy meal!

If you are interested, get down to Georgetown ASAP!
They are only open until October 26!

For more information, check out their website!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Catrice: Mini Reviews and Swatches

 Aaah,Catrice.  One of my favorite drugstore brands.  Every time I travel to Europe, I am always eager to check out their collections.  They are always changing up their core collection - good if you want to try different things, but bad if you really like a product because you have no idea how long they'll be around for.

I already have a good selection of eyeshadows and nail polishes from Catrice, and I've been a fan of their products since the beginning.  For only 2,75, their eyeshadows have consistent quality.  The mattes are pigmented and buttery smooth, and they always manage to come up with unique colors.  I can safely say that some of my favorite eyeshadows are from Catrice!

Their nail polishes are also always on pointe. They have a fantastic selection of colors, both shimmery and matte, and I love their formulas. The nail polishes are conistently pigmented, opaque, and last for a long time - around a week - with my standard Seche Vite base and top coat.

I also really like the lipsticks from Catrice, although a lot of the shades aren't quite my style.  I have one MMLB-ish shade, but that's about as extensive as my lip collection from them goes.  This time, I found a couple more shades that I wanted to try, but I didn't actually go crazy for once.







Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Restaurants in DC - Oyamel

It seems that even though I love to eat my way through DC, I rarely ever actually post about it. I think it's because most of the time, I am just so excited by the food that I start eating it before I actually take photos.  Food blogger faux pas, I know......

Except I'm hoping to make a fresh start and start blogging my food adventures.  Although I try not to eat out too often,  there are days when I just want to try something completely different that I know I have no ability to make.   And when the occasion to go to an Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull concert came around, I knew that it was one of those times I wanted to go out of my way to try a new restaurant I've always wanted to try that isn't just a neighborhood favorite.

Enter Oyamel.

I had heard about Oyamel from so many people, along with the other restaurants that the Chef, Chef José Andrés owns.  Although we had originally planned on going to Proof, we changed our minds at the last minute and decided on something a little more whimsical and Spanish/Central/South American themed to get us in the spirit of the concert.  Cue me looking through Open Table to find a restaurant within the Penn Quarter area near the Verizon Center that wouldn't be completely packed..and I stumbled upon Oyamel.

A little side note here, OpenTable has been pretty useful for me in trying to figure out what restaurant to go to, especially when I just search for a time that I can go to and the area that I'm going to be in.  It takes the trouble of calling around different restaurants trying to find one that will work for me.  And by going through OpenTable, I have compiled a verrrry long list of more restaurants that I want to try out.  This is a pretty well known tip by now, but still, I'm realizing more and more how useful they are.



Right from the front door, it is easy to see that a lot of thought went into the design of the restaurant.  There are monarch butterfly designs scattered throughout the restaurant, and the orange/red paint gives off a great vibe.  According to their website, Oyamel is named for the fig trees that monarch butterflies take refuge in during their migration. I have to admit, the butterflies weren't something I expected out of a Mexican restaurant, but after being in there for awhile, I can tell that it definitely fits with the whimsical theme of the restaurant.

Oyamel kind of uses a tapas style, antitjitos, small plates philosophy, which is always fun for me.  It gives me the opportunity to try out multiple things at once.  They have all sorts of dishes, as well as a great selection of tacos.    But, does anyone else get overwhelmed by menus whenever they go to a restaurant?  I love eating, but I am also so indecisive. Thankfully, Oyamel has a large menu, but I was able to pick out the top things that I wanted to try pretty quickly.  




While we waited for our orders, we munched on chips and salsa and  enjoyed some drinks.  I'm usually a beer person, but they have quite an impressive list of cocktails that I would love to try out.  

One quick note in here, and probably important for many of you - I was really impressed with their service.  We had made a note before we started ordering that we had to make it to a concert later that night so we made sure that all the food we ordered would come out fairly quickly.  Everything came out quickly, even when our waiter said it would probably take about 10 minutes, and all the servers were so friendly to us.  The chicken mole we ordered came out just a few minutes after receiving our chips, which worked just fine for me because I was starving by that point.


Chicken Mole, by the way, is one of those dishes I always order whenever I'm in a Mexican restaurant.  The complexity of the sauce means that I haven't even attempted making it myself yet, but the mix of poblano, chile, and chocolate is the most amazing combination of spicy, bitter, and sweet.It came with a generous side of herbed rice, which was also incredible. It was flagrant and flavorful, but not too strong to compete with the mole sauce.  I could probably eat this everyday....




To keep with the "quick and light" theme, we ordered two tacos each.  Again, I think they might just be a tad expensive, but I think the flavors made it worth it.  I ordered the "Tinga poblana con puerco" - Pork with chorizo, lettuce, and avocado.  Anything with chorizo, pork, and avocado is a win in my book, but the real standout was the "Pancita de puerco al pasto," or also known as pork belly, with some pineapples thrown in there as well.  Pork belly is one of my favorite foods to eat, no matter how decadent it is, and the pineapple was a really great addition to cut through the fat of the pork belly.

Total satisfaction in the form of tacos.



Although we didn't have the time to eat through a full meal,  the little samplings we ordered left me wanting more. While I've eaten at quite a few restaurants in DC, not too many of them will stand out enough to have me thinking about it for days after.  DC is certainly in no shortage of restaurants, but I think what ultimately sold me was the overall environment of the restaurant.  I just felt relaxed, and like I could have fun.  This time around, the decor played a pretty role in my experience in the restaurant.  That along with the easy going servers who were attentive to our requests, and the great food that came out makes me want to go back...and soon.  I think next time I'm there, some "must eats" are their tacos with grasshopper, the "Chapulines," and their Papas al mole - potato fries with mole sauce...although I honestly would happily eat anything on their menu!



Who can resist a picture in front of some butterflies?

Next time you're in the mood for some fun Mexican, and you're not looking for a restaurant to overstuff you with food, check out Oyamel.

And make reservations with OpenTable because they get pretty busy.

Oyamel Website
Make a reservation with OpenTable 

Address:
401 7th Street NW, Washington DC  
(Penn Quarter; Gallery Place)


Got any other favorite restaurants in DC?  Let me know because I'm always up for eating....and make sure you stay tuned for more restaurant reviews in the future!




Monday, September 15, 2014

Empties: Summer Edition compiled

Every time I tried to write this post, it seems that I've gotten distracted and quickly moved on to more exciting posts.  Not that talking about empties isn't exciting, but when I'm running around to different countries and have shiny new products to play with...well, THAT's exciting.

Because I kept delaying this, the empties that I had started to slowly pile up.  And instead of slowly surrounding myself with empty products, I took pictures of them in installments.  All of this comprises empties from about April through August....and there's a lot so let's get started!




Friday, September 5, 2014

Exploring Art Deco: Eyeshadows, Blush, and FOTD

I first heard about Art Deco a few years ago before I knew anything about German makeup and have been trying to get my hands on it ever since.  For some reason, I really love the idea of being able to build my own palette, and Art Deco has plenty of options for doing so with their assortment of blushes and eyeshadows.

The first time I was in Germany, I picked up a couple of eyeshadows, which I love dearly, but I've found some real winners this time in the collection as well.






Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August 2014 Favorites

While I'm sitting over here slightly depressed that the end of August marks the unofficial end of summer for me, I am at least excited about the amount of new products I have been able to play with ever since coming back home.  Although I love the simplicity of having just a few products to choose from when I put on my makeup,  being back with my normal selection is exciting all the same.

But even though I switched it up almost every day, there were still a few products that I tended to reach for often, and products that I just completely fell in love with.