Archive for October 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness

October 31, 2014
Breast Cancer Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness Facts

I didn't want to let October close out without mentioning that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can shop for products that benefit BCA but more importantly, schedule a checkup if you're due or if you have a family history of cancer and make sure you know the facts about this disease and how to reduce your risk. Life is too short and too precious, so make the most of it and take the best care of yourself! 

Infographic via

Kiku At The NY Botanical Garden

October 29, 2014
Kiku At The NY Botanical Garden, NY Botanical Garden, Chrysanthemums

It's been more than a few years since my last visit to the New York Botanical Garden. I'd probably go more if it's Bronx location wasn't such a trek from lower Manhattan. This past weekend we decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and ventured to view the magnificent chrysanthemums featured in Kiku: Art of The Japanese Garden. The chrysanthemum (kiku) is the most celebrated of all Japanese fall flowering plants and this installation pays homage to hanami, the custom of enjoying the transitory beauty of flowers through a stunning variety of presentations. It was a visual delight and some of the displays were truly artful. It's such a marvel that many chrysanthemums actually grow out of a single stem and I had no idea there were so many different types. We also tried out the special Japanese pop up restaurant that opened up in conjunction with this exhibit. The service was quite terrible but at least the food was good. I read that this may be the last time the Botanical Garden will present Kiku for awhile so I'm really glad we went. I'm already planning another trip up there next spring for the peony show.

Are there botanical gardens where you live? Have you visited recently?

Kiku At The NY Botanical Garden, NY Botanical Garden, Chrysanthemums

Targeted Skincare with Dr. Brandt Laser Fx

October 27, 2014
Dr. Brandt Laser Fx, Dr. Brandt Laser Fx Bright Serum, Skin Brightening Serum

So I used to have this mole under my right eye. I say used to because when I was 20, my mom took me to have it lasered off. She's fairly superstitious and said that the position of that mole was like a tear on my face and would thus bring me sadness. She was rather insistent so just went with it. The procedure was quick and burning hot but it banished the mole for good. I've been lucky to not to have to really deal with any other moles on my face but I am vexed by dark spots and freckles which are the result of being less vigilant about sun protection when I was younger. It's a constant battle and if laser treatments weren't so pricey, I'd probably just have went that route.

Enter Dr. Fredric Brandt's new line of serums created to mimic the effects of in-office dermatological laser treatments. I learned about these skin fixers at an event hosted by Birchbox Soho last month. Dr. Brandt, a noted celebrity dermatologist and anti-aging authority was on hand to personally introduce his Laser Fx line and explain how they work. These treatments feature a breakthrough smart dual encapsulation system to deliver precise skin targeting, penetration and higher efficacy. There are three products in this series and each is specifically formulated to provide focused results in addressing particular skin concerns.

Dr. Brandt Laser Fx, Dr. Brandt Laser Fx Bright Serum, Skin Brightening Serum

Eye Candy : Lee Dong Wook for Arena Homme+

October 24, 2014
Lee Dong Wook, Lee Dong Wook Arena Homme,  Lee Dong Wook for Arena Homme+, 이동욱

I'm not really sure if Lee Dong Wook is one of those actors who started out as a model but he certainly looks model perfect in this Arena Homme+ editorial which was photographed on location in Hawaii. His hair is looking phenomenally good and the styling is spot on. My only complaint about this pictorial is that there are only four photos. How amazing is this first one? Somehow he never gets featured in huge spreads even when he was in Paris. I've had a bit of soft spot for Dong Wook since watching the K-drama My Girl. The hair was a little suspect back then but his characterization of Seol Gong Chan was superbly charming. I can't say the same for his co-star which is probably why I skipped their drama reunion earlier this year in Hotel King. The handsome actor is currently appearing in the drama Blade Man as a man who literally has knives springing out of his body. I passed on this one as well cause the premise is a little out there for me. As if he wasn't busy enough, he is also a cast member on the reality/variety program Roommate which has a group of celebrities and entertainers living together under one roof.

Lee Dong Wook, Lee Dong Wook Arena Homme,  Lee Dong Wook for Arena Homme+, 이동욱

Crispy Tofu, Broccoli and Pepper Stir Fry Recipe

October 22, 2014
Easy Vegetarian Recipe, Asian Vegetarian Recipe, Stir Fry Recipe, Vegetarian Stir Fry, Chinese Stir Fry

I think I may have talked about being a part time vegetarian on here before or maybe I haven't. Anyway it's been a thing in our household for some time now. While I wouldn't want to give up meat completely, I have absolutely no problem with not eating it most days of the week. It's just healthier and actually more economical and better for the environment as well. One dish that I make pretty regularly is this crispy tofu, broccoli and red pepper stir fry which is a meatless adaptation of a favorite dish that I originally made with flank steak in place of the tofu. I cook with broccoli and red bell peppers alot because they're loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and we happen to like the way they taste. Making the tofu crispy adds a different dimension in texture which works quite well with the vegetables and it's really tasty too. I usually serve this with rice, well because my husband really likes his rice.

Crispy Tofu, Broccoli and Pepper Stir Fry Recipe

Through My Lens : Recently

October 20, 2014
Autumn in New York City

I just realized that I didn't do one of these posts last month but since I shared our island vacation photos instead, it was kind of like I did. Anyway, here are are some photos of life recently. It's starting to look like fall in NYC these days and this is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the city.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Review

October 17, 2014
Exfoliating for better skin

I get that exfoliation is a key step in any good skincare routine but since I have sensitive skin that's on the dry side, I tend to take a less is more approach to it. I was also told recently by a skincare expert that over exfoliation can lead to hyperpigmentation and that has only made me only more wary. Still I do recognize that it's necessary so I try to be gentle in my approach. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant was a product that I had been meaning to try so I was more than happy when I received a free sample. 

About the Brand: Dermalogica is a US based professional skincare company that has been around since 1986. Their product line is focused on improving skin health without the use of common irritants and ingredients that could cause breakouts.

Key Ingredients: Rice Bran and Rice Extract gently micro-exfoliate skin surface to facilitate penetration of the Skin Brightening Complex. Papain Enzyme (papaya proteinase) and Salicylic Acid to help dissolve excess surface cells. Skin Brightening Complex of Licorice and Bearberry to brighten and even tone. Green Tea, Gingko and Colloidal Oatmeal to soothe the skin and leave it clear and refreshed. Formulated without artificial ingredients or colors.

Packaging: A clinical looking white plastic bottle that feels light yet substantial. It has a screw off top and the product is dispensed via two small openings.

Price: $52 for a 2.8 oz. Sounds pricey but considering you only have to use 1/2 teaspoon each time, one bottle can last for quite awhile especially if you don't use it daily.

Exfoliating for better skin

Currently Coveting

October 15, 2014
Everlane Petra Magazine Tote, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, Beauty Counter Lip Sheer,  Fresh Sake Candle, Kure Bazaar Nail Lacquer, Illume Coconut Milk Mango Fine Bath Salts

A few items currently on my wish list. I'm really more into beauty than fashion at the moment.
What are you coveting lately?

1. Everlane Petra Magazine Tote 
{Quiet affordable luxury meets minimalist styling and quality workmanship}

2. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream 
{This cult favorite is now available stateside and I want to try it!}

3. Beauty Counter Lip Sheer in Plum 
{A non-intimidating way to go darker with my lip color, in a gorgeous casing to boot}

4. Fresh Sake Candle 
{I'm a fan of the fragrance and I think the fresh yet exotic scent will translate well for the home} 

5. Kure Bazaar Nail Lacquer in Chloe 
{A sophisticated almost neutral color in an eco-friendly 5-free formula}

6. Illume Coconut Milk Mango Fine Bath Salts 
{I consider baths a form of escape and this sounds like a lovely tropical escape}

Eye Candy : Faye Wong for Elle

October 13, 2014
Faye Wong, Faye Wong Elle, Faye Wong Chen Man

Faye Wong graces 3 special covers for the 26th anniversary issue of Elle China. In the accompanying editorial, also photographed by Chen Man and styled by Stephanie Zhuge, the stylish HK pop diva certainly appears as youthful and luminous as ever, that it's almost hard to believe she turned 45 this year. Faye was at the height of her popularity in the late 90's. I was such a fan of her music back then and really admired how she had such a strong individual style and experimented with different genres. She was also a successful actress, known most notably for her roles in Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express and 2046. Last month she made a musical comeback with the song One Love Away which is the theme for the Chinese film One Step Away (触不可及). The atmospheric tune is quite true to her trademark style and her haunting vocals on it are just lovely.

Not to gossip but I read recently that Faye Wong and Nicholas Tse had reunited and it may've been Vicki Zhao Wei who brought them back together. The pair had famously dated over a decade ago before he married Cecilia Cheung and she wed Li Yapeng. There was an outpouring of fan support for the pair after the news broke and it seems their 11 year age difference isn't as big a deal anymore. Best of luck to them!

Faye Wong, Faye Wong Elle, Faye Wong Chen Man

Dine Out : Cantine Parisienne

October 10, 2014
Cantine Parisienne Review, Cantine Parisienne New York

Cantine Parisienne is a stylish restaurant attached to the Nolitan Hotel on Kenmare Street in Nolita. The airy dining room with sizable windows boasts contemporary decor with a cozy relaxed neighborhood vibe while the menu features a healthier spin on French bistro staples based on seasonal sustainable local ingredients with an American flair. We shared a baby kale caesar salad as a starter. The croutons in there were a surprise as they were pieces of crispy tofu which I thought was pretty cool considering I love tofu. They were a tad salty though. I knew I wanted to try their croque monsieur before we went and I liked that they offer a few variations on the classic French sandwich. I chose the Provencale which is an addition of tomato and basil and it was lovely. It was also sizable and filling enough that I could only eat half and had to get the rest to go. The food was well cooked and well seasoned. The portions on our entrees were quite generous or maybe we're just not big eaters. Overall the service was good and friendly. It was a nice dining experience if not especially memorable but at least there wasn't anything to complain about. I'd probably stop back in if I happened to be in the neighborhood. 

Are you a fan of French food?

So I really need to get back to my Dine Out series as my memory card is seriously packed with pictures of restaurants that I want to review and share so expect to see more of these soon.

Cantine Parisienne
4 Kenmare Street (Elizabeth & Mott)
New York City

Recent Loves

October 8, 2014
Eve Lom Rescue Mask, L'oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara, Albeit Nourishing Lip Balm

So it's been a couple of months since I've shared my recent loves. So let's get back on track here.

Eve Lom Rescue Mask : This luxurious clay mask is a weekly treat I've been giving my face lately. It effectively exfoliates, smooths and refines my complexion, not to mention it does wonders for my pores and keeps blemishes at bay. It's a little pricey but totally worth it for the results I've experienced.

L'oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara : I didn't like this mascara at first but after getting used to the flexible brush, I totally love it. The length and volume that I get from just one coat is quite impressive. It also holds curl well and lasts the day without flaking or smudging. Another plus is that it's fairly easy to remove. I should note that I'm using the Waterproof version.

Albeit Nourishing Lip Balm : This was a wish list item that I'm so glad I picked up. The packaging is just so pretty and the natural argan and marula oil formulation of the balm is light and moisturizing. It also imparts a soft glowy pink sheen on my lips and has a lovely subtle rose scent. 

Have you tried any of these products? What are your recent loves?

Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Review & Recipes

October 6, 2014
Matcha Green Tea Powder, Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder

To say that I'm a big fan of matcha green tea would be a fact. Almost anything green tea flavored usually appeals to me and there's also alot to like about the wonderful health benefits of matcha green tea. Matcha far exceeds the benefits of green tea since it is essentially the leaves of green tea ground into a powder so their goodness remains intact. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants with one cup providing over 5 times the antioxidants of any other food. It can supply a mild energy steady boost for 4 to 6 hours since it acts as both a relaxant and stimulant. The L-theanine in matcha produces seratonin and dopamine, chemicals that improve memory, enhance mood and increase focus. It also has detoxifying properties and has been shown to boost metabolism.

I recently swapped out my usual Japanese matcha green tea powder to try out Kiss Me Organics Certified Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder. This product is USDA certified organic and comes conveniently packaged in a resealable foil pouch. It is a good quality matcha that has a mild earthy green taste. In this form, matcha can be easily incorporated into a variety of recipes. I'm going to share two of mine today.

One way I have it is in my matcha green tea lattes. I'm not a coffee drinker but I do drink copious amounts of tea daily and this is a drink I like in the morning or early afternoon. Matcha is relatively low in caffeine but I avoid having it late just to be safe. Starbucks and Peets both have commercial versions of a green tea latte. Those drinks are not only expensive but they don't contain much actual matcha and have alot of sugar even if you get it unsweetened so it's not something I'd recommend especially when it's really easy to make on your own.

Another way I use matcha green tea powder is in a DIY brightening and exfoliating facial treatment mask with manuka honey and lemon juice. The polyphenols in matcha green tea have been shown to help protect the skin from harmful UV rays while improving blood flow and oxygen levels. Manuka honey is a medical grade honey known for it's antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties so it heals and nourishes the skin. Lemon is rich in Vitamin C and citric acid making it a terrific natural skin brightener and exfoliant. This mask leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft, smooth and refreshed and I love that all the ingredients are natural and edible.

Matcha Green Tea Latte,  Matcha Green Tea,, Matcha Latte Recipe, Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Review

Floral Friday : Garden Flowers

October 3, 2014

Since I live in New York City, I don't have my own garden but we're rather fortunate to reside in an apartment complex that has a nice garden downstairs. It's tended to by residents who are wonderful gardeners as gorgeous flowers like this one pop up throughout the year. This vibrant beauty bloomed last month.

Do you have your own garden or live near one?

Floral Friday is a monthly photography project with different themes each month. This series is about fun and taking time out to smell the flowers. To play along, please email Trishie for next month's theme.

A winner was selected in the NYFW themed Birchbox giveaway.

A Turks & Caicos Getaway

October 1, 2014
Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos, Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

As we didn't get to take a vacation last year because of my various ailments, we decided to make it an extra good one this year and also have a belated anniversary celebration while we were at it. We decided on Turks and Caicos which is a chain of islands in the Caribbean known for their glorious silky white sand beach with the most brilliant turquoise blue water. Besides being on our travel bucket list, it's also just a 3.5 hour flight from NYC. Adding to the convenience factors, the official currency is the US dollar and the official language is English. There are plenty of choices for accommodations and we chose to stay at the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos for both it's modern design and intimate vibe.

The service provided by the hotel was stellar as our airport transfer was promptly waiting with cold bottles of water when we exited the airport and we were warmly welcomed with cool towels and cold tropical drinks as soon as we arrived at the hotel. After a brief tour of the property, we were shown to our room where a complimentary bottle of wine and fresh fruit plate greeted us. We took this all out onto our private balcony to enjoy along with the incredible ocean view almost immediately. We splurged on a one bedroom luxury ocean front suite and and it was worth it as it had all the amenities of apartment living including a washer/dryer which we did use. The fully equipped kitchen was quite impressive even though we didn't really take advantage of it. My favorite feature was the full sized soaking tub located a few feet away from our bed. It filled from the ceiling which could be an adventure but it was a real treat and I'm so glad I brought my bath salts/oils along. There was also a luxurious floor to ceiling rain shower. The bathroom did lack privacy but this wasn't an issue since I was with my husband. The nightly turndown service that prepped our bed was lovely and it also came with bottles of water and chocolates. I slept so well there and I usually don't feel all that comfortable when I'm not in my own bed.

Gansevoort Turks and CaicosTurks & Caicos, Turks & Caicos Vacation, Gansevoort Turks & Caicos,   Gansevoort Turks & Caicos Review, JetBlue Getaway

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