Monday, November 3, 2014

fall 2014 makeup trends on the runway

I was delighted to find out last month that Dave Lackie & Nina Westbury would be coming to Vancouver to host a beauty event at The Bay. For those who aren't following Dave on are seriously missing out! He has the best beauty giveaways, wonderful makeup tips & the 411 on all new beauty releases. He's also the editor for BEAUTY the Guide, which is a great publication if you enjoy runway looks and keeping up to date on the latest trends. I find it super inspiring- and it's also a wonderful enabler in terms of fuelling my need to buy new make-up! ;) As for Nina, she's hilarious and always willing to offer excellent personalized advice if you have any questions about makeup!

In truth, I wasn't sure I would be attending- I hadn't been able to RSVP before all the seats were claimed, and I also happened to have an exam later that evening. Regardless, I decided it wouldn't hurt to stop by. Everyone was already seated by the time I arrived, and one of the lovely managers/co-ordinators (I didn't even catch his name, yikes!) told me to check at the registration table to see if there were any free RSVP seats for me. It was still full, so I took a seat in the general area. I'm so glad I decided to attend after all- Dave & Nina were as bubbly and fun as they seem on twitter. It was an excellent presentation, filled with quirky anecdotes from Dave of behind-the-scene moments at fashion shows; he's really seen it all! From Anna Wintour to Michael Kors- it was wonderful to hear of his experiences. I really enjoyed learning about the thought process of makeup artists when planning runway looks- crazier looks to contrast with more conservative outfits, or more dramatic eyes to bring attention to detailed dresses. (Suddenly reminded of how much I'd LOVED the fun makeup at the Manish Arora FW14 show!!!!)

It was also a bit of a throwback to go through fall/winter shows- those who know me are aware of how closely I follow fashion week (albeit menswear more than womenswear), and having just gone through the spring/summer season in October, the shows from February were already one big blur in my mind.

Unfortunately, I can't access the archives for the October 2014 of BEAUTY the Guide, which provided excellent examples of the runway trends mentioned in the presentation (and my memory is horrid. Why didn't I write them down like I was originally planning to? I'm a horrible blogger, honestly.) The few that I can remember are..... glacial blues, darker red lips, and my personal fave- "Medici modern".

Thiarine Garcia & Sasha Luss @ Max Mara FW14 RTW. Obsessed with that shade! Wish I had their cheekbones :(

As an art history student, I'm fairly aware of the Medici family- it was even more of a surprise for me to see a Bronzino painting, as I had to write a paper on him last year. (It's odd how I feel a certain sense of pride every time I hear about Bronzino. I came across a copy of the very painting I wrote on while in Florence this summer, and again in Milan, and I couldn't help but rave about it to my mom, haha.) I swear a little shiver went down my spine when Dave talked of how the makeup at Milan fashion week was very nude & natural but flawless- as if the models themselves had stepped out of these paintings. It's absolutely brilliant!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

cookie monster

I just want to start off by saying that I love the idea of baking, but once I actually start doing it, it's not long before I realize I have no patience for it. Two weeks ago, my friend hosted a movie night at his place, and for some insane reason (I must've hit my head????) I decided I would bake a few batches of cookies to bring for the potluck. The problem is, I had to buy a ton of ingredients, and as always, I waited till the very last minute to do so.....I ended up arriving 2 hours late, sigh. I will also state that I haven't made cookies since high school- and even then, my baking was always hit or miss. I've made numerous successful cheesecakes, but my cakes can be questionable, so I wasn't sure how these cookies would turn out. (I do think part of the problem is I don't own proper measuring equipment so I guesstimate on a lot of things, hahahahaha....) Luckily they were delicious! They don't LOOK that great- my oven doesn't seem to distribute heat evenly so I struggled a lot with it- but they really were yummy. Anyway, the cookies were a hit. In fact, I'm craving some now...

These are the Nutella & Salted Caramel cookies (recipe here!) I ended up not using Nutella, as I was a bit worried they would be too chocolatey already. I also used mint chocolate chips instead since I am obsessed with mint. As I was in a hurry, I ended up rolling quite huge balls of dough (also an attempt to ensure the Caramilk was covered.) Because of that, they were quite heavy- reminded me of brownies. Next time I'll definitely try to even out the amount of dough...but there was also problems with my oven. I wasn't sure if they were done or not- as a result, they may have been in there for too long :(

And my personal favourites.....these AMAZING Brown Butter Salted Caramel Cookies (recipe here!) These blew my mind. They changed my life. Honestly, I lost track of how many I consumed on my own. Brown butter really does make a HUGE difference!! My kitchen smelled heavenly afterward ;) Unlike the chocolate ones, I didn't have too much trouble with these, although my caramel pieces melted onto the wax paper, so there were a few issues trying to get them off in one piece. I replaced the chocolate chunks with white chocolate, and I also opted out of adding coffee. If you have time, you definitely need to make these!

I promise I'm not usually so haphazard with my pictures & presentation, but I really was in a huge hurry, haha.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

marc by marc jacobs fw14 @ the bay vancouver

Delayed post (as always), but I was delighted to attend last month's launch of the Marc by Marc Jacobs FW14 collection at The Bay hosted by the wonderfully adorable & charming Beckerman sisters- Samantha & Caillianne.

Being Luella Bartley & Katie Hillier's debut collection for Marc by Marc Jacobs after Marc's departure, I remember all the buzz and hubbub that surrounded this collection back in February. They certainly didn't disappoint, with a BMX inspired collection that was tough but still feminine and featured tons of prints & patterns that kept it playful- as MBMJ is known for. What I enjoyed the most though, was the super cute braids the models sported- fun, but not in a schoolgirl way! (I think my hair is much too thick to pull it off. Sadface.)

I always have a blast at events put on by The Bay- and this time was no exception. The finger food was plentiful and delicious- there were also some super cool Marc Jacobs chocolate bars that were going around....

here's a picture of me holding said chocolate! taken by my lovely friend christina.
adorable & delectable mini cupcake that we had to chase down the servers to get. they kept running away from us :(
On to the most important part- the clothes themselves!
Being completely oblivious as always, I hadn't known there would be a fashion show, so I wasn't able to snag a good spot. Having to view it from the back.....even worse than being relegated to second row at fashion week! ;)

Here are my personal favourites from the collection:

marc by marc jacobs: black moto quilted bag
marc by marc jacobs: black leather easy rider ankle boots

But best of all......we were treated to goodie bags!!!!

How adorable is that mirror?! I love how sophisticated and sleek it is. We also got some fun nail wraps from Marc Jacobs x Minx, and of course, the adorable tote bag itself!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

peaches & roses

Last summer, I rediscovered an eyeshadow in my makeup drawer- Chanel's Ombre D'eau in #40 (Source), and it quickly became a new staple in my daily makeup routine as an inner corner highlight for my eyes. Thanks to the doe foot applicator, it's super easy to apply- no fuss or mess. When I'd first purchased it in 2012, I'd been going through a "I'm a big girl that can afford Chanel now, so I'm gonna splurge!!!!" phase, and the shadow had caught my eye since I'd never seen anything like it before (and truthfully, I loved the frosted glass container as well.) Till this year when I'd decided to go the route of Korean makeup in frequenting a more natural look, I'd always leaned more towards smoky browns and golds (which I realize now made me look more tired & older), so I'd never used the shadow solely on my lids. Unfortunately, by the time I realized how much I was obsessed with it....Chanel had already discontinued the fluid shadows.

I spent months searching for a dupe to no avail- till I watched one of Amarixe's monthly favourite videos, in which she mentioned Josie Maran's coconut water eyeshadows, and I noted that it was more or less the same product as Chanel's. I excitedly headed to Sephora and picked out Playa del Pink, which quickly joined my list of favourite products for this summer. It is slightly more metallic and a bit heavier than the Chanel shadow- and I will note that at the end of the day, my lids feel quite...tired and I'm very aware of having it on my lids. It claims that the Argan-infused pigments make lids look less crepey and smoother, but....I'm not sure it works that way for me. For that reason, I tend to only wear it for special occasions nowadays as opposed to on the daily. What I did realize though, is how many peachy/nude & shimmery pinks I own. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ice cream social

As should be well known by all readers of this blog by now, I am extremely dedicated to my (self-titled) job as an ice cream aficionado. I constantly have my eyes open for any new gelaterias or ice cream parlours in Vancouver, or perhaps any ice cream related events- and luckily enough, I was alerted via the good folks over at Scout Magazine to BETA5's Ice Cream Social!

I'm no stranger to BETA5- I've tried many of their desserts before and while I hadn't been there in a year or two, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. When I arrived, there were over 15 people in line, and small groups of people were seated all over the parking lot, enjoying their ice cream. I was joined by my good friend, Anneliese, and it made the wait that much better, as we got a chance to catch up. When we finally got to the front of the line, we were greeted by this menu:

Unfortunately, they had run out of most of their ice cream sandwiches, and the only flavour they had left was cookies & cream. As tempted as I was by the other choices, I decided to opt for the sandwich, while Anneliese went for the mojito sorbet cream puff. 

I loved the macaron cookie exterior of the sandwich- the ice cream itself was softer & creamier than I'm accustomed to, but it was quite delicious. I'd foolishly thought that I'd have been able to get back in line and try some other things after finishing my sandwich, but it definitely filled me up, haha! All in all, it was a great night, and I'm thankful to the folks at BETA5 for organizing such a fun event :)

If you haven't already been, I'd highly recommend you go check them out- they're famous for their cream puffs, but I also love their salted caramels & panna cotta in a jar (which I'm not entirely sure whether or not they still offer!)

BETA5 Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

crackle crème

Here's a little known fact that only a select few of my friends are aware of: crème brûlée is- save for ice cream- my favourite dessert. This has been the case ever since I first watched Amélie on a flight to Paris about 9 years ago. Really, what's not to love? I wish I could describe the first ~magical~ moment I ever had crème brûlée, but sadly, the memory escapes me. However, I can tell you I've been hooked ever since- but unfortunately, I never know where to get any in Vancouver. More often than not, I can only ever find it at hotel functions. When hit with a sudden craving, I've had to go to Whole Foods as a last resort (admittedly, I really do like the crème brûlées there, though of course, the caramel topping isn't crunchy *sad sigh*.)

Luckily, my friend told me about the recent opening of Crackle Crème- a small café that opened in Strathcona, which can certainly stake its claim as the new hip neighbourhood in town, what with The Union and the many small & unique boutiques opening up (believe me, it was a much different case years ago, back when I attended elementary school in that area!) I knew I instantly had to drag Cybil, my friend & fellow dessert fanatic, with me. It's definitely small inside- seats about less than 10 people, but more along the 'cozy' feel as opposed to 'sardines in a can'. There's also a small patio space, and you can borrow a picnic blanket so that you can enjoy your dessert at the park! With over 10 options in flavours, from the simple (such as vanilla, espresso, matcha), to the more eccentric (durian, bailey's, chocolate guinness + bacon!!!!), we certainly had a hard time choosing. However, with my summer matcha obsession, I had to go for that, while Cybil opted for the lemon basil. After taking your order, Daniel, the owner & sole employee, pulls the crème brûlées straight out of the fridge and torches them on the spot. Another small detail I love is that there is glasses of water that you can pour for yourself readily on hand- if you recall my post from the hot chocolate festival, this is something I really appreciate at cafés.

On to the desserts themselves! I was so unbelievably happy to be able to crack the top with the back of my spoon- just the way Amélie does it in the movie! It was sweet and crunchy (the way it's meant to be)- and perfectly contrasted the beautifully smooth custard. The matcha flavouring was consistent and not overpowering at all. I tried a bit of Cybil's as well, and the lemon was light and fresh with a slight hint of basil. So obsessed! I will definitely be returning often to try and tackle the rest of the flavours ;) Definitely go check them out yourselves- don't just take my word for it! As far as I know, the flavours are never the same, and Daniel is constantly coming up with new ones...and if crème brûlée isn't for you, he also has liège waffles + ice cream! I can't for the life of me remember the exact price we paid (I know, I know...what kind of horrible blogger am I?!), but it was definitely only about $5 or so. ALSO-it's important to note that they're closed on Mondays & Tuesdays!

Crackle Crème on Urbanspoon

Hope you've all been having a wonderful summer :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

healthy snacking

I will admit it- I have a bit of a chip addiction. I was never allowed to have any as a child, so when I hit high school and had a bit more freedom with my allowance, I would buy a bag at the cafeteria almost daily. This irritated my mother to no end and she constantly harps on my weight gain as being a result of my junk food addiction. After giving up chips and such for Lent last year, I've managed to control my urges- I rarely buy potato chips nowadays, only giving in once in a while for Sun Chips, Kettle Chips, or Cheetos.

Of course, when the kale chip fad began a few years ago, I was instantly intrigued, but despite pestering my mom about buying kale, she never remembered and I was never sure where to buy it. Last month, I finally brought it up again thinking my mom would ignore me as usual, but out of the blue, my dad bought a large bunch home from Whole Foods (bless him)

Excuse the phone quality images- my cousin borrowed my camera and my dad took his own back so I couldn't use it anymore, haha. Anyway, I followed the instructions here

Here's what I learned from personal experience:

  • DEFINITELY keep a close eye after putting it in the oven- it can burn very quickly!!!! I followed the times and temperatures listed in the recipe for the first batch but changed it for the second batch as all ovens are different. I constantly moved pieces around as some were crispier than others and it made me nervous since the ones in the middle were still slightly limp. 
  • The most boring part for me was patting it dry, to be honest. 
  • Don't over-salt! I was worried there wouldn't be enough flavouring since I like things with flavour, but the kale itself is already a bit salty so going overboard is no bueno. I used garlic salt on some and truffle salt on others.
  • It wilts and shrinks a HUGE amount, so there isn't really a need to worry about spacing them out on the tray other than to make sure they all bake evenly- silly me by reflex spread them all out for the first batch as if I was making cookies (what was I thinking??)
  • I love how airy light and crunchy they are- just what I needed to combat my chip withdrawal. If there are some that haven't fully been baked, it's fine. I just pretend I'm eating salad and the kale itself is quite good.
Like I was saying about how easily it burns....

I definitely recommend trying it out if you haven't already- it's an excellent healthy substitute for chips- a bunch at Whole Foods costs me $2.99! My mum suggested buying it once a week so it'll be a nice snack and treat for me. It's a bit time-consuming for sure, but I think it's worth the effort :)

EDIT: Since writing the post above, my dad's bought another bunch, so I thought I'd do a bit more experimenting with different flavours. I suspect the large amount I had my first time was two bunches worth- the picture below is exactly one bunch.

I separated that into 4 different batches: one with turmeric, one with all-purpose seasoning, one with lemon zest + lemon juice, and one with the tried & true garlic salt (all with olive oil to mix, of course.)

Official verdict? As expected, the lemon juice batch couldn't really crisp up properly, but I actually liked it- I think if I ever tire of baking them, I'll just do a kale salad with lemon juice and some cheese because the slight tanginess of the lemons really worked well with the kale.

Turmeric wasn't bad but I don't think I'm too fond of turmeric itself,

The all-purpose seasoning SMELLED amazing while baking, but the taste itself wasn't too great- though I think I may also have added a bit too much olive oil in this batch so all I got was a bit of seasoning and an overpowering smell of olive oil + wax paper. Gross.

Garlic salt is still my all-time favourite for now! This time I made sure to constantly turn the tray every 5 minutes or so, and I moved pieces around while they were still in the oven. Just like popcorn kernels in a bag of popcorn, there are bound to be bits that don't really end up cooked properly, but what I did this time was pick out all the ones that were already crispy or looked like they would burn soon and left the rest in the oven to bake for a while longer- it worked out quite well (just means a bit more monitoring than usual.)